Sightseeing in Northern Michigan: The Pointer in Harbor Springs

"It’s the best job in town."

Carol Parker is the first mate on The Pointer in Harbor Springs.

"We take the boat out five times a day and have wonderful cruises. The best part of the first mate job is we meet people from all over the world," says Carol.

Docked at Stafford’s Pier Restaurant, people can even enjoy their lunch or dinner on board.

“Stafford restaurant bought it 25 years ago and totally re-built it and now it’s a little cruise boat here in Harbor Springs, and goes around the Harbor Springs Basin and goes around the Harbor Springs Point, a little better than an hour cruise. It’s a lot of fun, it really is people just love it,” says Captain John Shaw.

But this isn’t just any old pleasure cruise. It’s also a history lesson.

 “There was a hotel on Harbor Point that burned down in the late 60s. It was the water taxi to from the hotel to where the restaurant is right now, and that was a huge boat house at one time and it ferried employees, workers and guests back and forth from that hotel,” says Captain Shaw.

Harbor Point is much like Mackinac Island — no cars allowed from July 1 to Labor Day.

It’s a place steeped in tradition.

“It was a lot easier to come across, because there wasn’t a road per se off of Harbor Point, so it was just as easy to go across as it was to go around,” explains Captain Shaw.

Today, many of the same families summer in these homes — and Captain John Shaw gives you a spectacular view.

“We’re not allowed to say too much about the people on the point because they want their privacy and we respect that, but we point out the houses and it’s a very enjoyable trip. The first time I took it I was a little dubious, and I gotta tell you, being the captain I’m biased, but it’s a lot of fun and the history around here is really interesting,” says Captain Shaw.

The Pointer takes you back to a nostalgic time where life was slower — and truly "summered" up north.

“There’s a lot of things to see and so the reaction has been extremely positive. It really has, I was surprised and we have a lot of return business. People do it once and say ‘I’ve gotta do this again’,” says Captain Shaw.

And it doesn’t get old, even for those who do this several times a day, like Captain John and his first mate.

“As soon as people get on the boat, people start to enjoy themselves, and so that kind of reaction makes you feel good.”

Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus