Petoskey Area Blog

Join Us in Celebrating Hemingway’s Life in Northern Michigan

Posted on March 10, 2016

Horton-Bay.jpgAnyone who has ever taken a class in American literature is familiar with author Ernest Hemingway. Many understand his connection to Illinois, or Paris, or Key West, yet few realize that the writer spent his first 22 summers on beautiful Walloon Lake near Petoskey, Michigan.

“Lovely Walloona,” as Hemingway’s sister, Sunny, deemed it, was home to the Hemingway family during the summer months. This serene lakeside community was one of the stops on the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad line and it was here that young Hemingway learned to hunt and fish.

Reading the Nobel prize winner’s stories, one can see the Petoskey Area had a huge impact on his life and writings. Characters and places from the region pop up in The Torrents of Spring, the Nick Adams Stories and Wedding Day.

For those who want to learn more about the late author and his connection to northern Michigan, a wonderful new opportunity is available this coming April 29 – May 1, when Hotel Walloon will be hosting The Last Good Country: Walloon Lake – an Ernest Hemingway Occasion. Newly opened last year, Hotel Walloon sits across the road from the original Hotel Walloon (1890s) – and directly on the shores of the sparkling lake from which its name is derived. Upscale amenities in this luxurious hotel will be complemented by an impressive array of events for participants to enjoy.

Guests will tour in Hemingway’s footsteps through Walloon Village and Horton Bay, where Hemingway married his first wife, Hadley. John Cohassey, author of Hemingway and Pound: A Most Unlikely Friendship, will be doing a book signing, Chris Struble, president of the Michigan Hemingway Society, will offer a fun and enlightening presentation, and Valerie Hemingway, Hemingway’s one-time mentee and daughter-in-law, will be on hand for a meet and greet. Ms. Hemingway will also be doing a follow-up talk on her recent trip and article in Towne and Country about Hemingway's Paris.

And what would a trip to northern Michigan be without a fabulous meal? A feast at the beautiful Walloon Lake Inn fit for Hemingway himself is part of the two-night, three-day package. Each of these events, as well as two night’s lodging for two are included in the package price which starts at $920.00.

Hemingway called this region “A priceless place.” We think he was right and that you’ll agree once you’ve attended The Last Good Country: Walloon Lake – an Ernest Hemingway Occasion. For reservations for this historic event, call Hotel Walloon at 231.535.5000. To find out more about the area and other local Hemingway events, visit

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Diane Dakins is passionate about all of the communities that comprise the Petoskey Area of Michigan: Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor and Boyne City. As assistant director of the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau, she has “been there – seen that” when it comes to virtually every area attraction. She strives to create informative content that gives potential visitors the scoop on planning a northern Michigan vacation.