The Harrison Area
It is perfectly possible to enjoy a Snug Haven getaway without leaving the confines of the resort. In fact, most guests unpack the car, settle in, and go no further than the grocery store while they are here. However, we make an excellent launchpoint for a wide variety of activities.
Your best bet for dining in the area is probably a steak or some brats cooked on the grill on your deck. If you feel you must leave the resort for food, however, we can make some recommendations.
Mt. Pleasant is a good place for moderate-priced and high-end dining in the area. Mountain Town Steak House (and brew pub) offers steaks and chops served with a variety of home-brewed beers and ales. The lo-mein is great at China Garden and many people swear by the Brass Cafe downtown for lunch and dinner. Try Stan's for no-nonsense soup and sandwiches. The Water Lily Restaurant in the Soaring Eagle Casino offers fine dining options.
Houghton Lake is now home to a restaurant that bills itself as a Louisiana-style steak and seafood restaurant. Many of the entries are blackened or seasoned with cajun spices. Coyles is famous for its all-you-can-eat buffet menu; their breads and salad bar are especially good.
Gladwin's new conference center contains the area's newest eatery. Sunday brunches are excellent and Monday night is all-you-can-eat pasta. All the dishes we've tried have been very good to excellent. If you like fish, try the walleye specials at Robin's.
Local takeout restaurants include Little Caesar's and Buccilli's for pizza, McDonald's and Burger King. You may also order anything on the Remedy menu to go. If you venture down to Clare, you'll find every major fast food chain as well as a variety of family restaurants: Big Boy, Ponderosa, Subway, Wendy's, Arby's, and more.
The newly remodeled Surrey House Restaurant and Saloon here in Harrison is under new ownership and developing a new menu. Dress is casual. If you like a cold one with lunch or dinner, try McFarland's Tavern or the Budd Lake Bar. Both offer good food at reasonable prices.
Something interesting is planned in the Harrison area for all four seasons. Summer is especially busy.
A high point of Spring is Yoder's annual Amish quilt auction, held at an Amish farm in Clare. Over 300 handstitched quilts are offered for sale at prices far lower than you can find in quilt stores anywhere. Each is an Amish work of art. Most are done in contemporary colors, but you'll also find the more traditional solid-colored fabrics: turquoise, black, purple, pink, and green. Designs range from the elaborate to the simple. This is a two-day event that attracts hundreds of vendors, including arts and crafts, food, and novelty items. Lunch is served by Amish women and always includes homemade pie.
Summer is the busy season in Harrison. Most seasonal residents are back in town by Memorial Day and stay through Labor Day. These are peak months for guests to our resort town, as well.
Our 4th of July celebration begins with a parade through town that is generally quite well attended. Our celebration also includes events at the fairgrounds during the early evening hours (generally a demolition derby) and an elaborate fireworks presentation following that event. Fireworks are visible from most vantage points around Budd Lake, and many of the locals compete with the city officials by sending off their own displays. This is a "big city" fireworks event without the traffic jams.
The Harrison Street Fair will be held July 17-18 this year. This event includes something for everyone from carnival games and activities for pre-teens to music, food, and craft items for the older crowd.
Harrison is home to the Clare County Fair, which opens its gates for one week in August. The Fair attracts a large crowd to its midway and events in the grandstands. Most years have brought us well-known entertainers.
The Yoders host a second Amish quilt auction in early September. This one is a little smaller than the Spring event and generally draws a somewhat smaller crowd. That means that prices for the quilts are sometimes less, too. The variety and quality remain the same. This is the best place to purchase handstitched quilts anywhere in the state.
If you're looking for something a little different from the malls in nearby Saginaw and Midland and the outlet malls in Birch Run and Lansing, you might want to check out Clare, Gladwin, Cadillac, Houghton Lake, and Traverse City.
Snug Haven is surrounded by little towns with interesting shops on their main streets, reminiscent of an older, quieter time. Jay's sporting goods store is located just outside the Clare city limits; it sells everything you could possibly imagine for enjoying the great outdoors. If you have room for Amish furniture, you might go to Benchley's (on Tobacco Road, near Clare).
