Updated: Nov 10
Traveling 75 North to 23 along the coast of Lake Huron, one enters a magical place called Au Gres. This is a small township, and if you make it to Au Gres, you must stop in Kelly's Market as this is the place where the employees know all of the locals by name, it is a treat to see. The houses on the lakeside all have signs out front that are private homes, summer homes and some rentals. This is the township, and you must go inland to encounter the town itself with its locally owned restaurants and shops, it is just dreamy. The actual town is a mere ten minutes west.
As if it ould not get better, continue on route 23 to an area called Tawas, Mi. Lodge Lovers, this is a year-round vacation spot! Yes, a year-round in Michigan! Arriving in October, what could I find? I found a National Park and a State Park, right next to each other, there are RV spots in both and third Camping Area, there is a mobile RV mechanic! A local Tractor Supply for propane refueling, plenty of diesel gas stations. There are lodges and cabins all privately owned (if you are one of the owners, we want to speak to you!)
The brisk walk through the parks as the leaves crunched under our feet was mesmerizing in sound and smell. The trail has signs that inform you of what tree/shrub you are looking at- I was passed by bike riders on these well-groomed paths- some were even electric bikes (you can rent in town). We continued through the National Park to the Lighthouse, a working lighthouse where a husband and wife live on the island. There are tours of the Island via boat and on foot from the ferry. If you didn't bring your boat, no worries, you can charter one for tours or family fishing. I believe there is boat rental as well. If you don't want to be on the big water, plenty of canoe liveries along the rivers, I was told by a local Riffle River is a "nice challenge". In the summer months, there will be tours of Charity Island. As we explored the beach area, we saw someone metal detecting and the local told us that there have even been dinosaur fossils found in the National Park. Not into lighthouses? There is a lumberman's monument that is a must see, beware it is 265 steps up! And worth every step! (yes, we hummed the theme to "Rocky", if you know, you know! ) There is also an incredible tribute to Veterans that should not be missed. Not into sightseeing? We saw golfers on both town's public golf courses! Not into the long game, there is a mini golf course as well.
Brought a boat? of the 80 slips, 60 of the slips are for "seasonal" rental. All of the beaches are public, and they welcome well behaved dogs (on leash). You can dock to go shopping! If you need that chocolate fix, it exists! If you forgot the anniversary- the jewelry store is perfect. Need the perfect gift, you'd be hard pressed to not find something in the local shops.
Elsa became a little off guard as she heard the 4 wheelers before me, yes you can bring your side-by-side and off road UTV's and snowmobiles.
To say that fishing is a big deal, is spot on- they have Walleye, Perch, Big mouth! They have a huge Perch Festival the First week in February! (The singing bridge in Au Gres has a smelt run festival!) Thie Perch festivals have been going on for the last 74 years, each participant receives a collector pin. All can be seen at the Chamber Building, stop in and tell them Lodge Lovers and Elsa sent you! You might find some "goodies" who knows you may get discount coupons, at the very least you will get dinner suggestions. FYO- The Mexican place next to chamber building is incredible.
As we continued our path on the National Park side, we were told where the hunting areas were so we would be safe, they hunt deer, duck and pheasant. Don't worry about bait, or feed- everywhere you go in this incredible place has some! I am told there are a few good processors for your meat. On our way out a couple of spectacular bucks wanted to play "chicken" with Jo, Chicken Jo yielded.
I am told in the winter the trails are still professionally groomed for cross- country skiing, snowshoe hiking, and snowmobiling. (I believe the Chamber said there is a rental place for all three) There is Ice Fishing, Ice Skating (don't want to skate on the lake, there is an indoor arena as well) The town restaurants /dinners, shopping and camping stay open even in the winter. Forgot to ask about "polar plunges" what about it Tawas, can we?
What to do in the summer months? Where to begin.... how does blueberry picking with fresh homemade doughnuts sound good? Tawas's Wellness group is shocking, on Monday nights in town they host a concert with local bands. On Tuesday they shut down a street for a "street dance" They have a weekly 5k walk and weekly yoga and host the farmer's market. They have an open-air antique market as well. Every town should be so lucky.
We will be uploading maps that show all of the trails you can explore.
We were hard pressed to leave this incredible town.
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