House Crazy Sarah is obsessed with real-life old country stores….
The Horton Bay General Store in Boyne City, Michigan (near the lake resort towns of Charlevoix & Petoskey), is notable not only for its preserved historic character, but also for one of its famous former patrons: none other than classic American writer, Ernest Hemingway.
Hemingway as a child and teenager, along with his little sister Sunny in tow, spent a great deal of time during the summers at the white clapboard Horton Bay General Store.
Hemingway’s family had a vacation cabin on nearby Walloon Lake.
As an adult, Hemingway portrayed the picturesque general store in some of his novels and stories, so the little northern Michigan store is known throughout the world by fans of Hemingway.
Today, the idyllic general store is still a popular hangout spot with locals as well as a destination for tourists.
A bit of history: the Horton Bay General Store was built in 1877-1878.
The construction style is typical of late nineteenth-century general stores.
The first floor housed shelves stocked with groceries, hardware, clothing, and other products, while the second floor served as living quarters for the proprietor. In addition, the local post office was located here.
Reportedly, the store has operated continuously since it opened.
The function of the store has evolved in recent years with a 2011 addition of a B&B upstairs, along with a tavern in the back of the store, and a garden dining patio.
Lunch is served 7 days a week – and you can even enjoy real malts at the soda fountain!
Let’s look inside this cool old place…
Back in the day when the store was the center of this logging and farming community, the local men would sit at the counters in the evenings discussing crop prices and politics.
Perhaps as a result of some rowdy debates, the standing rule today while in the store or tavern is “NO POLITICS”.
The store has had many owners over the years but through all, the old-time charm has been lovingly maintained.
Have a look in the renovated lounge/tavern in the back part of the store:
There’s a wood stove fireplace insert that no doubt makes for a cozy scene during those cold northern Michigan winter months.
What a great space to gather round and NOT talk about politics!
On the upper floor, two bedroom suites comprise the bed & breakfast and both are furnished with period antiques.
Here’s a look at the dining patio out back:
What a gorgeous old gal.
Someday, House Crazy Sarah will make the journey to visit this place that has captivated the hearts and imaginations of many, including a world famous writer.