I like to plan. But sometimes I plan with a dart and dartboard- meaning I am not afraid to use the internet to book a trip- particularly a place to stay. So when I wanted to do a little exploration of “Pure Michigan” I googled a map of the mitten (you have noticed the shape of Michigan, right?) and applied some simple criteria. 1) On the water; 2) Three hour or less drive; 3) Close proximity to more than one lighthouse- see my post from last year Coastal Sentinels. According to the map that meant Lake Huron half way up the mitten. I noted two lighthouses, Sturgeon Point and Tawas in the general area I had targeted. I threw the dart….. Oscoda was pretty much equidistant from the two lighthouses. Boom, done.
Now I needed a B&B. Again, google served as my dart, Oscoda as the dartboard. I had a few choices that met the on the water criteria, so I drilled down. The search narrowed down to three places, each on the Trip Advisor website. The first had some so-so comments. Boom gone. The second had a lot of charm- individual brightly colored beach “cabanas”. A quick survey of the pictures revealed you might be held hostage by a large family taking up most of the bungalows and making their vacation your vacation. Two off the list. The third place was the Huron House. The pictures- inside, outside, rooms detailed- looked fantastic. the words “Adults Only” grabbed my attention. Great comments about breakfast. This is the one! I quickly dialed the number. One room left for my chosen weekend- AuSable. I had each room’s picture on my screen. WOW! SOLD! I did not even look at the price…until after I said I would take it. OK, it is a bit expensive but hey it includes indoor and outdoor private Jacuzzi, a “don’t come in here unless you intend to be naughty” shower with nozzles pointing in all the right places (too much information? HA, you wanted to know, naughty you!). Evening dessert and Breakfast delivered to your room when you want it, warm cookies 24/7, private decks, guest only beach patio, beach chairs, private beach, king bed, refrigerator, Keurig K-cup coffee maker with variety of coffees, fireplace (gas, so no fuss), outside grills, cable TV for big flat screens (one in the bathroom strategically placed- yeah it was) and the nicest, friendliest most helpful staff you could ask for. Conclusion, DEFINITELY WORTH IT!
I must say it was very peaceful and relaxing. The food was delicious with quantities quite adequate even for my appetite. The bed was comfy cozy for sure and with a view to the sunrise coast you could either pull the blinds for late sleeping or treat yourself to a beautiful sunrise (my choice). After a day of lighthouse touring the hot tub did wonders for my feet and legs. I also managed to have conversations with all three shifts of “inn hosts”. The owner is not a resident inn keeper. This he has delegated to some top notch and very friendly folks who clearly demonstrate their love for their work and their affection for talking with and assisting their guests.
The Tawas/Oscoda/Harrisville area is perfect for those who love the outdoors (unless you just plan to use the hot tub, bed, and shower for your weekend activities, wink wink. (Hey, Huron House was named one of the USA 10 Most Romantic B&B’s by BedandBreakfast.com).
The towns are small but there is absolutely no shortage of things to do and places to see. With the exception of dessert and breakfast, don’t expect this area to wow the Gordon Ramsey in you. As a matter of fact at least one of the places we dined would be a great candidate for one of his F’in Makeovers. So you may want to bring a couple bottles of your favorite wine and a few steaks and some salad or plan to eat some of the catch of the day. The grills come in handy here. Speaking of catch of the day, there is a delightful little Trout farm with four or five trout ponds stocked with Rainbow, Brook and Brown trout. If you do not plan a charter or have your own boat for fishing, Cedar Brook Trout Farm in Harrisville will outfit you with all you need to catch a very fresh dinner fast.
Also in Harrisville is Sturgeon Point Lighthouse where you can tour the light museum and climb the tower as well as walk to the point looking for Petoskey stones and tour one of the last remaining log cabin school houses left over from a turn of the century logging camp. The docents at both the light and the schoolhouse were extremely knowledgeable and happy to share their stories and fun facts. This was in sharp contrast to Tawas State Park Lighthouse where the docents whined about their long day, the line of people wanting to climb the steps to the top and other seemingly minor but major to them issues making the guests feel like they were imposing by just wanting to learn something about the lighthouse and its story. They did not even have a stamp for the State-supported lighthouse passport program claiming, in a totally uncaring manner, to have misplaced it and needing to get around to ordering a new one. I was insulted by their attitude. Nevertheless, from the roadside crafts (bought a life sized carved eagle for a good price) to the local smoked fishmonger (delicious smoked trout for a snack) there was plenty of charm and fun to be had from Tawas to Harrisville. Really enjoyed the weekend in large measure due to the hospitality and comforts of the Huron House.