Several weekends ago we ventured to Boyne City, Michigan to take in the vibrant fall colors of Northwest Lower Michigan. Beyond the standard driving tour, we stopped at a park/preserve that was once a busy ski hill in the winter months, Avalanche Peak in Boyne City.
A few days previous to our journey there had been an article in the Traverse City Record-Eagle about this summit and its excellent view of fall colors, this charming city, and lovely Lake Charlevoix. As is evident from the photos, the 462 step climb did not disappoint. The views were simply glorious!
But, what also captured our attention was how Boyne City had taken the closing of this ski hill and made something positive out of it, by adapting the 300+ acres into a year-round park and nature preserve. Aside from the climb and view, there are now trails for hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and x-country skiing; a disc golf course that takes you up the hill and into the woods; bird and nature watching opportunities; a sledding hill; and snowmobile trails. All in all, Avalanche Preserve Recreation Area is a wonderful amenity for the residents of Boyne City and a great attraction for those visiting Up North from near and far. It is definitely worth the trip and the climb.
Aside from the former ski hill, historic preservation and adaptive reuse projects in its vibrant downtown core have turned this former lumber shipping center into a premier shopping and dining destination. Examples of adaptive reuse projects include but are not limited to the Lake Charlevoix Brewing/Boyne CityTaproom [former Boyne City Hardware (1905) and Boyne Theatre (1903)], the Seven Monks Taproom (former Old Bus Garage), on-going restoration of the historic Wolverine/Dilworth Hotel, the wonderfully eclectic Lake Street Market (former Leavenworth Photography – 1904), and the Community Art Center (former Boyne City, Gaylord & Alpena Railroad Depot – 1900).
Boyne City has also had great success with cultural tourism with the Freshwater Art Gallery & Concert Venue, the SoBo Arts District, the National Morel Mushroom Festival, and the Walkabout Sculpture Show.
We all came away very impressed and inspired by the city and intend to return often to experience other sights, activities, and events there. Well done, Boyne City, this is exactly how you build a welcoming, prosperous, and cool community!