by Stewart A. McFerran, reporting from the deck of the Aisling
I found the old boat at a boatyard in Northport. The cradle had broken and the boat had fallen on its side. The hole in the hull had been patched but the rudder was still bent. I bought the C&C 29’ named Aisling for a song.
Aisling is a Scottish word meaning dream or vision. Ace Welding was able to straighten the bent rudder shaft and we launched the Aisling in Northport. Andy Rockwood and Mark Graham were onboard for the inaugural trip from Northport to the South end of the West Grand Traverse Bay.
The pirate mooring I had near the Grand Traverse Yacht Club (GTYC) was ready. The anchors I place on the Bay bottom were attached to a float that could be picked up and tied to Aisling’s bow. All the boats in the mooring field would swing about to face the wind with Aisling. Only a few of those boats were tied to moorings that were surveyed by the Army Corps of Engineers.
With the Aisling at mooring we were ready to do battle with the fleet each Wednesday night. The GTYC has Wednesday night sailboat races. Boats are handicapped with a Performance Handicap Racing Fleet (PHRF) rating. Large boats can race against small boats. GTYC sets up the buoys at the corners of the Bay and sets a starting line. The start and first leg of the race is always upwind. I had a small sailboat as a youth but had never raced, it was a dream come true. (Ed. Note: For more on sailing in Northwest Michigan, read McFerran’s article on the Pabst Cup.)
Ned Lockwood helped me tune the Aisling’s sail rig and told me lots of stories. He had sailed in Connecticut as a youth. One day he was sailing with his brother and they came upon a guy in the water with his dog. His sailboat had tipped over due to the large sail he had. They righted his boat and taught him how to reef his sail. That was Albert Einstein with his dog. (True, as confirmed by Ned’s ex-wife).
With the help of Mike McDuffy, Ned and many others we sailed around the triangle course on West Bay and won some plaques in those races sponsored by the GTYC. I still have them.
I made the decision not to launch the Aisling and the boat sat under a tree for ten years, until this Spring. The tiller was delaminated and there was lichen growing in the cockpit. I used epoxy on the tiller, ammonia in the cabin and bleach on the deck.
At the Irish Boat Shop in Charlevoix the Atomic 4 engine turned over and Peter Johnson, an Englishman with vast mechanical experience, agreed to crew. A crane lifted the mast in place and we loaded our gear on board and were off at 4:00 p.m, on a late weekend in June 2017. The Atomic overheated and we stopped before leaving Charlevoix.
I started the engine at 5:30 a.m. the next day and Pete popped his head out of the cabin and indicated his concerns about the engine. I explained that the Aisling was a sailboat and we only needed the Atomic to get under the draw bridge. He agreed to indulge my vision.
We winched up the mainsail and motored out the channel and turned off the engine. A fine breeze took us all the way to Leelanau. We passed the Cathead point and the Whaleback. There was a lull in the wind near Pyramid Point as the Crib Lighthouse appeared. We made a tack straight West toward South Manitou Island.
It was nice to be back in the Manitou Passage. I had spent a year there in the company of Ross Lang on the Joy fishing for whitefish as well as chubs. As I turned my head toward Port Oneida I had a vision of Lanie Burfeind passing with her skiff full of Coregonus nigrapinus.
We passed the South Manitou Lighthouse as the Aisling headed West straight for Point Betsie. With Platte Bay on our left the wind died at sunset. Pete tinkered with the Atomic. It was dark when we passed the Point Betsie Lighthouse and 1:00 a.m. when we were near the Frankfort harbor.
Like Albert Einstein I had too much sail up when the squall hit, but I had no dog. The Aisling was knocked down and skidded across the water with Pete and I hanging on. Aisling spun about a few times after righting herself. We got the sails down and the Atomic would not start. With the sails back up the wind shifted 180 degrees and was now coming from the East. Aisling tacked through the channel and we lowered the sails and drifted into the dock at 2:30 a.m.
I plan to live on the Aisling this Summer. No telling when the dream will be complete.
Before high water and before low water, the bank was stable for many years. It was shady with huge hemlocks, white pine and cedars overhanging the water. Before fire and development, impenetrable thickets lined the shores and teemed with fish and fur. Breezes cooled by patches of snow rippled Portage Lake until June. A winding creek emerged as the forest gave way to dunes. All the spring water from the Lake and uplands were contained in that fast flowing creek. The shifting sand of the dunes, currents and waves mixed with the flow of Portage Creek always.
