Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Michigan's "Sunrise Side"

The northeastern section of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula is one of my favorite areas. From Bay City to Mackinaw City, its gorgeous sandy Lake Huron shoreline has been well-preserved by the state; much of it is still accessible to the public.
In contrast to the upscale western side of the state, this “Sunrise Side” has been mostly forgotten by developers; it’s a bit run-down. There are a number of farms and businesses that just couldn’t survive financially and were simply abandoned; they’re just sitting there, with overgrown lawns and peeling paint.
I’m often drawn to less-popular areas. I like kitsch and nostalgia, and this section of the state is a great place to find both. You can still find quaint, family-run motels like the Aspen Motor Court, where a towel bar serves in place of ADA-compliant handicap grab bars . . .

Real estate is affordable up here. This beautiful beaux arts-style former federal building is for sale. It is situated in downtown Alpena, comes with docking space on the Thunder Bay River, where it empties into Lake Huron; the views are gorgeous. There is a larger and older building of the same style right next door; it is now a laser tag center. The federal web site lists the current bid on the place pictured at $15K. Unbelievable!

There’s even a small Mennonite community here. This self-serve produce stand also serves as a bakery on weekends.

I’ve been vacationing in this area since I was a kid; Mom brought Sarge & I to Harrisville State Park every summer for 2 weeks of camping on the waterfront. I hope to buy a cottage up here someday.

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