Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mushroom houses and other northern experiences

View from our balcony on our second night

Fireplace in common area where we stayed the first night-an Earl Young creation

Pan of Bay Harbor

Sculpture in front of Charlevoix library

One of the mushroom houses that actually looks like a mushroom

Charlevoix lighthouse

Bay Harbor mansion

another one

Cool sconces in our second place

Lobby of second place

Residents getting ready for Operation Petunia. Every spring, Charlevoix residents line 5 miles of streets with these. It was supposed to happen today.

mushroom house

My favorite mushroom house

another one

Small office behind larger mushroom house
This one was for sale. 1.1 million for 2000 sq feet

What to do with used skis

Even the walls are interesting
miles and miles of trillium
We are back from our two night northern adventure. We stayed the first night in Charlevoix, which is surrounded by water, Lake Michigan, the Pine River and Round Lake which leads into Lake Charlevoix. When I was a kid, we'd stay at the nearby Camp Michigania for UM alums. My father and his friend would often visit Charlevoix to look at the yachts. I thought at the time, the town was called Charlie Boy. Aside from the beaches, marinas and rich people's guest cottages, the town is full of 'mushroom' houses aka Gnome homes aka Hobbit Houses built by a self-taught architect Earl Young who wanted to use all natural material for his structures. His favorite material was Onaway rock (we had stayed there on our first night on last year's bike ride). There are about 30 of these homes, if not more, scattered around the town. Even parts of our hotel was built by him. Anyway, they were fun to look at. We were able to walk to quite a few of them from our hotel and then found a whole bunch more the next day by driving around. We had a nice walk along the beach just as the fog was rolling in. Alas I found no Petoskey stones for my rock garden.

We visited Petoskey in the evening, a cute town full of restaurants and shops.
Our room featured a deck that overlooked Lake Michigan, if you craned your neck. It also had a fireplace, a jacuzzi, pillowtop mattress so we were comfy.

The forecast called for rain the whole time we were going to be away but it didn't come in until late the first night and didn't return until 2 or so the next day so we had some rain free time. However, this morning when I wanted to run, it was 34, pouring rain with a stiff 30 mph wind. I stayed in. At least I got a nice long run in Charlevoix  It did clear up by noon but still was cold.

We stopped in Bay Harbor which is reclaimed land I believe from a cement factory. Unbelieveable houses, some pictured above that have been recently built.  One is going for $6 million. Where did all this money come from? The houses are all gated up but are visible from the marina which we took a walk on.

We had stayed at the lodge in Alanson before last fall. I really like it even though we were kept inside by the rain. Our balcony was covered though so we sat outside watching the beautiful world huddled under a blanket. The room came with champagne and a jacuzzi (and a kitchen..didn't need that).
The rain finally stopped this morning right when we were going to leave. I did have time to feed the fish they keep in a pond. They were hungry. We drove through the Tunnel of Trees which are much prettier in the fall. I will be riding my bike through this in less than 2 months. The woods were filled with trillium and forget-me-nots. Very pretty. We ate at the Legs Inn. Unfortunately it was too early for their gardens to be at their full beauty.

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