LOCATION: Petoskey, Michigan
CAMPGROUND: Petoskey KOA
WEATHER: Sunny. High 82
Today was a big day – to Beaver Island, to find America’s most remote brewery!
We got on the ferry in Charlevoix at 7:30 AM for a 2-hour ferry ride to the island.
Here is the Charlevoix harbor – view from the ferry
The drawbridge was down, and then they lifted it for us to go through the channel out to Lake Michigan.
The houses and condos along the channel are fabulous
After a calm ferry ride, we spotted Beaver Island – through the dense fog.
We strolled around the island and signed up for a historical tour. Some of the houses are cute – with nautical designs.
We had to check out this brewery that someone had told us about….just about the hardest to get to in the USA. Alas, they were out of beer and were not open.
We had a nice lunch in a deli, and then took the tour. Our guide, named Saemus, really looked the part of one of the original Irish refugees that settled here in the 1800s.
We were the only ones on the tour. Saemus is a college professor of history, so he made the tour super informative and interesting. A group of Irish farmers were kicked off their land (by Englishmen) in County Donegal. They had a very sad story, finally landing in Quebec. From there, a small group made their way to Beaver Island. Saemus has interviewed the 5th generation Irish. There are some common names here of the few original families. They have their fingers in a lot of different industries. We saw McDonough Market, McDonough Construction, McDonough Electricity, etc.
Then, the Mormons arrived and kicked the poor Irishmen off the island. One zealot proclaimed himself King of the Island, and leader of the Mormon Church. This is one of the original Mormon houses..
After several years of repression, a few Mormons rebelled and killed the King. The Irish returned. All the while, a small group of Native Americans survived both the Irish and Mormon settlers. They and some Irish fished the lake and at one time, caught more fish than any other place in North America. Now there is no fishing.
The tour was supposed to be 1.5 hours. Saemus didn’t have another tour, and we weren’t in any hurry, so it ended up being 3 hours. He and George made quite the pair – both chatting away the entire tour. At one point, Saemus talked about the lumber business. George mentioned that we had met Ivan (brother-in-law of a friend in Rochester) who is a forest management consultant. It turns out that Ivan and Saemus are great friends!
We took Saemus out for a drink at the Shamrock Bar and Grill after the tour. We (mostly Saemus and George) continued the craic (Irish word for chatting).
Our ferry left at 5:30 PM, and we said goodbye to the island.
We got home a bit late – about 8:00, had a quick dinner, and did some prep work for our trip tomorrow to Canada.
DINNER: Leftover tacos and the last of all of our fresh vegetables, as we cannot take them into Canada.