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GRDadof3

Torch Lake and Bellaire, Michigan Photo Tour

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My family spends quite a few Summer weekends in one of the most beautiful areas of Michigan: the Bellaire and Torch Lake area in Antrim County, midway between

Traverse City and Charlevoix in the Northwertern Lower Peninsula. So instead of being stingy, I thought I would share some of the scenery we are so fortunate to

experience every Summer.

Torch Lake is one of the largest inland lakes in Michigan. It spans almost 3 miles wide at it widest point (E/W), and over 20 miles long (N/S). It could almost be

mistaken as one of the sections of Grand Traverse Bay, as it was carved by retreating glaciers along with Grand Traverse Bay and the other Great Lakes. This carving

action dug the lake to over 290' deep, and makes it one of the clearest, rockiest and coldest lakes in the Great Lakes area. A sign in Alden Michigan on the Eastern

shore claims that it is one of the "10 Most Beautiful Lakes in the World", although I haven't been able to confirm that yet.

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Our family's cottage is at the midpoint on the Eastern shore.

This is the Southern tip of Torch Lake where it flows into Torch River on its way to Lake Michigan, and the massive "sand bar" seen as the white plume area to the right,

where all the girls and boys like to hang out (think Daytona Beach on boats). The three-tone blue colors (rocky shore area, sandy shallow areas, and then the dark blue

deep areas) have been compared to the Carribean. The water is clear enough to see the bottom in the sandy shallow areas up to depths of about 20' deep.

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(the only one that isn't mine)

Our quiet neighborhood:

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Find those Petoskey stones:

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(although it doesn't look like it, that's the clarity in about 3' of water)

..well, quiet most of the time..

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The cottage barely out of the picture on the left is puportedly Eminem's. This is about at the 2 1/2 mile across mark, so it's not like we hang out at his "hood" or anything. :P

The Rotund Rabble-Rouser Michael Moore also has a 6000 square foot "log cabin" about an 1/4 mile North of us on the same side of the lake. I have yet to spot him (surprisingly).

Man of the people my a**. :lol:

The world famous Dockside Bar at the Clam River Channel, which connects Torch to Clam Lake and Lake Bellaire.

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In this panorama, the end of the lake in view to the left is actually only about 3 miles away, as the lake bends around the point and continues on for another 7 miles.

Same situation to the right. Massive.

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Original Size: http://static.flickr.com/74/156064694_3055ef7174_o.jpg

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Still to come, Bellaire, about 5 miles East of Torch Lake and the country seat of Antrim County (named after Country Antrim, Ireland).

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cool pics GRDad, looks like a real nice place. Those guys are brave to jet ski, i know that waters gotta be cold. The lake i was camping on was cold anyway, but i had to go swimming, it was so hot.

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Thanks dtown. Yeah, I think the warmest the water got was 59 degrees.

On to Bellaire, the County seat of Antrim County. Here is the County Courthouse, built in 1905. The County seat used to reside in Elk Rapids along the Lake Michigan shoreline, but was moved to Bellaire to be more centrally located.

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The small town of about 1000 people has basically one industry: tourism. From the myriad of lakes in the area (Torch, Lake Bellaire, and Central Lake), to the ski/golf resorts of Shanty Creek and Schuss Mountain, it pretty much dominates the economy here. A strange part of Michigan, where multi-million dollar second homes dot the lakefronts and golf communities, and endless dilapidated mobile homes sit on weed choked lots along the main highways.

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Of course, to cater to the Suburban Detroiters and the Chicagoites, Lulu's Bistro opened a few years ago. I think they even serve French cuisine. One of the best restaurants in the Midwest sits tucked away in a small town about 10 miles North, called Tapawingo, with its own helicopter landing pad for "special guests". Needless to say I've never been to either place.

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Shorts Brewing Company on the other hand...

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No small town in Michigan is complete without a Dairy Twist

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Not complete without the rustic furniture store

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The historic Stone Waters Inn

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with views of the river

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Lake Bellaire and the whole valley

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Larger Size

(the watertower at the top of the hill middle left is at Shanty Creek/Schuss Mountain)

A typical view of Antrim County's hilly countryside

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Larger Size

Land of the stone houses

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A common appearance off the main highways

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Bellaire Highway headed back to Torch Lake

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Enjoy!

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those are great too Dad, i really like the stone house. there used to be one like that down the road from my house, but they buldozed it for a little office building.

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I've never spotted Mr. ( I use that loosly) Moore around Bellaire, but I do see hit quite a bit around Traverse City. If you're up in the TC area around the 4th of July, you should really check out the film festival he puts on. The first one was last year and it was great. I am personaly no hugh fan of him or his politics, but he did a pretty good job of leaving that at home last year. The coolest part is this giant screen they put up at the open space. This year I believe they will be showing The Wizard of Oz and a couple of other classics' that I can't think of right now.

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The cottage barely out of the picture on the left is puportedly Eminem's. This is about at the 2 1/2 mile across mark, so it's not like we hang out at his "hood" or anything. :P

The Rotund Rabble-Rouser Michael Moore also has a 6000 square foot "log cabin" about an 1/4 mile North of us on the same side of the lake. I have yet to spot him (surprisingly).

