August 14-15, 2012
When we left Beaver Island, Marc’s Ark headed for Charlevoix, but we decided to stop first at Harbor Springs. We had visited there last year when we were boat-shopping and talked about what a pretty town it would be to visit on the Loop. Now that we were actually doing the Loop, we wanted to make the stop there.
It was a fairly rough three-hour crossing from Beaver Island (3-4 foot waves on the starboard beam), and we were happy to arrive in the calm waters of Little Traverse Bay. As we were pulling into Harbor Springs, we called the harbormaster at the city marina for docking instructions. As he directed us in, he told us that we would be docked across from a sister ship, another Sabreline called Traveler. That was pretty funny, because Traveler was the boat we had come to look at last year, and in fact made an offer on. She is very similar our boat, but a couple of years older and 4 feet longer. Craig was happy when they declined our offer, because he really preferred the smaller size that we eventually bought. (It has turned out he was right about that, by the way.) But I don’t think either of us ever expected to see Traveler again, let alone dock right next to her!
We had a nice conversation with Traveler’s owners, the same people who owned her when we made our offer. We had never met last year, and we didn’t tell them that we were the people who had made the offer the prior year, so they had no idea that we knew their boat very well. Apparently Traveler is still for sale, and she is still a beautiful boat, but after seeing her again, we know we are happier with Blue Heron.
We spent some time cleaning the boat and after lunch walked into town and browsed the shops. Craig found a nice wine store and replenished our stock that had been pretty well depleted in Canada.
That evening we had dinner at the restaurant at the pier, and after dinner we brought our Canada lawn chairs and the dogs to the park next to the marina to enjoy a concert by the local community band. It was a very pleasant evening. I don’t know who these people were, but Joey and Bailey made friends with them.
The next morning we set off for Charlevoix. Last year, long before we left on our trip, friends from home, Nancy and Pat DeCastro, invited us to visit them at their summer home on Lake Charlevoix. They even offered us a boat slip! We were grateful to accept their kind invitation.
Coming into the Charlevoix harbor, you have to pass through a lift-bridge that opens only on the hour and half-hour. We just made the 1:00 p.m. bridge, and entered Round Lake, the small lake that opens into the much larger Lake Charlevoix.
There are several whimsical homes on Round Lake, many with fabulous flower gardens.
As we were about to enter Lake Charlevoix, we passed Loopers Ralph and Celeste (and their dog) from Say Good-bye, taking a dinghy ride.
Nancy and Pat have a lovely home right on the lake, and they were wonderfully gracious hosts. In the afternoon, they took us to their club at Bay Harbor, a world-class resort community created on the site of a huge old limestone quarry. It took a really creative vision to convert this former industrial site to such a gorgeous community. Nancy and I indulged in a yummy ice cream drink!
Back at their house, we enjoyed a delicious salmon dinner on the porch with Nancy’s sister and nephews and Nancy and Pat’s daughter and granddaughter (the amazing Lily!). After dinner Nancy and the boys took us on a ride in their four-wheel drive “Mule” through the woods. It was great fun, and we saw several deer.
Kyle and Evan were dying to see the boat, so after our Mule ride, we gave them a tour of Blue Heron. They decided they would like to skip the start of school the following week and come looping with us instead. We would have loved it – these boys are great helpers and would have been terrific guests to have on board!
The next morning after breakfast, (including orange juice fresh-squeezed by Evan – I’m telling you, they would be great boat-boys!), everyone came down to the boat to cast us off. Craig gave Pat a tour of the boat before we left. Bailey the drama queen made one last attempt to persuade Nancy to save her from the live-aboard life, and almost succeeded. We had a wonderful visit and can’t thank the De Castro family enough for their welcoming hospitality!
Next, Frankfort, Michigan: Friends on board for the worst night ever!
(Real time update: On September 10, we are in Green Turtle Bay marina on Lake Barkley, KY, a beautiful and relaxing place to be, especially after several days on the big rivers. We plan to stay here at least a week.)