Monday, July 2, 2012

Petoskey, Michigan

  We are now parked on a beach in Traverse Bay which is located on Lake Michigan.  Petoskey is quite a picturesque resort town. On our first day here we took a bike trail which runs along the bay, and into the downtown along Bear River.  In town the trail passes through some beautiful large Victorian homes as well as city parks and waterfalls of the Bear River. I probably have shown enough pictures of waterfalls, so instead I will post a picture of  a few of the many wild flowers which we saw along the trail.
 The town is popular because of the presence of the Petoskey stone on its beaches. It is important to clarify at this point that the town was named after Chief Petoskey and the stone is named after the town because it has been more commonly found here.  The stone has a distinctive hexagonal pattern.  Its origins were in the salt sea that once covered Michigan 350 million years ago.  It is the petrified remains of prehistoric coral colonies.  We found examples of the stone at the Little Traverse History Museum.
We also learned at the museum that the author Ernest Hemingway had a connection to Northern Michigan.  During his childhood he came yearly to Walloon Lake (it flows into Traverse Bay).  His parents had a summer cottage there which they called Windemere.   Hemingway wrote a series of short stories based in Northern Michigan featuring a character named Nick Adams.  His book The Torrents of Spring was set in Petoskey.  The book also features other areas around here as Cross Village and Harbor Springs. The latter two towns we visited Sunday when we took a drive around Traverse Bay.  In Cross Village we stopped to look at Legs Inn.  It is named for the stove legs which trim the roof line.  In the 1930s a man, Stanley Smolaks, with the assistance of the Ottawa Indians, built the inn.  He also used tree roots, limbs and driftwood to carve fantastical creatures.  The decorative items can still be found in the inn today.
 We enjoyed our time in Petoskey but it was marred by a run-in we had with a deer Sunday morning.  After church John decided to drive down the road which ran from the church into the countryside. It was quite the scenic drive through rolling hills of farmland and forests.  Just as John was thinking of turning around and heading back towards home, we saw that a car on the other side of the road coming towards us which narrowly missed a deer.  A few seconds later WHAM another deer flew from our side of the road across our windshield.  He ended up dead in a ditch across the road.  Fortunately our windshield remained intact but the hood and a side panel got dented up pretty badly. Well, were going to replace the hood anyway because of hail damage to it last spring.  I must admit that I could never be a hunter, I felt worse for the deer than the car!  That image of him flying in front of me haunted me for quite awhile.

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