What we're up to this month

Follow the fun on instagram @mmvalade @dylanvalade


Charlevoix, MI

Fathers Day Salmon Shootout!

Dylan shooting clays and smoking barrelsDylan shooting clays and smoking barrels
View of Round Lake in Charlevoix from Edgewater HotelView of Round Lake in Charlevoix from Edgewater Hotel
Desert at Edgewater BistroDesert at Edgewater Bistro
Charlevoix looking out to Lake Michigan from draw bridgeCharlevoix looking out to Lake Michigan from draw bridge
Edgewater Bistro Front DoorEdgewater Bistro Front Door
Birch log on beach at Fishermans IslandBirch log on beach at Fishermans Island
Edgewater Bistro waterfront dining roomEdgewater Bistro waterfront dining room
Edgewater Hotel, third floor loft condo 2bdEdgewater Hotel, third floor loft condo 2bd
Fishermans Island BeachFishermans Island Beach
Fishermans Island Rocks and ShorelineFishermans Island Rocks and Shoreline
Edgewater Bistro Lunch MenuEdgewater Bistro Lunch Menu
Fishermans Island Beach in Charlevoix MIFishermans Island Beach in Charlevoix MI
How to find Petoskey stonesHow to find Petoskey stones
Round Lake towards Lake CharlevoixRound Lake towards Lake Charlevoix
Charlevoix Rod and Gun ClubCharlevoix Rod and Gun Club
Interior of Charlevoix Rod and Gun clubhouseInterior of Charlevoix Rod and Gun clubhouse
Gun Club offers 12# and 20# ammo plus Eva cooks food!Gun Club offers 12# and 20# ammo plus Eva cooks food!
Sporting Clays in CharlevoixSporting Clays in Charlevoix
Sporting Clays supplies - Ears, Eyes, 2 Boxes of AmmoSporting Clays supplies - Ears, Eyes, 2 Boxes of Ammo
Sign in and pay for Sporting Clays at the clubhouse deskSign in and pay for Sporting Clays at the clubhouse desk
Sporting Clays - Golf with ShotgunsSporting Clays - Golf with Shotguns
Sporting Clays StationSporting Clays Station
Automatic clay pigeon throwersAutomatic clay pigeon throwers
Automatic clay thrower controlAutomatic clay thrower control
Shooting clays with proper formShooting clays with proper form
Put your spent shells in the provided barrelsPut your spent shells in the provided barrels
Station 5 at the Sporting Clays course in Charlevoix MichiganStation 5 at the Sporting Clays course in Charlevoix Michigan
Walking in river at Lake Michigan at Fishermans IslandWalking in river at Lake Michigan at Fishermans Island

by Dylan

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.

1. Shoot Sporting Clays at Charlevoix Rod & Gun Club

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!

2. Hunt petoskey stones at Fishermans Island State Park

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!

3. Eat breakfast, lunch or dinner at Edgewater Bistro

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.

4. Stay at the waterside Edgewater Hotel

One of only two waterfront hotel options in Charlevoix, the Edgewater Hotel is a privately owned condo hotel with 1BD and 2 bedroom units in addition the coveted suites.  The suites were occupied so couldn't check them out but we would recommend an upper level unit with a loft.  The Edgewater Hotel and Edgewater Bistro are in the same building but they are completely separate businesses.

View Fathers Day Salmon Shootout! on Google Maps

What Do You Think about Charlevoix, MI?

Adventure Rating: A-

Shooting a gun is adventurous! It is humbling to hold a piece of history that changes the world and feeds families. Many people feel guns are taboo, some cities want to outlaw them but like everything, we say try it for yourself before before making your decision.

Ask a dad to take you shooting this weekend. It doesn't need to be your dad, any day or older guy will be perfect! You won't believe how much fun you will have and what you'll learn about that special dad!

Locals Tip

You can shoot at gun clubs year round. Most clubs are open to the public but membership is always an option. Spring, Summer and Fall are great times to take a hike in the woods, which is only made more fun with shotguns! Children are always welcome at gun clubs too. The best way to avoid firearm accidents is to properly educate people how to operate and use gun.

When you go to a gun range you will need ear protection. You can use foam ear plugs purchased from any drug store. More expensive ear muff and electronic plugs are available in most sporting goods or big box grocery stores. Bring eye protection, which includes prescription glasses, sunglasses or safety glasses. You will need a shotgun. One gun can be shared by multiple people. 12 gauge is the most common sized shotgun for sporting clays, skeet and trap. At the gun club, you can purchase the 20 gauge and 12 gauge ammo with the proper shot size (how large the metal pellets are inside the shell). At the Charlevoix club the shot sizes must be 7 1/2, 8 or 9. The larger the shot size, the small the metal pellets. Bigger pellets travel further and straighter. If you are shooting a target further away, you want a smaller shot size. if you are blasting clays at 30 feet, then you want a larger shot size which will spread out making it easier to hit your target.

Charlevoix Gift Poster Picture

"Men are more likely to go shooting but women are usually better shots!  Don't be afraid, I was scared of holding a gun at first but then really enjoyed it when I learned how to do it safely.  Hitting a target the first time is really exciting!" Meghann "I have been shooting pistols, rifles and shotguns about a dozen times a year for the past few years.  My top score with a 12 guage at the sporting clays in Charlevoix is 20 out of 50." Dylan

Geocache Winner

Hurray for John Houghton who won the gift card for Edgewater Bistro!  John was the first person to send a photo of yourself shooting sporting clays at the Charlevoix Rod & Gun club wins the $25 gift certificate to Edgewater Bistro. 

John moved from Michigan to Utah and asked that we give his gift certificate to a local Michigander who could enjoy it now.  Fortunately Kevin and Rachel Loe took their family out to Fisherman's Island this weekend and sent in photos of their adventure to claim this week's prize!

"We had so much fun. We actually had a contest to see who can find the most beautiful stone including the Petoskey Stones (I at first didn't think you can find Petoskey stones on Fishermans Island). So we grabbed our buckets and went searching! My daughter won of course!!! When I first saw 'hunting for Petoskey stones in Fishermans island' I thought 'no way' they are only from bayshore down to Petoskey! You proved me wrong because we found two of them! Nice work!" - Kevin

Happy Fathers Day to John and Kevin!

Our newsletter subscribers receive the geocache or photo hunt location a full day before we post it on the site. Sign up today so you can be an insider on the weekly treasure hunt!

The coordinates for the Gun Club are: 

N 45.300509, W -85.283478

Every week we add a photo hunt or new geocache (pronounced "geo cash") somewhere in the northern wilderness with the hope that we'll give other Up North explorers a reason to leave their couch and enjoy the inspiring beauty, history and excitement Michigan has to offer.

Learn a bit about geocaching over at Wikipedia