Life on the Bay: Uncovering Shoreline Havens

Venture to Michigan’s myriad bays for natural attractions and new places to see, stay and play. // Photography by Brian Walters Photography
The Homestead

While BLUE’s Summer edition is by tradition our boating issue, this year we’re also showcasing Michigan’s bays and a parade of ways to enjoy them.

Visit (click on “Michigan Features,” then “Bays”) and you’ll discover there’s no shortage of shoreline havens to explore: 391 are listed here, from Agate, Arthur and Au Train to Wilderness, Wigwam and Whiskey.

Two more than that can be found on an even handier website,

Just scroll down the alphabetical list and click on a bay of interest for its map, county, area photos, nearby cities and designated attractions. This was the way I first came across Anchor Bay in Lake St. Clair, and began uncovering with feature writer Cymbre Foster what makes this uniquely situated lake a great vacation destination (page 50).

Cymbre shares her own story of life on West Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City, where her great-grandparents bought a farm on Old Mission Peninsula in 1929 (page 40). When they divorced three years later, “Irma Ann took a deep breath and got to work,” Cymbre shares. “This bookish woman climbed up on sheds to repair roofs, cut herself splitting wood, gave up her car, learned to make butter and found solace in Emerson.”

While Cymbre and her sister found more time for play on this bay growing up, BLUE columnist Jerry Dennis reflects on how East Grand Traverse Bay permeates the life of his family and their friends the Wills, who live nearby (page 96). “Last summer we got especially boisterous with our son Aaron and his beautiful wife Chelsea Bay, she with the middle name bestowed by her parents in honor of this place so central to their lives,” he notes.

On Little Traverse Bay near Petoskey, the Bay View Association — founded as a retreat in 1875 by the United Methodist Church — is renowned for its nearly 450 Victorian-style cottages, many of which have been owned and enjoyed in the same family for more than a century.

“There are lifelong friendships here that bind a lot of us,” shares Marjorie Bayes (page 30). “So it’s a special kind of home in that way.”

But another slice of life can be found in Michigan’s bays, too, pedaling along boardwalks and the edges of marinas (page 77); stargazing at the beach (page 24); joining the fun of an inspired floatilla (page 20) and leaving land behind in the freshwater plumes of a modern pontoon (page 56).

This summer, embark on a journey to the dock on a bay, and let us know what you uncover. Across the state they await, embracing their own troves of discoveries to be made.

With heartfelt thanks for reading,

Lisa M. Jensen, Editor, Michigan BLUE Magazine

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