I first heard of Bay View a decade ago, when my family was in northwestern Michigan to ski at Boyne Mountain. A National Historic Landmark neighborhood on the shores of Little Traverse Bay, Bay View began life in 1875 as a Methodist summer camp for revivals and spiritual renewal.
It soon morphed into one of the Chautauqua institutions popular at the time. These groups offered lectures, classes and programs aimed at intellectual, spiritual and cultural growth. Within two years, 20 small cottages dotted Bay View’s newly platted streets. By 1900, there were 400, ranging from simple structures to ornate Victorian mansions. A central campus boasted an auditorium, performance halls, library and more.
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To make a long story short, these cottages still exist, passed down through families over the decades. The neighborhood is crowded with people during the summer – both residents and those coming for the programs, which continue today. But the place empties once the temps cool. That’s because the Bay View Association bylaws stipulate that owners may only occupy their cottages from May to November. The historic Bay View and Terrace Inns are the only structures that may remain occupied.
Visiting Bay View in Winter
While residents have to skedaddle, visitors are welcome to walk, snowshoe or ski the silent, often snowy, streets. The only roads that are paved are the ones leading to the Terrace Inn. You can also look in the windows, locals say, although most are boarded up for the winter. No matter. It’s fun just to wander around the streets, as the neighborhood hearkens back to the days of yore, and are akin to a Norman Rockwell setting.
If you do head here, make sure to also explore Bay View Woods and its tangle of trails, which wind nearly three miles (5 km) through mixed hardwoods, marshland and a cedar-hemlock swamp. Another bonus: Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay is just down the hill. And this Great Lake is always beautiful in the winter, with the glittering ice formations along the shore. And as a hiker, I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that the North Country Trail winds right past Bay View, so it’s easy to do a little trekking, too.
Where to Stay
Overnight (and have dinner) at The Terrace Inn. Opened in 1911, the rambling, multi-story building features beautiful woodwork, lovable creaks and groans, and supposedly a few ghosts.
Harbor View, Petoskey and Bay View is a beautiful hard-cover book with more than 200 full-color photos of this scenic part of Michigan.
Read the Original Article in the Chicago Tribune