Day 1: Arriving at Petoskey
We took our time leaving Munising, so we didn’t have to wait for people in line at the single dump station. (Side note: We left Munising on a Sunday. If you can while camping in a trailer, avoid leaving on a Sunday morning because you’ll have lots of other people leaving at the end of a weekend.) We did end up finishing up in rain, thunder, and lightning. We successfully but quickly flushed the tanks, thanks to a dry run (pun intended) the day before. We were in such a rush that we completely forgot the boards we put under the trailer tongue. We must have driven right over them on our way out.
It rained most of the way to the bridge, though it tapered off after a little way. We stopped at a rest area on US-2 on the north shore of Lake Michigan that was wild and scenic. We waited in line quite a while at the bridge; the line was backed up onto US-2. Surprisingly it was only about 30 miles from the bridge to Petoskey. It seemed like it would be further. We got checked in to the park only to get to our site and discover a tent and gear still on it, and no sign of people. That was a first. Now we have a new thing to be anxious about: rude fellow campers that don’t check out when they’re supposed to. Thankfully the park was not full so we went back and switched to the site next door, which was probably better for us anyway. We dropped off the trailer then went back out for ice, firewood, and Petoskey Brewing Meets the Eye PA (IPA). The firewood set up is the way I remember it from 30 years ago: a corral that you pick your own from, for $4 bundle. Not great wood, but it burns well. The people on our original site eventually came back, packed up, cooked some food — left a fire going! — and took off.
We went down and checked out the beach, then decided snacky food was the way to go for dinner. So back to Toski Sands Market for $30 worth of snacks, including smoked whitefish spread for $14.97. It was really good; so was the pesto hummus we got. Toski Sands is another place I recall from previous trips here. It’s pricey but they have an excellent selection. Our neighbors were really talkative. There was one guy who just would not shut up. Other than that, no dramatics. The park is pretty empty and the staff left around 5:00 PM.
Day 2: At the beach
Another latish start, since it wasn’t very warm this morning. We took our time with coffee and oatmeal, and left around 11:30 to get bread for breakfast and sandwiches from Crooked Tree Breadworks. We like trying local food when we travel. Sometimes it’s restaurants, sometimes it’s a bakery or shop.
We took our chairs and blanket down to the beach, where we found a spot in the dunes out of the wind. I read while Steve went rock hunting. We found several petoskey stones plus some other interesting rocks, small and large.
We went to Petoskey Brewing for a late lunch. For starters we had pretzel sticks with dipping sauce – peanut butter and jelly, spicy mustard, cheesy horseradish – and burgers. Steve had a black and bleu burger, I had a Smokin’ Betty, with pepper jack cheese, jalapenos, and chipotle mayo, plus really good beer-battered fries. Steve had a Black Knight Black IPA and a Strawberry Alfalfa ale; I had a Juicy IPA and a Morning Fog Mocha Java, since they were out of the Theoboma double chocolate porter. We plan to pick up some Super Trooper Coffee and Doughnuts beer for Steve to take to deer camp for the cops.
Then we came back to camp and went for a walk on the beach to look for rocks. We had a surprise visitor at the fire. A skunk walked through camp, right under my chair! I’d heard leaves rustling, but had no idea what caused it. After that, sourdough bread and butter was all we needed for dinner, with fudge and a little Chex mix.
Day 3: Harbor Springs and Petoskey sightseeing
Our day to sightsee. Yummy cherry pecan sourdough bread for breakfast, then a drive up to Harbor Springs. I actually found the area with all the cool old houses! We saw a crane taking dock sections out, and a whole lot of yard work being done by people who were not the owners. Then we drove into Petoskey and walked around for a couple of hours. Bought some things at American Spoon Foods. Couldn’t find a chipmunk Christmas ornament, which is what we decided would be most appropriate for this trip.
Stopped at Oleson’s for beer and struck gold. Found DKML and the Super Trooper, plus several other beers to try. $90 of beer.
Back at camp we walked down to the beach to take some photos before going for a late lunch at Freshwater Grill. Steve had the combo – whitefish, perch, cod – I had the perch. With crispy fries, hush puppies, and coleslaw. It was really good. Then back for a fire and beer, which we interrupted to go down to the beach and catch the sun setting over the water. More sourdough for dinner.
The park was amazingly not full. The offices haven’t even been staffed. A benefit of coming in September –no crowds! This state parks and the surrounding area has always been one of my favoriate places in Michigan.
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Petoskey has always been one of my favorite state parks. This was the first time camping at Tannery Creek. I think the atmosphere is better at Dunes but Tannery Creek is better for trailers. Great beach.
There are lots of dining options in Petoskey and Harbor Springs. It’s one of the more upscale areas in northern Michigan.
There is no public transportation in the area that we know of. In any case, we were pulling a trailer so we had our own vehicle. There are bike paths in the area.