Schoolhouse Beach

Washington Bay Travel Blog

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Schoolhouse Beach

I paddled out of Jackson Harbor into a west wind to explore the northern shores of Washington Island. With no particular destination I could just turn around whenever tiring and make an easy run with the wind back to Jackson. I ended up on Washington Bay, about six miles away near the northwest corner of the island. Pine and hardwood forest trimmed the bay and sailboats anchored on its crystal clear waters.

I made my way to the popular Schoolhouse Beach. I never saw the log schoolhouse that was built there in 1850 and gave the place its name, but the beach itself was unforgettable.  It was not of sand but millions of white stones that had been made flat and rounded smooth by eons of wind, weather, and waves. They were those kind of stones ideal for skipping across the water.

Nelsen's Hall
Walking on them was awkward and clumsy without flip-flops or shoes. Sunbathers used lawn chairs or air mattresses instead of beach blankets. Its wooded park shaded picnic tables, barbeque pits, an information board, and outhouses. They say that there are only four other beaches like it in the world - located in Sweden, Norway, France, and Mexico. I don't think I'll be visiting those by kayak any time soon. After a snack and refreshing swim, I paddled back to Jackson Harbor and hitched a ride to Town.

After the fourth day of island-hopping it was time for some Saturday night bar-hopping. I enjoyed a fish boil dinner at the Granary then joined dozens of Islanders and visitors flocking to the three other bars as well. It was a pleasant surprise when Jessica, a long-time friend from the U.P., walked into Nelsen's Hall with her boyfriend Doug. We tipped a couple of beers and toasted a shot of Angostura Bitters which the place was famous for. They were headed back to Gladstone in the morning and offered me a ride. That was a real stroke of luck since the overland ride that was originally planned had been canceled.

[See reviews for the Granary and for Nelsen's Hall]

freespirit3 says:
I was at schoolhouse beach in July, 2010. It is really a great beach and am so glad we made it up there.
Posted on: Nov 19, 2010
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Schoolhouse Beach
Schoolhouse Beach
Nelsens Hall
Nelsen's Hall
Jess and Doug
Jess and Doug
Washington Bay
photo by: rotorhead85