Day Nine: Charlevoix, Bay Harbor and Harbor Springs

As I begin to type this I’m so excited as I see the sun outside and blue skies!!!! It has been days since we have seen the sunlight. Thank you Jesus.

Yesterday was a low key, relaxing day of exploring three little towns all within twenty minutes of Petoskey. We could not have picked a better place to stay in Petoskey as it was right in the middle of these other towns. We decided to go Charlevoix (pronounced shaar·luh·voy) first after we had a delicious breakfast of pancakes and sausage. The RV smelled like a camp breakfast for sure!

The always pan for the win again

Before we started our journey for the day Will realized his wallet was missing. He was rather calm about it despite us tearing apart the front of the RV. He knew it had to be in his someplace and we would eventually find it. After looking for over an hour we decided to head out for the day and not waste any more time looking. By now it was around 11:30am.

Charlevoix was the most adorable little town on the water. And the temperature dropped by five to seven degrees too making it a bit chilly for my skin (poor choice thinking I could wear shorts today!). Before walking around we decided to drive around the town as they are known for their mushroom style houses. Here is a little history about them: Unique. Unusual. Quirky. Elf cottages. Hobbit houses. Fairie houses. Gnome houses. Fairy tale houses. These are terms that are all used to describe the mushroom houses that Northern Michigan builder Earl Young created in Charlevoix. Young’s homes are known world wide and can be seen in just one place: Charlevoix. Born in nearby Mancelona in 1899, Young moved to Charlevoix in 1909. He attended the University of Michigan where he studied one year of architecture and returned to Charlevoix and began building his quirky houses in 1918. From 1918 through the 1950s, Young built 30 stone homes in Charlevoix and each is so unusual, they are considered works of art. The houses vary from tiny to huge. Many have undulating stone walls capped by a mushroom shaped cedar shake roof. Windows are framed with boulders. Chimneys have frosted stone caps. Doorways are lined with massive stones. In his early years of mushroom house building, Young’s homes were of the arts and crafts style, a bit like Frank Lloyd Wright. In later years, the shapes became more rounded with a blend of hobbit and fairy tales. Like Wright, Young designed each home to blend into its surroundings which makes each so unique.

Driving in there were hanging plants everywhere
Mushroom House
Another
And another
This one was my favorite with the chairs all lined up to look out at the water
The beach here is very rocky

We walked in a few shops before the kids asked if we could eat lunch. At this time it started to sprinkle a little too and with wait times it was hard to find a place to eat. There was a waterfront art show going on which drew a large crowd to this area. Will popped his head into My Grandmother’s Table and they had an open table for us. It was warm and they had a decent menu. Right when they were getting ready to take our order they said it would be about 30-40 minutes. At this point we were committed and didn’t want to find someplace else, so we decided to wait.

While we waited Will went to Cherry Republic to buy more cherries (we have a cherry problem, lol) and to enjoy a little alone time I think. The atmosphere was fun but the food was okay. Will and Eli had a pulled pork sandwich, AC a meatball sub, Betsie a hot dog and I had gnocchi with meatballs. Clearly their menu was on the heavier side.

Eli and Will’s lunch
AC’s meatball sub
My gnocchi and meatballs
I loved this on their menu
Funny sign by the restroom

After lunch we walked through the art show on our way back to the car. It also stopped sprinkling and it seemed to warm up a degree or two. Fun Fact….we first heard of Kilwin’s fudge and icee cream when we started taking Betsie to camp near Black Mountain, North Carolina. Then about two years ago we got one in Richmond. Well, they are all over the place up here so while we stopped for some fudge in Mackinac Island I asked where they were based out of and the guy said Petoskey! We said that would explain the large Kilwin’s right by our RV Resort .

We would be passing back by the RV on our way to Bay Harbor so we stopped to use the bathroom and for Anna Cate and I to put pants on. As soon as we arrived into the resort AC asked for the pool. Will went over to feel the water and said it felt warm and no one was there. So we did a quick change and Will took AC for a swim. While they were at the pool I was on another search for Will’s lost wallet. I asked Eli to go take a picture of them swimming and when he came back he said they weren’t in the pool and before I knew it AC and Will were back. He said Anna Cate got in and quickly wanted out as the pool was heated but not Anna Cate and Mommy approved heated.

