As you round a turn on US 31 when driving through Petoskey this summer, you’ll suddenly be greeted by salmon-colored sidewalks and gingerbread houses from another era. Do yourself a big favor. Don’t just glance and keep driving – stop and experience the historic elegance of the Bay View Association.The Bay View Association is one of just a few Chatauquas still operating in the country. It began in 1875 as a gathering place “for intellectual and scientific culture and the promotionof the cause of religion and morality.” It has continued to thrive and keep its sense of place while everything around it has changed. The Terrace Inn and 1911 Restaurant, and Stafford’s Bay View Inn with its Roselawn Dining Room, perfectly reflect Victorian refinement and elegance, and are wonderful places to relax and soak up the graciousness of days gone by.
Undoubtedly, the architecture will be the first thing that captures your attention. But is that all there is in Bay View? Hardly! Classes including beading, cooking, meditation, tennis, yoga and more are open to the public. A full docket of lectures and speakers throughout the assembly season will stimulate your mind and maybe even refresh your spirit.
The recreational trails within the Association are perfect for stretching your legs or getting a peek at the many different birds that inhabit the woods. Be sure to take a walking tour through the streets that wind through this beautiful community of some 500 private and public buildings. They have earned Bay View a designation as a National Historic Landmark, one of the few such sites in Michigan.
The performing arts are an integral part of the Bay View Association, too. John M. Hall seats 1,400 and is home to a host of performances throughout the summer. You won’t want to miss the “On the Rocks” Pops Concerts, the musical, “Les Misérables”, Blood, Sweat and Tears featuring American Idol finalist Bo Bice and a wide variety of other performances. If you’re in the area on the weekend, the Summer Sunset Vespers Concerts a wonderful way to cap off a Sunday night.
Named one of the “Prettiest Painted Places in America,” the Bay View Association is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also intellectually and creatively inspiring. Whether you’re staying in the Petoskey Area or just driving through, make sure to pause and explore the Bay View Association this summer.