Tag Archives: Cheeseburger

The Best Burger In the Thumb


[Ed Note: This pub has not been visited in several years. I’m uncertain where Julz is these days. But the Hitching Post is an Oasis during the high crowds at Cheeseburger Festival]

I’m a cheeseburger hound. I’m one of those who never seem to turn down going to some pub to grab a cheeseburger and a beer. At my age the waistline seems to have come more front and center. So I find myself getting more fussy about where I’m going to indulge on one of my favorite peasant foods.

You would think that the annual Cheeseburger festival in Caseville would turn out some of the finest burger on bun concoctions in the area. However the event has swelled to such a size that the rule is quantity not quality and cook it until it resembles a hockey puck. I haven’t had a burger in Caseville in several years.

When the party is in high gear during Cheeseburger festival in Caseville we find ourselves in the little town of Elkton about ten minutes away. There you will find the Hitching Post Inn. The Post is located in a historical hotel that was also once a church. (The stained glass still is place). This is a great Bar Burger joint. The owners are working to establish a solid business and have won over the locals. In 2011 they put in a new bar so updating is constant. This is a great place to come when the crowds in nearby Caseville get on your nerves.

It’s the best cheeseburger in the Thumb…period. Is it up with Michigan’s best? No. My designation of a great bar burger goes to the Shamrock in Utica Michigan.  However the Hitching Post uses fresh local beef and all the staff pitch in and cook. Even the head bartender, Jelzs, can really cook up a bit of paradise on a bun.  The establishment has their own Facebook Page and a loyal group of subscribers. I’m one of them. Menu choice…Blue Cheese Burger.

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Best of the Upper Thumb


For well over five decades the Upper Thumb has been deemed the “Closer Up North” for the Southeast Michigan and Detroit area.  Sandy beaches, great fishing, parks and some of the friendliest proprietors around, Huron County is a great place to steal a weekend away from the “burbs” of Detroit without busting your wallet.  In less than a two hour drive you can be at the tip of the Thumb and sinking your toes into the sugar sand of Saginaw Bay. It’s family friendly unpretentious and considered by many to be an undiscovered Michigan destination.

There are many events throughout the year but the highlight festival of the summer is Cheeseburger in Caseville held in August. When it was first held in 1999 it was purely a local affair attended by only 5,000 locals. Now the event is considered the largest civic festival event in Michigan with over 100,000 visitors during  the 10 day event. Caseville becomes Key North during the event. Bring your Conch Republic passport for diplomatic treatment.

ThumbWind presents the “inside scoop” from locals and those who live here and wish our visitors to have a great time. A new page has been added Best of the Upper Thumb. This local information offers a collection of the “Best Of” for the  all the festivals and unique sites the Upper Thumb has to offer including Caseville’s Cheeseburger festival . This stuff just scratches the surface for a unique trip of fun and adventure.

Best of RibStock in Caseville. Last weekend of JuneRibstock is considered the warm up act for the big August festival. However this celebration of BBQ and country music is quickly becoming a favorite early summer event.

Best Place to Talk Politics During Cheesburger’s “Parade of Fools” This is the largest event of the festival. It’s also a great chance to meet and great local and national politicians who find their way into Caseville.

Best Gourmet Grocery to Create Your Own Cheeseburger There are dozens of local restaurants and charity’s who set up for the 10 day event. You may want to make your own. Here is the best place to get all the fixens for your own cheeseburger in paradise.

Best Taste of the Florida Keys in the Upper Thumb – Want to experience a bit of the Keys cuisine without the 1,500 mile car trip and all the bridge hopping? There are many roadside inns along M-53 that can go toe-to-toe with those on A-1-A. The only thing missing is the conch chowder.  Here is a stand out.

Best Bar Cheeseburger in the ThumbBar burgers are fun. However you may actually have to leave Caseville to find the best bar cheeseburger in the Thumb.

Best Place to Camp Next to the BeachThe Upper Thumb is a camper nirvana. However there is only one area where you can literally camp steps away on the beach. Find out where.

Best Things to do When Your Bored of Cheeseburger – Ten days of luau shirts, Margareta’s and cheeseburgers sounds like a lot of fun but for kids it can be too much. If you want to step away from the crowds there is plenty to see and do. Check out the suggestions.

