In 2021 The Smithsonian Magazine named Charlevoix, Michigan one of the nation’s top 15 communities. We planned a one or two day stop in Charlevoix, but liked it so much that we extended our stay. It is a beautiful town, just like the message on the manhole covers!
With Matt and Shirley, we took a guided EV tour of the 26 quirky and unique “mushroom houses” a/k/a “hobbit houses” built over a span of 54 years by Charlevoix native Earl Young with boulders and stones he pulled from Northern Michigan beaches and fields. Young was enigmatic, designing houses without blueprints and saying that the stones spoke to him. When asked which building was his favorite, Young would reply “the next one.”
While walking the town we stopped at the Charlevoix public library, a handsomely repurposed school building in the center of town. The library was hosting a used book sale, so we found a few $2 hardbacks to add to R&R’s shelves.
Charlevoix’s City Marina is on the shore of the award-winning East Park. The park/marina is among the best we have experienced, with new floating docks, Earl-Young-Inspired architecture, a splash pad for children, and a bandshell used for concerts and other outdoor events.
As we passed under the Charlevoix drawbridge and left the channel into Lake Michigan, we were happy to enter open waters but a bit sad to leave behind this uniquely beautiful town. We shall return!