Touring the Mitten’s “fingernail” of the “thumb”
Part 1: Michigan’s less-traveled region offers more than most realize in Huron County.
Although warmer days are known to exist in the month of June, the cooler than normal weather is not keeping the villages, towns, and counties of Michigan’s “Thumb” from holding weekend events, annual festivities, and gorgeous shorelines from attracting both Michiganders and non-natives to the area for tourism.
Starting in the northern region of the Thumb, Huron County is home to several communities along the shorelines and inland that offer more than one reason to visit. Bad Axe, the largest city in Huron County, is home to fairs and festivals, such as the Hatchet Festival in early June and Community Fair lasting six days towards late July. Around the western bend of the county is one of the Huron’s more famous coastal communities, Caseville. The colorful community is home to the wildly popular Cheeseburger in Caseville event held in mid-August. Harbor Beach, a coastal city opposite of Caseville, offers a more tranquil environment as well as the world’s largest man-made fresh water harbor. While these three locations make up the cities of Huron County, the villages in the area are not to be overlooked either. For example, Port Austin, located at the tip of the Thumb, hosts one of the more popular farmers markets in Michigan with vendors offering all sorts of goods and entertainment.
Communities along Huron’s freshwater coastlines aren’t the only draw to the area though; the entire county itself also provides plenty to do. Just about each city and/or village has museums providing a look into the “old days” of living in the Thumb, such as the Ubly Ten Cent Horse Barn Museum and Elkton Log Cabin Museum and Blacksmith Barn or, the uniquely shaped Octagon Barn Agricultural Museum, just south of the Huron county line in Gagetown. If that isn’t enough to drive your curiosity, Huron County houses the Sand Point Nature Preserve and six county parks offering free park admission and access to the natural environment, communities, and education. Huron County isn’t the only county in Michigan’s Thumb with tourism attractions. Both counties, Tuscola and Sanilac, offer plenty to do inland and along the coastlines. Part 2 & 3 in this series on Thumb Tourism will highlight each county and just some of their activities and attractions.
Michigan’s Original Thumb Area Vacation Guide, a free hard copy booklet found most Visitors Bureaus around the region, offers enough suggestions for your summer vacation and quite possibly some for the years to come. A digital version also exists for smart-phone users on the go and/or for “eco-friendly” travelers looking to reduce (or eliminate all together) the use of paper. Resources for just about everything related to the Thumb can be found at www.thumbnet.net. Michigan State University Extension also offers extensive information about Michigan tourism, which can be found on their website by searching "Tourism."
Other articles in this series: