A number of Northern Michigan train stations, such as those that served as stops between Manistee and Traverse City as well as from Marquette to Mackinaw City, have become defunct, historic buildings scattered across small Northern Michigan towns; fortunately, people who live in Northern Michigan have breathed new life into the buildings, with the results being depots used as attractions like restaurants and museums. Read on for MyNorth’s roundup of the best Northern Michigan train station attractions!
- Traverse City: The Filling Station Microbrewery—Situated right off the TART Trail in the historic railroad district of TC, The Filling Station operates in the original depot built in 1927 along the Pere Marquette Railroad. Today, you can enjoy a craft brew with a wood-fired flatbread or sensational salad while either sitting inside or on their patio, all while taking in the view of Boardman Lake. Cheers!
- Cadillac: After 26 Depot Cafe—After 26 Depot Cafe is a non-profit, tax-exempt project developed to aid and provide employment for adults with developmental and cognitive disorders. They offer full breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, and the cafe also houses a gift shop. After 26 Depot Cafe also offers catering services from appetizers, plated dinners or buffets for your event. The cafe and gift shop is located in the old depot near Lake Cadillac. Stop by for not only the great cause, but an affordable and delicious meal!
- Harbor Springs: Depot Club & Restaurant—Looking for a classy culinary concoction all while seated in a lavishly restored historic train depot? The Depot Club & Restaurant is the place for you. Located on Bay Street in downtown Harbor Springs, it’s a private dining club in the summer months and open to the public from Labor Day to Memorial Day. The main dining room seats 60 and pays homage to historic decor with brass light fixtures, walnut paneling, and vintage locomotives; the Hemingway Room is suited for private parties with seating for 16, complete with first edition Hemingway novels on display; they also have an outdoor seating area for a relaxed atmosphere and a more casual lunch and dinner menu. The Depot Club & Restaurant is a prime destination for those who want to enjoy the finest food and libations while basking in the glow of a bygone era.
- Mackinaw City: Historic Depot Restaurant—This depot will transport you back to an era when vacationers and locals alike would schlep about Northern Michigan by train. The restaurant has a casual dining menu for lunch and dinner as well as a full bar and nightly entertainment. A must-see of Mackinaw City.
- Reed City: Trailhead and Chamber of Commerce—Reed City is the crossroads of the Pere Marquette and White Pine Trails. The trailhead converges at the Chamber of Commerce which operates in the old Reed City Depot. Take a rest from your grueling biking adventure for some R&R in one of Reed City’s nearby parks, restaurants, and shops.
- Lachine: The Country Depot—This small town in Alpena County is home to a true throwback diner settled in Lachine’s former train depot, ready to refuel you with a wide variety of breakfast and dinner options, from pancakes, omelettes and bacon to burgers and pizza. They even have homemade donuts and pies!
- Kaleva: Kaleva Depot Historical Museum—An absolute must-experience for any train enthusiast! The 1908 depot stands in its original condition along the former Manistee & Northeastern Railway, and showcases railroad artifacts, photos, and displays related to the Kaleva Railroad Depot, complete with a scale model of the building with a toy train circling it! Go experience a slice of Northern Michigan history in the historic Finnish community situated in the heart of Manistee County.
- Charlevoix: Railroad Depot Museum—Owned and operated by the Charlevoix Historical Society, the Railroad Depot Museum is recognized as a State and National Historic Site and sits right next to Depot Beach. The museum was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Pew in 1992, 100 years after the first passenger train arrived in Charlevoix. It also hosts a heritage garden developed by the Charlevoix Area Garden Club, which maintains the public space using historic garden principles.