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Lake Blog

Traverse City Shopping

woodlancreekI am not a shopper! I see the mall and I begin to feel sick. But, as soon as I start heading the other way, my health returns. Well, it may not really be that bad, but you know what I am saying.

The other day I was in Traverse City for an appointment and I arrived well ahead of my scheduled time. As I was driving through the city, I passed a sign that stated, “You Have Just Passed the Most Unique Store in Michigan”. I noticed several carved bears of various sizes standing out in the cold snow and I was intrigued, so I wandered into the store.

In the store I found a fascinating assortment of quality rustic wood furniture and other unique Michigan items. Using a variety of woods and metals, talented artisans create furniture and accessories for every room in the house. There is a wide variety of styles and products and the quality of each item ensures that it will be around for many years to come. 

Woodland Creek Furniture Company is a haven for Northern Michigan treasures for the home, from the simple to the elegant and everything in between. Things you have not seen before and will not see anywhere else. This is a store where you may come in just to browse and leave with a new family heirloom. I went from trying to kill some time to putting making it a ‘must stop’ on my next trip through town.Located at 4290 US 31 North, Traverse City, right across from the Grand Traverse Bay, in the building that formerly housed the Traverse Bay Woolen Goods store. No, this is not an advertisement, we call it as we see it. Read our policy.

Written by Dave.

Traverse City State Park

traversecitystateparkTraverse City State Park is located on the south shore of beautiful Grand Traverse East Bay. There are over 1300 feet of white sand beach with excellent swimming and more than 340 total campsites. The park has more than 47 acres for your convenience and pleasure.

Modern restrooms and shower facilities are within the camping area, along with a sanitary sewer disposal site.  For your enjoyment, you will find playground equipment and a pet walk area. A manager is on the grounds during the summer months.

The pros of this Michigan State Park are the same as the cons. First you are close to everything Traverse City has to offer, shopping, sites and restaurants. You can walk to several of them as the State Park is right on US 31 North. In fact, it separates the waterfront from the camping sites. The road can be very busy at times, although there is an pedestrian overpass to get to the beach. The bad part is just the business of the area, the noise of the road traffic as well as the nearby airport can be distracting. As with all Michigan State parks, a fee is charged.  Reservations available, Contact Michigan State park Reservations at 1-800-44PARKS.

Written by Dave.

Grand Traverse Bay Jan 08

There is no other place like it in the state of Michigan. Grand Traverse Bay is a Michigan jewel. . This bay off Lake Michigan has 132 miles of shoreline fronting the four Michigan counties of Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Antrim and Charlevoix. Grand Traverse Bay is actually made up of two different bays, the East Grand Traverse Bay and the West Grand Traverse Bay, divided by Old Mission Peninsula.

The West Bay, the larger of the two, begins at the Grand Traverse Lighthouse , and continues south down M22 thru the picturesque Michigan lakefront towns of Northport, Omena, Suttons Bay and into Traverse City with its marinas, parks, beaches, hotels and condos.

The East Bay offers a more residential feel with the private lakefront residences. The city of Acme, located on southern tip of the East Bay, is developing their waterfront into a relaxed park. Elk Rapids located on the northern lakeshore of the bay is a very popular destination with it’s proximately to Elk Lake and Torch Lake.

The two bays are separated by the beautiful Old Mission Peninsula. The seventeen mile strip of narrow land is home to several Michigan vineyards. Following M37 north offers many outstanding water views, crowned at the northern tip by Old Mission Point and the Old Mission Lighthouse .

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Written by Dave.

Boating Reminders

boatingrulesHere is a reminder of some of the boating rules when using one of Michigan’s lakes.

  1. All motor boats operating after sunset and prior to sunrise must have a green/red combination light on the front (bow) and a white light on the rear (stern).
  2. All watercraft are required by law to operate counterclockwise around the lake.
  3. All watercraft pulling a skier, tuber, toboggan, etc., are required to have on board an observer and a 170” mirror.
  4. Please do not drive under the influence of alcohol. It is against the law and is dangerous.
  5. All watercraft must observe the “slow no-wake” rule within 100 feet of swim areas, swimming or diving docks, launching ramps, anchored or drifting boats and diver flags.
  6. All motorized boats, sailboats twelve feet or longer, and rowboats over sixteen feet must be registered.
  7. All watercraft must have on board a Coast Guard approved personal floatation device (pfd) in good serviceable condition for each person on board. Watercraft under sixteen feet must have one type l,11,111,or lV for each person, Boats over sixteen feet must have one wearable type l,ll or lll for each person and have at least one throw able type lV.
  8. All passengers must be seated in a seat. No riding on the deck or the gunnels

Written by Dave.

Newaygo michigan

Newaygo, Michigan is located at the intersection of M37 and M82, 12 miles West off exit #118 of us 131, 37 miles North of Grand Rapids and 10 miles South of White Cloud. 

