Road Trip to Charlevoix 8/9/2012

Getting either Ted or I off Mackinac (except to grocery shop or take Bear to the groomers) is much like pulling hen’s teeth (I think that’s a Southern expression).  But, since neither Ted nor Blake had explored any of the harbor towns within an hour’s drive of the Island, we jumped on the ferry Wednesday morning and pointed the truck south on Hwy. 31.

Charlevoix was our lunch destination – Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant to be exact.  Frankie and I ate there once, and I remembered the views and the food being more than excellent.  We drove past the Pellston airport and Petoskey on the way, then Bar Harbor.  Once in Petoskey, we were traveling pretty much on a by-the-water highway all the way to Charlevoix, passing several beautiful harbors and marinas.

We arrived at the restaurant around 12:30, and because we wanted to be on the outside deck, we had a 30-minute wait.  We left our name and walked under the draw bridge and along the water-side pathway.

The marina at Charlevoix is very busy. The car ferry to Beaver Island departed yesterday at 8:30 a.m. and would be returning before we finished lunch.  It’s about a 2 1/2 trip to Beaver Island from Charlevoix, and reservations ARE required to cross on that ferry.

The marina is located on Round Lake, and the narrow passage at the top of the pic leads into Lake Charlevoix, which is quite large.

The marina shore is lined with gorgeous homes and condos, many with very impressive landscaping – like this one. Those chairs sure did look inviting, but the “private property” sign on the iron fence stopped me from trying them out!

Boats enter a canal from Lake Michigan . . .

. . . pass by the outside deck of Stafford’s Restaurant . . .

. . . then pass under the drawbridge into the marina.

This is the car ferry returning from Beaver Island. The bridge goes up on the hour and half-hour, but only remains open a few minutes. While it is raised, cars are backed up on both sides of the bridge.

After lunch, which was just as good as I remembered, we walked beside the canal and onto the long dock jutting out into Lake Michigan.

The beach here is a mixture of coarse sand, pebbles and rock, all carved out thousands of years ago by glaciers.

The entrance into the canal from Lake Michigan is guarded by the Charlevoix South Pier Light, built in 1948 and now listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.

It was another beautiful day in northern Michigan . . .

. . . and Blake, who has traveled quite a lot in Asia, said the only other place he’d seen water this blue was in Thailand.

All three of us marveled, once again, at the sparkling clarity of Great Lakes waters.

We spent an hour or so downtown in Charlevoix, exploring the shops . . . but you know guys! They were anxious to move on to other things (I did do a little early birthday shopping for Blake though).

Hanging out with Blake.

We returned back to the Island the long way – taking the route that leads through Good Hart, Cross Village and the Tunnel of Trees.  Beautiful, beautiful ride!

It’s now Thursday evening, and we’ve just returned from dinner at the Carriage House Restaurant in the Iroquois Hotel – Blake’s pick for tonight.  He loves everything about the restaurant – the view, and especially the food!

Three very full, happy people!

The walkway to the Carriage House Restaurant – one of the most beautiful flower displays on the Island.

The sky, as we waited at the taxi stand, was turning all shades of pink, gray, and blue.

By the time we pulled into the Grand Hotel to drop off riders, the colors were beginning to fade . . .

. . . then – just as we made the turn-around at the end of the Grand porch – one last ray of sun illuminated the opening at the top of the stone gateway to the West Bluff.  Awesome night on the Island!

Blake and I will be leaving the Island after dinner on Friday night.  We’re going to drive over to Carp Lake and spend the night with a girlfriend who has a place there.  Blake has to catch the 6:30 a.m. flight out of Pellston on Saturday morning, and there are no ferries that early – so he has to get off the Island Friday evening.  I’ll get him to the airport Saturday morning, then take the first ferry back over so I can work at the Festival of the Horse activities.

I’ll get pics Friday and Saturday of the Festival and have them here for you on Monday – along with anything else that comes along!

Have a great weekend!  God bless.

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13 thoughts on “Road Trip to Charlevoix 8/9/2012

  1. Lovely picture of the three of you at the Carriage House! You all take good pictures, but this one is especially good of all of you – and we all know how hard that can be to capture!
    You went up 119 and didn’t stop at Leggs Inn?? I was expecting those photos for sure! The Staffords run a lovely restaurant in Harbor Springs called the Pier. Good food there, too, and a little closer. So glad you enjoyed your ‘northern Michigan away from the island’ trip.

    • We rode by Leggs Inn, Barb, but didn’t stop. By that time, we needed to get home to take care of Maddie and Bear. As it was, we didn’t get to the condo until almost 6:00, and even though Jill let them out the last time around 2, it was a long afternoon for them. What we do for our puppies!

  2. What a wonderful day! Michigan has so many “treasures” to explore! I love it here. But… I do have a special place in my heart for Mackinac Island. So beautiful there. Thank you for the “pic trip!:

  3. You make every place sound so inviting – will be heading to St. Ignace on August 19th for our annual northern Michigan fix; you just gave me a couple of good ideas for some day trips – in addition, of course, to one or two day trips over to the island. Thanks! Have a great weekend.

  4. Don’t you just love Charlevoix! It’s such a pretty little town. We are going to be spending a day there soon ourselves. 🙂 The waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix are so different. Lake Michigan can be super windy with high waves and then you go to the other side by Lake Charlevoix and the water is calm and warm. Crazy! Love your pictures and yup I totally agree with Barbara. That is a super picture of the three of you! I can’t believe it has already been 10 days since Blake got there. Have a safe trip home Blake!

    • Well, actually Hilde, it’s only been 7 days – he’s only here for a week, not 10 days. I guess I was “hoping” it was going to be 10!

  5. Bree….you struck a chord….I have watched your blog for some time – but never thought I would post……
    thanks for your images ….I spent summers on Lake Charlevoix with my Family, and Grandparents who live there….Christmas on Lake Charlevoix is a thing to behold.
    As kid (teenager) I spent summers working on Mackinac Island – horses and all …it was a great way to spend the summers in the days before I had a car….

    Those formative years in Northern Michigan are what created the work I do today. I am a sculptor of Sporting dogs and Horses. We spend our time traveling and presenting work – this coming week we head to Scotland to present work at a Sporting Estate and Castle..but we come home to Michigan and head north to relax from our travels.
    I have many collectors in Georgia as well, and spend time in Savanah and several hunting plantations through Georgia…..
    So without knowing each other we have a lot in common. I thank you for bringing back memories of my roots….Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix are in my blood….my thanks Mo

  6. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Charlevoix-last time was a family vacation to Beaver Island. It’s a beautiful little town, glad you all got to spend some time there and thanks for the photos!

  7. Beautiful pictures!! It is so nice that your son Blake gets to visit once again! I love your pictures and you do such a great job describing everything!!

  8. Carp Lake is where I spent vacation every summer growing up. My grandparents had a cottage there. Lots of memories are up there!

  9. We were ay Mackinac Island 8/5 to 8/10. I just found your blog a few weeks ago….would love to have met you. I talked to Jill at the bookstore and she said she watched your dogs for you 🙂 . Hope you enjoyed your sons visit. It must be wonderful to live at Mackinac Island all summer!

    • Evi – we are very blessed to live here all summer and in Georgia during the winter – best of both worlds! Sorry I missed meeting you!

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