...flowers and charm
Charlevoix's Harborfront park
Lighthouses on a park bench
A boat waits for the drawbridge to open.
The channel leads from Lake Michigan to Charlevoix
The drawbridge lets sailboats pass through.
The town sports a beachside playground.
Lake Michigan's clear water: turquoise and inviting.
Lilacs were in bloom.
Petunia beds escorted us out of town for miles.
Harbor Springs, a sparkling gem on Lake Michigan
Local kids drop their bikes and bags to take sailing lessons.
Beautiful wooden boats were everywhere.
Harbor Springs' waterfront park
Have a seat and stay a while...
Large equestrian estates fringe Harbor Springs.
The Tunnel of Trees
Macinaw City, Gateway to Macinac Island.
Charlevoix, Harbor Springs & The Tunnel of Trees
Mid-June, 2009 - We continued our tour along the beautiful Lake Michigan coast, leaving
Traverse City and making our way to Charlevoix. I was amazed at how many quaint,
peaceful and picturesque villages perch along these shores. Charlevoix has a lovely park
along the harbor in the center of town, and it was lined with bright petunias in beds along
the ground and in hanging flower baskets.
A small stretch of grass leads to a small marina,
and we walked along the docks soaking up the sun
and talking to whatever boat owners we could find.
There is an outdoor concert pavilion as well, and we
could imagine many a balmy summer night sitting
there listening to music.
Some kids were making the most of the park's fountains, trying to
stomp out the various spigots of water as they shot up and then
clustering around the big fountain. I could sympathize with the little girl
on the edge who was freezing.
There is a
whimsy in this
town, and one
park bench is
We found the
the end of a
leads from the open lake waters to the tiny inner harbor. It was a perfect
day for strolling along the channel's boardwalk and, as we walked, a few
sailboats made their way in and out of the harbor.
A drawbridge separates the channel from the inner harbor, and when it is
scheduled to open all the sailboats scurry to get through.
At the end of
there is a town
beach with a
went I was startled by the clarity of the water. Lake Michigan's water is
turquoise, much like the Caribbean, and is extremely clear.
Lilacs were in bloom. They are one of my favorite spring flowers, and
they had already faded down south around Detroit. We both buried are
noses in their fragrant clusters.
All of these
we could have
north on our
charming, whimsical air of Charlevoix stayed with us for a long time. The
road out of town was lined on both sides with beautiful petunia beds. It
made for a lovely drive. After watching this continuous flower bed escort
us for at least three miles, I just shook my head in amazement. That's a
lot of flowers. This town is truly loved by its residents.
The next stop was Harbor Springs, a tiny village on the
water's edge. It is an upscale town that boasts some
beautiful Victorian homes that were meticulously
We arrived just as the
kids were running down
from the yacht club to
prepare their little
sailboats for sailing
The area was lined with bikes and backpacks, and the
kids made quick work of getting the sails up and getting
the boats off the dock. What a priceless, fun filled
summer lay ahead for those kids.
One thing we had noticed in every harbor in our travels was the large
numbers of wooden boats, all in beautiful condition. Harbor Springs was
no exception, and this boat really turned our heads. The woodwork was
pristine, with shiny varnish that was deep and lustrous.
We didn't realize until a few days later that one of the nation's three
major wooden boat schools was just a hundred miles north in the
Upper Peninsula. No wonder the many gorgeous wooden boats here
in Harbor Springs were so beautifully crafted and maintained. There
was plenty of skill and knowledge about wooden boats in the area.
Like so many other waterfront villages along this coast, Harbor Springs has a pretty park
overlooking the bay. Yet again we felt we could stop and spend the rest of the summer right
here in blissful tranquility.
This town is very posh, and not only do
the fortunate residents spend time on
their boats, but they also enjoy
equestrian entertainment, tennis and
other country club pursuits during their
We passed some beautiful country
estates on the way out of town. In many
ways it felt like we had just spent a few
hours observing a way of life that may
be fast disappearing in this oh-so-busy
workaday world of ours. It felt like a
gentleman's town from
another era, especially with
so many stunning wooden
boats dating back to the mid
Route 119 leading out of
town is one of Michigan's
scenic byways called the
Tunnel of Trees. For an
hour we drove along
through this winding,
green one-lane tunnel,
weaving our way under a
thick green canopy of
leaves. Occasionally there were glimpses of the lake on our left or of small log cabins tucked
back into the woods on our right, but for the most part it was a curvy, narrow road, encased in
At first the trees
were all deciduous,
but as we drove we
came across a few
clusters of skinny
pines. Some historic plaques explained a little about the
area. One spot, Devil's Elbow, had been a spring in a
ravine where the Indians believed local spirits made their
presence known in the wee hours of the night. Another,
L'Arbre Croche, was the name the French gave to this
whole Tunnel of Trees region, so named because of a
huge crooked tree that towered above everything.
We emerged into daylight and made our way towards Macinaw City, the northernmost point of Michigan's mittened southern
peninsula. It is the "Gateway to Macinac Island," the famed island where only foot and bicycle traffic are allowed. However, we
took the other road and headed over the Macinaw Bridge to Michigan's Upper Peninsula instead.