On the long drive up to Canada, we decided to go through the Lower Peninsula of Michigan to get an idea of the landscape along Lake Michigan. I can’t believe I’ve never really spent time in that area before because it is GORGEOUS! We stopped over in Charlevoix and had lunch at this peculiar restaurant right on the waterway next to the drawbridge – gave the kids quite a thrill.
I poked around inside the main dining room which was off-limits at the time because it was being set up for the night’s fancy dinner. But you know me.
Lo and behold, I saw this BEHEMOTH stone fireplace which I knew immediately was an Earl Young original:
This is what it looked like from the exterior:
Look at the size of those boulders!
I consulted my Mushroom Houses of Charlevoix book (which I just happened to be carrying around in my SUV) and there it was….
The Weathervane Restaurant was designed and built by Earl Young in the 1940’s.
If you’ve missed my previous posts about Earl Young, you’ll have to catch up with Earl Young Mushroom Houses and Earl Young Boulder Manor For Sale. Basically, Earl Young was a self-trained eccentric who built the cutest, most bizarre stone homes with wavy, oddly shaped roofs in the Charlevoix region. The locals called them ‘Mushroom Houses’ and the name stuck.
I had wanted to find at least one Earl Young mushroom house while we were in Charlevoix but they are off the beaten path so I didn’t know if we would be able to find any. Luckily, we have a friend who is from the area and he directed us by cell phone on exactly where to go. Plus we had an iPhone. Jackpot!
It was a grey, humid, overcast day, but I managed to get a few decent pictures.
We just drove along and found a good chunk of the 21 Earl Young built-homes because they are in the same general area of Charlevoix – close to the shores of Lake Michigan.
Have a look:
Then we came across one of the most famous homes in Charlevoix – Earl’s Young masterpiece Boulder Manor:
You may recall from an earlier post this year that Boulder Manor is up for sale.
Then there were also a couple of Earl Young designed rental cottages that I mugged in front of…
As you can see from these photos, Earl Young not only built houses, he also embellished the yards with stone fences, mailboxes, play houses and various whimsical outbuildings.
He never built two houses alike, but all of his homes have that special ‘Earl Young’ flavor.
Then there was this sweet house:
Wouldn’t ya know it – this one is also for sale!
It looks larger when you drive around the side:
We also spotted some inauthentic mushroom houses in the area, which clearly tried to imitate the Earl Young style but were too brand spanking new and perfect to be true Earl Young’s.
I hope you are all mushroomed-out from this Michigan house-peeping excursion. If you are ever in Charlevoix, you have to see these things for yourself. Just make sure you research where they are before you go if you are not familiar with the area. (Or you could wing it with an iPhone like we did!)
ps….. to read more about Earl Young homes, get yourself a copy of the Mushroom Houses of Charlevoix – just click on the picture of the book cover on my right-hand sidebar to purchase.