Friday, April 8, 2011
"Where Is the Car Ferry?"
The driver of the BATA bus (Bay Area Transportation Authority) knows there isn’t a car ferry across Grand Traverse Bay from Northport to Eastport, so doubtless he was merely keeping to his schedule, using the few minutes between legs of his trip to enjoy muted morning light on the water. (It was an overcast after a bright dawn earlier.) But just imagine if there were a ferry. I like the sound of Northport to Eastport, but since Eastport doesn’t have a harbor or docks and Charlevoix is more of a boaters’ destination, how about Northport-Charlevoix? If you’re on the east end of my proposed route, you would probably call the route Charlevoix-Northport. I don’t care. The boat would run both ways.
What would it mean to the communities it served? Northport would no longer be at the end of the road. Instead we would be part of an Up North loop. People would no longer have to decide between Leelanau and the Other Side but could do both in one vacation. It would cut the distance from Northport to the Mackinac Bridge. (We wouldn’t avoid Traverse City. No, not at all. I imagine leaving for the U.P. by taking the ferry across and coming home with a drive around the whole beautiful bay.) And ferries are an adventure. Who doesn’t love being out on the water, in the sun and breeze—or bundled up against a chill fog? Kids love it and would remember it all their lives. Parents would say, “Remember when we took the ferry to Northport?”
I’ve been talking about my ferry idea for years, and people laugh and think I’m joking. I’m not joking. Now, where are the investors with vision to make it happen?