Founded in 1872, Grayling began when timber was king. Rasmus Hanson and other lumbermen cleared the land, built up this town, and soon after electrified it for the convenience of its citizens. Situated in “the heart of the North”, Grayling is about a 45 minute drive from Traverse City, and an hour from Charlevoix and Petoskey. Mackinac Island is only 90 miles north. Back in 1890, the 3,000 square foot carriage house housed teams of horses ready to pull the Hanson family wherever it wanted to go, but you won’t need any transportation to explore uptown Grayling. We are just a couple blocks from Grayling’s main street, Michigan Avenue, just an easy walk to enjoy the many things this fine small town has to offer.
Uptown Grayling has a 1950s style soda fountain which houses the area’s only Coca-Cola Museum. This museum is chock full of Coca-Cola memorabilia which will take more than one soda to view. There are also some great microbreweries where you can sample a large selection of Michigan, national, and international craft beers. You can get one of the best burgers in Michigan at Spike’s Keg O’Nails, located in a 1930s cabin on the Au Sable River. For decades, visitors to and through Grayling have loaded up with wonderfully fresh baked goods at Grayling’s own Goodale’s Bakery. Grayling also has some intimate coffee shops and a store specializing in Michigan products. For the art lover, there are several wonderful art galleries featuring works from locally and nationally renowned artists.
Situated in the heart of Crawford County, local historians have developed and maintain a great historic museum in the original Grayling Railroad Station. In this museum, you can learn all about the history of Crawford County, the town of Grayling, and the Hanson family. Since this area was known for its logging and lumber manufacturing, you can experience an early logging camp right in the museum. The museum also has a military annex building with military memorabilia dating back to the Civil War era. For more information about the museum, go to their website Here.
Running right through the center of Grayling is the Au Sable River. This river is known for its outstanding trout fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and tubing. In fact, the town got its name from the once plentiful Grayling, a species of trout, that were abundant in the clear cool waters of the Au Sable. The Manistee River is just a few miles west of town and provides similar outstanding water sports. And for those who prefer lake activities, Lake Margrethe, named after Rasmus Hanson’s wife, offers all the boating, swimming, and fishing activities you could expect of a deep, clear lake.The great Hartwick Pines State Park is nearby, offering some of the only virgin forest left in Michigan. There are nice hiking trails through the beautiful forest that remain cool even on a hot summer day.
Oh, and don’t forget about golf. Grayling is home to the 1920s Grayling Country Club right in town. The Hanson House is only a thirty minute drive from many other great Northern Michigan golf courses such as Forest Dunes, Garland, Tree Tops, Michaywe, Marsh Ridge and The Dream, just to name a few.
Grayling is also a very popular place to be in the winter. Located in a snow-belt, local groomed cross country skiing trails draw Nordic skiers from all over the Midwest. Ski on the first downhill slope in Michigan just a few miles away at Hanson Hills Recreation Area, or take your snowmobile out on one of the area’s multitude of groomed snowmobile trails. We think the best way to enjoy winter is to get out in it.