16 January 2014

Those Places Thursday: Lake Street, Harbor Springs, Michigan

Lake Street, Harbor Springs, Michigan
July 1988

"A view of the bay is worth half your pay" was a common saying in Harbor Springs, a small, resort city on Little Traverse Bay in Northern Michigan.  Needless to say, we did not have a view of the bay in our two bedroom condominium on Lake Street.  

View of the bay from Bluff Drive

The bay was a beautiful site, especially as you walked from our home to downtown Harbor Springs.  The walk along Bluff Drive was beautiful.  It overlooked the downtown area of Harbor Springs and the boat filled harbor.  You could look across the harbor and see the city of Petoskey.

We spent one short year in Harbor Springs.  It was our home from September 1986 to August 1987.  We moved to Harbor Springs because Kirk accepted his first elementary counseling job at Shay Elementary School.

I felt like I was on vacation for most of the year that we lived there.  We moved in September and were able to enjoy all that Fall had to offer.  The leaves changing on the trees along the harbor was beautiful.  The drive from Harbor Springs to Cross Village was called the tunnel of trees.  It was a great drive any time of the year, but in the Fall the colors were spectacular.  Another fun activity in the Fall was attending the high school football games.  Kirsten loved football and enjoyed going to the games.  She would have to play football when we got home.  

Winter time brought snow, lots of snow.  The area around Harbor Springs was a great skiing area.  I was pregnant at the time, so skiing wasn't on my to do list. The businesses along Main Street in Harbor Springs did a beautiful job of decorating at Christmas time.  A beautiful lighted tree could be found at the end of Main Street.  Kirsten loved going downtown to see the tree and lights.

January of 1987 brought a new addition to our little family when Travis was born. He was born in Petoskey, about ten miles from Harbor Springs.  Luckily, the night he was born was not a snowy night and we made it to Petoskey in record time.

We spent most of the early months of 1987 inside.  Kirsten would go outside in our back yard and play in the snow occasionally.  I made a special paint for her so she could paint the snow.  Every time I nursed Travis I would read to Kirsten.  Kirsten loved music and I would put records on the record player and she would dance. One of her favorites was Disney Mousercise.  It was a movement and exercise album filled with Disney songs.  While Kirsten did Mousercise, I would play with Travis on the floor.  Kirsten didn't watch a lot of television, but she had a videotape of Romper Room.  She loved that video so much she wore it out.  She could never understand why they couldn't see "Kirsten" or "Travis" in their magic mirror.  One part of the video was a craft making a cone to hold your popcorn.  We made a lot of popcorn cones that years.  Kirsten and I would do crafts, play games, and have fun together.

 Kirsten and Travis in Mackinaw City, Mackinac Bridge in background.

Kirk, Kirsten, and Travis walking along the bluff in Harbor Springs.

Springtime was the time when we would take Kirsten and Travis on outings.  We would picnic at the Petoskey State Park and Harbor Springs Deer Park.  We would walk along the harbor and feed the ducks, until one of the ducks bit Kirsten.  She didn't want to feed the ducks after that.  Kirk would take Kirsten and Travis on walks.  Travis was in the stroller and sometimes Kirsten would be on her bike.  The stroller got a lot of use that year.  We would visit a fabulous toy store, Rocking Horse Toy Co., in Harbor Springs. Kirsten loved the train set up there.

Harbor Springs turned into a resort community in the summer.  Traffic increased, restaurants and shops were busy, and there was a vibe in the city that was fun to be a part of.  We took advantage of Harbor Springs' close proximity to the Mackinac Bridge area and explored Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island, Fort Michilmackinac, and surrounding area.  Petsoskey was another area that was fun to explore, except for the traffic.  It would take twice as long to get from Harbor Springs to Petoskey in the summer as it would the rest of the year.
Brenda and Kirsten at Petoskey State Park

Petoskey State Park was one of our favorite places to go in the summer.  We would pack a picnic, have lunch, swim a little and go home for nap time.  We would see many sunsets at the park that summer.

Harbor Springs was an interesting place to live.  It was a hard place to make friends at.  We spent a lot of time with just the four of us.  The school Kirk worked at was interesting, too.  The principal wanted to hire someone other than Kirk and was overruled by the other two principals and superintendent.  I think this made it difficult for Kirk to be accepted.  The politics at the elementary school was something else.  It made leaving Harbor Springs easier.

The home we lived in was a two bedroom condominium with a one car garage.  The red front door led to an open floor plan for the living room and kitchen with eating area.  A hallway led to the bathroom and two bedrooms.  An unfinished basement completed it.  We moved from a four bedroom, two story home and many of our possessions stayed in boxes.  Kirsten's bedroom was also her playroom, so bedtime was difficult at times.  She would get her toys out and take them to bed with her.  We would find her sleeping on top of her toys.  Travis had a crib in our bedroom, which was a fairly good size room.

Although we only lived in Harbor Springs for less than a year, it was a year that we made many family memories.  Memories I will treasure for years to come.


  1. Brenda, what are the odds that you'd post about Hope Springs in the same week that I check out the Emmet County Gen Society and learn that my husband's ancestors, Mary Ann McClure Cook and her husband Rev. John J. Cook, lived right there (decades before you, of course)? I'm still trying to figure out why a gaggle of McClures moved up there to the Little Traverse area. Farming, maybe? Anyway, thanks for your description of the place and your family's experiences.

  2. Marian, it truly is a small world. What time period did your relatives live in the area? Seeing that John was a Rev., I wonder if it was for mission purposes. Mission development as well as farming and the timber industry were some of the reasons for moving there.

  3. Hi Brenda, Rev. Cook was Presbyterian. I found the following story about the Presbyterian Church there...mentioning Rev. Cook! But it's certainly possible that Cook was there for missionary reasons, and his wife's family were there for farming or timber. I'm going to dig deeper! Thanks again... http://genealogytrails.com/mich/emmet/churchpresb.html