This online document is a means of sharing the adventure of traveling on America's waterways with friends and family. Last Dance is continuing to take her crew to historical, natural, beautiful, and interesting places. Enjoy the ride.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Lake Michigan - Petosky and Charlevoix

Petosky is a small, quaint town along the bottom of Little Traverse Bay.  The city marina is part of a lakefront park that runs for over a mile along the water.  An active, interesting downtown, filled with merchants and eateries, is only a couple blocks walk up the hill.

The park is a beautiful way to enjoy nature and views across the bay out into Lake Michigan.  An anchor for the park is a clock tower next to the marina, a landmark that can be seen from water or land.  It all makes for a very welcoming town.

The local art community has purchased an old, large church and transformed it into a major arts center.  The sanctuary now serves as the theater for the performing arts.  The rest of the buildings are used to display fine art.  The fine arts were quite varied and all of the highest quality. Unfortunately, the timing of Last Dance's visit did not coincide with an event scheduled in the theater.  The community efforts of some local leaders have created a jewel of the towns cultural offerings.

Sunset viewed from the Petosky Marina out toward Lake Michigan.

Charlevoix is on the Lake Michigan coast south of Petosky.  The town is located on Round Lake, a small lake just inland from Lake Michigan.  Many years ago, a canal was dug to connect Round Lake to the Great Lake.  As is the norm for such waterways in Michigan, a jetty protects the inlet, marked by a lighthouse.  Charlevoix's lighthouse was getting a sprucing up.

Charlevoix has a nice city marina on Round Lake, providing cruisers a spot right in the middle of downtown along a waterfront park.  This view shows the narrow cut from Round Lake to the large Lake Chareloix with a sailing catamaran passing through. At berth on the near shore is the ferry that serves Beaver Island.  Passengers, vehicles, and freight are loaded here for the trip across Lake Michigan to the island.  Timing a visit when the farmers market sets up in town gives one an opportunity for fresh and dried Michigan cherries directly from the farm.  A visit to Charlevoix should include viewing of the unique mushroom houses and a trip to the library.  Those aspects were detailed in a blog post on a visit in 2011 - click here to read the older Charlevoix post

The marina building has some architectural details from the mushroom houses and a cascading trout stream.  Many touches making the waterfront park an enticing and rewarding place to visit have been incorporated into the design.  A children's water park located next to the marina office was always filled with joyous kids.

Downtown is on the western shore of Round Lake, the other shores contain some most interesting homes.  Someone studying architecture could be kept quite busy studying homes in Charlevoix.

Charlevoix was the end point of the 2016 cruise for Last Dance.  A short trip through the cut into Lake Charlevoix to Irish Boat Works, then sliding into their travel lift to be pulled out of the water, finalized the summer adventure.

Boat Works of Charlevoix was there waiting to transport Last Dance over land.  Other than most of their name being common, Boat Works of Charlevoix is not related to Irish Boat Works.  Locals seem to keep them straight by using shortened names - Boat Works for the former, Irish for the latter.

Boat Works has buildings providing heated boat storage at an inland location.  With real estate prices always being much higher for waterfront property, locating inland makes financial sense.  However, seeing a boat, larger than allowed to travel on roadways, travel down the road, leaning a bit on the trailer, is a bit unnerving.   Here, Last Dance begins the journey out of the marina and up the hill.

Down a few roads, through residential neighborhoods and across highways, the journey continued. This trip is possible because Boat Works paid the utility companies to raise the power lines high enough for boats on a trailer to clear.  The transport truck and trailer are classified as farm equipment, giving them exemptions to laws about the size of vehicles using the roads.

It was a safe journey with Last Dance arriving at her new winter home.  After being kept warm and out of the snow, a few maintenance tasks over the winter months should have her ready for new adventures in the Great Lakes, summer 2017.

A rental car provided the crew transportation back to upstate New York, near Syracuse, to the point where the 2016 journey began and where the car was left.  The route was through much of the state of Michigan, across the southern end of Ontario, Canada, and into New York State.  One of the towns along the way is most famous of recent - but, not for the best of reasons.

Until next year . . .