On Sunday, May 7th, 1871, the neighbors of Portage Lake gathered in the morning. The night before they had a big party and dance on Portage Point. The farmers had completed a narrow ditch that ran from Portage Lake to Lake Michigan. They did not know what would happen when the water started to flow. An ox moved a log that held the water of Portage Lake back. They were shocked at what they had done on that Sunday morning.
The flow grew and grew. Soon the power and weight of the water became apparent. An entire forest was swept out into the big lake. Some worried that Portage Lake would drain away completely. It did not, but hundreds of fish were left on the wide new shore flopping about. Many witnessed a forest of trees floating miles out in Lake Michigan. Just what this event would mean for the farmers around Portage Lake and the mill on Portage Creek would soon become apparent and is still talked about.
The controversy over land use on Portage Lake continues today. At a recent Onekama Township town hall meeting, plans for the historic Portage Point Inn were presented by the Inn’s new owners. The Inn has stood on dunes of sand between Portage Lake and Lake Michigan since 1903. The survival of the historic hotel is certainly a major concern, as well as the results of unchecked development.
The development of Portage Point began with a survey of the dunes between Portage Lake and Lake Michigan in 1837. At that time, the level of Portage Lake was much higher. Joseph Stronach started building the dam and mill at Portage Creek in 1845. Thick cedar groves covered the main street of Onekama before there was a main street. As the population grew, land use changed from logging to farming, causing strife among neighbors. Things came to a head in 1871.
A Mr. James Francis Hannah (cousin of Perry Hannah) purchased the Mill at Portage Park in 1857. He would pay farmers for the flooding of their lands when the gates of the dam closed to build a “head” of water to power the sawing of logs. The water in Portage Lake would rise as much as six feet and logs could be floated up to the mill. Farmers all around Portage Lake objected to the high water levels that flooded their “improved land.”
The mill was sold to Porter Bates in 1866.
General Grant, Speed, Sea Gem and Dall were schooners that stopped at the Portage Pier. Porter and Company controlled the pier which was at the mouth of “Portage Creek.” Access to the vessels that sailed along the coast of Lake Michigan was key to trade. Porter charged a heavy toll to anyone wanting to ship lumber, tanbark (bark from trees used to tan leather, usually oak or hemlock), or farm produce to the wider market.
Amos Pierce, who owned sixty acres on the South end of Portage Lake, would not take payment for the flooding of his land. In March of 1867 Pierce told Bates: “a lot of us would come down and tear his dam down and he said if we did he would shoot us.” (Chaney, Story of Portage).
Pierce and other rogue farmers were jailed for digging a new channel from Portage Lake to Lake Michigan. While Pierce was in jail others took over. When they were put in jail and Pierce was released, he carried on digging the channel. What they dug was narrow and was held back by one log… the log that was pulled away by one ox on Sunday, May 7, 1871. This controversy over land use was solved by collective action after the dance that Sunday.
The rogue farmers opened a channel from Portage Lake to Lake Michigan about a mile south of Porter Mill. The water of Portage Lake rushed into Lake Michigan creating a channel 300 feet wide and 18 feet deep. Fish from the inland lake mixed with their big lake cousins that they had not seen for centuries. Some were left stranded and were scooped up in buckets.
Porter Mill was left high and dry as Portage Lake fell to the level of Lake Michigan. The dam was no longer able to control the waters of Portage Lake. With no falling water the mechanism of the mill could not operate. The farmers had won by guaranteeing low water levels in Portage Lake. In addition, trade was no longer restricted to the small Portage Creek and the pier on the Lake Michigan shore. In fact, “Portage Creek” ceased to exist.
The tug Williams made the first entrance into Portage Lake. She was hailed by the waving of hats and handkerchiefs, and loud hurrahs and firing of guns. The original settlement at Portage Park was largely abandoned. The new Post Office was moved to the Northeast section of the lake because many points along the shore of Portage Lake were open to trade. The flow of development was redirected to the East end of the Lake when the flow of Portage Creek was redirected to the South end of the Lake.
