The Passage That Leads to Petoskey

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”

-Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

I’ll never forget my first time reading Hemingway. It was Hills Like White Elephants in fifth grade, and I was far too young to fully understand the weight of such a story. Since then, in the years to come, my love for beautiful words flourished under the guidance of The Old Man and the Sea, The Sun Also Rises and A Moveable Feast. Though timidly I set out, immensely I expanded. From Hemingway to Steinbeck to Woolf to Plath; those beautiful words amassing into dazzling sentences. I was almost dizzy with inspiration as a child. And when the time came to tell the world of what I knew, so did the words. Effortlessly and euphorically, the great task of unifying text and emotion began. But I am certain I would not be the writer I am today if it were not for the writers that came before me. For just as John Waters said, “Read to make yourself smarter!

Wanting to revisit that youthful feeling of something new, and something very exciting, I began planning a mini-vacation to Petoskey, Michigan. After suffering from injury during WWI, Hemingway retired to the Little Traverse Bay region to both heal and write. I, too, imagined that I could draw some sort of literary motivation from the area as the Nobel Prize-winning writer so did. Thus Nick and I set out into the snow for a weekend along Walloon Lake and Petoskey.

Below I’ve listed a few points of interest in Emmet County that other visiting writers might find both interesting and educational. Until next time, readers! Travel safe during the remainder of these winter months. And when you do, remember what Hemingway said: “Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.

1.) The Boat Launch at Walloon Lake where Hadley Richardson and Ernest Hemingway rowed to the Hemingway cottage, just as Nick Adams did in his story, Wedding Day.

2.) Stafford’s Perry Hotel where Hemingway stayed after his camping and hiking expeditions. A picturesque hotel built the same year Ernest was born, their lobby is adorned with the town’s history. There is also an adjoining art gallery that Nick and I made a few worthy purchases at.

3.) City Park Grill (formerly The Annex) which had the best hot buttered rum I’ve ever tasted. I can see why Hemingway chose this location to drink! Not only was their food expertly made, but the elderly building was kept in beautiful condition.

4.) American Spoon on East Lake Street, which is the company’s birthplace. Whether I’m in Saugatuck or Traverse City, there has not been an American Spoon I’ve passed without stopping in. A big thank you to my mother for getting me hooked on their fruit butter as a child. Their granola and BBQ sauce is also delicious, as well!

5.) The Apple Tree Inn overlooking the bay. I can see why my boyfriend booked us a room here! Not only was the staff incredibly kind, but they had some of the best amenities we’d ever been offered at a hotel. Not only did each room have a Jacuzzi with bergamot bath salts and Bath and Body Works soaps, but they also offered a complimentary limo service in the evenings (which we took to Whitecaps Restaurant for drinks and dessert. Also a wonderful dining experience!).  I highly recommend lodging here if you are in the area. The view alone made the night worthwhile.

Want to learn more about Ernest Hemingway’s time in Northern Michigan? Click HERE to read The New York Times’ article “Up In Michigan” written by NYT correspondent, James Barron.

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