BookNerd Adventure: Stalking Hemingway (Petoskey & Walloon Lake, MI)
While I’m not Ernest Hemingway’s biggest fan, I give the man props for being a fascinating figure as well as for his notable contributions to the world of literature. “The Nick Adams Stories,” which are pulled from his younger years in the Northern Michigan area, are my favorites. So when it was decided that my husband and I would head up to Northern Michigan for a week for our summer vacation (since I grew up there, and my family still lives in the area) I knew I’d be taking the opportunity to do a little Hemingway stalking. With a little help from Google, Tripadvisor, and the Michigan Hemingway Society, I tracked down a day trip’s worth of haunts to journey to. Assisted by my wonderful husband, we took off in our rental car across the state.
(To those who think this sounds really boring, please note: We’re history-people, and love museums. One of my favorite parts of our Honeymoon in Hawaii last year was the tour of I’olani Palace, seriously.)
Stop #1 – The Little Traverse Historical Museum (Petoskey, MI)
This adorable little museum sits right on the gorgeous Grand Traverse Bay, and admission is only $2. Once inside, you see a collection of area-related relics – but the Hemingway items jump out as the most prominent. Much of Hemingway’s ties to the area are from his younger years, so the collection on hand is largely child-and-young-adulthood centric, but it gives a great deal of insight into the nature-dude part of the persona Mr. Hemingway would cultivate.
Stop #2: Jesperson’s Restaurant & Pie Shoppe (Petoskey, MI)
Now, I think I read something wrong in my research — I thought that Jesperson’s was a place Hemingway used to go and get plastered. (The man drank, it’s a fact.) Well, seeing as how the menu at Jesperson’s in downtown Petoskey doesn’t seem to feature any alcohol at all, I’m guessing some facts got jumbled. That said, the restaurant has been in operation (and family-owned) for 108 years, and it’s said to Mr. Hemingway’s favorite restaurant, so I consider it a win.
That, and the pie was awesome.
Stop #3: Mclean & Eakin Bookstore (Petoskey, MI)
I’m always a fan of a good independent bookstore – and Petoskey has an absolute gem in Mclean & Eakin. This two-story shop is packed with good reads, and a staff of friendly folks who are obviously readers. On the day we arrived, they had an author signing books in the kids section and a full summer schedule of author signings and events lined up.
Stop #4: Melrose Township Park (Walloon Lake, MI)
Not everybody gets a postage stamp AND a historical marker. Then again, not everyone was Ernest Hemingway. In Melrose Township Park in the small town of Walloon Lake, Michigan, there stands a historical marker dedicated to the writer’s time in this lovely area. The summer home of the Hemingway family – Windermere – sits on the shore of the lake, and Nick Adams rows his new bride across the lake after they’re married.
Walloon Lake is very pretty, and located only about fifteen minutes from Petoskey, so it’s an easy jaunt.
From there, we headed back to our cabin and continued our vacation in more traditional ways – BBQ, boating, sleeping late, you know…. But I’ll never forget the day my husband and I spent tracking down a legend.
Along my adventure, I picked up a copy of “The Torrents of Spring,” which is a Petoskey-centric novella that Mr. Hemingway wrote. I’m looking forward to reading it and seeing some more of how he was able to capture the essence of the area in his trademark “simple” and direct style.
Happy BookNerding, everyone!