More Change Coming to Portage Point Inn, 1902-Present
It was standing room only July 7th, 2016, at the Onekama fire house as plans for the historic Portage Point Inn were presented by the Inn’s new owners. The Inn has stood on dunes of sand between Portage Lake and Lake Michigan since 1903. Many Portage Point cottagers worried about the preservation of the historic hotel, others that they would all be swept away by a rush of development. Opinions were expressed to Onekama Township officials regarding developments on the sleepy Portage Point.
The Onekama Township Planning Commission considered amendments to a special use permit this summer. The amendments would accommodate changes to the Portage Point Inn and surroundings, as the new owner would like to reopen the historic Inn, which has fallen into disrepair. The Inn was last open in 2012.
The Portage Point Assembly was originally incorporated in 1902 under State Legislation that encouraged the building of hotels and clubhouses. The Assembly was also charged with “preventing and probation of vice and immorality”.
Construction on the Portage Point Inn began in 1902. The Inn and the “casino” were the centers of activity for cottagers for many years. Vacationers traveled on the Puritan which passed through the channel once a week and stopped at the dock in front of the Inn. Fond memories abound.
In addition to obvious renovations, there needs to be an upgrade to the sewer capacity. Other requested changes include plans for forty additional boat slips and a gas dock. There would be capacity to haul large boats and store them nearby. Changes would be made to public access to Portage Lake, and a public fishing dock would be built.
The historic stream bed of Portage Creek winds through the lively ghost town of Old Portage. The Sunset house at the end of Lake Isle marks the place the pier once bustled with activity. The “boat house” is on the bank that overlooks a tiny pond that was once Portage Creek. Cottagers have a long history with each other as well as the place.
Amos Pierce and his rogue bands of militant farmers are long gone, but the channel they created from Lake Michigan to Portage Lake remains. The concrete walls stabilize the shifting sand but currents and high energy waves deposit sand during the long winter. The water of the “freshet” called Portage Creek now flows through the navigation channel and still mixes with the waves of Lake Michigan.
Current residents of Old Portage have been isolated. With hundreds of square miles of open water to the west and thousands of acres of National Forest to the east, Portage Point is on the way to nowhere. Not like it used to be. It was a destination and origin of raspberries and pickles that made the overnight trip to Chicago market on the Puritan.
Like the controversy of 1871, changes facing the community on the dune between Lake Michigan and Portage Lake came to a head… but this time, there were no threats of violence and all firearms were concealed.
Thanks to Portage Point resident Tom Gerhardt for sharing his knowledge with us, and providing details and dates.
Stewart. A. McFerran teaches a class on the Natural History of Michigan Rivers at NMC and is a frequent contributor to the Grand Traverse Journal.
[This story was taken from Along Traverse Shores, by M.E.C. Bates and Mary K. Buck, Traverse City: the Herald office, 1891]
We were sitting on Prospect Hill [ed. note: Prospect Hill is located near Glen Arbor on the Homestead Resort property] watching the sun go down, –my friend, the school teacher, and I.
I think in all this Grand Traverse region there is perhaps no finer view than that from Prospect Hill. Before us lay Lake Michigan, its wide blue expanse stretching on and out as far as the eye could see, till it merged into sky at the horizon line, behind which the sun, a glowing ball of molten fire had just dropped, leaving all the west a golden sea. Ten miles or more out but looking as if within rifle shot, lay the Manitous, like emeralds in a crystal setting. Hitherward lie the great waterways for all the craft that seek the Straits from the westward, or the Lake Michigan ports and Chicago from the eastward. Clear and distinct, near at hand, or so far away as to be only ghostly outlines, were the white sails of numerous barks bound up or down. Two great propellers with black plumes streaming from their smoke stacks, saluted each other with short, hoarse whistles, as they passed between the islands and the mainland. Far out, dim murky lines lying against the sky told of other boats bearing their loads of gay summer travelers to the great city “at the head” or to the pleasant resorts beyond the northern horizon.
To the southeast Glen Lake, a mighty mirror set in forest crowned hills, and two smaller lakes reflected as faithfully blue of sky and green of wooded slopes. Thriving farms dotted the shores or hid behind the gaps in the forest walls cut by stalwart arms of the pioneers who here have hewn out for themselves happy homes.
From out Glen Lake issued Crystal River, rightly named, slipping away to the beach of yellow sand on the shores of old Michigan, stopping to coil itself into many shining loops, lingering under arches of fragrant cedar, where in the dim green light, in dark pools of ice cold water, speckled trout hide under ferny banks—out of the shadow into the sun, and then back into the shadows again,–under rustic bridges, past the old red grist mill and so down to the shining sands where the waves lap the shore with musical murmur.
