I’m happy to report that no ships crashed into Tawas Point during my stay at the lighthouse. I can’t take full credit—some goes to the automatically operated Fresnel lens. Still, it’s an accomplishment. Once I have a full write-up on the experience I’ll be sure to share. In the meantime, here are 10 recommendations if you happen to be in East Tawas or driving up the Lake Huron coast along M-23:
|Tawas Point Lighthouse|
2. Reed's on the River: Gourmet, home-cooked food, including meatloaf (stuffed with ham and spinach, wrapped in bacon), pasties, and gourmet sandwiches and soup. Charming atmosphere—only four tables, family run, and nice views of the river and of Tawas Bay across the street.
3. Northwoods Steakhouse: Fine dining in East Tawas, and right near the state park—though oddly attached to a Big Boy. Sit at the bar and chat with Judy—she gives generous pours.
4. Marion’s Dairy Bar: A downtown ice cream institution. Marion's is a throw-back ice cream shop with delicious malts and homemade waffle cones.
5. Scenic Lookouts on the AuSable: Big views on of Michigan's best rivers. Fun to run down, tough to climb up. Check out Iargo Springs and Lumberman's Monument.
6. Mr Jack'ss: I think you’re supposed to pronounce the name with a sizzle. Of all the local watering holes in East Tawas, this is the friendliest. I didn’t try the food, but the drinks and company were solid.
7. Wiltse’s: Worth the 20 minute drive to Oscoda for a taste of northern Michigan beer. The food could be better, but craft beer is a welcome treat up north, where few bars carry even Oberon.
8. East Tawas State Dock: Grab a Marion’s ice cream cone and head for the dock—see and be seen. We visited before the summer rush, but from what I hear this is the place to be from Labor Day to Memorial Day.
9. Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary: If you get inspired to drive all the way to Alpena—or as I like to call it, Alpeña—this maritime museum is worth a visit. Fascinating history and artifacts, and a ship that creaks and rocks, so bring your sea legs.
10. Shipwrecks on the Point: Tawas Point is home to two easily accessible shipwrecks. Wade around the May Queen, swim in Lake Huron, and enjoy the sandy beach and hiking trails.
What other M-23 highlights have I missed? I’m looking for recommendations anywhere along the AuSable, between Grayling and Oscoda.