We parted company after breakfast, agreeing to meet early in the afternoon for a cruise to Charlevoix, followed by my turn at the helm in the evening. Meanwhile, I walked. Harbor Springs has a short coastal plain, which terminates in a steep, but short, rise to a bluff that overlooks the city. East Bluff Drive parallels the waterfront but at about 300 feet above it, and from this street, I had a panoramic view of the harbor. During the stroll, I discovered a boardwalk and series of staircases, which serpentined the nearly vertical face of the bluff under cover of fairly dense foliage.
A short while after lunch, we reconvened for the hourlong cruise to Charlevoix. The city sits on an isthmus that separates Lake Michigan from Lake Charlevoix, which drains into the former via the very short Pine River/Round Lake waters. The Pine River is narrow and shored up on both sides with steel bulkheads. A lighthouse marks the mouth of the river. The city, permanently settled in the years following the end of the Civil War, is roughly twice the size of Harbor Springs in population and landmass and once was a thriving industrial city served by rail from the south.
Charlevoix has always been a resort destination for wealthy vacationers. In the 1880s, a group of professors from the University of Chicago formed an association known as the Chicago Club Summer Home. The Belvedere Club and Sequanota Club soon followed. Summer residents arrived by rail and passenger liners. The Belvedere and Chicago clubs still exist. Many of the private homes along the shores of Round Lake have integral boathouses, one of the most impressive belonging to the Winn family — of Four Winns boat fame.