Sunday, July 24, 2011

Little Traverse Museum and Burger Boats

Near the Petoskey marina is the old railroad depot which used to be the main entry point into the Petoskey area. Interesting, years ago, some 20 trains a day stopped in this small town during the tourist season (mostly in the summer). Apparently, the number of folks coming to summer here back in the early 1900's were actually higher than they are now.

Over the years, highway travel took over and the trains no longer came and as a result, the depot was not needed. After a number of years sitting vacant, the depot was turned into the Little Traverse History Museum.

The museum is full of many interesting artifacts of the area, including this buggy that was used by the local doctor on his rounds. Rick thought it would be fun to ride in the buggy in the summer -- but, I will bet it would be pretty sporting to use it in the winter! Makes me appreciate our Buick with air conditioning and heat!

Orinda was interested in this reproduction of a Victorian room that was typical in the early 1900's. According to the information on the display, these rooms were very popular in this area 100 years ago. These rooms were definitely not "living rooms", but rather very formal reception rooms that were designed to greet folks.

Today, bicycling is very popular in the area with the great cycling trails that pervade the town. However, we learned that cycling was very popular over 120 years ago as well! Back then, bikes were very different from our models today. This is an 1881 Star cycle that was revolutionary in its design as it had the large wheel in the back and the small wheel in the front. This allowed high speeds, but was safer since it was more stable. Notice that there is no chain driving the wheel; rather, the pedals were connected by leather straps to the rear wheel and could be pushed down individually or, for a burst of speed, both could be pushed together.

We did not know that Petoskey could also claim that Ernest Hemingway spent time in this area as a boy. Apparently he really loved this rustic environment and used it in stories in the future.

We also learned that Petoskey was one of the major Passenger Pigeon hunting areas. In 1878, this was the site of perhaps the last large nesting areas that was found. The museum reported that some 50,000 pigeons were harvested a day -- every day for several months! Unfortunately, such hunting practices and loss of habitat spelled doom for the bird and just 20 years later, this was one of the few left before they became extinct.

Rick also heard that some large yachts might show up in the Bay Harbor area. Indeed, these Burger Yachts were supposed to drop by the member's only Yacht Club, but we though maybe we could get a glimpse from the main, public area at the Bay Harbor Marina. Interestingly, it seemed that some of these "small boats" (under 50') had to make room for the biggies.

Sure enough, we saw some remarkable yachts. This tidy 85 footer was magnificent and we learned had recently been sold when the prior owner moved up to a 125' Burger.

We also saw this very nice sailboat that had just completed the Chicago to Mackinac race. This is the longest sail race in freshwater in the world and had over 350 sailboats with 3,500 crew members as entrants. Tragically, this year a severe thunderstorm hit the fleet late at night and caused a boat to capsize and two crew died. We were hit with the same storm as it came in from the lake and it really rocked the motorhome, but did no damage to us. Still, we would hate to have been on the water when that squall hit.

1 comment:

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Good museum tour. I doubt I could ride one of those style bikes:(

It must have been a really bad storm to roll that sailboat over.