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Harbor Springs History
The Harbor Springs area is filled with history and the place to learn about it is the Harbor Springs History Museum located downtown. This community has been a trading center, mission, lumbering economy, summer destination and year ’round community.
In 1691, Catholic missionaries came to the area to work with Odawa Indians. The area known as L’Arbre Croche from Good Hart to Harbor Springs was a thriving community during the 1880s. The Odawa supported themselves with trapping, fishing, shoemaking, carpentry, tailoring and more.
Beginning in the 1870s, visitors became coming north by steamship, and later by trains, to escape pollen and heat. Hotels and boarding houses popped up along the waterfront and by the 1920s, Harbor Springs was known as the Naples of the North.
Year ’round family fun is on tap in the Harbor Springs area! Summer is filled with so much to do outdoors—golfing, biking, swimming, boating, sailing, kayaking, paddleboarding, fishing, hiking and more. With two city beaches in Harbor Springs and nearby beaches at Petoskey State Park, Thorne Swift Nature Preserve, and Sturgeon Bay, beach days are a must.
Fall brings fabulous foliage color and the still warm waters of the lakes. Winter sports with two ski resorts plus miles of trails for cross country skiing, snow shoeing and snow mobiling offer days of snow fun. Spring is the quieter season with exploding growth in the woods of wildflowers and a display of trillium that is stunning.
Tunnel of Trees
Head north out of Harbor Springs on M-119 for a drive through the famous Tunnel of Trees. The M-119 Heritage Route travels to Cross Village complete with a spectacular display of Northern hardwoods located close to the roadway overlooking Lake Michigan from steep bluffs. The rolling terrain, dramatic vistas, and many turns and curves make this a favorite year ‘round drive.
Designate a Scenic Heritage Route, the views on the 27.5 mile drive highlight glorious woods filled with trillium in the spring, sparkling water in the summer, a frozen landscape and lake in the winter, and colors galore in the fall.
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