The villages of Cedarville and Hessel anchor the Les Cheneaux Islands region on the mainland, and serve the seasonal island population that inhabits cottages on the islands that dot the waters offshore.
Cedarville and Hessel, historic Upper Peninsula port towns with marinas, have unusual gift and craft-making shops, eateries, historic taverns, galleries, an outfitter and guide service, and places to eat within walking distance from docks.
The Les Cheneaux area hosts the largest antique wooden boat show in the Midwest-- always the second Saturday of August. Located on Brulee Point overlooking the Les Cheneaux Islands, the Birdge Nature Preserve captures the quiet solitude of the Lake Huron shoreline and surrounding wetlands at three separate locations.
A viewing platform located alongside the crystal clear Mackinac Creek allows you a front row seat to nature's marshland symphony, featuring the music of tuneful songbirds and croaking frogs.
The purpose of this Association is to promote and enjoy the preservation and usage of antique watercraft by including its members in social events and communication. Chris and Julie Bullen brought a group of Canadian neighbors to Northern Michigan for the Water Wonderland Chapter's “August Adventure” which involved some classic boating activities during the week prior to the Hessel Boat Show.
Thursday morning the group toured Van Dam Custom Boats in Boyne City, and then drove to the Les Cheneaux Islands that afternoon to visit the Great Lakes Boat Building School. On Friday the group participated in the Water Wonderland Chapter's Poker Run and Annual Picnic, and then on Saturday they attended the 37th Annual Les Cheneaux Islands Antique Wooden Boat Show. Along with the Hughes and Bullens boats, the Watts brought their 1950 15ft Heron by Link Manufacturing of Gananoque Ontario.
TSACBA members can enjoy the trip by viewing the video of our members' adventures in Michigan. Leaving Sarnia for Port Huron, Michigan and The Boyne Mountain Lodge, home for the next three nights. Chris and Julie Bullen and Bryan and Kathy Rhodes in “Gatsby” and boating down the Crooked River. The “Clam Lock” near Alanson and Jim Watt takes the wheel of “Aqua Velvet” for a sunset cruiser. Rich’s favorite boat, the “Susan C" and Friday morning poker run in the Les Cheneaux Islands.

The poker run lunch stop and Norm Kitching relaxing after driving all the way from California. Kathy Kitching enjoying a boat ride with Jim and Merridy Watt and Rich and Linda Hughes “Aqua Velvet” at the Hessel Boat Show.
Jim Watt with his Link boat at the Hessel Boat Show and Chris and Julie Bullen’s “Gatsby” at the Hessel Boat show. Home > Media > On the WaterGREAT WATERS, ON THE WATERThe Great Lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior gave shape to the land and to the legacy of the Eastern Upper Peninsula. In the late 1800s steamships full of vacationers escaping city heat followed the waters to Mackinac Island and eventually to the shores of the U.P. A variety of museums piece together the maritime history of The Great Waters, from pleasure boating to the heavy work of freighters. Guests can book a room at the Coast Guard crews quarters at the Whitefish Point Light Station. The Great Lakes have swallowed thousands of ships over the centuries, and Michigan’s 11 Underwater Preserves protect the resting places of the wrecks.
Those who want to see shipwrecks without getting wet – and hear the narrated history behind schooners active during the fur trade, and later - can take a glass-bottomed boat tour out of Munising and view wrecks that appear closer than they are.
The Great Waters shoreline is dotted with more than a dozen of these important navigational tools. Pleasure boaters have plenty of docking options along The Great Waters; reservations are suggested. Thirty-six islands provide sheltered channels and bays within the Straits of Mackinac - a historic harbor area for boaters and explorers. This unique archipelago is accented by limestone cobble and sandy shoreline, shadowy cedar forest and century-old cottages that have been in families for generations. The show was launched over 30 years ago to celebrate the many wooden boats that remain in the area, thanks to the cold and gentle waters that protect these boats' hulls. Reif Boathouse (circa 1920s) is home to displays of vintage boats, marine artifacts, antique outboard motors, historic photos of area boating, a boat building workshop, and a gift shop.

The group arrived in the Northern Lower Peninsula Monday evening, August 5, for boating there on Tuesday and Wednesday with Bil and Karen Ballard and Jim and Wendy Mersman as heir hosts. The Hughes Aqua Velvet, a 1968 22ft Greavette Executive, was awarded First in her Class, Second Best of Show, and the prestigious major award for the show, The Bronson Family Award for Best Craftsman. These inland seas, carved by glaciers more than 12,000 years ago, have been the source of life and livelihood for Ancient people, European missionaries, explorers and fur traders, the armies of three nations, fishermen, loggers, miners, and industrialists.
Museum exhibits include the recovered bell of the legendary Edmund Fitzgerald, which went down with her crew of 29 in a November 1975 storm. In 1926 the world’s first Chris Craft dealership opened in the village of Hessel, which each August hosts the Antique Wooden Boat Show. Towering forests laced with trails and pathways offer unparalleled year-round opportunities for vacations, day-trips, reunions and quiet breaks from city living.
Government Island is open to the public, and offers nearly 200 acres for camping, hiking and beach access. The Les Cheneaux region also shares a large concentration of artists and craftspeople with the nearby communities. Les Cheneaux (The Channels) is a natural location for the Great Lakes Boat Building School, which offers an associates degree program and summer workshops in hand-building classic canoes, kayaks and dories. The best views of the islands are seen by boat, and many choose canoes and kayaks to leisurely ply the waters here.
They are members of both the Toronto and Water Wonderland Chapters of ACBS, as well as members of the TSACBA. Recreational motor boats and sailboats are also popular, but it is the wooden boat that the area is best known for.

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