We did another outfit change and headed to Bay Harbor. Bay Harbor Village was five minutes from our RV resort. This area is a seasonal resort area right on Lake Michigan. There is a mix of real estate, village home rentals, a hotel, shops, and restaurants. It was the perfect size and not crowded at all! We loved it!

Bay Harbor
Most adorable little shop

Betsie and I did a little shopping getting some things for AC while Eli, Will and AC walked around. Then Will and I had a drink at Mammoth Distillery (distilleries are big around here). My cucumber drink was delicious! While we sat outside we met a couple who moved to Charlevoix two years ago. They were delightful to talk to and said they wished we had talked to them before going to Charlevoix to give us other restaurant recommendations. We shared this was our last night in the area and asked where we should go for dinner. They pointed us to Harbor Springs twenty minutes down the road as it is their favorite place to go. They even told us the restaurant to go to, Pierson’s. We took them up on their recommendation and Betsie was driving us to Harbor Springs.

Church in Harbor Springs
Downtown

Each town kept getting cuter and cuter. We couldn’t believe it! Of the three Harbor Springs was Will’s favorite as it was a little bit bigger than Bay Harbor Village. Unfortunately due to the time, 5:30pm and it being a Sunday all the shops were closed, but restaurants and ice cream shops were open.

It had a ski vibe

Pierson’s was the perfect pick for us with a very diverse menu. I think it was the best meal we had the entire trip! We stared with one of the most amazing calamari dishes (my favorite to date is from Amen Street in Charleston, SC) as it was very lightly breaded and pulled pork street tacos. Anna Cate and Betsie tried this first gyro and they loved it! Eli had ribs, Will and I split mussels, I had a Cesar Salad and Will got a lobster salad. And they had my favorite Sauvignon Blanc (Crossings) on the menu!

Forgot to take a picture before we dug in

After dinner we walked around before stopping at Harbor Ice Cream. They sell Moomers homemade ice cream which is made in Traverse City on the family’s farm. Betsie had peach and cupcake, Eli had Mackinac Island Fudge, Will and I can’t remember the name but it was coffee with chocolate and I put hot fudge on mine and Anna Cate picked raspberry sorbet no matter how many times I asked if she wanted ice cream or sorbet. It was very yummy!

Will saw this sign in the men’s room…thinking of RVA’s baseball team
Adorable house by the water

Someone asked what time it was while we were enjoying our ice cream and it was only 6:30pm. Knowing our next stop was an hour and a half away and we were going to be getting the kids up early in the morning to get to the next RV resort before a fun day planned for Anna Cate I suggested we leave tonight. Everyone was game and we hopped back in the car to load up the RV to head out. Also knowing the next day was a Monday morning I felt this was better for Will too so he could get in few solid hours of work before we needed to be on our way to Elberta in the morning.

Bye Petoskey

We rolled out of Petoskey around 8:00pm and we checked into Indigo Bluffs in Empire at 9:30pm. I don’t know if I mentioned this when we were in Traverse City area the first time, but we passed this RV resort coming back from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. Knowing we were coming back to this area I wanted to try a new RV resort as the Traverse City KOA was okay.

We couldn’t see much at night as it was just getting dark when we arrived; however, if you have a Class A, Super C or a larger fifth wheel you stay on the “resort” side of the RV park in a gated community with a huge lodge area. The sites are much bigger, concrete pads with a patio and spread out.

Once we hooked up the search was on once more for Will’s wallet. I took apart the back of the RV (beds, closets, you name it) to no luck of finding it. We knew it had to be up front as the last place I saw it was on top of his bed. After Will took apart his bed for the fourth time we looked in greater detail behind the sofa. Will held the sofa up while I was holding AC and Betsie was on the ground with a flashlight looking. It wasn’t looking to promising when all of a sudden she screamed “I see it!”. It was in the very back right corner of the sofa. Yay!!!!

By 11:30pm we were all tucked in a ready to call it a night.

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