Fun things to know about Northern Lower Peninsula
- That there is a trail that runs from Lake Michigan to Lake Huron for horseback riders and hikers? The Michigan Riding and Hiking trail runs between Oscoda to Empire with camping available along the 220-mile trail. There are also a couple of north/south trails. One to Cadillac and the other up to Cheboygan/Mackinaw City area.
- That visitors to Northern Michigan are called Fudgies? With so many local shops making fudge, tourists are not able to resist taking some home with them.
- That Michigan has a Polar-Equator Trail? The 45th Parallel is the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole. There is a 12-foot cairn erected in 1938 on the 45th Parallel west of Torch Lake outside the village of Elk Rapids.
Northwest Lower Michigan
- That in 1940 Robert Wadlow (the world’s tallest man ever at 8’11”) was visiting the Manistee National Forest Festival and died from an infected blister on his foot? Snyder shoes has one of his size 37AA shoes on display.
- That Northern Michigan has a drive-in? The Cherry Bowl Drive-In in Benzie County has been providing family friendly entertainment since 1953.
- That Sleeping Bear Dunes rises 450 above sea level at the observation deck on Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive? Straight down is Lake Michigan and one mile north is Sleeping Bear Dune.
- Did you know that Traverse City is the Tart Cherry capital of the world? They host a week-long National Cherry Festival in July.
- Did you know that the Michigan Dogman was first spotted in Northern Michigan. The werewolfish type of beast was first spotted in Wexford County in 1887.
- That Beaver Island was home to early Mormons? Following the death of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints they split up into various groups. Some followed James J. Strang to Beaver Island where they founded the town of St. James. After declaring himself King of his church, he was murdered in 1956 and his followers were promptly removed from the island.
- That the Petoskey stone is the state stone of Michigan? It can be found along shorelines, particularly in Northern Michigan.
- That Northern Michigan has its very own castle? Castle Farms was constructed in 1918 by Albert Loebs (VP of Sears) just outside of Charlevoix. In 1969 it was sold to a rock promoter and became a concert venue. Huge acts such as Bob Dylan, Metallica, The Police, the Beach Boys and more.
- That Ernest Hemingway spent 21 summers in the Petoskey area? He honeymooned with this first wife, Hadley in Walloon Lake. If you visit Petoskey, you can tour the old haunts of Hemingway.
- That Hobbit Homes exist in Northern Michigan? The famous “Mushroom Houses” designed by Earl A. Young resemble Hobbit Houses. He created 30 unique structures over 5 decades in the Charlevoix Area. Many are still standing today.
Northeast Lower Michigan
- That the Vanderbilt in Otsego County holds the record for the lowest temperature to ever be recorded in Michigan? On February 9, 1934, the temperature reached a bone chilling -51 degrees Fahrenheit.
- That Mio in Oscoda County holds the record for the highest temperature ever recorded in Michigan? On July 13, 1936, a state record high of 112 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded.
- That the inspiration for the legendary Paul Bunyan was from Grayling? French-Canadian lumberjack Fabian Fournier who worked for a lumber company in the late 1800s was said to be the inspiration.
- That Oscoda on the east side of the Lower Peninsula claims to be the office hometown of the literary Paul Bunyan? The first published story about him appeared in the Oscoda Press in 1906
- That Ossieneke in the Northeast Lower Peninsula has a giant statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe, his blue ox. Unlike other statues of Babe, this one is really an ox (steer).
- That there are dinosaurs in Northern Michigan? In Ossineke there is the Dinosaur Gardens Prehistoric Zoo. A statue garden that depicted cavemen and dinosaurs.
That Indian River is the home of the second largest crucifix in the world? It is called the Cross in the Woods and stands 55 feet high and 22 feet wide. The body was cast in bronze in Norway and weighs 7 tons. It is 28 feet from head to toe and the arm span is 21 feet.
- That Mackinaw City is home to one of 30 certified International Dark Sky Parks in the world? – The Headlands was designated an official dark sky park in 2011. Visitors can explore 600 acres of old-growth forest and more than two miles of undeveloped Lake Michigan shoreline, all saved from light pollution.
- That Alpena is the home of the world’s largest cement plant? It began in 1907 as the Huron Portland Cement Company in Detroit and is currently part of the ‘Lafarge Corporation‘ in Alpena.
- That Rogers City has the world’s largest limestone quarry? The Michigan Limestone and Chemical Company operates the quarry. It was formed and organized in 1910, production began in 1912.