From our lofty perch we looked down on the tops of a ragged fringe of scrub pines and oaks that lay between the sand of the beach and the base of Prospect Hill.
“I do not wonder you love your “home by the silver sea’, so well:” I said. “The half was not told me. This must be the true lotos land, –the land of dreams—the land ‘where it is always afternoon.’ I could stay here forever.”
“But it is not always afternoon,” she said, “nor are the days all halcyon summer days. I could tell you stories of wild storms, of wreck and ruin,–yes of heroic deeds such as you read in books, and that thrill your soul with thoughts of knightly emprise till you sigh for the olden days when men were indeed men, not knowing that there are heroes still whom we meet in our daily walks, only our eyes are dim and we do not know them for the knightly souls they are.”
“So? Perhaps that is true. Tell me a story of your Traverse knights. A bit of romance in this dull work-a-day world will indeed be refreshing.”
She clasped her slender hands across her knees, and looked far out on the misty lake, while a thoughtful light came into her pretty eyes.
“I never sit here as we do this evening, and looking out over the great sand dunes of Sleeping Bear, but I think of one wild Autumn day when the schooner Phelps went ashore on the bar below
“It was a night in late November in 1880. The wind blew in a gale from the southwest, lasing the water into foam, the great rollers coming in with almost two hundred miles of unbroken sweep. The schooner tried to gain the lee of the Manitous, and at the same time shun the sand reefs of Sleeping Bear, where many a good ship has laid her bones. Suddenly the wind shifted to the northwest. The sky was thick with blinding snow and she began to drift at the mercy of the wind. They dropped their anchor but it fouled; they drew it and tried again. This time it caught; the ship swung stern shoreward and bow out, trailing anchor, and drifting slowly toward the sand bar. The great waves pounded against her sides with terrific blows. The deck broke away. The rigging fell over the side, forming a network through which the water seethed and foamed, dashing the broken deck high above the prostrate spars only to fall in the black gulf below. One by one the crew were overcome and perished in the freezing water. Only three were left, crowded on the bow above the mass of wreckage—the mate, the wheelsman and a sailor, a boy of nineteen. They clung to the frail support till the boy, impatient at the situation, crossed the awful chasm, and tried to detach a portion of the floating deck. At first he worked manfully, then slower and slower till he fell freezing on the deck.
“In the blinding storm the day broke,–the hours passed on and it was not till afternoon that the wreck was discovered from the shore. The alarm was given and soon all the inhabitants of the little village of Glen Arbor, a short distance up the beach, were gathered on the shore. Some one ran for a team of stout farm horses and a huge pound net boat, a great, flat-bottomed affair, cumbersome even in mild weather, was moved from the fish houses down by the village. It was a perilous venture, and he who went took his life in his hand, but in an instant a crew had volunteered. Strong hands launched the boat. Through the tremendous surf, half way to the wreck, and they were swamped, and their boat coast back like a child’s toy. They were all ice and chilled to the bone, but soon they launched their boat again, four of the first crew going out, and a slender young fellow with nerves of steel and muscles of iron under his fair skin took the stern oar in place of the fifth.
“Again they battled with the waves, rising on the crests only to be hurled into the chasms. They neared the vessel, reached the bow where the sailors clung, eagerly watching their movements. The waves dashed against them, the wind roared around them, the snow blinded them, till human endurance could stand no more, and they were driven back, foot by foot. The poor fellows on the wreck saw their rescuers leave them, and begged for help in the most piteous tones. Reaching shore the brave men, wet to the skin and stiff with ice went for dry clothes, then once more made an attempt to reach the wreck, as it was certain the sailors could stand it but a few moments more. This time they moved down the beach and started out obliquely with the tide. Wilder than before, the blinding snow squalls beat upon them. When almost at the wreck, fearful breakers, too powerful to pull against, drove them back in spite of their greatest efforts. The cries of the sailors when they saw them lost ground were heart rending. They renewed their efforts and soon were alongside. They moved up to the floating mass of tangled rigging and loose boards, where they clung to a spar, thus steadying their boat, while one of the men, the mate, tried to cross the heaving wreckage. He reached a long spar, and putting his arms around it, crawled painfully forward, while the waves surged and beat over him constantly. At last he reached the boat and was helped in. Next the wheelsman made the attempt. He crossed a third of the spar then stopped and could come no further,–he clung helplessly with his bare hands and it seemed as if his life must be lost. In the boat below, an old sailor from many-harbored Maine, rose from his seat, stepped into the jostling mass of rigging and wreck, made his way to the perishing man and brought him back in safety. A few moments more and the surf was passed—the shore reached at last.
