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May 24, 1996 - Image 149

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-05-24

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Charlevoix Charm


Many metro Detroit
families know
Charlevoix means
summer fun.


o legions of metro De-
troiters, summertime
spells Charlevoix. Fam-
ilies pile the kids in
vans and head up 1-75 to settle in
to a little slice of heaven. Where
are skies bluer, birch trees whiter,
petunias prettier, the saltless seas
more refreshing than in
Hundreds of summer residents
open their second homes. Oth-
ers rent cottages or condos.
Mariners sail their boats up Lake
Huron, through the Straits of
Mackinac and down Lake Michi-
gan to dock in Round Lake.
Out come the bicycles, golf
clubs, fishing gear, tennis rac-
quets, rafts, riding boots,
rollerblades, surfboards, even the
old croquet mallets. It's time for
some serious fun. Isn't this what
living in Michigan is all about?
Since 1873, when the Grand
Rapids & Indiana Railroad pas-
senger train arrived in Petoskey,
generations of Michiganians —
and refugees from the muggy
heat of neighboring states like In-
diana, Ohio and Illinois — have
made the Little Traverse Bay area
their summer haven. In recent
years, the rest of the country

seems to be catching on.
As Jacqueline Merta, execu-
tive director of the Charlevoix
Chamber of Commerce, reports,
"Last summer, licenses from
every state in the Union, includ-
ing Alaska, were spotted driving
down Bridge Street."
The Michigan Travel Bureau
is currently conducting a survey
to gather more accurate figures
on the fact that more people
seem to be vacationing in Michi-
gan, particularly in the Grand and
Little Traverse Bay areas.
There are mixed emotions on
this trend from longtime
Charlevoix summer residents.
"We don't need the rest of the
country to know about this
place," said one Dixon Street
homeowner. Another Dixon
Street neighbor, Paul Hack of
West Bloomfield and Charlevoix,
disagrees. "I think it's a positive
for the economy of the area. It
will enable all the facilities we use
to do well. And certainly the area
is big enough to support growth."
The new Bay Harbor resort lo-
cated on five miles of Lake Michi-
gan beachfront just south of
Petoskey on U.S. 31 is a major
reason the summer population is

Top: The view of Round Lake is serene
and beautiful.

Above: (From top to bottom) Burt
Farbman, Andy Farbman, Suzy
Farbman, Ron Kagan, Allison Kagan
and Sarah Kagan on a Charlevoix

expected to increase. Charlevoix
residents anticipate a not-so-pleas-
ant spillover on Bridge Street
(U.S. 31), the main street in
During the summer, the town
bridge rises every half hour to al-
low-boats to pass between Lake

Michigan and Lake Charlevoix.
The backup traffic already caus-
es short tempers and tardy par-
ty guests. No one can predict
how much more of a delay the
Bay Harbor development will cre-
David Johnson of Bloomfield
Hills and his partner, William Mc-
Comic Jr., chairman and CEO of
CMS Energy, are developers of
the Bay Harbor project. Johnson,
whose father-in-law is Maurice
Cohen of Forbes Cohen, has al-
ready pronounced the project a
"Of the 800 home sites, we've

already sold 320," says Johnson.
"We're just working to keep up
with the response." And no, he
has no knowledge that Madon-
na is one of the prospective
homeowners, as has been re-
ported by the media.
Most of the buyers are from
southeastern Michigan, but some
are from as far away as Florida,
Texas and Germany, reports John-
son. Besides private homes, Bay
Harbor's master plan includes
condominiums, an inn, golf
course, tennis courts and 600-slip
harbor. The architectural style is
based on the wood-framed Michi-
gan Victorian homes built in the
area around the turn of the cen-
It is just this nostalgic feeling
of a bygone era which vacation-


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