Michigan hotel plans novel Hemingway weekend
Walloon Lake — Childhood summers spent fishing and swimming in a pristine northern Michigan lake would later imbue Ernest Hemingway’s “The Last Good Country.”
The newly opened Hotel Walloon is borrowing that reference for the name of a weekend devoted to celebrating the literary giant’s Michigan connection: “Walloon Lake: The Last Good Country, an Ernest Hemingway Occasion.”
For three days, starting Friday, guests will have an opportunity to explore the author’s boyhood haunt near Petoskey, hear new details about his Michigan life, and dine on dishes and drinks like the Hemingway daiquiri and Green Isaac’s special.
There will even be a Nick Adams Feast, inspired by the semi-autobiographical character of his short stories, who relished hunting and fishing in northern Michigan.
He once described to a friend his fondness for Michigan:
“It’s great northern air. Absolutely the best trout fishing in the country. No exaggeration. Fine country. Good color, good northern atmosphere, absolute freedom, no summer resort stuff and lots of paintable stuff.”
The cottage on the lake, built by Hemingway’s father in the 1900s, remains under family ownership.
“This is our first time having a Hemingway weekend,” said Allison Bond, who works at Hotel Walloon. The boutique hotel opened nearly a year ago.
Visitors to the hotel will find photos of Hemingway growing up in Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay region. “The area is full of various places that Hemingway enjoyed exploring, and we are looking forward to sharing them with the public.”
The price tag for the Hemingway weekend is between $672 and $1,536 per person, depending on which room in the upscale 32-room hotel is booked.
A trio of Hemingway experts will be on hand to chat with guests: The author’s daughter-in-law and former secretary, Valerie Hemingway; Chris Struble of the Michigan Hemingway Society; and John Cohassey, author of “Hemingway and Pound: A Most Unlikely Friendship.”
Valerie Hemingway, who wrote the 2004 book “Running With the Bulls: My Years With the Hemingways” first worked as Hemingway’s secretary before later marrying his son and having four children.
She described her father-in-law’s love of Michigan to a Saginaw News reporter in 2008:
“Michigan was freedom to him, and where he first seriously wrote and where he learned to fish and hunt. It had good memories because back home in Oak Park (Illinois) his mom, Grace, was a rigid disciplinarian who made him read the Bible, practice music, dress up. In the summer, in Michigan, she let up on that.”