Nestled in Northern Michigan, The Horton Bay General Store has been a local hangout since 1876. And a fountain of history, thanks to Ernest Hemingway.
Before Marlin fishing in the Keys, a stint in Paris and African safaris, Hemingway spent his summers in Northern Michigan on Walloon Lake, frequently visiting the General Store. He was married in Horton Bay in September of 1921 at the church next door, which has since been demolished. The area also served as the setting for several of his famous "Nick Adams" short stories, and is mentioned in a few novels.
The draw to the Store, aside from the history of Hemingway, is it's abundant charm. For over 20 years, Chip Lorenger has been the man at the helm. With a love of history and passion for preservation, Chip gutted the store to replicate it's original vintage interior to the best of his ability. In 2011, he and his wife renovated the upstairs to add a B&B, every inch perfectly curated with one of a kind antiques. Each piece of furniture and picture hanging on the wall has meaning and a story behind it - Civil War memorabilia passed down from Chip's relatives, an ornate glass sink from an antique fair in Tempe, Arizona, a massive wooden armoire from the original jewelry store in Boyne City that had to be brought in by a crane. Tucked behind the store, you will find an intimate garden, serving tapas on the weekends. The Store continues to evolve while maintaining it's authenticity.
As for traditions, summer is synonymous with the Horton Bay 4th of July Parade. Dating back to as early as 1925, the parade is the highlight of the season. It always draws a big crowd, but attendance peaked at 10,000 people in the 1980's for this village of only 38 people. So, how do you keep a long lasting tradition alive in the midst of a global pandemic? You host a "non" parade, complete with mandatory masks and swim noodles to promote social distancing. The "non" parade also included live music, ice cream cones and the infamous "Dancing American Flag" (pictured below).
At the Horton Bay General Store, summer tastes like fresh scones, which Chip bakes every single morning. It smells like homemade pies that are baked for regulars who come to celebrate special occasions. It sounds like familiar voices of guests turned friends who have returned for another summer. A true labor of love.