Like many other Michigan towns, Newaygo got it’s start in Michigan’s lumber boom. With the surrounding forests and easy access to the Muskegon River for floating the logs down river, Newaygo was the ideal location for the lumber industry.

Today, Newaygo is the starting point for many travelers who head north to enjoy the Michigan lakes, rivers and streams. Everything travelers need before beginning their journey can be found in Newaygo. All the fast food stops, many unique sporting shops and interesting restaurants are conveniently located and parking is plentiful.

Newaygo is a favorite spot for fishing, rafting and tubing on the Muskegon River. Two nice parks worthy of mention: Riverside Park, a city park with plenty of picnic tables, grills and trails with lots of frontage on the Muskegon River. The park is located just off Main Street, in the downtown area. Just up river and across the M37 bridge is Henny County Park, a larger park with even more Muskegon River frontage to explore.

Many wonderful Michigan lakes are located within ten miles of Newaygo; Hess Lake, Brooks Lake, Pickeral Lake, Kimbal Lake, Long Lake, Sylvan Lake, Emerald Lake, Bills Lake and Pettit Lake. Newaygo definitely earns our “Waterland’s Naturally Cool Area” award.

Newaygo is experiencing growth as people discover a life that has many of the conveniences of the city, but never being far from the Michigan woods, lakes and rivers.

If hunger pangs hit you while in Newaygo, there are two great options. On 88th Street you will find Smuggler’s Cove. This restaurant is located directly on Hess Lake and will be sure to please with it’s relaxing view and great food. If you are in the mood for good home cooking, City Limits is the place to stop. I always get one of the daily specials and am never disappointed. They are located right next door to the McDonalds on M37.

 

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Written by Dave.

Manistee National Forest

The Manistee National Forest extends over several Michigan counties: Lake, Manistee, Mason, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana and Wexford. The majority of Newaygo County also lies within its district.

There is something for everyone including hiking trails (48 miles) and camping, horseback trails (35 miles) and ski trails, snowmobile trails (50 miles) and ATV trails (19 miles).

Within Newaygo County, the forest offers two developed campgrounds. Nichols Lake and Benton Lake campgrounds are less busy than a private campground or a state campground. These campgrounds are designed for those who really like to rough it, as electric and sewage hookups are not available.

You may chose to use the campsites on one of Michigan’s small lakes within the forest: Brush Lake, Condon Lake, Hungerford Lake, Sawkaw or Shelly lake. These sites are more rustic but generally have drinking water, garbage disposal and restrooms.

As with most attractions, there are fees involved: $3.00 for one day, $5.00 for up to seven days or $20.00 for the season. You can get more information by writing: District Ranger, 650 N Michigan, Baldwin Mi., 49304 or by calling 1-231-745-4631

manisteenationalforest

Written by Dave.

Hardy Dam

Hardy Dam, located in central Newaygo County, is one of those special Michigan places.

Located on the Muskegon River, Hardy Dam was completed in 1931. The Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture of the powerhouse and the intake tower is outstanding. The dam is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.The Hardy Dam backwater boasts of 4000 acres of surface water and fifty miles of shoreline. The backwaters are reported to be one of Michigan’s largest lakes, if not the largest and the dam is one of the largest earthen dams in the county.  Five waterfront parks/campgrounds with a total of over 2000 campsites are located on the waterfront, along with boat launches and a marina. The parks located on the backwater of the Hardy Dam are; Newaygo County Sandy Beach Park, Big Prairie Township Ox Bow Park and Big Bend Park, Newaygo State Park and Mecosta County Brower Park.

A three mile nature trail runs parallel to the Muskegon River. Along the trail are twenty-six different types of trees each with a plaque identifying it’s species. The trail is is home to wild turkeys, grouse, deer, beaver, mink and otter, and you may even be fortunate enough to catch sight of one of the resident bald eagles. The trail was constructed with the involvement and support of the Boy Scouts of America.Much of the Muskegon River front behind the dam is owned by consumers Power Company and has been left in it’s natural state.

On the west side of the dam is the Hardy Dam Marina. This is a small marina located on an inlet off the pond with 37 slips all occupied by house boats. Talk about lifestyle! A boat launch as well as restrooms are available.

On the east side of the dam, Consumers Power operates the Operator’s Village Park. At the time of the construction of the dam, Consumers Power purchased four homes from the Sears & Roebuck company and built them for the operators of the dam to live in. The power plant required skilled operators to be on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This allowed staff to rotate shifts and to have help close by for special maintenance projects. The homes were disassembled in the 1960’s when the area became more populated and the equipment was updated. The area is now a popular place for picnickers.

One thing everyone should do at least once while in the area, is to drive across the dam. The view is magnificent in every direction!hardymarina

 

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Written by Dave.

Croton Pond

I Love the Croton Pond.

