While Ernest Hemingway frequented several places across the globe throughout his lifetime, Walloon Lake, Michigan, was a place he had roots in and returned to in his early years. His father and mother, Dr. Clarence and Grace (Hall) Hemingway first came to the Walloon Lake area in the late 1800s, building their beloved cottage, Windemere, which remains in the family to this day. Ernest was just three months old when he made his first trip to the area. He would return every summer, at least for a brief period of time, until his 1921 wedding to Hadley (Richardson) Hemingway. Walloon Lake is where the Nobel and Pulitzer prize-winning author discovered his love of writing, hunting and fishing. 

To celebrate 100 years since his wedding in nearby Horton Bay, the Village of Walloon Lake is hosting a series of events as part of a “Hemingway Homecoming” celebration including a community read of The Nick Adams Stories, featured cocktails, guest speakers, lodging packages, a birthday celebration on July 21 and a series of events over Labor Day weekend including the unveiling historic art installations downtown. 

On September 3, interested parties are cordially invited to the 100th anniversary “wedding reception” of Ernest and Hadley at the Talcott Center in downtown Walloon Lake. Guests will dine on a world-famous chicken dinner reminiscent of the Pinehurst Inn in Horton Bay, where the wedding party actually gathered following the country wedding of the then virtually unknown writer. The event will also offer a cash bar featuring Michigan craft beverages as well as Papa’s Pilar Rum (named after his 38-foot Atlantic Ocean fishing boat), an auction and a special appearance by the “newlyweds” and will benefit the Michigan Hemingway Society.
 

After 15+ months of tight restrictions on gathering, Michigan is finally beginning to open up again. Typically, masks are only required for unvaccinated people until July 1, and capacities for indoor gatherings have drastically increased. However, just because regulations are loosened doesn’t mean that every attendee will be comfortable around so many people and so few masks.

 

When executed safely, in-person meetings and events are possible. But it’s been tough for meeting planners across the nation, due to differing state-by-state and even county-by-county guidelines. In some areas, meetings and events have returned a while ago, but for others, it’s hard to imagine what planning a meeting would be like.

 

With restrictions across the country in a state of constant flux, not everyone is ready to jump back into meeting in person. While some planners are eager to get back to “normal,” the long-term adjustment to new protocols and potential risks make some hesitant to gather.

While wearing masks and social distancing can help keep attendees safe, intentional design choices—such as including natureinspired elements and materials and plenty of plants—can also help calm attendees.