“All these brave men are the possessors of gold medals awarded them by the government at Washington, for their heroism. Said I not well there are knightly souls who walk among us to-day?”
“I think, my dear,” I said, “that one of these brave Traverse knights was your hero. Have I not guessed right?”
She glanced at me over her shoulder, half archly, half shyly, while a deeper flush rose to her cheeks.
“We must go home,” she said; “the dew is falling.”
We rose from our seats, and hand in hand, to help each other down the steep descent, took our way to the distant farm house, from one of whose windows a bright light shone out like a star to guide us on our path.
We can compare the account described in Some Traverse Heroes to the actual event as reported to the editor of the Grand Traverse Herald, November 27th, 1879 edition (The shipwreck occurred on 20, November of that year). At the outset we can see that M.E.C. Bates got the date wrong: it was not November of 1880 but a year before. There are a few other discrepancies—the wreck was discovered early in the morning, not at noon, two persons were saved, not three, and the rescue crew did not appear in an instant (it took a while to get two rescuers to risk their lives).
M.E.C Bates was correct when she said members of the rescue crew received medals for their bravery. John Blanchfield, William A. Clark, W.C. Ray, Charles A. Rosman, and John Tobin were awarded Gold Lifesaving medals on April 8, 1880 by the combined agencies of the Coast Guard, US Lifesaving Service, the Lighthouse Service, and the Revenue Cutter Service.
Even with occasional errors in the telling, Traverse Heroes is included here for several reasons. The description of the view from Prospect Hill is charming and reminds us of a panorama we can enjoy to this day. The language M.E.C. Bates uses in her descriptions recalls the florid prose of the era. It is refreshing to immerse ourselves in it as a change from our present style of rock-solid nouns and boldly stated verbs. Finally, she expresses the lofty values of her day as she talks about knightly gallantry, even providing a glimpse of the modesty of young women of the time when they are confronted with the possibilities of love: Upon being found out for having a love interest in one of the rescuers, the teller of the tale displays a flush in her cheek. The newspaper article itself expresses the editor’s opinion that the event reminds us of the “chivalry and knightly deeds” of old. The framing of the story as a tale of gallantry in both article and story is probably not a coincidence: M.E.C. Bates was married to Thomas T. Bates, the editor of the Grand Traverse Herald.
Seek channels deep,
Avoid the bars –
We’ll have more fun
Than them in cars
My Grandfather, Mason Herbert Wallis, who preferred to be called Mud Turtle Jack, knew rivers, loved rivers and all bodies of water, and passed that love to the children he left too soon, and the grandchildren he never knew.
The son of George Herbert Wallis and Ellen Marie Wilson Wallis, he was born at Point Betsie on Lake Michigan near Frankfort, Michigan, in 1889 while his father was in the Lifesaving Service there.
His mother, Ellen, was the daughter of Charles Henry Wilson, a noted vaudeville actor of the time whose family settled in the Herring Lakes area. Sadly, Ellen died of tuberculosis at an early age.
Jack attended High School in Manistee where he had a view of Lake Michigan from the window of his room. His early writings from that time reflect his love of the waters.
This is from his Gloria Lacui ; Written in Manistee High School April 13, 1909.
Be mine the spot Wherein my boyhood days were spent and there Aux Bescies pours its gently moving stream. An Indian village once o’er looked the lake That marked the outlet of the little stream. Marquette, as told by records of the French, Here drew his birch ashore and on the mound Which then the river mouth o’erlooked, he lay Surrounded by his voyagers, and cease His wanderings.
Ah, Frankfort, nestling there Beside the tossing lake, recall me to Thy former home and let me listen in The quiet eve, to songs the lake is sending o’er The hills. Didst ever listen to the roar Of penned up ocean’s force, confined in shells From Indian island brought? Tis but a dream, From which you would awake to real life By listening to the roar on Frankfort’s coast. Where ivy, long, five-fingered, green, its arm Has spread, and there o’er hung a quiet porch. Twas mine to sit beside my father’s knee And learn to love the music of the sea.
