The neighboring lakefront resort communities of Petoskey, Harbor Springs and Boyne City are perfect for exploring northern Michigan history while surrounded by Victorian charm that reflects a simpler, more refined time.
The historic neighborhoods in these communities showcase gingerbread architecture that adds a quiet elegance to the entire area — including the downtown districts where many of the buildings have been around since the days of horse-drawn buggies.
When you’re not soaking in the ambiance, there are plenty of things to do in Petoskey, as well as in Harbor Springs and Boyne City, to satisfy the history bug in anyone.
Here are some of the favorites of history buffs who have visited here:
- Check out one of the first post offices in Harbor Springs, MI at the Andrew Blackbird Museum. This building now houses exhibits that preserve the rich history of Indian customs, arts, crafts, music and poetry.
- Take a stroll through historic Bay View. The Bay View Association was established in 1875 and now features nearly 500 Victorian cottages, art centers, churches, and inns. It has earned a designation as a National Historic Landmark.
- Beautiful downtown Boyne City is where you’ll find the Boyne City Historical Museum with its wonderful collection of artifacts and exhibits of local history.
- Your interest will mushroom when you tour the Earl Young Homes. These “mushroom houses” and public buildings in Charlevoix, MI feature flowing lines and cedar shaker roofs, making them appear almost gnome-like.
- The history of charming Harbor Springs, MI has found a home in the Harbor Springs History Museum. The museum is located in the former city hall and has a full schedule of programs, tours and events highlighting the history of Harbor Springs.
- The historic and scenic Inland Waterway winds nearly 40 miles through Emmet and Cheboygan counties. For a quicker version of the route, head for the Inland Water Route Historical Museum in Alanson, MI. You’ll see photos and artifacts on each community along the water route.
- Ready for a true historical and architectural wonder? The Legs Inn in Cross Village is named for the inverted stove legs used to make the decorative railing on the roof. Legs Inn was originally started in the 1920s and today is a historic landmark-dining destination. It’s located on the famous Tunnel of Trees north of Harbor Springs.
- On the beautiful Petoskey waterfront, the Little Traverse Historical Museum is a restored 1892 train station. Displays include Hemingway’s “Michigan Story,” rare Odawa Indian artifacts and a display of regional photographs showing how much (and how little) things have changed since the 1870s.
- You never know who might turn up at Petoskey Yesterday. Check the schedule for the popular ghost tours and you might be surprised. This museum also invites you to discover Petoskey’s past and its connections to Ernest Hemingway.
- The first Catholic church in Petoskey, the St. Francis Solanus Indian Mission, was built in 1859. It is the oldest building in Petoskey and is on the State and National Registry of Historical Places.
With so many interesting, historical things to do in Petoskey, MI you’re going to want to spend at least a couple days here. The good news? There are more than 2,800 rooms in the area, and the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau can help you find the one that’s perfect for you.
About the author
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.