Thursday, July 7, 2011

Petoskey stones and mushroom houses in Charlevoix

I was the Rock Girl when I was a kid.

Not rock 'n' roll. Rocks, the ones you find on the ground.

I loved them, collected them, bought them, searched for them... it was an endless fascination for me. I really shouldn't be saying that in the past tense, though, because it's essentially still true: when I visit a bead shop and comb through the options for making new jewelry for myself, it's the stones and gemstones that grab my attention. Sparkly? Nah. Clay? I'll pass. Give me the rocks!

I think I bought a little drawstring bag of polished stones on every family vacation we took. I found one trip especially cool when we visited Yellowstone: We found a store outside the park that had a promotion in the store that lured you to buy a bag of uncleaned stones, sort through them in their pan-for-gold-in-the-water setup, and have the chance to find raw semiprecious stones.

I still have that bag of rocks.

I no longer keep a box of ordinary (but each with an interesting feature, of course!) rocks under my bed, but I'm still drawn to beautiful rocks.

The Petoskey area of Michigan is famous for a particular fossil-stone that washes up along the shores of Lake Michigan. On our trip to Michigan last week, Mom and I planned a visit to Petoskey (about two hours north of Traverse City) and Charlevoix and included some time combing through the shores.

Unfortunately, the weather gods over Petoskey gave us a 55-degree day with rain, fog, and 20+ mph winds.

Call me a wimp, but those aren't exactly the conditions that make me want to stand barefoot in the water and look for rocks.

I was brave enough to get out and get some photos, though, and I did come home with a (small) bag of pretty, smooth bleached-white stones.

Thankfully, by the time we got to Charlevoix, the skies cleared and the temperature climbed above 60 degrees. It was a photo of Charlevoix in a Michigan travel magazine (a photo taken in the exact spot as the one below) that had convinced us to take this trip, so we were both looking forward to visiting the town and checking out the local shops.
We were honestly a little disappointed. The number of shops was relatively small, and it seemed as though there really wasn't much to see or do in Charlevoix unless you had a boat and wanted to just sit along the water's edge. (And believe me, there were some nice boats around town!)
Not many people were on the beach that day, though we did see some impressively hardy souls sunning themselves on their yachts or balconies. Mom and I, on the other hand, had our jackets and sweatshirts zipped up to our chins.

The part of the town we found most interesting were the Earl Young homes. Earl Young was an architect in the first half of the twentieth century who made his mark by designing stone houses that are fondly called "mushroom houses" or "fairy houses", or more recently, "Hobbit houses." We found a rough map online and walked around town to see some of these interesting homes.

Most of them have curved, sloping roofs with cedar-shake shingles and chimneys that appear to be topped with dripping icing. Some are tiny, some are huge, and I'd have loved to have a chance to see inside one! Here are four of the ones we found:

As interesting as it would be to live in one of these homes, I don't think I'd ever want to live in a house that enticed people to constantly walk or drive by and take pictures. I like space, peace, quiet and privacy a little too much.

What about you -- would you live in an architecturally interesting house that drew attention like this?

1 comment:

  1. Hi there!
    My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about Petoskey to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you soon!