a little bit about the water wonderland chapter

On June 8, 1987, the first organizational meeting of the Water Wonderland Chapter/ACBS was held in Traverse City, Michigan. The chapter charter was presented to Dennis Mitchell, first chapter president, at the inaugural winter meeting on February 20, 1988. As an historical note, prior to its organization as a chapter of ACBS, this organization had been organized as the Long Lake Wooden Boat Club.

Although the Water Wonderland Chapter was founded in Traverse City (northwest region of Michigan's Lower Peninsula), its members not only hail from throughout the state, but across the Midwest. Our predominant "market", however, tends to be the western and northern portions of the Lower Peninsula, along with the entire Upper Peninsula. Accordingly, chapter officers and directors make a concerted effort to plan events throughout the region, as to not only appeal to the entire membership, but to visit new and unexplored locales.

As is fitting with antique and classic boats, tradition plays an important role in the yearly activities of the chapter. After a long, cold winter of howling winds and drifting snow, members are quite eager to embark upon another season of Michigan boating and activities. By May, spring is in full swing, boats are beginning to find their way from trailer to water and the WWC/ACBS Spring dinner is always a hit. Alternating every year from a northern to southern location, chapter members have enjoyed dinners in as varied spots ranging from quaint country inns to secluded lakefront restaurants. In most cases, a guest speaker will present a program as well. Occasionally, our chapter is honored to have fellow member Chris Smith (grandson of the founder of Chris Craft) as our featured speaker at our dinners.

Each summer, various club members volunteer to organize four or five day trips where participants can bring their boats and navigate lakes and waterways within Michigan. Usually ten to twenty boats create quite a site as they cruise around the lakes. Boating in a group setting is quite a thrill and since they are guided it adds to the pleasure and relaxation of the day. The trips usually include an informal picnic style dinner at a chapter member's home and a brief lesson in local points of interest such as old hotels, marinas, or significant historic homes. The dates and locations vary every year but usually are on weekends.

On the first Saturday of August since 1987, is the Classic Boats on the Boardwalk. For those unfamiliar with Traverse City, it is located at the foot of Grand Traverse Bay (on Lake Michigan). Beginning at West Bay and continuing through the downtown business district is the Boardman River. Construction of a boardwalk along a large expanse of the river year's back provided the perfect location for which to display our historic, antique and classic boats. From 35-60 boats have lined the riverbank, allowing thousands of residents and tourists alike to enjoy this unique display of watercraft at no charge. The beauty of the boats notwithstanding, another remarkable part of Boats on the Boardwalk is the outstanding volunteer effort that is put forth to ensure the show's success. With activities ranging from staffing the parking lot and launch ramp at 7:00 AM, guiding boats to their proper dock locations through the use of two-way radios and assistance in docking and retrieval, the chapter members' love of wooden boats is evident to all in attendance and perpetuates the shows' success year after year. Click here to view a few of our posters.

Perhaps the hallmark for those exhibiting boats at Boats on the Boardwalk is the awards given. Since the shows' inception in 1988, dedicated chapter volunteers have created a handmade miniature mahogany "transom" plaques, which each participant receives.

The onset of autumn colors throughout the hardwoods of northern Michigan foreshadows the conclusion of another season of Michigan boating. Wanting to take advantage of this beautiful fall foliage, the chapter has traditionally holds the Fall Dinner "somewhere up north." As is probably the case with most ACBS chapters, legendary tales of boating adventure are swapped, winter projects discussed and the camaraderie of the chapter strengthened. After dinner, the WWC/ACBS Annual Meeting is held, which includes: an overview of the past years' activities, new business facing the chapter, various awards given to recognize some of the more noteworthy events and election of officers and directors.

The Water Wonderland Chapter/ACBS has enjoyed consistent growth year after year --- our officers and directors work diligently to ensure this continues to be a hallmark of our chapter. We are also constantly seeking to expand upon and/or improve the activities of the chapter, meeting the needs of the membership as that membership changes. Towards that end, we realize, as does the ACBS, that the future of our collective organizations can only be found in today's youth --- more specifically, first attracting their interest in antique and classic boats and secondly, retaining that interest through appropriate benefits and activities.