Between 1899 and 1921 Ernest Hemingway and his family spent at least
part of every year in northern Michigan. Like thousands of other
people, they relied on steamships and trains to get them from their
homes to their Michigan destinations.
The Hemingway's journey began at a pier in Chicago where
they boarded one of the several Great Lakes steamers that traveled
along Michigan's west coast. The SS Manitou was their most common choice.
It was the best known and most luxurious of the steamers with its
finely furnished cabins and ornate public areas. Porters would help the
Hemingways load trunks filled with clothes, books, and provisions onto
the ship and the family would settle in and enjoy the day and a half
the Manitou docked in Harbor Spring, the Hemingways transferred
themselves and their cargo to a "dummy train" at the rail station. (These
trains were called this because they did not travel on to far away
locations. They ran back and forth between local stops carrying people
and goods.) The
train the Hemingways boarded took them around the edge of Little
Traverse Bay to Petoskey with several stops at resorts like Bay View.
Once at the Grand Rapids and Indiana railroad station at Petoskey they needed to make one more transfer. This
time it was to another dummy train that took them to Walloon Village
at the shore of Walloon Lake. There they made one more change to a
small wood burning steamship that would take them to their cottage. The
Tourist, Outing, and Rapid Transit made regular trips around the lake
stopping at resorts and individual docks if signaled to do so by a flag
at the dock's end.
Years later, when roads had improved, the Hemingways traveled north by car. The first of these trips was in 1917 and was done in Dr. Hemingway's Model T Ford. It took 4 days to reach Walloon Lake with the family camping along the way.