Don’t just walk in our winter wonderland. Ski it, float it, fish it, sled it and sail downhill on it. Here's, our ultimate winter checklist.
* Make snow angels at 4th Street’s Doumas Park. 989-732-4060.
* Truly enjoy winter at Gaylord’s Annual Alpenfrost - Frosty 5K, ice skaing downtown and other winter fun. gaylordalpenfrost.com
* Float the not-so-frozen Sturgeon River in a raft. 231-238-8181, bigbearadventures.com.
* Check in with winter wildlife at Aspen Park. Thanks to the white background, photographing the elk and beaver pond is never better. Otsego Avenue south to Commerce Boulevard’s end. 989-732-4060.
* Nab a 60-minute pass for some extreme tubing at Treetops Resort. 888-TREETOPS, treetops.com.
* Shout “Woo-woo-woo!” all the way to Mackinaw City as you snowmobile the former North-Central Michigan Railroad Corridor. 231-348-8280.
* Snowshoe along the Sturgeon River in the super secluded, super quiet, no snowmobiles allowed Green Timbers section of the Pigeon River Country State Forest. Map at: pigeonrivercountryforest.org/greentimbers.htm.
* Are you an angler that can’t get enough? Cut a hole in the hard stuff and start a great Gaylord winter tradition — drop a line and do some ice fishing on one of the many lakes in Otsego County.
Learn more at: Michigan.gov/dnr.
* Ride the old fashioned way—in a horse-drawn open sleigh—at the Cook Family Farm. Afterward, warm up inside with hot cocoa. Don’t forget to browse the shop for even more homemade goodness: syrup, jams, jellies, honey, eggs, natural meats and soy candles. Both by appointment. Cook Family Farm 989-731-1332.
The best-kept dining secrets for a snow day indulgence.
Michaywé Inn the Woods
The hottest place to be on a cold Friday night? Michaywé Inn the Woods—home of the best fish fry
in town. This Gaylord gem features lighter fare, a full bar, the freshest seafood, perfectly prepared steaks and pasta and a pristine view of Lake Michaywé. Best of all? Patrons can take home a sixpack with their homemade pizza.989-939-8800, michaywe.com.
Jac's Place at Marsh Ridge
Friends, family and fantastic food - Jac’s place is the place for serious sled heads to warm up after a long haul on the trail (probably why it was voted the #1 restaurant and pizzeria by the Gaylord Herald Times). Signature dishes? Pecan encrusted walleye, steamed mussels and wild mushroom bisque—but the standard “pick your own topping” pizza is a must-have on this menu. 989-732-5552, marshridge.com.
Legends on the Hill
There’s good reason this cozy, casual, fireplace-warmed restaurant is a favorite among skiers—
and it’s not just the scenic view of the slope. Rich beginnings, hearty entrees, signature desserts and over 60 different types of beers from around the globe are all what makes this casual eatery a legend among locals. 989-732-6711, treetops.com.
The Snowman Cam
Snow junkies can scope out the fluffy stuff in Gaylord 24 hours a day on snowmancam.com, a live feed from a snowbelt backyard that shows the snow as it falls. The weatherman is a snowman. The measurement tools are a dial thermometer and a decorative snow ruler. And you can donate dollars to feed the wildlife that pass into the frame. Past visitors include a black bear, deer, porcupines, raccoons, wild turkey, squirrels, birds and more. snowmancam.com.
Wake Up Trailside
On the XC Trail
Great Northern Rentals and Pine Cone Accommodations offer rental houses big and small around the Gaylord region, many of which sit smack dab alongside area XC ski trails. One favorite setting? Around Michaywé’s Pine Course, where 17k await. Check out the options: 866-731-1887, pineconevacations.com; 877-546-2028,greatnorthernrentals.com.
On the Snowmobile Trail
You can ride out your door from many Gaylord area accommodations. From here, you can go pretty much anywhere in northwest Lower Michigan. Serious sled heads are fanatical for the North Central State Trail, a former railroad corridor that stretches north for 62 gorgeous and groomed miles, through forest, farms and villages, all the way to the Mackinac Straits.
With so many interconnected miles waiting, you’re going to want a map of this mega trail system. Free maps are available at the Gaylord Visitors Center located on the trail where it crosses Main St. from the south at 319 W. Main St. Need one mailed to you...not a problem just call 800-345-8621.
On the Downhill Slope
Treetops’ six chalet-style pads boast a mix of standard hotel rooms and efficiency units with kitchenettes, and they sit mountainside, giving you immediate out-thedoor access to Treetops’ 23 downhill runs. 888-treetops, treetops.com.
FACT OR FICTION? The Big One
A Wee Bit South of Gaylord, you’ll find ice-fishing fave Otsego Lake. In 1942, Dr. Arthur H. Compton and Dr.Robert Oppenheimer got together on its shores to chat about the atomic bomb they were developing. You know what happened with that big one, but do you know about the other big ones
lurking here – as in, the giant sturgeon? These super-sized and scary-looking prehistoric fish can live up to 100 years, grow up to eight feet long and 800 pounds, and they call Otsego Lake home. Their threatened status keeps them protected under catch-andrelease rules, but you can catch and keep their junior-whopper neighbors under Otsego’s ice: pike and walleye.
Fact. In truth, a female sturgeon may live up to 155 years while a male only lives to about 50 years. They are sometimes called living fossils because their species has thrived for so long.
- Float the not-so-frozen
Sturgeon River on a guided winter rafting trip beneath the snow-covered evergreens of the Sturgeon River.
Big Bear Adventures
- Snowshoe along the Sturgeon
River in the super secluded, super quiet, no-snowmobiles allowed Green Timbers section of the Pigeon River Country State Forest.
- X-Country ski and check in with
winter wildlife at Aspen Park.
Thanks to the white background,
photographing the elk and beaver
pond is never better. Located just
south of town on Commerce Blvd.
- Ride the old fashioned way-in a
horse-drawn open sleigh-at Cook
Family Farm. Afterward, warm up
with complimentary cookies and hot cocoa. If that's not enough
nostalgia for you, browse the shop
for even more homemade goodness: syrup, jams, jellies, honey, eggs, natural meats, and soy candles. By appointment, 989-731-1332.