Tour Hemingway's Michigan

Follow the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway in Michigan. Presented by the Michigan Humanities Council and the Michigan Hemingway Society.

Cutler's Building in downtown Petoskey
Cutler's Building | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan

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Born on July 21, 1899, just outside of Chicago, Ernest Miller Hemingway grew up in the middle-class town of Oak Park, Illinois. Hemingway spent parts of his first 22 summers with his family in Northern Michigan, on Walloon Lake near Petoskey. Follow in Hemingway's footsteps as this tour travels through Northern Michigan.
Presented by the Michigan Humanities Council and the Michigan Hemingway Society. Researched and compiled by Ken Marek, founding member Michigan Hemingway Society. This tour is one way visitors can participate in The Great Michigan Read, a first-time statewide literature and literacy program. 

Horton Bay 

The Red Fox Inn
Built in 1878, this structure was one of the earliest homes in Horton Bay. In 1919 it was converted to a restaurant, and soon became famous for its family-style chicken dinners. John Kotesky, an area farmer who regularly supplied the Inn with fresh vegetables, is remembered for having driven Hemingway and his new bride, Hadley Richardson, from Horton Bay to Walloon Lake as they began their honeymoon. Ernest recalled this drive in "On Writing." The Red Fox Inn is now home to a bookstore that specializes in Hemingway titles and memorabilia.
Greensky Hill Indian Methodist Church
A Michigan Historic Site, this area was (and still is) a sacred place to the Native Americans that Hemingway wrote about in several of the Nick Adams stories, most notably "Indian Camp," "The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife," "Ten Indians," "The Indians Moved Away," and "Fathers and Sons." Prudence Boulton, who may have been the model for the character of Prudence (Prudie) in "Ten Indians," and/or Trudy in "Fathers and Sons," is said to be buried in an unmarked grave at Greensky.
Horton Bay General Store
Established in 1876, this store has remained the center of business and social life in the village. Hemingway frequented the store as a boy and a young man. He described it in the story "Up in Michigan," and it seems to be the model for Mr. Packard's store in "The Last Good Country." Hemingway photos and memorabilia are still displayed here.
The Township School
The school stands across the road from what was the site of the village blacksmith shop. The school and the blacksmith shop are mentioned in "Up in Michigan," while the blacksmith shop also appears in "The Indians Moved Away."
Public Access Site and Boat Launch
This spot affords an open view of the bay, the woods and beach leading to Ten Mile Point, and the expanse of Lake Charlevoix. Hemingway used this bay and its surroundings as a setting in "The End of Something," "Summer People," "On Writing" and "Up in Michigan."
Charles Farm
Hemingway had good friends who summered here, and he used this land as the setting for "The Three Day Blow" and a major scene in "Summer People."
Schulz Nature Preserve
A web of well brushed out walking trails takes one through second growth forest that is representative of the northern Michigan woods Hemingway roamed as a boy and a young man. If you continue on the trails that descend to the east, you will come to Horton Creek in a secluded area that is reminiscent of some of the country Hemingway described in "Big Two-Hearted River."
Horton Creek Nature Preserve
Whether you look upstream or downstream, the creek and terrain are very reminiscent of the country Hemingway and two friends encountered along the east Branch of the Upper Peninsula's Fox River during the 1919 camping trip that inspired "Big Two-Hearted River."

Walloon Lake 

Public Access and Boat Launch
This site offers a panoramic view of Walloon Lake. In Hemingway's "Wedding Day," it is the spot from which Nick Adams and his new bride Helen begin their honeymoon by rowing across the lake to the cottage where they will be staying-just as Hemingway and Hadley Richardson did after their wedding.


Little Traverse Historical Museum
Built by the Chicago and West Michigan Railroad in 1892, this building later served as the main area station of the Pere Marquette Railroad, which Hemingway refers to in "The Indians Moved Away" and his high school story, "Sepi Jingan." The station was converted to a museum in the 1960s, and houses a permanent exhibit - and other materials - on Hemingway.
Pennsylvania Plaza (Railroad Station)
An important station on the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, this depot was rebuilt with brick in 1899 and became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1920. The Hemingway family passed through the station area on the "dummy" trains which carried them from Harbor Springs to their summer cottage on Walloon Lake. When he was living in Petoskey during the winter of 1919-20, Ernest may have walked to the station to look at the train schedules and dream of trips he might take. This station is the likely model for the train station in Hemingway's The Torrents of Spring, a parody set in the Petoskey area.
Perry Hotel 
Built in 1899, this is the last of the original resort hotels in Petoskey. Hemingway stayed here in 1916 after a hiking and camping trip in northwest lower Michigan with his friend Lewis Clarahan. Beginning in 1990, the Perry Hotel served as headquarters for an annual "Hemingway Weekend" sponsored by the Michigan Hemingway Society.
Jesperson's Restaurant
Established in 1903, this Petoskey favorite is noted for its home-style cooking and delicious pies. Jesperson's was said to be a favorite hangout of Hemingway and his Petoskey friend Dutch Pailthorp.
Flatiron Building
This building was once home to McCarthy's Barber Shop, where the young Hemingway may have gone for a shave or haircut, but definitely enjoyed the banter of the patrons.
City Park Grill
A Petoskey landmark that was constructed in 1879. Hemingway is reported to have enjoyed playing billiards here and watching the bare-knuckle boxing matches that were held in the nearby park during the warm months.
Cutler's Building
In the early 1900s this building was home to the New Braun Hotel and Restaurant, which appears to have been the model for "Brown's Beanery: Best by Test" in The Torrents of Spring.
Carnegie Building
For many years this building was the location of the Petoskey Public Library, but now it archives special collections and serves a center for community activities. The original Library was a favorite haunt of Hemingway's when he was living in Petoskey during the winter of 1919-20. In December of 1919 he spoke here to the Ladies Aid Society about his experiences in World War I.

Bay View 

Evelyn Hall
During the winter of 1919-1920, Hemingway found his writing efforts were sometimes interrupted too much by well-meaning friends. To guarantee his privacy, he is reported to have occasionally "escaped" to a small room (equipped with a wood burning stove) in Evelyn Hall, a women's dormitory that was unoccupied during the winter.
Harbor Springs Train Station
When the Hemingway family came north from Chicago by steamship to spend the summer at Windemere cottage, they disembarked in Harbor Springs and transferred their luggage and other belongings to the nearby train station, where it was loaded on a "dummy" train to begin the journey to Petoskey and Walloon Lake Village.