Sunday, September 2, 2007

Harbor Springs, Michigan

The trip from Beaver Island to Harbor Springs was fairly uneventful. It was another one of those silver water days and wavy until we got well inside Little Traverse Bay. We had been planning to go to Petoskey but we had a following sea and Meridian, like most of us, doesn't like to be pushed along, so she's a little more work in those conditions. But she does take the opportunity to enjoy herself by surfing the waves now and then. (Allowing us to go faster yet save gas!) Anyway, since Petoskey is only a short bike ride away, so we could easily visit, we decided to get a slip in Harbor Springs Municipal Marina, a very well-run marina with an attentive staff and good "welcome" information. We were again slotted next to another ChrisCraft. This one was another 41 footer just like ours. I'm sure it was just a coincidence!

Bernie had found information about another winery in the area that she wanted to visit. Phil now realized that "visiting a winery" also means "tasting wines". So he was all for this. Pleasantview Winery is located about 5 miles from Harbor Springs. We biked over there and it quickly became our favorite winery visit so far. The main reason is that it is a small, owner-operated business and the vintner is the one that led the wine tasting. He gave us great information about the grapes, where they come from, the blend, what foods it would go with, and a general overview of how long the process of growing grapes to produce wines really is. Everything. Oh - and he's lived aboard a sailboat as well. Most of the grapes are grown on their property (some come from Canada) and they have a blend that was created from wild Michigan grapes and jellyfish DNA (those wild and crazy scientists). They also offered to deliver our purchases to the marina (really we didn't purchase THAT much -- but they do internet sales so ... ). They also run a bed and breakfast, which is all on the same property.

The property, by the way, is at the top of the steepest hill we've ever encountered. I didn't even try to ride up the hill (I know - I've got 24 gears I should use 'em). Phil attempted, but his front tire kept lifting off the surface. So once again, we ended up pushing the bikes. But this time it wasn't through sand -- it was up a hill.

Our bike trip to Petoskey over the Little Traverse Wheelway did not require us to push our bikes (for a change). We had ridden the Little Traverse Wheelway from Charlevoix to Bay Harbor earlier in the trip and encountered some steep hills. The segment from Harbor Springs to Petoskey is flat and goes through forest/lake area. In part of this area we were lucky enough to see a bald eagle. This isn't the clearest picture -- but we couldn't get too close.

Anyway, among other reasons for the visit to Petoskey, there was a Farmer's Market going on. We got blueberries, blackberries, peaches, plums, tomatoes, carrots, salad mix, green beans, maple syrup, garlic dill pickles, some asiago bread and some cherry strudel bites. Yum!

We really liked Petoskey. Its section of the bayfront is very well-landscaped -- with ponds, waterfalls, wooden walkways, large trees, flowers. It is very pedestrian and biker friendly and reminded us of how Chicago's lakefront is very much public-oriented. The Marina at Petoskey is nice as well (we had to check it out for our next trip!). It has high docks and the facilities look nice as well. It's right off the bike path and near the downtown area, too.

Harbor Springs, Charlevoix and Petoskey are part of the Little Traverse Bay resort mecca. The houses are huge Victorian style "Summer Homes" that get passed down from generation to generation. Most people came to this area to "get away from it all" and escape hay fever season. The air - and the water - are incredibly clear in this area. The Little Traverse History Museum that we stopped at had much information about the "resort life", the ships and trains that brought the people here. Tourism really is their business and seems to always have been.

During our visit, we were able to check off two additional light houses: the Little Traverse Light (right) and the Petoskey Light (left).

Oh - Harbor Springs has a good ice cream shop (Yummies), with close to 50 flavors to pick from; a Woolly Bugger Coffee and Internet Cafe (Bernie's daily fix of Lake Effect), nautical antique shops and quite a few art galleries and clothes shops. They also have a very good bike shop. On the way back from Petoskey, Phil noticed that his bicycle tire was losing air rather quickly. Turns out that the tire had a cut in it - probably from all the rough riding we'd been doing. We went over to Touring Gear, which is actually off the main street, and they helped us out with everything we needed. Their staff is really knowledgeable as well. Although we didn't get over to it this trip, there is a very nice bike route past Harbor Springs on M-119 called Tunnel of Trees that we want to see on our next visit. The grocery store is, as our Port O' Call Cruising Guide lamented, a good walk out of town and up a hill but it isn't as steep as the hill by Pleasantview Winery - heck, had we been riding our bikes we could have done it using less than 5 different gears!

Now we're off to St. Ignace (actually, we're already there - in Lake Huron!). We'll write about St. Ignace and the Mackinac Straits next.

1 comment:

Jane said...

Hi there!
My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
I was looking for blogs about Petoskey to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
Hope to hear from you soon!