Drive through Charlevoix with your windows down this Fathers Day! Charlevoix is a quintessential great lakes port with an active summer community. Watch the draw bridge raise for a tall yacht, walk the harbor docks and splash into Lake Michigan, Round Lake or Lake Charlevoix! Summer regattas are held every Wednesday evening. Show up at the marinas early on race days to ask if any sailors need "crew". Crew is a swashbuckler's term for a free boat ride on Lake Charlevoix in return for helping ballast the sailboat with your body weight and providing good company.
Enjoy time with your grandpa, dad, and kids this Fathers Day. Remember, nothing says "man love" like a day of bonding and mentoring at the shooting range! Dads, if you have an old shotgun in a safe somewhere, dust it off and take a kid shooting this summer. Remember what it was like the first time you went to the range with your pops and share that with the internet, video and text message generation who needs a visceral experience now and again.
Sporting Clays is golf with shotguns! Like golf, you go from station to station either walking or riding in a golf cart, but instead of dressing like a clown and swinging at a tiny ball you get to shoot real guns at flying targets!
The Charlevoix gun club has golf carts fitted with gun racks if walking the 13 stations is too much exercise. One round of sporting clays requires two boxes of shotgun shells, totaling 50 shots. The number of stations may change but expect a dozen or more stands to walk to and shoot from. Each station has two or three automatically launched orange clay targets to shoot at. Clays might be shot in the air imitating common bird flight patterns or clays will roll and bounce along the ground like a rabbit.
Guns can be intimidating but when you learn how to use them safely, few experiences are more invigorating than shooting a moving target with a loud bang! Sportsmen clubs or "Gun clubs" are loaded with good Americans who love their sports and enjoy teaching and helping beginners to learn how. In order to shoot sporting clays you will need your own shotgun, glasses and ear protection. Bring a pouch or vest to hold your ammo in while you walk the course. Bug spray is provided at the second station. You will need a friend to shoot with. If you do show up alone, ask to tag along with another group and you will be able to make some new friends on the course!
Fistherman's Island has six miles of beach carved by glaciers for the sole purpose of finding Petoskey stones! You can never be sure you have a real petsoskey stone until it is wet. Diehard stone hunters use a water bottle to spray dry stones above the surf break. As hobbyists, we wet rocks by splashing water on dry stones with our feet. Petoskey stones are fossilized coral from oceans long ago.
Sandy beaches are perfect places to kick off your shoes and walk barefoot through refreshing shallow water. A spring fed stream pours cold water, dark with tannins, into lake Michigan. We have had a lot of rain this week and the runoff is heavy with deep ochre color.
Fisherman's Island has an unassuming park entrance situated in an industrial park several miles south of Charlevoix's downtown on US 31. The park entrance is a mile and a half from 31 on Bell's Bay Road. The road continues through the park, turning into a dirt road ending three miles from the staffed park gate. Camping, restroom, BBQ and picnic tables are are available. The state park is a must see for anybody in Charlevoix County!
The Grilled Norwegian Salmon was a lunch you might consider trade a first born for: wild caught salmon stuffed with spinach, jarlsberg, smoked whitefish with risotto, fresh veggies and champagne sauce! Edgewater Bistro is waterfront dining at the street level, located next to the draw bridge separating Round Lake from Lake Michigan. Edgewater has a cozy atmosphere with a modern, upscale twist. Seafood includes sushi, oysters, clams and mussels.
Breakfast teasers include Hangover Helper, Oysters Bistro, Oatmeal Brulee and Farmers Benedict. Dinner offers "On the Rock" options, which are grilled on a hot lava rock at your table! Traverse City Chicken Burger, Grilled Walleye and the Heirloom Tomato Caprese caught our attention.
Shoppers docks are available on both sides of the channel so bring your boat and appetite for the generous portions. Most of the lunch and dinner plates are only ten bucks.
Local retirees were bellied up to the bar at half past 3. If you are new to northern Michigan, watch the guys in old sailing tees and polo shirts because they always know where to find the good stuff.