10 Reasons to Love Gaylord & Grayling

1. Mason Tract: Along the south branch of the Au Sable, find a hiking pathway, 10 miles of river preserved for anglers, and the Mason Chapel, where you can give thanks for this state-protected land. Grayling Visitors Bureau, 800-937-8837, grayling-mi.com.

2. Wellington Farm, USA: This 60-acre farm near Grayling is a living museum of Depression-era life, with historic buildings, period costumes, interactive exhibits and a farmers market. 888-OLD-FARM, wellingtonfarmpark.org.

3. The Icehouse Quilt Shop: A perennial favorite for quilters of all kinds. Take a class, stock up on craft supplies or stop in to ogle the reams of colorful fabric. Grayling, 989-348-4821, theicehousequiltshop.com.

4. Alpenfest: For more than 40 years, this annual summer festival has turned downtown Gaylord into a bustling Alpine burg. Featuring live music, ethnic fare, street vendors, a carnival, a parade and more. 800-345-8621, gaylordmichigan.net.

5. Elk viewing at Pigeon River Country State Forest: The 98,000 acres here are home to the biggest free-range elk herd east of the Mississippi. Follow the posted signs, be patient, and you just might be treated to a sighting. 989-983-4101, michigan.gov/dnr.

6. Aviation Days: The Yankee Air Force based at Willow Run Airport in Belleville brings its vintage planes north. Saturday after Father’s Day. Gaylord Airfield. 800-345-8621, gaylordmichigan.net.

7. Golf Mecca: Golf lovers can’t go wrong in Gaylord, where two dozen top-of-the-line courses are all a chip shot away. 989-344-3258. gaylordgolfmecca.com.

8. Grayling Fish Hatchery: It’s a whole day of fish fun: tour the hatchery, hike the interpretive trails, toss a line in the trout pond and check out the museum. graylingfishhatchery.com.

9. Canoeing: Here, you’ll find many of the state’s prime canoeing rivers, including the Au Sable, Manistee, Pigeon, Sturgeon and Black Rivers. Grab your paddle and take your pick. 800-937-8837, grayling-mi.com.

10. Snowmobile: The tiny town of Frederic considers itself "Snowmobile Capital of Northern Michigan" for good reason: Dozens of trails converge here, where riders can thaw out at the bonfire kept blazing behind the snowmobile shop named Sledheads. frederic-mi.com.

Emily Bingham is assistant editor at Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.[email protected]

Note: This article was first published in October 2006 and was updated for the web February 2008.

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