postle farm trail - walloon lake
Northwest Michigan, has become a famous for its resorts and tourist destinations. The fame has brought explosive growth, urban development, and crowds. Right in the middle of it all is the Postle Farm Preserve. In a region where most nature preserves are kind of wild, this one preserves an historic agricultural environment. The Postle Farm Preserve consists of 113 acres, encompassing three distinct habitats. The habitats include, an open field farmstead area, a northern hardwood forest area, and a low meadow wetland area. Each habitat can be explored via easy loop trails in a family friendly environment. The longest loop is only one mile long.
The trails are well marked to guide hikers through the various regions, each with its unique character and wildlife. There are a few interpretive stations along the way. Upon leaving the parking area, the entry path leads to one of the original barns, now used as a visitor center. There are exhibits inside, open in season, and period farm equipment is on display outside. The entry trail continues for a short distance to a signpost, where you can choose the Open Fields and Farmstead habitat, or, take a branch that leads into the Northern Hardwood Forest habitat.
The trail through the hardwood habitat slopes gently down hill into the woods consisting of beech, maple, evergreen, and hemlock trees. About a third of the way along the trail, a second loop, marked in red, is an option for a longer hike. Continuing on the original loop will take you to the third habitat, the Wetland and Lower Meadow. A trail follows the course of a small stream, for a short distance, before turning back in the direction of the farmstead area. After a short walk, you arrive at a spur that leads to a region the preserve has named, the Hemlock Cathedral. At the end of the spur, you find yourself in a grove of towering hemlock trees.
The Postle Farm Preserve contains some of the first cross country ski trails ever developed in Northern Michigan. Long before it became a craze, these trails were created by a few enthusiasts from the Sierra Club. While many of the natural areas near Petoskey have been lost to development, and others are crowded much of the year, the Postle Farm Preserve, in the heart of it all, is a place where families can go to wander the quiet meadows and forests of an historic farmstead, right in the middle of all the hustle and bustle.
Local Treasures: After a pleasant nature break at the Preserve, the Walloon Lake district, is a favorite spot for refreshment and exploration. The Vintage Mercantile, an antique and home decor shop, sponsors this chapter, and attracts treasure seekers from all over the region. Vintage Mercantile is located directly across the street from Hotel Walloon. Many of their items are unique to Northern Michigan, especially Walloon Lake’s, past. They have been nominated for best Antique and Vintage store in the Petoskey News Best of 2016 competition! The shop is located in an historic cabin and is filled top to bottom with antiques and vintage finds. Plan to spend some time inside, the variety of merchandise is amazing, and there is no space that isn't filled to capacity.
Shopping and hiking can build an appetite. If you want to sit by the lake and take an eclectic dining adventure, the menu at the Barrel Back is for you. If you are looking for simpler fare that is wholesome and delicious, the deli at the Walloon Lake General Store is the place to go.