Harbor Beach Michigan – A Port of Call
As the world’s largest freshwater man-made harbor, the port of Harbor Beach Michigan is an ideal stopping point for sailors making their way up the shore of Lake Huron. With its protected port and town that’s steps away from the Marina, Harbor Beach offers sailors and boaters a welcome break and an ideal provisioning point. If you find yourself with a few extra hours there are some great little site seeing trips that are close and interesting. Some are walking distance while some will require an Uber ride from dockside.
Harbor Beach Lighthouse
If you’re in the harbor on a Saturday and have $20 you can get a tour. It’s a 10-minute boat ride and guided tour of this Spark-plug light located at the tip of the break wall. You can access four of the six levels of this working light and get a taste of local history. Figure taking about one hour for the entire tour. If the weather is ideal the best advice is to take your best pictures on the ride back with the sun higher in the sky. The fee covers the lighthouse trip and entry to the museum.
Grice House Museum
The home is a prime example of a mid-19th century working home in the days before electricity. With its period kitchen, parlor, sewing room and bedroom you can imagine what life was like in the late 1800s There are collections and artifacts of local maritime history, history of the Great Lakes, and of early lumbering in Harbor Beach. This home was constructed in 1874 by James G. Grice and is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.
On the grounds, there is a one-room schoolhouse from the early 1900s The school is furnished with desks, books and the stove typically found in one room country schools of that era.
The Grice House is a short walk from the Harbor Beach Marina on the north end of town. Tours for the museum are available from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Hours: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – 1-4 pm, Saturday – 10 am-4 pm, Sunday – 1-4 pm, and by appointment by calling 989-479-3363. Admission is $5.
Frank Murphy Museum
One of the most famous individual in the Thumb, Frank Murphy was one of Michigan’s most notable and accomplished politicians. He was the Mayor of Detroit, Governor of Michigan, Governor-General/U.S. High Commissioner of the Philippine Islands, Attorney General of the United States and finally a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Born in Harbor Beach in 1890, he graduated from the University of Michigan Law School and returned to Harbor Beach to practice law early in his career. Frank Murphy was a national defender of civil rights. His was an author to the descent position of the Supreme Court in the Korematsu vs. the US case, which upheld the legality of Japanese internment camps during WWII. Murphy called the decision “legalization of racism.” A plaque highlighting his famous position is outside the museum.
The Frank Murphy Memorial Museum south of the Marina on Huron Street next to the Visitor’s Center at 142 S. Huron Avenue. Tours for the museum are available from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Hours: Tues-Fri: Noon-4pm, Sat-Sun: 10am-4pm, and by appointment. Admission: Adult: $2 / Child: $1
Pointe Aux Barques Light House
This is well north of Harbor Beach but worth the drive. The Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse ranks among the ten oldest lighthouses in Michigan. It is an active lighthouse maintained by the US Coast Guard remotely, located in Lighthouse County Park on Lake Huron near Port Hope, Michigan in Huron County. “Pointe aux Barques” Francois for ‘Point of Little Boats’, a descriptor of the shallow shoals and reefs that lurk beneath these waves, presenting a hazard to boats as they round Michigan’s Thumb. This historic landmark marks the opening of Saginaw Bay. You can climb to the top of the lighthouse only on Memorial and Labor Day weekends.
This institution has been keeping Harbor Beach Michigan served with ice cold beer since 1938. It’s like stepping back to when the area was considered ‘up north” with its rustic and rugged and knotty pine and casual, comfortable atmosphere. Considered to have the best fish in the area and the “Flying Cheese Sticks” Good craft beer selection. Known as more of a local bar, but a favorite biker stop.
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