Cabins & Cottages

The Daily Michigan: 2 Nights at Heart Lake Resort Cottages!

Today on The Daily Michigan we have a very special giveaway – a two night weekend or mid-week stay for two at Heart Lake Resort Cottages from now through May 15th, 2012!!

The giveaway is subject to availability and some restrictions apply, but you heard it right – one lucky winner will receive an instant vacation to an outdoor paradise near Gaylord! Heart Lake Resort offers seven furnished and well kept cottages that range in size from 2-6 people. They’re located just south of Gaylord, just a mile or so from the I-75 expressway and food and fuel.

In wintertime, they’re close to downhill skiing and you can cross-country ski or snowmobile right from your door! In warmer weather, there’s fishing and boating of all kinds on a very clean, all-sports lake. They offer free use of canoes, kayak and rowboat with all kinds of amenities including fishing dock, kids playset, swim raft and bonfires with wood provided.

There’s tons to do in the area as well including ORV Trails, 17+ golf courses, fall color and fantastic mushroom hunting in the spring. For reservations or more information, give them a call at 989-732-5081 or visit their website. You can also click the link to the left to Like them on Facebook and see photos in their Facebook gallery!

Click here to sign up

Earl Young’s Charlevoix Cottages

Charlevoix - Mushroom House by ktylerconk
Charlevoix – Mushroom House by ktylerconk

In the “things I found while looking at other things” category comes Quirky cottages in Charlevoix are winter delights from the Detroit Free Press.

Earl Young tourism is a Charlevoix specialty. The quirky builder erected 30 stone homes in town between 1918 and the 1950s, all so unusual they are often compared to works of art. Some look like mushroom houses, with undulating roofs capping boulder walls. Some are tiny. Some are enormous. Most have incredible detail — doorways of stone, window frames made of boulders, chimneys that look frosted by a giddy cake decorator. The early houses are arts and crafts or chalet style, but the later homes are rounded and organic, part Tolkien, part Keebler elf.

More about Earl Young’s cottages at the Freep including a number of Earl Young houses that are available as vacation rentals including Charlevoix’s fixture The Weathervane. View more Earl Young House photos from the Charlevoix Historical Society, check out the Earl Young Guidebook and take a video tour of the Earl Young Hobbit Houses in Charlevoix with MyNorth.

Postcard: Weathervane Terrrace Inn & Suites, Charlevoix, MIchigan by fantomaster
Postcard: Weathervane Terrrace Inn & Suites,
Charlevoix, MIchigan by fantomaster

The best resource is the Earl Young Collection at the Charlevoix Library. With everything from the ad for Earl’s first development, Boulder Park and the opening of the Weathervane to an article on his book Charlevoix the Beautiful, there’s some great stuff to be explored! Let’s close with a bit from another  article from the Freep on Young, this one from July 29, 1973 that begins:

Stone houses seem to sprout as naturally as dandelions from the soil of this pleasant Lake Michigan resort community.

And they do because of an already legendary 84-year-old man named Earl A. Young, who built them all.

For more than half a century Young has combed lonesome fields and dusty quarries searching for the odds and ends of nature. He blends stones and timber with an architect’s skill and a geologist’s respect for his raw material, and so far he has fitted more than 40 local landscapes with his art.

“l have a very strong feeling for stone,” Young explained recently as he sat in his wood-paneled office on the lower level of one of his most flamboyant creations, the Weathervane Inn, a local restaurant.

“Stones have their own personalities. People say I’m crazy when I say so, but they really do. Why I found a stone that weighed 160 tons. It was formed 350 million years ago at the bottom of a warm sea and was carried here 10,000 years ago by glaciers.”

May is Travel Month

Oval Beach 2 by shqipo / Ledio

Anyone who has been following the news will know that with high gas prices, a lagging national economy and a still-depressed local economy, Michigan’s summer travel forecast isn’t the best.

