Just like in Florida – when we move – we move in short distances! This “move” was about 50 miles downstate from Petosky – to the south shore of the east branch of Lake Charlevoix, about 5 miles from Boyne City. From our vantage point at Whiting Memorial Park you could see the hills behind Boyne City and directly across from us was Young’s State Park, where we’ve traveled by boat on other adventures. Whiting Park is an older county park that is mostly non-electric campsites and 12 that you are able to reserve and have just electricity. The last 2 sites have only 20-amp service and were all that were available. And - may I tell you that you CANNOT run the air conditioning AND the microwave at the same time on only 20 amps! Site #2 was good because it was away from the hoards of tents on the weekend but it was a long walk to the facilities! Exercise –right?
|Holtel at Wallon Lake|
Between Petosky and Lake Charlevoix is Earnest Hemmingway’s favorite Walloon Lake – a beautiful lake that is surrounded by all types of magnificent homes – some northern rustic log mansions, some New England wealth and some were southern white 3-story plantation-esque with brightly colored hanging baskets everywhere! Some of their vivid canvas topped boat shelters were bigger than our house! Of course, inside these shelters were a vast array of pontoon, ski and antique wood boats! While on the lake we had to pause on one of the shallow sand bars that jutted out into the deep blue water for a cooling dip. The public boat launch is a sliver of land wedged between the historic hotel and the cottages.
Boyne City, with her manicured waterfront parks and marina, sits in the eastern cove of Lake Charlevoix. A plethora of flowers fill the planters that top the railings of the bridge over the Boyne River where it enters Lake Charlevoix at Sunset Park. This park is home to a rather worrisome looking Gnome. The picture I took of him is better than the one H took - because I am not in it! Don’t I look worried too? I wanted to take him home but H said NO – and he is too big for my Gnome Village!
Also in Boyne City is the Boyne Boat Works, owned by the Van Dam family. While the 2 monstrous steel buildings next door house some of the biggest boats around, the one by the road is home to 20-25 SUPER classic autos. There were a 57 Chevy Nomad, a Woody, an amphibian car, old Fords, Lincolns, Packards, MGs, a 54 Kaiser Darrin and the world’s only 77 Corvette Convertible. It was a prototype that never made it to production! Some of these cars have even been on display at the Gilmore Museum, downstate in Kalamazoo!
|Aboard the Ironton Ferry|
As always, we found it necessary to traverse the fork in the lake at the small town of Ironton via the 1883 Ironton Car Ferry and then have fish for lunch at the water front restaurant on the other side. The price to ride the ferry is still very reasonable but since our last visit the quality of food at the restaurant has gone down but the price has gone way up. The gray clouds rolled in again as we finished our lunch and headed for the city of Charlevoix with it’s lighthouse, Mushroom houses and the always traffic stopping bridge. As we watched the boat traffic from the pier, the bridge once again lifted and a trio of tall stately sailboats slid under its blue arches, while a half dozen powerboats snuck thru also! They seemed anxious to get in off of Lake Michigan and to their home docks before the inland lake was covered with gray clouds also.
Since there was no wifi in Whiting Park, we located the local library while in town and were amazed at the awesome place! One of the elementary schools had closed but was given a second life when the library system took it over. The building looks much more like a stately old high school than a grade school and the interior is full of dark oak and comfortable furniture. One whole wing of the library is dedicated to children! The classrooms of the old school are now for different age divisions and are all cheerfully decorated. In one room is a wooden boat that is a puppet stage. A rack FULL of hand puppets stands near by! Also on one wall is mounted the door from an old refrigerator – with word magnets stuck to it for youngsters to arrange their own messages!
The town of Boyne Falls is famous for Boyne Mountain and skiing. We’d seen the signs for the resort many times but never entered to explore, so after a hearty breakfast at Betty’s we wandered up into the normally winter wonderland. In the winter the Swiss style lodges and surrounding areas are usually covered in white but now all is green and/or floral! H’s daughter and family frequent the mountain when the weather is cold and skiing is their top priority! We found the indoor waterpark and imagined our grandsons having a soaking good time on all the slides and wave action surfing area! We even had time that day to wander down to the small town of Wolverine to locate several campgrounds we had been advised about. One was praised by R&N who had just stayed there and some folks from our home area just recently purchased the other. Both were nice but both were down several miles of washboard gravel roads.
One more move and this one was a bit more than 50 miles and was out in the middle of nowhere – half way between West Branch and Tawas, near Hale. It also has new owners and they have a long way to go to get their property up to good standards. They were very gracious and accommodating and allowed us to pick one of the few spots on grass and one that was almost level. Two vans full of young folks (plus chaperones) were tent camping behind us, which put the ailing bathroom facilities on overload!! But they were good kids and we worked around their morning and evening schedule!
|Some good fishing this trip|
Rumors were that the neighboring Sage Lake was good for fishing so off we went to find the DNR boat launch. Sage Lake is also home to a lot of loons and they all soon made their presence known by their unique calls that drifted over the quiet water! We had several nibbles and bites but when that bass lit onto H’s hook and purple beetle spin – it hit and did not let go! This largemouth bass was a keeper but we took H’s proud picture and released the big fish back into it’s watery home, perhaps to bite another hook, another time.