Our last day on the road had one thing in common with the first: we landed at a nice, grass-roots airport, Welke "Hareport" on Beaver Island, Michigan. Shortly after I tied down, an Islander from Charlevoix landed (first photo).
It didn't take us long to learn that Beaver Island has an unusual history.
About 80% of the population is Irish. A notice on a community bulletin board
even advertises Gaelic lessons.
But it wasn't always that way. In the mid-19th Century, the island was a Mormon kingdom! When Joseph Smith was assassinated in 1844, there was a struggle between Brigham Young and James Jesse Strang for leadership of the church. Young prevailed, and excommunicated Strang. Strang formed his own splinter group of Mormons, with whom he eventually migrated to Beaver Island. In 1850 Strang proclaimed himself to be king, and began exacting tithes from his congregants and others on the island. He built roads and buildings, and generally improved the place. But his strict (and often quirky) administration led to discontent, and a group of residents ambushed Strang near the beach of St. James Harbor, mortally wounding him.
After Strang's death, the Irish fisherman whom he had driven out returned. They in turn drove out the Mormons, and their descendants have remained to this day.
There is more information at Terry Pepper's web site and in an article from the Detroit News.
Although very small (6 x 13 miles), this island comprises two townships, and they usually don't agree about anything. We stayed in St. James, at the northern end of the island, where the ferry comes and where most of the action is. The harbor is called by a handful of names, including Paradise Bay.
Scenes from a walk around St. James. I don't know the purpose of the structure in the third photo.
For our last night on the road, we ate at lakeside on the patio at Nina's, where people come to watch the sun set. Sunset wasn't until almost 9:30 PM, though. So we ate a little earlier, then walked along the beach to wait for the sun to set on Lake Michigan.