We could advocate hiding in the backyard with a couple of cans of gas, nervously listening for Mel Gibson and gangs of gas-hungry Aussies, but that’s already been done. Instead, we at Absolute Michigan have opted to see what we can do to help encourage folks from in and out of Michigan to help fight depression, boredom and having to cut the grass this summer with a Michigan vacation.

We’ll feature stories, photos, videos and links of as much travel and touring in the Great Lakes State as we think you can stand. To win over some wallets, we’re also putting out a call for Michigan lodging, travel and related businesses & organizations to offer packages, giveaways or whatever through Absolute Michigan. If you have ideas, send us an email.

And as always, we’d love to hear your ideas about great Michigan getaways, day trips and places to experience in the comments!

Photo Friday: Flying twins by taterfalls

Flying twins by taterfalls

Be sure to look at it bigger.

Tate says that he’s pretty much an outdoor nut and from summer sun to ice and eagles to foxes from Muskegon to the UP, he delivers gorgeous photos that reveal Michigan’s beauty.

(he also has photos for sale at his online gallery)

Michigan History: Up North with the Hemingways

After entirely too long, we welcome back Michigan History Magazine!

Young Ernest Hemingway with fishSpending time “up north” in Michigan is one of summer’s special delights. The rituals are repeated year after year–making friends (and saying goodbye), enjoying beautiful water and longing all winter for the next summer.

A century ago, the Clarence and Grace Hemingway family summered in northern Michigan. They were in most ways an ordinary family for their time, but in one way they were unique. Their son, Ernest, became world famous, writing stories set in northern Michigan and winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. When he spent summers in Michigan, Ernest Hemingway was simply “Ernie,” a boy who loved getting away from home and spending time up north.

The Hemingways arrived in northern Michigan as the 1890s were coming to a close. Clarence Edmonds Hemingway, a successful doctor in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Illinois, bought an acre of land on Walloon Lake and built a cottage the family called Windemere.

Like most families in the area, the Hemingways’ cottage life revolved around the water. It was a source of food and entertainment and at this time of few roads, it connected the Hemingways (Clarence, his wife Grace and six children) to others on the lake and to the outside world.

Dr. Hemingway taught his children to swim and spent much time in the water with them. Under their father’s guidance, Ernest and his siblings developed boating and fishing skills. In one letter, Ernest proclaimed that Walloon Lake was “the best rainbow trout fishing in America.” Hunting and shooting were also a part of the summer experience. Dr. Hemingway was an excellent shot who knew the importance of safety and responsible hunting. Shooting skeet on the grassy hill behind the cottage soon became a Sunday afternoon family tradition.

Ernest’s experiences abruptly ended as he moved into his twenties. After serving with the Red Cross in Italy in 1918, Ernest returned home and spent the summers of 1919 and 1920 at Windemere. The following year, he and his new wife honeymooned on Walloon Lake. It was the last time Ernest ever stayed at Windemere or visited Michigan for any amount of time.

Today, Ernest Hemingway is remembered as a world-famous author – not a young boy tagging along on family vacations. But for the first two decades of his life, “Ernie” was simply a part of a regular family that called northern Michigan home for the summer.

For more on the Hemingways’ up north, especially some never-before-published family photos, pick up a copy of the September/October 2007 issue of Michigan History magazine. Visit or call toll free, (800) 366-3703.

Photo credit: Clarke Historical Library/Jim Sanford

Dig Michigan! In a recent fall color tour of the Walloon Lake area on Michigan in Pictures, we came across a whole lot of information on Hemingway & Windemere from the Hemingway Resource Center and also this cool PBS series on Hemingway.

Photo Friday: Woo hoo! by Ed Roth

Woo hoo! by Ed Roth

Ed says that this photo is from the official start of summer (well from last summer).   From his photos, it’s clear that Ed and his family have a great time at home and on vacation in Michigan.

Culinary tour of Grand Traverse County’s Old Mission

Check out Absolute Michigan keyword “Old Mission” for more web sites and articles about Old Mission.

A Vintage Year? by oddzen

Lake Magazine has a nice feature by Emily Bingham on Northern Michigan’s Old Mission Peninsula that focuses on the culinary attractions of this orchard and vineyard filled peninsula that divides the East and West Grand Traverse Bays of Lake Michigan. She notes that the Traverse City region has established itself as a destination for culinary connoisseurs with first-class restaurants, a renowned culinary arts institute, the annual Traverse Epicurean Classic and dozens of family-owned farms.

“May and June are the best times to come to the wineries out on the peninsula because it’s a quieter time,” says Ed O’Keefe, whose family owns winery Chateau Grand Traverse. “There are fewer tourists and many of the wineries have new releases ready.”

The weather is still mild, and the earth is fresh with promise – hills quilted with vineyards and blossoming cherry trees, fields made green with rows of young asparagus, and wild surprises such as edible violets, leeks and morel mushrooms sprouting up in the shadowy woodlands.

Old Mission Sunset by The Real Ferg

She maps a tasty tour that winds through Traverse City restaurants, the five Old Mission vineyards and the 2 day itinerary to which I’d only add a stop at the Old Mission Tavern (Bella Galleria) and the Boathouse Restaurant (you have to at least sample their great Old Mission links page) … and the Old Mission General Store for some old-timey hard candy and geegaws.

There’s a nice map at with links to all the businesses and also points of interest like the Mission Point Lighthouse.

Speaking of wine and culinary and Old Mission, check out Joey Randall’s Village Voice for some tasty recipes and Michigan wine pairings such as this Montrachet Spinach Linguine and Brys Estate Pinot Noir. Great photos too!

Michigan Tourism Strategic Plan unveiled

Michigan Tourism Strategic PlanThe Michigan Tourism Strategic Plan was unveiled Monday at the Driving Tourism 2007 conference by the Michigan Tourism Planning Council. Michigan’s tourism industry generates $17.5 billion dollars in annual revenue, 200,000 jobs and almost $1 billion in state tax revenue, and the architects of the plan have set the goal of growing Michigan to be one of the top five travel destinations in the nation.

On the organization side, the plan seeks to build the leadership, organizational structures and political alliances needed to push Michigan’s tourism industry to the top. It also talks about builing collaboration and communication systems.

From the perspective of the tourism “product,” it talks about providing the research and technical assistance to enable effective private and public sector investment in tourism and also the importance of paying attention to the customer’s experience.

You can get the Michigan Tourism Strategic Plan from

Also see Tourism plan: Spend more in the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Inaugural Cherry Capital Winter WonderFest

Cross Country Skiing at the Grand Traverse ResortOrganizers of the National Cherry Festival (which brings over a half million visitors to Traverse City each July) are teaming up with the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa to launch the Cherry Capital Winter WonderFest. The three day winter celebration will feature music, food, wine and winter sports takes place March 2-4, 2007.

The festival takes place in and around the Resort (just east of TC). In addition to an outdoor recreation center with skating, sledding, horse-drawn sleigh rides, snowshoeing and cross country skiing (and rentals & round-the-clock bonfire), visitors can enjoy the Traverse City Ice-Carving Expo and the Cherry Capital Wine-Pairing Dinner with wines from the area’s award-winning vineyards followed by a private concert featuring jazz flautist Alexander Zonjic. A highlight will be the Northern Lights Adventure Film Festival, a three-day showing of 20 independently-produced films from around the world exploring outdoor adventure, culture and the natural environment.

More information and packages available from the Grand Traverse Resort and the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau (1-800-TRAVERSE). You can also check out Absolute Michigan keyword “Traverse” for a ton more links!

Michigan Valentine’s Day – How Sweet it Is!

If you’re looking for something unique for your sweetie this year for Valentine’s Day, Dianna Stampfler of Promote Michigan has 14 gift ideas and activities to consider. As usual, we’d love it if you’d add any other suggestions in the comments!