Thursday, August 9, 2012

Manistee, MI: Day Two of . . . ???

Days on cruise:  139

We spent the morning walking around town to do errands. The city of Manistee sits, not surprisingly, on the Manistee River, connecting Lake Michigan to  . . . what else? . . . . Manistee Lake. The town sits on both sides of the river, and two bridges, plus a railroad bridge, cross it in short order.


We walked more than a mile to a marine store and found a few items we needed, plus the nearby SS City of Milwaukee, a 1920s ferry which operated on Lake Michigan for 50 years, carrying railroad cars between Michigan and Wisconsin. She even traveled as an ice breaker during winter months and now is a museum in Manistee, as well as a Boat-tel offering overnight accommodations for $25 for a single. We were not tempted.


She looked a bit like a rusty bucket in need of more preservation work to keep her intact.




After lunch we took a self-guided walking tour of the Historic Homes of Manistee. This city was built on the lumber industry, and was so successful that during the 1880s Manistee had the largest number of millionaires per capita of any place in the United States. We’ve heard similar claims in many formerly important towns we’ve passed through on the Loop, so we just accept the statements rather than try to fact-check them.

On October 8, 1871, the same day as the Great Chicago Fire, more than half of the City of Manistee burned. Within a year the wooden buildings that were destroyed were replaced by brick structures, some of which are still owned by descendants of the same families, and almost all of which are well-kept and inhabited.


Most of the homes are attractive, very close to downtown and some have lovely gardens.




A mix of Victorian and Federal style homes is represented.


Some could use a new paint job featuring 3 or 4 colors instead of the more sedate mono-tone colors of recent paint jobs.


All are large and situated on sizeable lots.


At 7pm we walked down the river to the Jaycees Bandshell on the River where live music is featured two nights weekly during summer months. We found tonight’s music a bit low on energy for our tastes, but the venue was comfortable and pretty.


After two nights in Manistee, we’d normally be ready to move on south, but the weather forecast has altered that plan.  The “Gale Watch in Effect from Friday Morning through Saturday Morning” suggests we don’t want to be out on Lake Michigan tomorrow.

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We put out a few extra fenders and dock lines tonight to make sure we’re secure for the expected overnight winds.

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