If it's genuine Amish items you seek, Snug Haven is located in the heart of Amish country. You will see horse-drawn buggies parked along M -61 heading toward Gladwin on Saturdays and at the expressway exit in Clare. Amish families will be selling handmade quilts, baskets, and preserves. For a more personal experience Anna Troyer sells quilts off a bed in her home, located just off M-61 about 20 miles from the resort. She'll also take special orders and ship your quilt when it's ready. There are Amish bakeries in both Clare and Rosebush. Ask us for directions.
There are several antique and gift shops in Houghton Lake worth investigating, as well as the Davis Museum, which contains thousands of items arranged as an 1800's country store. There are also antique stores in Gladwin, West Branch, and Mt. Pleasant.
Cadillac is just over an hour to the north and west of us. If you've heard of "Chef Herman," you'll want to visit his restaurant, bakery and meat market there. Cadillac also has several antique shops and some gift stores of interest.
If you're looking for some high-end collectibles and art, try the Traverse City area. It's about an hour and a half away, but well worth the drive. Traverse City and the nearby Leelanau Peninsula are home to many local artists and craftspeople who sell their wares in downtown stores and roadside galleries. This is also fruit country, which means wine-tasting! Chateau Grand Traverse Riesling is a personal favorite. They ship anywhere.
Snug Haven is about two-and-a-half hours due south of the world-famous Mackinaw Bridge, one of the longest suspended bridges in the world. We're three hours in either direction from two great lakes: Lake Michigan to the west and Lake Huron to the east. Both shorelines are dotted with beaches and tourist attractions. To the north are miles and miles of state-owned forests, which are open to the public, as well as tourist destinations such as Hartwick Pines, home to acres of gigantic virgin pine trees. If you enjoy driving around and taking in the "up north" scenery, Clare County is home to dozens of lakes and several streams. "Twenty lakes in twenty minutes" is the motto for the Harrison Area Chamber of Commerce.
The Mackinaw Bridge connects the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan, which means it bridges the gap between two of the world's most beautiful lakes: Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. The bridge is five miles long. If you are here over Labor Day, you might want to join the throngs who walk across the Mackinaw Bridge each year, assuming a five-mile hike over water is to your liking.
For an interesting day trip, you might want to drive to the upper peninsula just to catch a glimpse of yet another great lake: Lake Superior. This is never a warm place to swim, not even in August, but the Superior shoreline is magnificent. It's an easy drive there and back; you'll be back in time for the campfire.
Harrison and the surrounding areas offer a wide range of summer events and things to do, from tubing and canoeing to miniature golf to gokarts. Bring your boat or jet ski, some fishing gear, your swimsuit, and some water toys and you'll have a great time. If you're a golfer, we have plenty of public courses to suit your taste and ability. And if you pick the right weeks, we can even treat you to a parade and week-long county fair.
Dugan's Canoe Livery is just down the road on M-61. They rent kayaks, tubes and, of course, canoes for traveling down the Muskegon River.
Putt R Golf is on the main drag (Clare Avenue) in Harrison. They have batting cages, gokarts, and an 18-hole miniature golf course. There are also arcade games inside. There is another mini golf course about 30 miles north of us in Houghton Lake. You'll also find gokarts, a water slide, and some carnival-type rides there.
If you have a rainy day, you might want to try your hand at bowling at Snowbird Lanes. Or take in a movie either in Clare or Houghton Lake. Both cities have small one-film theaters. For a big theater feel, go to the multi-plex theaters in Mt. Pleasant (30 miles to the south of us).
Speaking of Mt. Pleasant, if you enjoy casino gambling, you might want to try Soaring Eagle Casino. This is the largest casino north of Detroit; about one million dollars pass through their coffers each day. They have every kind of machine, table, and game of chance or skill known to Vegas and other gambling meccas--all close to home. Of course, Soaring Eagle also attracts well-known entertainers and bands to Mt. Pleasant. Plan ahead and buy tickets for an evening while you're here.
Local golf courses include five in Mt. Pleasant: Holiday Greens, the Pohlcat, Buck's Run, Pleasant Hills, and Riverwood (Blue and Red/White courses). Houghton Lake is home to the Quest; Tamaracks is between here and Houghton Lake. Firefly is in Clare, and Gladwin Heights is in Gladwin. Closest to the resort is Snowsnake, located about five miles south, right off US-127.
The City Park in downtown Harrison has tennis courts as well as lots of protected roadway for riding your bikes or walking. There is also playground equipment for the kids and a softball diamond, in case you're here with a group.