When thinking about Northern Michigan’s rich history, one strong connection to a literary figure comes to mind: Ernest Hemingway. The revered author vacationed in Walloon Lake during his youth, spending just over 20 summers at his family’s cottage. Nestled right on Walloon Lake, the cottage was built for $400 in 1900, and was dubbed Windmere by the family. Hemingway used Northern Michigan as a setting for many of his works; the cottage appears in five short stories including The Doctor and The Doctor’s Wife. It was later designated into the National Register of Historical Places in 1968.
Although the cottage is now a private residence and rarely open to the public, more can information about Hemingway in Northern Michigan can be found online and in person at The Little Traverse Historical Museum, a definite attraction for fans of the famous author.
As we mentioned, many Hemingway stories took place in Northern Michigan, many of them being in the Walloon Lake and Petoskey area. The Michigan Hemingway Society holds an annual Hemingway Weekend in Petoskey each Fall, a notable event featuring readings, exhibits, tours, and speakers.
In Walloon Lake, a historical site marker about the author can be found, put in place by the state of Michigan. It’s another must-see stop for anyone visiting the area, wanting to experience the rich, authentic history of Walloon Lake. Along with many other activities in the area, it’s worth making a day-trip to the area or staying for a weekend in the Summer or Fall.
Although Hemingway spent the summers of his youth in Walloon Lake, he only returned to the area a few more times afterwards: during his honeymoon with wife Hadley Richardson in 1921, and only one other time in the 1950s. After his mother died, Hemingway was willed ownership of the property, which he requested his widow sign over to his younger sister Madelaine after his death. Ownership of the cottage remained in his family as recently as 2015. More information about the property can be found online, along with information on where to find the State of Michigan Historical Marker.