August 28, 2008
You can't really miss the entrance to the Cheybogan County Marina. There's a large Coast Guard cutter right across from it. At first we thought it was the same ship that tried to stop us from leaving the harbor in Traverse City, so we quickly ducked into the marina.
The Cheboygan River is pretty busy as it is the entrance to the Inland Waterway, a stretch of water that runs the width of Michigan from Cheboygan to nearly Petoskey.
There's a fixed bridge along the way that has a clearance of about 15 feet. Meridian is too tall.
But Cheboygan has a number of things to enjoy besides the Inland Waterway. During the summer, they have weekly concerts at Washington Park. We were able to see the last concert of the year. A performer named Billy Jewell. He has a CD out with mostly originals. He most notably covers "Sylvia's Mother" on the CD. (A song of the type that will always get stuck in your head as soon as you hear the phrase "And the operator says 40 cents more. For the next (pause) three (pause) minutes PLEASE!") Aside from that, he's a good performer and the kids were all dancing in front of the stage. The crowd must have been very familiar with the show he and his partner do. They kept requesting the song "Picture" (the Kid Rock-Sheryl Crow duet). He and his male bongo playing partner do the song -- with the bongo player singing Sheryl Crow's part in a rather high voice. It was fun to see. (OK - so maybe it loses something in the re-telling but LIVE, it's entertaining.)
The Big Dipper is the local hand-dipped ice cream parlor. We're now back in the land of House of Flavors Ice Cream. The Big Dipper has a large wooden carved ice cream cone outside complete with a cherry on top.
Downtown Cheboygan seems to be losing some downtown businesses. A number of empty store fronts were on the main street. Don't let that stop you from visiting (shopping isn't everything.) There are a lot of restaurants and watering holes to visit. We ate at Libby's. A fairly new restaurant on Main Street that has good food and an amazing selection of pies. They boast the availability of 75 combinations for orders. The day we were there, they had options like Cherry-Blueberry, Blackberry, Peach, Blueberry, Peach-Strawberry, etc. And a choice of crusts are available to (standard or an oatmeal struedel style). They also do cooking classes. It's good to see a business like that!
It's also a stop on the new Gaylord-Mackinaw Trail. A multi-use (bikers, runners, walkers, horseback riders) trail that is packed limestone. It's a rail trail so pretty flat and a good way to work off the pie and ice cream. (We actually road back to Cheboygan from Mackinaw which we'll talk about in the next blog.)
And they are very artistically oriented, too. Ottawa Park, one of the two downtown parks, had displays of classic artwork done with a local twist.
(Probably due to the lines for the buses to go back over the bridge)
On Friday we headed out of the marina and channel to go to Mackinaw City. Two Blue Herons provided an escort for us.