The first time I heard about “Bay View” was on a beautiful autumn day – just after Rob and I had moved from California to Minnesota. The sun was bright, the sky a cloudless blue, the air cool and crisp, when Rob declared with joy: “It’s a Bay View day!” Bay View, it turned out, was a picturesque place along the shores of Little Traverse Bay in Northern Michigan. It was a place of great history for the Scarrow family. And it was a place where, in the summer, the weather was remarkably hospitable: cool breezes, fresh air, blue skies, low humidity – a wondrous contrast to the oppressive heat of an urban Michigan summer.
My acquaintance with “Bay View” came as the result of having married into the Scarrow family. Rob’s grandmother, Edith, first came here around 1910, when she was a young woman. Edith was plagued by hay fever severe enough to cause asthma and the Detroit summers played havoc with her health. Her brother and sister-in-law resided in Petoskey, a city in Northern Michigan bordering a small Methodist Chautauqua called, “Bay View.” They invited her north to find relief for her allergies. She stayed at “The Bark,” a local cottage which let rooms to tourists.
The experience must have made a deep impression on Edith, because in 1920, Edith and her father bought a summer cottage in Bay View called the “Woodland Villa.” It was a “tourist home” – a bed, but no breakfast. (Today, that cottage is known as “The Gingerbread House.” It still functions as a modern-day ‘tourist home,’ but with the benefit of a morning meal it is now what we call a “Bed & Breakfast.”) Of the old Woodland Villa, Rob’s father (Edith’s son), writes this: “She ran it as a tourist home and a haven for her sons…as we passed from toddlers to college freshmen. She sold the cottage in 1945 and bought what is now the Daus cottage, where she lived happily for another 25 years.”
Edith Scarrow spent more than 60 years summering in Bay View, Michigan. After the death of her husband, Carman, she sold the cottage overlooking the lake and Rob’s family stopped summering there. While he hadn’t been back since he was a boy, Rob still had fond memories of Bay View, the Scarrow Cottage, and the heavenly clime of Northern Michigan.