Oh, man friends do we have an exciting collection of cottage delight for you to feast your cottage-loving eyes on today!
Actually, this is just the beginning of Northern Michigan Cottages Fest 2020 today and I couldn’t be more excited that the cottage cuteness doesn’t end with this post. If it feels like the promised Northern Michigan Cottage Charm Tour, as I so excitedly dubbed it on Insta earlier this summer, took about a millennia to deliver that’s because it did. Well, not a millennia exactly, but just the entire summer. I think I seriously underestimated the sheer volume of adorable cottage abodes that awaited me in Northern Michigan when I decided to head up there for the summer months this year, which feels a little silly considering I’ve been hanging out up there my entire life. There was just so much goodness to go around that combing through the snaps I took of said cottages over the summer to present to you cottagers and cottage lovers alike was a daunting task to say the least. Nevertheless, my trusty sidekick (a.k.a my super cool mom) and I made it happen, just for you guys, and we hope you guys love diving into all of Northern Michigan’s abundant #cottagecore over there next couple of weeks as much as we did!
Northern Michigan Cottages: Petoskey
The first of our Northern Michigan Cottage Tour posts today is all about the quaint little Northern Michigan town of Petoskey, where I’ve spent much of my life having all sorts of fun. So many of my favorite memories throughout my lifetime have happened right here in this endlessly charming little slice of Northern Michigan heaven that looks out over the Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan. And as you can probably tell from what you see in the snaps, the setting is absolutely, positively idyllic and after 35 years, hasn’t gotten old.
So what’s up with this little Up North town? Petoskey and the Little Traverse Bay region as a whole started to see growth in the mid 1800s, eventually becoming a hub for mining and lumbering. During that time, for good reason, the region was dubbed “the Land of the Million Dollar Sunsets” and the moniker stuck! As you can probably tell from my Insta snaps over summer, that distinction is well earned because those cotton candy sunsets, both on the bay and around the region as a whole are absolutely breathtaking. Thanks to the railroad and some good press, in the late 1800s visitors from all over the Midwest looking to grab their own little slice of the Northern Michigan cottage lifestyle gave way to Petoskey’s “resortism” economy, an economy built around vacation homes, and several resort communities around the region emerged as a result, including historic Bay View, Walloon Lake (where my fam resides), Harbor Point, Wequetonsin and much later, Bay Harbor. If you’re interested in learning more about Petoskey and the Little Traverse Bay region’s storied history, you should check out the nice little rundown the wonderful folks at the Petoskey Chamber of Commerce have on their site. It’s so interesting and you’ll learn a little somethin’ somethin’ about one of its most famous residents!
Up North, as Michiganders so lovingly call Northern Michigan, has a unique cottage style all its own, which is what makes it a veritable mecca for cottage design inspiration and appreciation. A lot of the cottages you’ll see in and around Petoskey fall into the Victorian category, which is a style that serves up seriously adorable details, fun color combos of all kinds and the kind of cottage quirk and character we all love in these adorable little packages that fill my heart (and my eyes) with so much joy. So many of the Victorians you see in these snaps are original, meaning that these dedicated, passionate cottagers have maintained the home’s original integrity, and in so many cases, ever-so-tastefully improved upon it, over the course of many generations of family ownership. How incredible is that? Slow clap all around because as you can probably tell based on all of the little details you see shining in all their charming Victorian glory in these snaps, maintenance. ain’t. easy.
As you guys know, one of the things I love so much about cottage style is its personal nature – an outward expression of the story and personality of the families that make a life in and around these homes, and Northern Michigan “cottagers”, as they’re called, deliver that in spades. So many of these homes have been a part of these families’ lives and stories for generations, and part of the fabric of and rich tradition in Northern Michigan is the pride these cottagers take in expressing themselves through their homes, and maintaining their home’s charm and integrity from generation to generation. Walking around with my mom capturing the beauty of these insanely unique abodes, wondering about how the details I see tell the story of the family or families that have lived there is about as happy as you’ll see me. Take me back!
You should know that while I was sifting through these snaps and preparing this post for you guys, I kind of felt like I ran a marathon because my excitement level was at a consistent 11 the entire time, mostly because the kinds of details and homes you see in these snaps are such a big part of what informed my love for design and my own tastes. The amount of love and appreciation I have for every single one of these genius homeowners, families, designers, builders and landscapers is endless and I feel so lucky that I got to spend the better part of 2 months taking in all of the beauty and rich history of these homes and basking in all of the cottage goodness.
There are tons of little towns like Petoskey scattered throughout Northern Michigan that are bursting with charm and worthy of a visit or ten, and taking a slow drive or walk around to admire all of the unique cottage design inspiration is only one of about a thousand reasons the region should be at the top of your wanderlust list. I expounded on all of those reasons and all that there is to see and do in the region, in every magical season, in a post last year all about our stay at the beautiful Hotel Walloon in Northern Michigan, so if you’re looking for more info on this picturesque little corner of our country, head over to that post to dive in and hear all about it!
We’re not even close to done exploring Northern Michigan’s abundant cottage charm though, friends! Stay tuned for more of our Northern Michigan Cottage Tour in the coming weeks as we visit more special small towns and lakes around the region and live our best cottage life together… virtually!