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Hemingway Adventure

Walloon Lake, Michigan

Walloon Lake, Michigan, USA 
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Was there ever a good ship Ernest?
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureSix miles from the village, on the eastern shore of the western finger of the lake, Strat points to an unassuming green and white cabin set above a narrow beach backed onto a tall screen of pine and hemlock trees. This began life as a twenty- by forty- foot cottage, built in two and a half months, between September and November 1899, and christened by Grace Hemingway ‘Windemere’, after a location in a novel by Sir Walter Scott. It was gradually enlarged over the years as the Hemingway clan itself was enlarged but it is nowhere near as grand and showy as some of the mansions built around the lake since.

It’s still in the family, owned by Hemingway’s nephew, Ernie Mainland, who runs an insurance business in Petoskey.

There’s no one there today. The jetties have been pulled up, the storm windows are in place and the house has been closed ahead of the long, hard winter when the lake will be ice-bound for six months. I’m quite glad to see it this way. In the silence I can indulge my imagination, try and feel the truth of the many stories that Hemingway wrote about his alter ego, Nick Adams, and how he learned lessons in life among the shores and the streams and the dark woods that surround the lake.

One year, after he’d quarrelled with his mother yet again, Hemingway stayed up here at the end of the season, and after the house was shut up for the winter he went to live with friends in nearby Horton Bay.

One of Hemingway’s earliest, boldest and most controversial short stories was written from his Horton Bay experiences. It’s called ‘Up in Michigan’ and its clinical description of the sexual act led Gertrude Stein to deem it unpublishable, his big sister Marcelline to describe it as ‘a vulgar, sordid tale’ and Bill Smith, one of Ernest’s buddies, to suggest he write a sequel called ‘Even Further Up in Michigan’.
Walloon Lake, Michigan, USA 
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Strat Peaslee - my captain for the day. Hemingway's father took a bee out of his ear.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Walloon Lake, Michigan
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: Walloon Lake, Michigan
  • Book page no: 25

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