Sometimes you just have to venture off the beaten path to find a well-kept secret. Alpena, Sanctuary of the Great Lakes holds many hidden treasures just waiting to be explored. Here are 5 places that you may have missed, or maybe just haven’t been to in a while. So veer off the road well traveled this weekend and explore Alpena’s secrets!
- Brush Creek Mill– Located west of Alpena in the small, quiet village of Hillman, sits Brush Creek Mill. This mill is very special in that it is a “green space”, meaning every function of this grist mill is environmentally friendly. Brush Creek Mill was built in the 90’s after an original mill that sat there for over 70 years before being torn down. This new mill offers various events and activities for the public year round, as well as a gift shop with everything inside being handmade by locals in the area.
- Fossil Hunting Rockport Quarry– If you consider treasure to be 400-million-year-old fossilized remains from the Devonian Era, then you are in luck! Rockport quarry is full of these treasures! Some fossilized pieces more brilliant than others, this is a real hunt for that perfect fossil from a land before our time. Make your way to Rockport State Recreation Area and walk back to the quarry via a trail from the parking lot.
- Ghost Village of Bell- Deep within the woods of the Besser Natural Area in Presque Isle lies the ghost town of Bell. Many people who live in and around the Alpena area are unaware this historic town even exists. You know you’ve reached Bell when you see the cemetery plots, a large remaining chimney, and a dedication plaque. Explore through this historic ghost town and admire the virgin white and red pine around you, one of only two areas in Michigan where this pine exists.
- Hemlock Hills on Mill Pond– is home to the Elowsky Grist Mill, a beautiful historic mill that was built in the late 1860’s. The grounds were recently renovated and contain a beautiful five bedroom house, a cabin, a barn, a bunkhouse and a pavilion hall. The property is available for rent; whether you are looking for a peaceful weekend away with your family, or are looking for that unique northern Michigan wedding venue.
- Maplewood Tavern– What originally opened as a jive dance hall and turned into a bar after the end of prohibition, is now one of Alpena’s longeststanding taverns- complete with a Guinness World Record holder. Clarise, Maplewood Tavern’s most famous bartender, has the longest bartending career of 76 years! Located on French Rd., this obscure little tavern is a must-see for anyone in the Alpena area.