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Nurture and Nature: Historical Nourishment and Natural Wonders Along M-115.

Have you ever wondered what was down that road? Or that one? Or if you were missing something as you were rolling along the freeway? I'm Manny the moose, HSM Magazines' mascot. I'll be exploring off-the-beaten-track historical sites along the byways of Michigan and sharing my discoveries with you. And, hopefully, the next time you are out and about, you'll take a detour to investigate these natural and man-made treasures for yourself. Please contact locations for exact hours of operation and entrance fees. And, if you know of any cool places I should visit, please let me know at


Farwell Area Historical Museum. Whether this is the first stop on your M-115 journey or the last, make sure to leave time to visit this gem. Built for the Farwell Ladies Library Association, the structure that now houses the Farwell Area Historical Museum was constructed in the early 1880s. The museum shares the building with the Farwell Area Chamber of Commerce and offers information about the development and history of the village. Visitors can learn about the Farwell of yesteryear and see historical household items, clothes, kitchen utensils, photos, and * (989) 588-0580


Waldeck Island Nature Preserve. A short half-mile detour brings you to this 11-acre preserve, which is surrounded by Stone Ledge Lake. Visitors can enjoy the wetlands from the newly constructed viewing platform or by taking a short walk in the woods. Depending on when you come, you may see ducks, geese, herons, deer, birds, and more. Oh, and don't miss the beaver lodge! Who knows, maybe you will even get to see one of those busy little rodents at work.


Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park. The Cadillac trailhead for this 92-mile "rails to trails" marvel is just a hop, skip, and jump east of M-115. Once used by the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, the trail is now more than half paved with asphalt, and the remaining miles are a packed-gravel surface. If you are an adventurous soul, this trail will get you all the way to northern Grand Rapids. It might not be the fastest way to get from Cadillac to Grand Rapids, but the trip along this "linear trail" state park would definitely be memorable!


Mitchell State Park. For 100 years, this state park has offered Michiganders the chance to explore and experience the Great Lakes State's natural resources. The park is named for William W. Mitchell, a prominent Cadillac lumberman and businessman who was also the nephew of the city's founder and first mayor. A fascinating aspect of the Mitchell State Park is the canal that cuts through the heart of it. The historic canal was created in 1873 so that lumber could be floated from Lake Mitchell, at that time called Big Clam Lake, to Litde Clam Lake, now named Lake Cadillac. Once in Lake Cadillac, the harvested logs were available to sawmills and the railroad. * (231) 775-7911


Village of Mesick. The small village of Mesick, which is touted to be the "mushroom capital of the United States," hosts a huge annual event every Mother's Day weekend--the Mesick Mushroom Festival. This year, the three-day event celebrated its sixtieth year, and festival-goers enjoyed a myriad of events, such as a mushroom hunt, concerts, a parade, a car show, and plenty of games and food.


Mesick Roadside Park. This seasonal roadside park offers picnic tables, a pump, bathroom facilities, and a memorial to a lesser-known part of Michigan's history. A plaque attached to a boulder within the park cryptically states "Michigan Daughters of the American Revolution [DAR] Memorial Forest 1940." But what, exacdy, does that mean? During the Great Depression and with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the National Forest Service began a program to replant and revitalize U.S. forests. To engage the public and help defray costs, pine tree seedlings were "sold" for a penny a piece. The DAR embraced the "Penny Pines" program and funded DAR Memorial Forests throughout the United States. The 160-acre replanted forest commemorated by this plaque is located nearby.


Trillium. Found throughout Michigan, the Common Trillium lined M-115 during my trip. The specks of white on their blankets of green were a sight to behold! Please note: They are a protected wildflower.

Caption: (All photos courtesy of Manny, unless otherwise noted.)

Please Note: Illustration(s) are not available due to copyright restrictions.
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Title Annotation:MANNY ON THE MOVE
Publication:Michigan History Magazine
Geographic Code:1U3MI
Date:Jul 1, 2019
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