The Charlevoix Mushroom Houses: How You Can Stay In Some of Michigan's Most Unique Homes

The Charlevoix Mushroom Houses: How You Can Stay In Some of Michigan’s Most Unique Homes

Charlevoix Mushroom Houses Michigan

We love visiting Charlevoix and stopping at the beach, walking out to the lighthouse, dining and shopping downtown, and learning about history. One thing that has always fascinated us were the unique houses in the neighborhood by the beach, which are usually referred to as the Mushroom Houses. These unique homes (as well as a few other buildings in town) were built by master builder Earl Young, who had a very unique way of building homes and a style that has made these houses a point of interest for several decades. In April we finally did a self-guided driving and walking tour to see all of the homes and buildings that are part of the Earl Young Local Historic District, and today we’ll share some photos and tell you how to visit them yourself. A few of the mushroom houses are even available as rentals, which means you can stay in one of the most unique homes in Michigan!

Charlevoix Mushroom Houses Earl Young Historic District

Earl Young was a lifelong Michigander who was never an official architect but was responsible for more than 30 structures in Charlevoix. He had a unique way of doing things and did not normally work with blueprints, instead focusing on making the home fit the land it was being built on and not the other way around. The mushroom houses (also called Hobbit houses or gnome homes) remain some of the most recognizable houses in Charlevoix. His work can be visited in three different areas, first we will look at the triangle block that is formed by Park Ave., Clinton St., and Grant St. This area is known as the Earl Young Local Historic District and there are 11 noteworthy homes here.

Charlevoix Mushroom Houses Boulder Park

The second section of Earl Young homes can be found by taking Park Ave. west to Lakeshore Dr. Just past the hospital you will find Boulder Park, where there are close to a dozen Earl Young homes and many more that were later added in the same style.

Charlevoix Mushroom Houses Weathervane Restaurant

Charlevoix Mushroom Houses Weathervane Terrace

A couple of buildings on the north side of the river in downtown Charlevoix were also Earl Young creations. The Weathervane Restaurant and the Weathervane Terrace hotel are two of the most eye-catching structures near the channel that connects Round Lake to Lake Michigan and were both designed by Young.

Charlevoix Mushroom Houses Round Lake

There are a few other private homes that were Earl Young creations, including a few on Round Lake that can only be viewed from the water. As with all of these houses, be respectful of homeowners when doing a tour and do not trespass or disturb the residents.

Charlevoix Mushroom Houses Half House Earl Young

Now let’s talk about the mushroom houses that are available for rent. The Half House is listed on vrbo as a two bedroom, one bathroom vacation home with lake views and some other awesome amenities.

Charlevoix Mushroom Houses Thatch House Side View

Three properties are available for rent from  The Thatch House would be an amazing rental for a family week in Charlevoix: “Three stories with a master suite on each floor. There are 6 bedrooms, 5 1/2 baths as well as a media room in this one-of-a-kind thatch house. On the upper level, there is a cozy sitting area to enjoy amazing sunsets over Lake Michigan! With central air conditioning and in-floor heating, this Charlevoix Villa is available all year-round.”

Charlevoix Mushroom Houses Chalet and Cottage

You can also rent The Chalet on Clinton St. “The Chalet can be enjoyed as a romantic getaway for two, or by a family. There is an awesome carpeted loft area with 2 twin beds, a luxurious Master Suite and Bath, a custom kitchen and a queen-sized futon on the main floor. With central air conditioning in summer and in-floor heating in winter, you can enjoy Charlevoix all year round!” In front of The Chalet is The Cottage, which is also available for rent: “built in the 1800’s. Earl Young of “Mushroom House” fame did a major transformation and added his distinctive features. Recently renovated again, it now has a fresh look. With 4 bedrooms and 2 baths, it sleeps up to 7 guests (4 adults and 3 children). It’s located one block from the beach and 2 blocks from downtown Charlevoix.”

Charlevoix Earl Young Mushroom Houses

Charlevoix Mushroom Houses Abide Earl Young

Charlevoix Mushroom Houses For Rent Michigan

It was fun to walk and drive around looking at the unique architecture of these houses, while dreaming about a weekend or weeklong stay! When you head to Charlevoix this summer be sure to check out the Earl Young mushroom houses!