Michigan Hometown Road Trip

July 6, 2023
Woman In Front of Flowers

Best Things To Experience When Visiting My Home State Of Michigan

Living in Texas is wonderful, for the most part, the weather is amazing. And the way the community comes together during disasters reminds me of my home state of Michigan. I recently took a Michigan hometown road trip, to Marcellus, and other small towns in this beautiful state. I grew up in Marcellus, and every time I go back, it’s like I never left.

Michigan Hometown Road Trip

Heading To Northern Michigan

We also headed north for this Michigan hometown road trip. My daddy lives in a town named Gaylord, MI, which is right in the middle of the northern tip. I love everything about it, the people, the scenery, and the food and wine. There may not be a Starbucks on every corner like where I live now, but there is a wine tour in pretty much every town. We even stopped at the shoe tree to grab a picture. I’ve always wanted to do this, and it was pretty cool to see it up close.

Winter Travel Safety Tips

Great Stops Along The Way

It’s a 20-hour road trip to my hometown and another 5 hours from there to my dad’s place in Gaylord. The scenery on the way up is magical, and there are many touristy places to stop along the way. On the first day, we visited the town of South Haven, there is a beautiful lighthouse and a lot of little shops and restaurants. It’s a very pet-friendly town, and my girls loved checking out the lighthouse. The beach is beautiful in South Haven and always packed during the summer months.

Michigan Hometown Road Trip

Local Wineries Are Everywhere

One of my favorite Wineries to visit when I am back home is the St. Julian Winery in Paw Paw, MI. It has a wonderful wine club that of course, I am a member of, and they now create vodkas and brandies, among other spirits. I absolutely love their fruity wines, especially the peach. If you are a member of the wine club, you get a free wine tasting. The tasting includes 7 different wines or spirits, so I tried 4 wines a brandy, and a rum.

Michigan Hometown Road Trip

Michigan Hometown Road Trip

We also visited my hometown of Marcellus, Michigan. There are no stoplights in my hometown, but there are 36 lakes. A few friends of mine own some of the best restaurants I have ever been to, and you can rent an Airbnb at quite a few of the lakes. In August we have the Blue Gill Frolic. The event is held on the 3rd Friday and Saturday of August every year. The event includes a block party, parade, car show, rides, food and craft vendors, beer tent, live music, and more! This is a tradition that has been going on way before I was born.

Michigan Hometown Road Trip

Amy Fabulous Diner

My friend Amy owns the local diner in a town called Amy’s Fabulous Diner. Her menu is large, and her prices are very inexpensive. There is the history of Marcellus everywhere in the restaurant, and the food, oh my, is some of the best food I have ever had. 

Michigan Hometown Road Trip

The Rock at Big Fish Lake

My friend Michael owns The Rock at Big Fish Lake restaurant. It’s casual dining with 5-star food. His dinner menu is Definity big-city class, but you don’t have to worry about dressing up fancy, because it is casual and fun dining. He occasionally has live music downstairs where there is also a dance floor.

Michigan Hometown Road Trip

Chasing Waterfalls

Growing up, I didn’t go to northern Michigan too much. But now that my dad lives up there, I try to explore as much of it as possible every time I visit. We started our exploration by chasing waterfalls. I googled “Northern Michigan Waterfalls” and these 3 came up, and they were pretty close. The waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula are amazing, and I would have loved to head up there, but we just didn’t have time. I will be visiting them on my next trip up.

Michigan Hometown Road Trip

Mossback Creek

The first waterfall was one I had been to before, and it was right outside of Gaylord. It’s right off Mossback Creek, and there are trails to explore as well. It’s a great place to go and relax and perfect for family photos. The waterfall is very small but very beautiful.

Michigan Hometown Road Trip

Hoffman Lake

Our 2nd waterfall was a bust, but we found a lake we had never been to. It’s called Hoffman Lake and there is public access. Sure wish I would have brought my kayak; it was the perfect lake for kayaking.  

Michigan Hometown Road Trip

Boyne Mountain

Next, we headed to Boyne Mountain, This is where my aunt and uncle stay when they come up for the holidays. I have been here before, but I had no idea they had a waterfall. This was the biggest of the 3 we had on our list. There is also a ski resort and some great restaurants in this town.

