The Horton Bay General Store would be an inexhaustible source of history and folklore for not only the region but of the world thanks to Ernest Hemingway. Today the store continues to evolve, a tavern in the back of the store with its garden patio has become a coveted treasure of the region. Breakfast and lunch are served 7 days a week. Enjoy a real malted at the soda fountain! The tapas served on Friday, Saturday and Sunday is becoming a reservation-only event due to the limited seating. They do not “turn the tables” -- it is yours for the evening. This business is open seasonally between May and early October.
Ernest spent less time at Windemere and more time with friends at the village of Horton Bay. To get there, Ernest rowed across Walloon Lake from Windemere and then walked through hills 4 additional miles. The little town nestled on Lake Charlevoix had been a lumbering center in the late 1800s but had faded into a small cluster of buildings including a general store, blacksmith shop, inns, and several cottages. At the bay was a warehouse where crates of locally grown vegetables were stored awaiting steamers to transport them to markets elsewhere. The pier was also a gathering spot for swimmers and young people.
When Ernest stayed at Horton Bay is was usually with his friends or at Pinehurst Inn. Owned by the local blacksmith, Jim Dilworth, and run by his wife, Elizabeth, rooms were available and the chicken dinners were very popular with tourists and locals. Ernest frequently stayed and ate here and it was the site of his wedding reception in 1921.
Horton Bay would also be the setting for Ernest's wedding on September 2, 1921. He had met and fallen in love with Hadley Richardson, a 27-year-old woman from St. Louis, Missouri, and Ernest wanted the wedding to be held in Michigan, far from the formalities of Oak Park. They were married in a now demolished Methodist Church at Horton Bay and walked across the road to the reception. A Model T Ford took them to the shore of Walloon Lake where Ernest rowed Hadley the mile across the lake to Windemere where they spent their honeymoon.
Eventually Horton Bay would figure prominently in several of Ernest's short stories, including Up in Michigan, The End of Something, and the Three Day Blow.