Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mackinac City to Charlevoix

We wound up staying in Mackinac City four nights--the winds were just too strong and the waves too high for us to travel comfortably when we wanted to leave, so we waited for "calm seas". Lake Michigan can be very treacherous, and boaters need to err on the side of caution when traveling. In fact, all along the coast, approximately every 20 miles, Lake Michigan offers "Safe Harbors"--places specifically designated for stormy weather and marinas that cannot turn you away in the case of bad weather--even if it means rafting up--which we really like to do. This is a much appreciated service for all boaters and comforting too. So we didn't mind staying in Mackinac City another couple of nights--a touristy town (but not as bad as being in the rocky waters of the island) and we enjoyed the conveniences of having a car (Thanks Ron!). We were able to see the quaint town of Harbor Springs by car, traveling 20 miles through the tunnel of trees on a winding one-lane road, seeing the coastline from the opposite side of the water, and enjoying the locally famous "Bar Harbor" restaurant for lunch--where they make their own hamburgers and onion rings, and cook them anyway you like--yum! Color Louis happy!

Tuesday morning, August 19th, we left Mackinac City on a beautiful, calm morning and headed for Petoskey, Michigan--we'll be staying in ports along the eastern coast of Michigan all the way down to Chicago. After spending one night in Petoskey, we awoke to a calm morning. Time to get moving! So we fueled up and all 6 of us boats were ready to head to Charlevoix, Michigan--an easy run too. As we slowly traveled the shoreline, we saw the first--of many we hear to come--sand dunes!! Nice soft sand--yea! "Bella Luna" has had enough of rocks. As we approached the bridge leading into Charlevoix, the water turned crystal clear, aqua blue--so unexpected and beautiful. I looked for fish, because you can see so far down, but saw none--and I don't know why except that maybe the larger fish can see as clearly as I, and the little ones are hiding in the weeds!

Both Louis and I remember that his parents used to talk lovingly about Charlevoix--a lot. Neither of us can recollect when they were here or how often they came--and that's sad--we both wish we had paid better attention. But we can certainly understand their happiness for this place--it's so very beautiful and picturesque--we hope that they are looking down on us and smiling now that we're here. Louis even remarked that this was his favorite spot to date!

We're here with "Sunshine", "Ithaka", "Southern Comfort", "Wanderin' L & M", "C-Life", "Phantom of the Aqua", and this marina's resident Loopers, "Kismet". We've had two fun-filled days with these great people, enjoying breakfasts at "Judy's", where Judy's Mess and pancakes were a hit, lunch at the local Chinese (we all got our "fix") and Subway (color Bruce happy!), shopping at the great little boutiques, 4 Loopers getting haircuts, women doing laundry, enjoying having a nearby grocery (you can buy beer, wine, and liquor in the supermarkets and 7-Elevens!), shopping at the local Thursday morning farmer's market, having a Looper cocktail party in the wonderful newly decorated marina's lounge, enjoying ice-cream nightly, and celebrating Margie & Larry's 39th wedding anniversary--congratulations to them both! There was even a concert in the little clam-shelled pavilion right at the end of our dock on our first evening here! This is a special place indeed--no wonder it's so popular and hard to get a reservation here! We've loved it.

We hope this afternoon, when the rain subsides, to go see the "Mushroom Houses"--I don't want to miss them. If the rain continues, the girls may go to see "Mama Mia" which is close--two of us have already seen it, but will gladly go again! Tomorrow, Sunday the 24th, we sadly will leave this great town, but my seeing goldenrod blooming and leaves dropping makes us need to keep moving south. Every store front is full of fall and winter clothing--depressing!

As soon as we were "checked in", Louis put the dinghy in the water and off we went exploring. After touring this small lake filled with many boats, numerous huge boathouses, "Architectural Digest" homes and condos, we found a narrow and shallow "ditch" that took us in a horseshoe shape direction around the backside of the small lake where we're "marinered". Then, we went on to the very large and absolutely gorgeous Lake Charlevoix, a roundish immense lake, surrounded by large homes and beaches--and a mountain range in the far distance. It's one of the prettiest settings that we have ever seen! One beach in particular we liked--the one with all the little multicolored huts all lined up in a row--possibly owned or rented out for the summer. No one was on that particular beach, and it was a beautiful day, so we don't know exactly what it was--we can only surmise. But it's late summer here--August 20th--and the water is still so cold. We haven't seen but just a handful of people swimming at all during this entire trip, and I know why--65 degree water. Burr! We'll wait for warmer waters before we break out the bathing suits!

1 comment:

Nancy & Jimmy said...

Hi Diane & Louis, You will never believe this! Today in the "COURIOUS TIMES" supplement ther is an aritcle on the Great Loop! I read it and it made reference to a lot of things you have written about! How co-incidental! Still Hot and Dry here in Roxboro and at Hyco...We're in a Fall close-out show and looking forward to our family outing for Labor Day....after that , on to Vegas for a few days!!!! I plan to visit the spa and relax!!!!!! Thanks for the blog....Great writing..Think of you often.....Nancy