Best Stroll During the Festival – See the odd sights and unique sounds and atmosphere found only on the water.

Ora Labora Grave Old Bay Port Cemetery AngelBest Place to Get Totally Scared – The Upper Thumb has been home to native and American settlers for over a millenia. The paranormal activity in one nearby town has been the subject of books, movies and TV shows. You can even stay in a famously haunted inn overnight if you dare.

The Best Place to Dance Polka – If your around after Labor Day the upper thumb has a polka festival that is one of the Great Lakes best.


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Shocker – The Best Cheeseburger is NOT in Caseville!


shellysA couple of years ago our ThumbWind blog made a post that rattled the establishment in Caseville by stating that the best cheeseburger came from the Hitching Post in Elkton. At that that time the locally famous burger chef,  “Jewels” made a cheeseburger so famous that local golfers defected from golfing at Century Oaks (which was close to Hitching Post) to Scenic Golf Club when she started cooking and tending bar at Scenic. Those were gentler and tender times. We miss Jewels and wish her well.

This morning, after hitting the Farmers Market in Port Austin and White Church Gallery in IMG_0308[1]Grindstone we stopped by Shelley’s Bar. What a cool stop. Okay… I admit that the outside needs a bit more curb appeal. But stepping in to this roadside tavern you can tell the that the locals love this place. They had just finished a breakfast run and were shifting to lunch when we came in.

Clean, comfortable and friendly, are the first thoughts that came to mind as we settled in. Our sever came in within a minute and we ordered a ice cold Molson drafts. “So cold your teeth ached.”, one of us said. The highlights of the lunch was their wonderful “Turkey Reuben, while the sage diner among us ordered a cheeseburger medium with mustard and pickles.

IMG_0309[1]As we were leaving, our cheeseburger orderer flagged down our our server and asked to speak to the manger. Jackie came over and with a quized look ask if everything was OK. Our seasoned cheeseburger snob stated….”this is the best I’ve had all week, it’s excellent!” No small feat has this guy is a known as a regular at the world famous “Councils” in Bradenton, Florida.  Jackie was gracious and explained that they get a special grind from  McDonalds in Bad Axe. And that they searched several times before they settled in with this well known local grocer. She credited the team in the kitchen has were al the magic happens.

So we have a new Best Cheeseburger in Huron County tagged as coming from Shelley’s Bar.IMG_0311[1] in Grindstone City. Their ice cold beer and fresh cut fries round out a great experience. Its also evident that Shelly’s support local charities and sports teams around the Upper Thumb. ThumbWind will be back from time to time to ensure that they are the Best of the Upper Thumb.


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14 Things to Do Around Caseville if Your Bored with the Cheeseburger Festival


The Cheeseburger in Caseville festival is a summer time fun filled family event with plenty to do and see. However there is only so much grass skirt, trinket stands and cheeseburgers that one can handle for the multi-weekend event. What else is there to do in the Upper Thumb? Here are some suggestions if you, or more likely the kids, have had enough fun with the parrot head life.

Caseville Giant Slide1. Giant Slide – Refurbished in 2015, Key North offers classic fun and great photo and video opportunities The whole family or group of friends can race down a huge multi-lane slide. Great for working off that extra cheeseburger and fries. Located on the south side of Caseville toward Bay Port.

2. Go Karts – The Upper Thumb now has two a full featured go-kart tracks. In  Port Austin. The track is large and its ideal for a tasting of real racing. As an adult you can take the little ones on a full throttle ride around a great winding track. Check out Family Go Karts in Port Austin south of town off of M-53. In Caseville, Key North Mini Golf and Family Fun Center sports the largest track in mid-Michigan. With 15 new karts and some two-seaters so mom or dad can drive the youngsters around that are too small to do it themselves.

3. Miniature Golf – There are numerous classic Putt-Putt and other family friendly courses in Port Austin, Caseville and Kinde. While the adults think of these as trite and insignificant, the kids will remember these little family jaunts for a lifetime. Take advantage of these roadside attractions before they disappear to X Box video games. The biggest of the miniture golf circuit is Sandy Dunes Adventure Golf. It’s short drive east of Caseville this modern course sports Huron County’s largest, (and only), waterfall in the Thumb.