Michigan Hometown Road Trip

Mackinac Island Takes You Back In Time

The next day we headed to Mackinac Island. I love this place. I have been many times as a kid, and a few times as an adult. I’ve never stayed more than a day, but I do plan on booking a few days on the island next time I’m there. This Island is a special place to me with great memories. My dad has told me so many stories of how he and his buddies would cross the ice in the wintertime on their snowmobiles to go have a beer and dinner. There are no cars allowed on the island, and not even electric bikes are allowed. You take a ferry to get over there, and they have horse carriages and rental bikes to help you get around.

Michigan Hometown Road Trip

The Ferry Ride To The Island

You have to take a ferry ride to get to the island, this is all part of the experience. I love sitting on the top of the ferry, it has a much better view of Mackinaw Bridge, and the waves are very refreshing. The ride will cost you around $30 per adult.

Michigan Hometown Road Trip

Mackinac Island Has So Much To Offer

The fudge, oh that amazing fudge, and taffy. You can’t go to Mackinac Island without getting some of their famous fudge and saltwater taffy. There are a few different stores to choose from, I have always gone to Murdick’s Fudge, but I know the other places are just as good.

Michigan Hometown Road Trip

Mary’s Bistro Draught House

We grabbed some lunch at a great little pub and grill called Mary’s Bistro Draught House. My charcuterie board was amazing, and the hubs had. they had a great selection of beers, and I had a local cider.

Michigan Hometown Road Trip

Watercolor Cafe

We toured the island a little because I wanted coffee, and we found the cutest little coffee shop. It was called the Watercolor Cafe, and they had art classes available, this was my kind of place. It was located right in the marina with a beautiful view. 

Michigan Hometown Road Trip

Millie’s On Main

Before we headed out of town and back onto the mainland, we decided to grab a cocktail at a local pub, Millie’s On Main. I had a lemon blueberry martini, and it was amazing. I’m sure the food was great there because it smelled fantastic. 

Traverse City Cherry Festival

The next day we headed out early for the Traverse City Cherry Festival. It was about an hour’s drive from my dad’s house, and the view on the way there was wonderful. 

The Cherry Festival has been on my bucket list for years. I have never been to Traverse City, and I had no idea how big, but quaint this town was. It reminds me of the coastal towns on the east coast, but very relaxed. The streets have numerous pubs and shops, and a lot of parking is available.

We Love Our Pub Visits

We stopped at a little pub with two names. BootLeggers Food and Spirits, and Dillinger’s Pub. The service was great, we even got a bowl of popcorn with our beer and cider. Our waitress was great, we could have stayed there all day having a great time.

Cherry Festival Festivities

We made it to the Cherry Festival, and it reminded me of the local county fairs, but bigger. It was located right on the water, and they had carnival rides, vendors, and all the cherries you could imagine. They have music and a stage for nighttime concerts, which we didn’t stick around for this time.

Treetops Resort

I booked a massage at Treetops Resort; I’ve always wanted to visit their spa. They also have an amazing golf course, and their ski slopes are great in the wintertime. They have summer events along with winter events. My massage was amazing, and the spa was very relaxing.

Community Is Everything

We enjoyed the rest of our Michigan hometown road trip in Gaylord. They recently had a large tornado, but they bounced back quickly. The community is great there, they all came together to help everyone out. We visited the wings mural and had dinner at the local steakhouse, which was amazing.

Great Food In Gaylord

I love this town of a little over 4,000 population. The downtown area reminds me of a Swiss village, and they have a lot of fun shops and restaurants including the new Mexican restaurant El Patron Mexican Grill.

Lucky’s Steakhouse

We also visited the new Lucky’s Steakhouse, Their seafood stuffed mushrooms are amazing, and so are their entrees. We ordered a few different things so we could try as much as possible, including their key lime pie, yum.

If you ever find yourself in Northern Michigan, I highly recommend a visit to Gaylord, MI.



  • Jamie Hansen

    Thank you! you too.

  • Khan Valkowski

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    • Jamie Hansen

      This is an amazing take!

    • John J Frankie

      Awesome! thanks!
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