Overlooking the shores of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay in the northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula you’ll find Petoskey, Michigan. Petoskey was known as Bear River when the first missionary arrived in 1855. The town was later renamed after the Ottawa Indian, Chief Pe-to-se-ga. Petoskey was officially granted a charter in 1879.
Petoskey is known for its abundance of Petoskey Stones. Petoskey stones are fossilized colony corals (Hexagonaria percarinata) that were scraped up from the bedrock surface by glaciers. Petoskey stones can be found on beaches, in ditches, and in gravel pits. Similar fossils of the Hexagonaria genus occur in many parts of the world, but the “percarinata” is limited to the Traverse Group.
Petoskey has been called the “land of the million dollar sunsets” ever since 1873. On a late fall day that year, the train whistled to a stop at the end of its line – Petoskey. On board was a reporter for a Grand Rapids newspaper, who in reporting on the wilderness scenery, rhapsodized about the area’s “million dollar sunsets.”
Petoskey was also the home to Ernest Hemingway during his boyhood. The Michigan Hemingway Society holds their annual Hemingway Weekend in Petoskey. The annual Hemingway Weekend in Petoskey features speakers, readings, exhibits, and tours of northern Michigan sites where the Nobel Prize-winning author spent his boyhood years. This year, Hemingway Weekend is October 16-18.