We traveled to Charlevoix, Michigan, for a friend’s wedding in mid-September and were pleasantly surprised to find Earl Young’s Mushroom Houses and Lake Charlevoix Brewing.
At 302 Park Avenue, you’ll find the “Half House,” one of the 30+ Mushroom Houses in Charlevoix.
It is located at 111 Bridge Park Drive, but probably the best way to get there is to find the Bridge Street Taproom and then take the stairs down to the Round Lake level.
This was my first visit to Charlevoix, Michigan. I know, shocking, and it wasn’t until crossing the drawbridge in the center of town, and I looked at Round Lake that I realized this fact.
Charlevoix isn’t a town you drive through on your way “Up North” or stop for lunch. You have to make an effort to reach this beautiful hamlet nestled on Lake Michigan’s shore.
The weather was crazy while we were visiting, and I thought I could feel the room on the 2nd floor in the bed and breakfast where we were staying swaying during the night. Yes, I’m exaggerating, but the wind was crazy, so naturally, we headed to the beach the next morning to watch waves and clouds. We weren’t disappointed.
Upon arrival, we reviewed our options for dinner and beer. Our first stop was the Weathervane Restaurant. It was totally happenstance. We were walking by, and I said, that place looks cool; let’s check it out. We found out afterward Earl Young built it.
Lake Charlevoix Brewing and Bridge Street Tap Room
After dinner on our first night in Charlevoix, we stopped at the Bridge Street Tap Room. It is located right by Round Lake and the Beaver Island ferry dock. This place is a gold mine for Michigan beers. In fact, all they serve on their 32 taps is Michigan beer and ciders. We sat down for a couple of beers as the wind started to pick up outside. They serve food, and it looked outstanding. We were wishing we had stopped here for dinner.
As we were making our way back to our room for the evening, a friendly bearded fellow stopped us and asked us if we had been to the U.P. Fall Beer Festival in Marquette. We said we had, and he introduced himself as Adam Engelman. Before you could snap two fingers, he invited us to check out the Lake Charlevoix Brewing. Long story short, it turns out that Adam is one of the owners of Bridge Street and Lake Charlevoix Brewing, and we have a lot in common with Adam. We hit it off immediately. Finding our room took us a bit longer, but the detour was worth it.
It can be a little tricky to find the brewery. The address is 111 Bridge Park Drive, but the best way to get there is to find the Bridge Street Taproom and then take the stairs to the Round Lake level. The brewery sits by the water and has a lovely outdoor patio to enjoy a beer while looking out over the lake. On a warm summer day, you would be in heaven.
The inside of the brewery is sunny and has a summer beach pub feel with light aluminum chairs and a sturdy wooden bar. The views look out toward the patio and onto Round Lake.
While the brewery looks great, what matters is the beer. The good news is that the beers are fantastic. Chuck had a full glass of the Flying Warrior IPA, which he said was sassy with hoppiness. I sampled the Steingrabber, Up North pale ale, and the Hot’s Double Cookie Stout. Each was tasty, but the cookie stout stood out as it sort of reminded us of Oreo cookies.
It was great knowing you can find some great Michigan beer, even in small vacation towns like Charlevoix.
The Mushroom Houses in Charlevoix are the work of Earl Young. Who, interestingly, referred to himself first as a realtor. He built the “Hobbit” “-like homes beginning in the late 1930s and into the 1950s. Young reportedly said, “I always build the roof first and then shove the house under it.” I believe it.
Visit Charloveix has a travel planner that includes a map, but the best way to view the Mushroom Houses is on a tour. The Charlevoix Historical Society offers “step-on tours” for a very reasonable price. We ran out of time, so we did a “speed tour” of the Park Street neighborhood in our car just before we left town. (I don’t recommend it, but it will do if you’ve only got a few minutes to catch a glimpse of the famous “Mushroom” houses.)
The “Half House” is on Park Street. You’re pretty sure a gnome or hobbit will shoot out of a door at any moment.
The house is at the corner of Clint and Grant Streets and is considered Young’s most beautiful home.
We were intrigued by the mushroom house which sits on Round Lake. We couldn’t get close to it. Clearly, the owners are shy and don’t like the mushroom house fans snapping pictures. We couldn’t find the secret passage to get close to it.
Our gallery has more pictures of the mushroom houses, the brewery, and beautiful Charlevoix.
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