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Hemingway Adventure

Harbor Springs, Michigan

Chicago, Illinois, USA 
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A plane streaks northwards over the fire escapes of downtown Chicago.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureChicago OíHare. The busiest airport in the world. It doesnít have a lot to do with Hemingway but itís the quickest way to get to north Michigan, which has a lot to do with Hemingway.

He never wrote much about Chicago but he wrote an awful lot about the life and adventures he had during eighteen years of summer vacations at Walloon Lake.

By midday, Iíve negotiated the long slow check-in lines that are the price we pay for high-speed travel and am twenty-five thousand feet above the grey-green surface of Lake Michigan. The Hemingway family would have taken one of the lake steamers that ran out of Chicago and reached Harbor Springs in thirty-two hours. Today, by jet and rented car, Iím there in four.

Harbor Springs, on the north shore of Little Traverse Bay, is a well-heeled and exclusive small town and the jetty at which lake steamers like Manitou or City of Charlevoix would have tied up is now occupied by dazzling white private yachts. The old station building from which the Hemingways and all their baggage would have been loaded aboard the train is still there. Except that there is no railway attached to it. And it sells womenís clothing.

Looking inside, I have a momentary panic that Iíve stumbled upon a coven of transvestite train-drivers and that someone looking frighteningly like John Cleese might emerge from the back office, wiping greasy hands on a matching Donna Karan two-piece. This disturbing fantasy is not helped by the fact that the Depot boutique has, alongside the racks of dresses, a perfectly preserved ticket-oyce, complete with ironwork grille, wooden floor and wood-burning stove.
Harbor Springs, Michigan, USA 
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The Lake Michigan steamer would have brought the Hemingways to Harbor Springs at a more stately pace.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Harbor Springs, Michigan
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: Harbor Springs, Michigan
  • Book page no: 22

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