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Camping at Thunder Bay Resort & Visiting Alpena

By August 19, 2019Adventures

Life is busy and sometimes time goes by so fast. The last several weeks schedule has been full and I am so behind in blogging. I thought about skipping this post and decided better late than never instead.

Back on July 11th, we loaded up the camper and headed North to Hillman to Thunder Bay Golf & RV Resort. This was the first time visiting this campground and area of the Mitten and we were excited. The drive takes about 3 hours from Williamston and the last hour is quite rural.

Once checked in at the campground, a gentleman drove us to our campsite which was easy to navigate. We did not purchase firewood upon arrival as we learned the campground features a “Family firepit” and provides the wood instead.

Thunder Bay is a small RV resort with only 23 spots that is located adjacent to a beautiful Golf course. As a guest you qualify for discounted golf rates too so Garrin wished he had brought his clubs. The sites are paved, level pull throughs with full hook up and a nice patio set.

I think this is the quietest campground we have ever been at and it was quite relaxing.

I thought I would be disappointed in not having a site firepit, however each night we walked the short distance to the community firepit for s’mores. We actually had the fire to ourselves too. There was a large field that the dogs had fun running and playing in nearby.

We enjoyed Rueben sandwiches on the grill during our stay.

When we had booked the reservations, we signed up for the Elk Viewing experience Thunder Bay Resort features. This includes a carriage ride to view the Elk and a Gourmet Dinner and Wine Tasting at their Lodge. Unfortunately not enough guests signed up for the event during our stay so it was cancelled. The cancellation did occur prior to our visit and we were given the option to cancel the trip if we had desired.

While we were visiting, we drove the area to try and view the Elk ourselves. We saw one or two from a distance but it was too far to capture a good photo.

I am still disappointed that we did not experience the Elk viewing and dinner event, however it gives us a good reason to return. The resort offers suites, villas and cabins as well so it may be a future winter destination for us. The resort also showcases Murder Mystery weekend packages.

During our visit, we traveled to Alpena and walked around downtown. Alpena was founded in 1871 and began as an early commercial fishing port that soon grew to be one of the nation’s most profitable lumber harvesting locations.

We saw local wineries in the heart of town and Garrin enjoyed a Superman ice cream cone, his favorite Michigan ice cream flavor.

This is considered the sister city to Traverse City and I was surprised that it felt so much smaller.

We enjoyed viewing the harbor and the raising of the bridge for the ships to go through.

Alpena offers Shipwreck Tours aboard a Glass Bottom Boat with rave reviews from family. We saw the “Lady Michigan” glass bottom boat and it is really fun looking.

I did not think they would allow Gucci & Tucker aboard or we would have tried to buy tickets for the 2 1/2 cruise. The cruise is offered May through October so another event for a future visit.

While in Alpena, we checked out the covered wooden bridge and Island Park with the Wildlife Sanctuary.

It was just a brief hike with the dogs.

We decided to drive out and see a couple of Alpena’s lighthouses for the next adventure.

The Old Presque Isle Lighthouse is one of the oldest surviving publicly accessible lighthouses on the Great lakes. It was built in 1840 and operated until 1871.

Garrin, Tucker, Gucci and I climbed the 30 foot tower for a beautiful view of Lake Huron and Presque Isle Harbor.

This was the first lighthouse that I or the dogs climbed.

We visited the neighboring New Presque Isle Lighthouse next. This lighthouse is the replacement to the Old Presque and was built in 1870.

It is the tallest lighthouse tower accessible on the Great Lakes.

It was quite a stunning view at the top of Lake Huron and you could see Wisconsin and Canada in the distance.

The height gave me a bit of vertigo but I was excited to climb to the top.The dogs did so well with the adventure too.

We saw Garrity Hall and thought it listed Garrin’s name at first.

Before leaving Hillman, we decided to explore the town. Hillman was originally known as Brush Creek in the 1880’s. We visited Brush Creek Mill which is located on a creek that flows into the Thunder Bay river.

This location featured a Grist Mill back in the 1880s and served local farmers for over 70 years. Eventually the building fell in disrepair and was torn down.

It later became the non profit organization it is today owned by the village. The building was rebuilt by the community the mid 90s. This inside is amazing and features this beautiful woodwork crafted by volunteers.

I loved watching the only steel wheel still in operation too.Soon it was time for our adventure to end so we packed up the camper and headed home. Until the next time……





Liz Ball

About Liz Ball

Liz Ball is a freelance writer focusing on Michigan travel and local events in her community.