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Getting There

​​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 trip. When 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.

Little Traverse Bay 

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.

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