Bay View Victorian Cottages
By Lisa July 22nd, 2010
It’s a lucky side effect of being in the design business that leads me to seek out interesting neighborhoods when on vacation. And boy did I find a great one in Petoskey, Michigan while at my cousin’s wedding. Petoskey is a charming resort town on Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan. There is an area there of Victorian cottages called Bay View. It began as a Methodist Camp Meeting in 1876, with several hundred attendees housed in tents enjoying six days of religious talks and sermons. Ten years later there were 125 cottages, a hotel and a chapel. And by 1987, still going strong with educational and recreational programs for all ages, it was named a National Historic Landmark.
The original site was plotted out in tiers so each cottage would have a view of the lake. Human nature had other plans however, as each cottage owner landscaped their yards, planting trees. Of course the trees matured, blocking the views, but creating a beautiful, refreshing coolness to the streets that make the entire area feel like a park.
The cottages themselves often stay in families for generations. Some are small, true cottages, while others are the size of large homes. All of them are only open from May 1 until October 31 when Bay View shuts down for the winter months. They are all colorful and meticulously maintained—you really expect to see young men in seersucker suits and young ladies with large bows in their hair enjoying ice cream. My husband and I had a chance to chat with a few of the residents—they were all so open and friendly that it was truly hard to leave. Check out their website at bayviewassociation.org and by all means drive through if you’re ever in northern Michigan!