Friday morning we left early from Frankfort, Mi marina. The storms were all done but it was still cloudy with some wind. We have 28 miles to navigate to Seng’s Marina in Manistee, Michigan. Manistee River Valley including Manistee from 1836-1848 was a Ottawa reservation. The first white settlement and sawmill was built-in Manistee in 1841 by John Stronach and his son Adam. During the lumbering era Manistee became a significant site for lumber mills. Huge numbers of white pine logs were floated down the river to the port at Manistee and eventually on to the lumber markets of Grand Rapids, Milwaukee and Chicago.
We saw sand dunes on the shore of Lake Michigan all the way from Leland to Manistee on the port (left) side. We approached the inlet into Manistee harbor “Lake Michigan’s Victorian Port City” with a pair of Manistee Pierced lights located on the north and south pier. The first light was on the south pier built-in 1870 and burnt in the Great Fire of 1871 along with the town. Two lighthouses were built one on each pier in 1875 over the years the lights have been moved, torn down, and rebuilt. The current Pierced light was built-in 1927 to our port (left) side and located on the end of the 1,300 foot concrete pier. This lighthouse is one of four remaining with catwalks on Lake Michigan.
We had three bridges to pass through on our way to the marina the first was Maple Street Bridge built-in 1964 called a girder bascule bridge and replaced the Scherzer rolling lift bridge built-in 1908. Then we have the U.S. Hwy bridge and finally the CSX Transportation Swing Bridge, which is usually opened with the river opening up to Manistee Lake.
It was beautiful as we navigated on the narrow river lined with homes, small marinas, restaurants, and a mile and half board walk. With the river eventually opening up to Manistee Lake. Great Lake freighters still travel the Manistee river Channel into Manistee lake to serve surrounding industry; however, we’re not lucky enough to see a Great Lake freighter navigating past the marina.
We are staying in Seng’s Marina on Manistee Lake a two block walk to down town. This Marina is beautiful with a great view, nice facility, great hospitality from local boaters, and Carlie the harbor master. They even stained the docks and offer an out-door boaters lounge with tables and chairs.
Now on Lake Michigan boaters take fishing very serious even small boats. We counted 28 fishing rods on this personal charter fishing boat. I found out you can have as many fishing pools on board as you want and each person fishing can have three polls in the water at one time.
Manistee offers a rare combination, an amazingly well-preserved Victorian downtown and residential district that feel like a real town. Downtown Manistee rebuilt after the area fire of 1871, is a national historic district that looks much as it did during the lumber-boom era. Kent and I walked downtown to see what this amazing historic town was like. We strolled in and out of the quaint little shops ending up at TJ’s Pub for a beer. The pub is in the basement of the Ramsdell Inn built-in 1891 with eight rooms and two suites on the upper level. We walked past the historic Vogue Theatre opening in 1938 with its original neon signage & renovated interior. There were several areas facing the river with benches and flowers, were you can sit and watch the river flow by.
Friday night we had pizza at Famous Flynn’s and the owner Dena Gilmore was so nice to take time out to talk to us. Dena was very interested about our journey on the great loop. We learned that Famous Flynn’s named after her dog was on her bucket list and that all the food she serves is fresh and natural without any preservatives. The pizza we ordered was delicious along with live entertainment that night. I would recommend Famous Flynn’s to anyone hungry for a great pizza, with great hospitality.
Saturday Kent and I walked along the river on the board walk. There were posting of historical information along our walk and benches if you needed to take a rest. The weather was great for a walk even if it was windy. We walked on the beach and stopped and had lunch at a concession stand on the beach. There was a little girl there celebrating her second birthday.
We walked out on the wide pier and looked at the waves that were pretty intense crashing along the piers edge. Just to let you know I didn’t walk out to the light at the end of the pier. Glad we decided to stay another day and enjoy the beauty of the town.
On our way back from the beach we walked on the sidewalks and found the Manistee County Historical Museum housed in the original waterworks building, filled with 19th Century exhibits from the surrounding area. We enjoyed the museum and had a nice visit with Anna the person in charge that day.
This was our beautiful sunrise as we left the marina Sunday morning with the sun shinning and fog rising off the lake. This is what I really love about this trip the simple beauty that I now take time to enjoy.
This is what the town looks like as we are leaving Sunday morning. We have another short day with our destination at Ludington, Michigan with great beaches, two lighthouses and modern marina facilities. We don’t know how long we are staying depends on weather.