Beal Plantation Trail - Grayling
By the late 1800s the lumberjacks had cleared the forests near Grayling leaving little more than pine stumps as far as the eye could see. In those years, no one knew how to replant a forest, it had never been done. Professor W.J. Beal took matters in hand and planted more than 40 species of trees in establishing the Grayling Experimental Station. The Beal Plantation Trail winds through what may be the oldest documented tree plantation in North America. The trail includes interpretive signs describing the trees, grasses, and clovers that were all part of the experiment to determine how to reforest these poor sandy soils.
The short walk through the Beal Plantation is a tour of all that remains of 80 acres planted by in 1888. A walk along this trail is a walk through forestry history. As an educational experience this hike is hard to beat. The variety of trees that can be studied in a short walk is unmatched anywhere in northern Michigan.
The Beal Plantation is handicapped accessible and offers a self guided tour with interpretive signs.
Tip’n the Mitten, sponsor of this chapter, is much more than just your average store. They focus solely on only those products which are Michigan-made. Owned and operated by Michiganders, everything in this shop from food to books to gifts and more is made and/or designed in Michigan. Thanks to Tip'n the Mitten, Grayling residents and visitors have access to the best Michigan-made products all in one place! They offer products that you would expect from a great Michigan-made store and much more. From decor to food, ice cream by the scoop year-round and even farm fresh milk, you can find it all at Tip’n the Mitten. You will find the new and the tried and true brands that you have come to know and love like Michigan Awesome and Faygo as well as great products made right here in the heart of Michigan from vendors you may not yet know. Store policy is, “If we don’t love, we don’t sell it”.
While you are in downtown Grayling there are a couple of other stops that are “must see” and both involve food, so try to be hungry. One is the Classic 50's Diner across the street from Tip'n the Mitten. The food is good and the diner is home to the Bottle-Cap Museum which, at 10,000+ pieces, is the largest private collection of Coca-Cola related items in Northern Michigan.
The second is Spikes Keg O' Nails, the "meeting place of the north". This restaurant has been a favorite for generations of visitors in all seasons. The “Spike Burger” is one of my top three burgers in the entire state of Michigan.