Man of the people my a**. :lol:

If you haven't seen Michael Moore around then you must not spend a lot of time in the area. He's always around and a very personable guy. What does it matter if he owns a 6000 square foot home? It is his primary residence and the Moore family has made this area their home. If you happened to be in TC at all this week then you would have seen him ALL over town scurrying between screenings of various films. He's a nice guy and gives a lot to the community. I suppose if his name was DeVos then you'd be singing his high praises??

As for LuLu's - the restaurant is owned by Michael Peterson, a Traverse City native and if you haven't dined there then you are truly missing out. Michael also worked at the Spencer Creek Inn for a number of years and decided to build LuLu's when he couldn't get a long term lease on the Alden property. While it may be popular with suburbanites from down state or Chicago, the locals love it too. Sunday nights (Fondue Night) are a blast.

I enjoyed seeing your pictures but you don't seem to really know much about the area. That's too bad because Torch Lake is more than just catering to fudgies.

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If you haven't seen Michael Moore around then you must not spend a lot of time in the area. He's always around and a very personable guy. What does it matter if he owns a 6000 square foot home? It is his primary residence and the Moore family has made this area their home. If you happened to be in TC at all this week then you would have seen him ALL over town scurrying between screenings of various films. He's a nice guy and gives a lot to the community. I suppose if his name was DeVos then you'd be singing his high praises??

As for LuLu's - the restaurant is owned by Michael Peterson, a Traverse City native and if you haven't dined there then you are truly missing out. Michael also worked at the Spencer Creek Inn for a number of years and decided to build LuLu's when he couldn't get a long term lease on the Alden property. While it may be popular with suburbanites from down state or Chicago, the locals love it too. Sunday nights (Fondue Night) are a blast.

I enjoyed seeing your pictures but you don't seem to really know much about the area. That's too bad because Torch Lake is more than just catering to fudgies.

Thank you and you're welcome. Interesting that you assume I like Devos just because I don't like Michael Moore. We don't normally go over to Traverse City when we're up there because it's a good hour drive + traffic on 31 is worse than GR's traffic.

BTW: I have been up in the Torch Lake area between the Summer boating season and prior to ski season starting. Not much going on. Maybe you can enlighten us on its economic makeup.

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SpiderLake. Welcome to the forum. Is that to pay homage to your favorite little black filth bottom lake in the Grand Traverse area, or do you actually live there. :D That's a joke. I love Spider Lake. I personally do not live on the lake, but I have been going to my friends house there for the last 14 years. And I'm not a fudgie, look left. I do live in TC. If you have not already and you live in the Traverse City area, take a look at the TC thread and please, for the love of god, help me out. As far as I know I'm the only person on this forum posting for TC.

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Awesome! Is the sandbar at the southern tip of Torch Lake public? I would like to go there sometime!

I'm going up north this weekend. Covering the west coast, the upper east coast and much of Lake Superior. Can't wait! :)

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Awesome! Is the sandbar at the southern tip of Torch Lake public? I would like to go there sometime!

I'm going up north this weekend. Covering the west coast, the upper east coast and much of Lake Superior. Can't wait! :)

I believe the sandbar is only accessible by boat, but it's quite a ways from the cottage so we haven't been there in a couple of years. I know there are a lot of public access points all along the lake. Just go to the bridge where Torch River empties out at the South end of the lake and see if there is a way to get to the sandbar. There's a marina and party store in that area. Some of the places in the area rent Waverunners too.

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Could someone enlighten me? What's a "fudgie"? Is that a good or a bad thing?

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People all over northern Michigan call tourists to their area "fudgies". The term originated in the Mackinac Area where Mackinac Island Fudge is popular, so much so that people would come up just for the fudge...or so they say.

So, eventually those people were thought of as a bit wierd, so the locals called them "fudgies". The term spread throughout the northern Lower Peninsula, and you'll hear people from the north always calling tourists and visitors "fudgies".

It's not a bad thing, but sometimes the term is used with annoyance, say if a fudgie is driving too slow because they are looking at something (maybe a view of the Mackinac Bridge).

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I don't use it in a negative way when talking about tourists to the Traverse City area, at least on this board. And Michi, tourist driving to slow, are you kidding me? It has been my experience driving around good ol' TC that its always some jacka@$ with a Williams or Bill Marsh (local car dealers) sticker on the bumper going 10 under the speed limit.

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Well, I'd be surprised if you can even get up to 10 under the speed limit on streets like Munson on the east side of downtown. ;)

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People all over northern Michigan call tourists to their area "fudgies". The term originated in the Mackinac Area where Mackinac Island Fudge is popular, so much so that people would come up just for the fudge...or

Thanks, Michi & Ka3kab: Now I get it! Fudgies = Tourists :thumbsup:

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Well, I'd be surprised if you can even get up to 10 under the speed limit on streets like Munson on the east side of downtown. ;)

Sure you can, around 10 or 11 at night. :D

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