My husband and I just got back from a week’s vacation. Our trip took us up the west side of Michigan, heading toward a place called Beaver Island. Beaver Island is the summer home for some friends we’ve known for over 35 years.
Our plans were to be on Beaver Island Thursday morning and leave late Friday afternoon. We stayed Wednesday night in the town of Charlevoix, located on Lake Michigan. When we arrived, we got a hotel and walked around town. The town was busy with tourists and businesses were getting ready for weekend sidewalk sales.
Our friends had told us there were two ways to get to the island, by boat or by plane. The plane was a 15 minute ride and went several times a day. The boat was a two hour ride. It went morning and afternoon. Wanting to sleep in, we signed up for the 10 a.m. flight.
Before going to bed, we listened to the news. After a beautiful day, the weather person said there was a 90 percent chance of rain. When she said it wasn’t going to be much, maybe four inches, that got our attention.
My husband woke me up at 6:30 a.m. and said we’ve got to get to the boat. It was raining, hard. We had no idea if the plane was going to fly and we didn’t want to miss the only other transportation available that morning. We made it on the 8:30 a.m. cruise to Beaver Island.
As we docked two hours later, it poured. We had to wait for our luggage to be removed from the boat, which was fine. I didn’t really want to get soaked. We saw our friends waiting patiently for us to get off.
After several hugs and handshakes, we grabbed our bags and went to their car. Oh my. Their car was completely covered in mud. At that moment, I was so thankful I didn’t have on my white capris.
We headed to the couple’s summer home. Our friend was driving and his wife was trying to explain to us what we were speedily passing by.
The island itself is only 13 miles long and six miles wide. Dirt roads wind around forests, summer homes, three small lakes and the small community of Beaver Island. The island does have the amenities to survive: a grocery store, a K-12 school, library, church, hardware store, restaurant, post office, a coffee shop and two small airports. Yes, this little island of approximately 54 square miles has two small airports.
Our friends’ home was on the opposite end of the island. On the way to their home, they wanted to show us some of the island’s attractions. Other than the small entities we saw when we docked, the attractions consisted of two lighthouses, a huge birch tree and a large rock. The island isn’t a tourist attraction. It’s the home for wildlife: deer, beaver, fox and migrating insects and birds.
The lighthouses were small, shorter than the Cordova Observation Tower at Lake Red Rock. And the large rock? I chuckled and invited them to our home for Tulip Time. Living not too far from Big Rock Park, I told them we would show them what a large rock really looks like.
Our enjoyable visit ended with us taking the plane back to the mainland. The rain had finally stopped the afternoon we were leaving but it was very windy. Sitting in a small plane that only seats nine people while going over a large body of water with turbulence, just made my day.
When we were on the road again, Gilligan’s Island came into mind. I thought of all the places I’ve lived: large cities, small rural communities and out on a farm. I decided the isolation of Beaver Island just wasn’t for me.