In September of 1906 he wrote this about Lake Michigan –
‘Tis there on your wild bounding surface, Those grand old waters of ours, That ships with music and laughter Plunge on through your storms and your showers.
‘Tis there in your calm placid waters, The fishes all bask in the sun, Till ships rush madly upon them, They wake before sleep is begun.
‘Tis there on your wild bounding surface, That ships in agony strain To reach some harbor of refuge, ‘Tis rest from the toils of your main.
‘Tis there in your cold deep oblivion The forms of your sailors are laid; Not all who dared brave your dangers Returned to a welcoming glade.
‘Tis still on your calm gentle bosom We float in a bark small and frail; We wonder that calm will turn motion And roar in a death-dealing gale.
Never content to be far from the water, he turned to canoeing the rivers with his friends in his beloved canoe. He wrote long narrative poems describing the fun.
I knew the channel where the current ate Away the muddy banks in deepest holes. I knew where sandbars piled themselves in play And caught at drifting stumps and such debris As is picked up by the rivers in their course. I knew the turtles by their given names And they knew me, for when I’d pass them by, ‘Hey mister, where you goin’?’ they’d always say.
As a young man, Jack lived in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor where he worked as a shoe salesman and a mail carrier. There, with his good friend, pharmacist Stan Smith, he created Stage Stuff, “a series of vaudeville playlets, – each one complete in one act, – yet all closely related, – and each one staged for the mere benefit and enjoyment of the actors, themselves, before an empty house.”
“There is no description, It’s our bunch of fun,- Some set to music, Some verse, and some slung As random shot Or analysis clear,-(clear as mud) To explain some Big Time Stuff That we hold most dear.”
However far removed, his early years in Frankfort were never far from his thoughts:
Then all the time I thought of my old dad And how he’d spent his life on bigger boats, For what he knew and taught to me of them I modified and changed for my canoe.
So trained was I in waterlore that if A gay procession of the boats in the whole world Could pass before a judges’s stand to view Their skill,-my dad would rise up from his grave On Frankfort’s hill, and point me out and say, “That’s my kid there; I know him by the way He grips the haft, and how his paddle cleaves The water at his every stroke. There now’s The Loafing Stroke; they say the Injuns found It for their light birch bark canoes, but we Deep Water men would say its best when used For dress parades and idle hours. But look! The Man of War Stroke! It’s the same we used To drive our surfboat to a wreak, and now My kid had found it best for his canoe. Just note the forward reach, the sudden pull, The throwing of his weight as balanced by His braced feet and dipping blade, the craft Most leaves the water in its leap. But lad,- There is,- Ah, there you are, The Cruising Stroke And with that steady pull you’ll drive that shell All day; Why, when you were a kid in arms, I’d put you in your little chair lashed in My skiff, and pull out miles into the lake With that same stroke. And all the thousand Little touches of the blade, – the One Hand Stroke, The Overhead, the Submarine, the Brakes, Reverse, and Backward scull,- like spur to horse- The shell obeys thy will. Ah, that’s my kid! You cannot fool an old man when he sees His youth again, performed by his own blood!”
In the fall of 1929, now married and the father of three children, Stan, Marce, and my mother Joy, Jack became seriously ill with the same disease that claimed his mother’s life, tuberculosis. Eventually, he was forced to leave his family and live with his stepmother, Ada Bagley, in Muskegon. Confined to his bed, he wrote and sold stories to magazines to support his family.
Sadly, we have not been able to locate any of his published writings from that time. In fact, we had no idea any of his writings had survived until my Aunt, Marce Forton, of Traverse City, called me a few years ago and asked me to take a box of things to my mother. There in the box, under an old tablecloth and some clothes, I found treasure, a leather journal and an old photograph album – The Libraria of M.H. Jack Wallis, marked private, and the Stage Stuff photos. Marce had kept it safe all these years.
Valerie Himick is the author of two novels, Life is a Cabernet and The Birds & The Bees, set in the wine country of Old Mission Peninsula in Grand Traverse County. Like her grandfather, she finds inspiration for her writing in the natural beauty of the rivers and lakes of northern Michigan.
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