Hangin’ at the Lake Like Hemingway: A Cottage Home in Petoskey, Michigan

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Petoskey,Petoskey, Michigan vacation home

Petoskey real estate. Don’t know where that is? Hold your left hand up in front of your face, palms out, fingers straight up. With your right index finger, touch the tip of your left ring fingernail where it meets your middle finger. Your hand is a map of Michigan. The spot you are touching is Petoskey. It’s a coastal resort village situated on Little Traverse Bay on the shores of the massive great lake named for the state.

Among the claims to fame of this lovely, small town is that Ernest Hemingway spent summers in the area for the first 22 years of his life (1899-1921) in a cottage his parents built on nearby Walloon Lake. His first novel, The Torrents of Spring, is set in Petoskey, and his short stories featuring the character Nick Adams also contain many references to the town. A Petoskey historical tour will lead you through local spots associated with the literary icon in some way.

Residents here enjoy boating and other water sports, hiking in the abundance of woods, and biking the 26-mile Little Traverse Wheelway that runs along the coast. In the winter, skiing, ice skating, snowmobiling, and sledding dominate outdoor activities. The Crooked Tree Art Center is the center of cultural happenings such as concerts, art classes, and events. There’s waterfront housing of all sorts, but what caught my eye was a charming well-priced cottage circa 1899-1921, Hemingway’s Petoskey time. Make the jump for a look at this cozy area and the cute home near the bay: 

The Area: 

Photos courtesy of Petoskey Visitors Bureau

Family Fun Magazine named Petoskey as one of the top ten tourist towns in 2015. In 2013, Smithsonian Magazine touted Petoskey’s small town charm and scenic, cultural blessings as one of America’s Best Places to Visit. The town’s permanent population was 5,670 in 2010; this swells in summer when high temperatures hover in the mid-70 degrees.

Petroskey, Michigan vacation home


A marina in town is available to shelter boats seasonally. Lake Michigan and area inland lakes offers fishing for steelhead; coho and chinook salmon; rainbow, lake, and brown trout; largemouth and smallmouth bass; perch; and walleye.

A jewel of the coast is the Little Traverse Wheelway, a scenic 26-mile waterfront trail that connects the towns of Charlevoix, Petoskey and Harbor Springs. There’s golf here, too, overlooking the bay. Petoskey, Michigan vacation home

Downtown, Petoskey’s charming gaslight district draws interest with shops and restaurants.

Photo Credit: Michigan Municipal League

The town was granted an official charter in 1879. Its name honors a respected native son, Chief Ignatius Petosegay. Born in 1787, Petosegay was the son of a French fur trader and a woman of the Odawa Nation, natives whose presence in Northern Michigan goes back thousands of years. His name, later spelled Petoskey, means “rising sun” or “rays of sunshine,” an apt description of the area’s beauty. Here’s a view of pretty green space:

Photo credit: Michigan Municipal League

To the northwest, the downtown center abuts Little Traverse Bay. To the south and east are streets lined with lovely homes, many going back more than a century. New on the market, 516 Kalamazoo Avenue is the house that looks precious to me. It’s an example of the unique charm of Petoskey real estate:

The Property: 

Exactly when the three-bedroom, two-bath, 1,580-square-foot, traditional, farm-style home was built is unknown, but it is thought to be in the early 1900s. The doors, cottage-style front windows, and wood floors are original. They built things to last in those days.

A two-car garage and a shed stand in back:

Petoskey, Michigan vacation home

In the rear is a cheery back porch. How open and welcoming this neighborhood looks without tall fences blocking views!

Petroskey, Michigan vacation home

Here’s the entryway featuring those pretty windows:

Petroskey, Michigan vacation homeThe cozy kitchen has beams, which highlight the peaked ceiling:

The dining room image shows off the home’s beadboard and original wood floors:

Here’s a living area:

Petroskey, Michigan vacation home

The current homeowners use the downstairs bedroom as a den:

Here’s a look at how the downstairs space is laid out:

The paneled staircase: Petroskey, Michigan vacation home

Here’s the master bath with a free-standing tub:

Petroskey, Michigan vacation homeA second bedroom:

Petroskey, Michigan vacation home

And a third bedroom. There’s also a second bath with a shower.

The house at 516 Kalamazoo Avenue is listed by Carol Fay of Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors at $192,000. Carol often shows homes by boat, which says a lot about Petoskey real estate and the lifestyle here, even today. While there are houses in the area that go for millions, if you’re going to summer in a small town spot to decompress and step back from the pressures of life, there’s a lot to be said for a small abode that goes back to simpler times. From 516 Kalamazoo, it’s an easy stroll to the shoreline to watch the sunset Hemingway knew:

Sunset in Petoskey. Photo credit: Copyright Marissa Portera.