Do you love Michigan’s Thumb? So do we. However we were frustrated on not seeing cool T-shirts that reflect our favorite spots. So we created ThumbWind-Mercantile. This on-line shop offers T’s unique to Michigan’s Thumb and can’t be found anywhere else. Check it out.


4. Giant Water Slide and Climbing Rock – Cool off going down a huge water jet slide or try your hand at climbing and repelling down a 25 foot alpine rock. Open seven Kinde Water Slidedays a week noon to 6pm. This adventure is located in Kinde. Kinde is south of Port Austin on M-53.

Bayport Fish Company5. Bayport Fish Company – Visit one of the few remaining operational commercial fish operations on the Great Lakes. Purchase fresh fish on-site and watch the operations. (Hope you like the smell of fish). If your in Caseville you can see their vessel Osprey tied up south of the break wall. Open seven days a week.

6. Port Austin Farmers Market – Open Saturday mornings during the summer season. Crafts, fresh locally produced fruits, fresh and smoked fish,vegetables, craft foods and flea market items.  Considered the largest open-air market in the Thumb. Port Austin

octagon barn7. Octagon Barn – The Thumb Octagon Barn Agricultural Museum is located in Tuscola County approximately 1 mile east of the Village of Gagetown along Bay City Forestville Road 1 mile north on Richie Road, just south of the Huron County border.

8. Huron City Museum –  See Huron County has it thrived in the late 1800’s. The House of House of seven gablesSeven Gables, a beautifully preserved Victorian home, sits on a bluff overlooking Lake Huron. The General Store, a Methodist church, an inn and barns were built during the 1880’s. With a post office, general store, a rooming house and mills, Huron City was well equipped to serve the northern county farmer. Huron City.

Huron County Nature Center9. Huron County Nature Center & Wilderness Arboretum – A 280 acre Nature Center established on a tract of untouched land in Hume Township, Michigan, the Huron County Nature Center and Wilderness Arboretum  has been under the tender care of the Huron County Women’s Clubs since 1941. Located halfway between Caseville and Port Austin across from Oak Beach.

10. Hit the Beach – There are numerous public beaches throughout Huron County in which to cool off, enjoy a picnic while the kids play iHuron County Beachesn the playground. Most beaches offer ample parking with some with picnic tables, restroom and changing areas and grills for making your own cheeseburger.

Caseville Musuem11. Caseville Museum – Located just one block from Main Street in Caseville you can see artifacts and local treasures from yesteryear. Special events are often held weekly and it offers a quick diversion from the crowds.

12. Rush Lake and Sand Road ORV – Located just south of Sleeper State Park this unimproved road runs from Caseville to Port Austin by way of various roads and trails. If you have a 4×4  and want to try your hand at light off-roading this is worth an hour of looking around the woods. Sand RoaRush lake caseilled is found about a mile south of the cross streets of M-23 and State Park Road. Be prepared. The road is sometimes impassable after rain and the sand can get deep. Only the most adventurous find the ancient and reedy Rush Lake. There are numerous hiking and biking paths. As most of this is on state land its best to have your State Park Passport and ORV sticker in case the DNR stops you.

13. Get Some Ice Cream – Escape the crazy crowds  for an hour and Bybak's Ice Creamexplore other side of the Thumb. In Grindstone Grindstone General StoreCity there are two renowned ice cream shops. The Grindstone General Store and Rybak’s Ice Cream Store. Grindstone General Store is known for its insanely large ice cream cones while Rybak’s is the place for high-end ice cream and homemade candy. Both are located in historic buildings from the 1800’s Rybak’s large front porch is an ideal place to chat with friends and reminisce about your Cheeseburger day.

14. Get Artsy – The  Upper Thumb now has two gallery’s, in Bad Axe the Lofty Roots Gallery white church galleryand Studio opened in 2015 with six local artists exhibiting. While in Grindstone City the White Church Gallery draws in artists from all over Michigan and Florida. Founded by Mike and Carrie Zaitz in a renovated 1800’s church.  Both gallery’s are excellent diversions from the Cheeseburger hangover.