Croton Pond is hardly a pond. Webster defines a pond as “a body of water usually smaller than a lake”. Webster also defines a pond as “an artificially confined body of water”. The body of water behind a dam is termed a pond, but many would consider it a lake. Croton Pond is actually the backwaters of the historic Croton Dam, where the Little Muskegon flows into the mighty Muskegon River

Croton Dam was built in 1907, down river from the nearby Hardy Dam built in 1931. Hardy Dam, another Michigan Historical site, is one of the largest earthen dams in the United States.

Along the miles and miles of waterfront, you will see many seasonal homes as well as many year round homes. You can find everything from a forty year old mobile home to high end year round home, all enjoying the Muskegon River frontage. Many good values can be found on the pond. It is easy to get to , just a few miles off exit # 118 on US 131.

The 1300 plus acres of surface water provides opportunities from fishing to jet skis, pontoons to swimming. There is truly something for everyone. Fishermen report salmon, steelhead, rainbow trout, brown trout, walleye, bass, perch and other pan fish to be plentiful in this body of water.

Croton is a small resort community and is home to a number of retirees as well as waterfront homeowners, both seasonal and year round. Croton is home to a bank, grocery, a number of resorts and mom and pop restaurants. The best restaurant, in our opinion, is the Red Anchor Inn right on Croton Drive. Whether it’s lunch or dinner, the meals are never disappointing. Be sure to ask about the special of the day!

Above the dam on the west side, you can find a boat launch, parking, restrooms and a boat dock maintained by Consumers Power.

Below the dam, the cold water released by the dam is ideal for and is a favorite strathe of water for fishermen.

Access to the Muskegon below the dam is the Croton Dam Township Park and boat launch.

In the past I have written about some of the properties owned by Consumers Power Company and I have often been critical of the upkeep of their grounds. Not so for the Rogers Dam, Hardy Dam and the Croton Dam along the Muskegon River all operated by Consumers Power. I have found that these properties are attractive and well maintained.

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Written by Dave.

A Friendly Livery!

Livery: Webster’s online dictionary defines livery as: a concern offering vehicles (as boats) for rent.” One interesting livery is located on Water Street, just off M37 in downtown Newaygo.

At a recent visit by Waterland Living to Wisner’s Canoes on the Mighty Muskegon, we discovered that this family business of 39 nine years had humble beginnings as a pickle shack. Today we consider it to be one of Newaygo County’s coolest places.

When you approach the livery, you are greeted by a kaleidoscope of colors everywhere you look. Colorful inner tubes are on the roof, mountains of yellow tubes on the side of the building, trailers of brightly colored kayaks and yes, the canoes. Racks and racks of red and blue life jackets add to the festive atmosphere. Buses painted in bright colors are waiting to make their next run. We are sure all the school buses in Newaygo County hope this is where they get to go when they retire! All the colors and different shapes and lines are a photographers delight.

Upon entering the office, we were quickly and warmly welcomed by Rachel, a member of the Wisner family. It was evident to us that Rachel loves watching people from all areas and walks of life enjoying their trip down the river. “I just love my work”, Rachel told us. She really did not have to tell us that, it was very evident. Her enthusiasm is contagious and by the time we left we were wishing we had a job just like hers! Everyone at Wisner’s wants you to have a wonderful trip down the river.

You have several options to chose from to travel down the river; canoes, kayaks, rafts, tubes or fishing boats. You also have a choice of a 2 hour or 4 hour trip. They will bring you up river and you can drift down. And, they assure me that no one has ever been lost.

As large blocks of the Muskegon River shoreline below the Croton Dam are undeveloped, there is plenty to see and enjoy as you make your way down the river. Fishing in the spring and fall is very popular and colors along the riverfront are spectacular in October.

Wisner’s is open 12 months of the year. I am not sure it is for me, but for those of you that love our Michigan winters, a trip down the river in late December or January might be just what you are looking for.

 Special attention is given to small groups, church groups and families, so be sure to give Wisner’s a call when planning your next event.

Having loved the Muskegon River area for many years, and also as property owners, we have three requests for you as you float down the river: Please do not leave your trash in the river or on the shoreline, canoe wisely and have fun!

Check them out on the Web!

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muskegoncanoe


Written by Dave.

First day of fall

I can’t believe it.

Today is the first day of fall. Where does time go?

It seems just like yesterday I was out admiring the daffodils and hyacinths, the first flowers that bloomed in our garden this spring. And now I am seeing signs of fall colors in some of the trees.

I took this picture last fall overlooking the Muskegon River valley. It remains one of my favorites.

michiganfall

Written by Dave.

Hardy Pond

hardypond

Michigan’s Hardy Pond is one of my favorite places. The other day as I drove across the Hardy Dam, the water was lower than normal. My eye caught the point by the marina and it reminded me of being in the U.P. somewhere.

Written by Dave.