Many want to keep this place a secret. It’s a slice of a true American farming community in the Thumb of Michigan. The village was founded in the 1880’s during the regions transition from lumbering to agriculture by John Kinde. A lumber yard, general store, grain elevator and post office were established followed by a train station in 1882 by the Port Huron and Northwestern Railroad, (PH & NW).
Kinde was once renowned as the “Bean Capital of the World“. Michigan white navy bean soup has been a staple for over one hundred years in the U.S. Senate dining room in the form of Senate bean soup. (Find the recipe in our post of Unique Michigan Foods You Have to Try) While beans are still a huge agricultural focus in the Thumb the mighty sugar beet has nudged the venerable white bean from first place.
Each year the heritage of the area rises with the Kinde Polka Fest that is held each September. Polka groups from all over Michigan and the Midwest converge on the village for the entire weekend of music and fun. A 5k run is held on Saturday with a Breakfast held on Sunday. Proceeds from the event go toward schorships for local students, school projects and the FFA.
Kinde offers a wonderful respite from the beach, the crowds in Port Austin or craziness of Caseville during Cheeseburger. In the center of town there is a giant water slide and miniature golf. The Wiley’s Water Slide is a cool option on a hot summer day. If getting all wet doesn’t interest you, there is an ice cream store too.
If your more into the inside sports nearby on M-53 there is the time honored institution of Biff’s Bowling Bar. Built in 1947 the bowling alley has been owned by the same family for three generations. Al and Kimberly Yageman brought out Al’s dad in 2003 and haven’t looked back. The bowling alley has been highly rated online by both Yelp and Foursquare and has been noted for a great family atmosphere. They have a full kitchen and some of the coldest beer around.
Most of the year-around folks in the Thumb consider The Pasta House a must visit. While everyone raves about their pizza this author tends to go for their signature dishes of homemade ravioli and chicken Marcela. With banquet facilities next door, the Pasta House also draws special events, weddings and large parties.
Finally it you want a joint that is out of the ordinary head west of town to Heck’s Bar. This place is in what was once a thriving crossroads village of Pinnebog but today the Heck’s is the sole survivor. They offer one of the largest selections of craft beers in the area. They are known for their Friday fish fry and the famous Heckle burger. The décor is a bit dated but they are working on it. The service is fast and conversation is pleasant as it’s never overly loud. It is somewhat kid friendly with families surrounding large tables with grand kids in tow. So before you leave Kinde, come to the center of the Universe at Heck’s Bar.
It’s Shanty Days Silver Anniversary!
The middle of winter is celebrated and imbibed in the cold of February off the shores of the frozen Saginaw Bay. Caseville’s annual Shanty Days Festival kicks off the 2017 year of fun in Key North.
Don’t be left out in the cold. The 2017 Shanty Days in Caseville promises to be eventful even if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Events are all weekend long at the Saginaw Bay Marina and the Caseville County Park including the popular Polar Bear dip cut from a hole in the ice at the marina. Two years ago the 2015 Caseville Shanty Days theme was “Let’s Get Flaky” which proved to be fun and matched with some of the crazy events over the three blustery days. 2015 was also the first time that the iconic event was postponed for a week due to sub-zero temperatures and blizzard conditions.
2017 Shanty Days Highlights
Friday Feb 17 – Caseville Eagles Open to the Public Located Behind Caseville True Value
- Fish Fry – Burgers, fish & additional menu items 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
- Karaoke 7 p.m.
Saturday Feb 18 – At Caseville Resort & Marina Events start at 11am and run all afternoon.
- Broom Ball competition
- Human Bowling
- Chick On A Stick 3 person race, 2 guys carry their gal.
- Winter Cardboard Sled Race – 2 person race.
- Build your sled out of cardboard & duct tape.
- Polar Bear Dip
Sunday Feb 19 – Kids Day at Caseville Resort & Marina and Caseville Eagles. Various events for youth
We will update this post and re-publish as information trickles in. Stay tuned.
If there is one area in the Upper Thumb where the paranormal might reside it would have to be Bay Port. The area was the site of the vanished Ora Labora German Colony that existed from 1861-1867, the spooky and unattended Old Bay Port Cemetery and the address of the Sweet Dreams Inn where many claim to have experienced paranormal activity.
The Inn was built-in 1890 at the end of the lumber era in the Upper Thumb. Built by William H. Wallace, the Victorian style home was designed with the tastes and style common at that time by those with means. Wallace was active in politics and was a delegate in the Republican National Convention in 1908, 1916, and 1924. He was president of Michigan Sugar Company and Bay Port State Bank. He owned the Wallace Stone Quarry which is just south of town and still in operation today. His first wife, Elizabeth died in 1893 and local lore tells that she passed away in the home. There also a bit of a mystery in that despite the prominence of this individual there is no record of his or his son’s grave sites. Thus it’s no coincidence that visitors say Wallace and his first wife still roam the inn with his heavy footsteps, as well as whispering in the ears of the guests.
“Me and my best friend live in Bay Port We have seen ghosts and heard screams countless times walking on the street in front of the sweet dreams inn. Also have heard stories of the ghosts and have seen the little girl looking out of the left window on the third floor. So I believe it is haunted!!!”
The Sweet Dreams Inn is a specialized bed-and-breakfast where guests hope to experience the proximity of these friendly ghosts. Guest have reported that doors open and close, beds and chairs are moved. Some report that they feel being touched and hear voices and footfalls where nobody has been. One event that was caught on a cell phone video was that of an “orb” flying through one of the guest bedrooms. At times guests are unnerved by the experience and leave in the middle of the night.
“Been there several times and have experienced activity first hand: footsteps, voices. Just because one person doesn’t have an experience doesn’t mean it never happens.”
The inn has been featured in two Haunted Michigan travel books and featured in a paranormal documentary and movie. The Inn still registers guests by appointment you can actually stay overnight. However, the word in Bay Port is that soon the Sweet Dreams Inn will soon be up for sale.
This observation was clear. When looking up the top online travel sites for information for the Upper Thumb’s top restaurants, pubs, galleries, bowling alleys, attractions and events we are sorely lacking the “love” that communities like Traverse City, Petoskey and even the all-too-close Frankenmuth get.
Therefore, ThumbWind announces the start of 30 days of love campaign. We are encouraging our readers to go to your favorite on-line travel site and post a review, then tell us. If you have a great place to highlight in Sanilac, Tuscola or Huron County then we want to highlight your awesome post.
Email your post to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your entry will be highlighted and shared on our Facebook page and on the weekend of Valentine’s day we will have a random selection of all entries for a free T-shirt, Hoodie or Sweatshirt from our online store. It’s a chance to spread the love of our Thumb area and give an on-line boost to our wonderful collection of spots we love visit, shop, and talk about.
Please share this post and encourage people to become engaged with the on-line resources that will support our community.
OFFICIAL RULES: Entries must be submitted to email@example.com no later than midnight 2/14/2017. (Valentine’s Day), The site you reviewed must be located in Sanilac, Tuscola or Huron County. Each entry must be a clearly viewable post from any travel website such as Yelp ™ TripAdvisor ™ or other public web site and must be viewable to the general public without login. Winner will be a random draw among all entries. The random winner to select one item from http://shop.thumbwind.com. There is only one winner for the T-shirt but we all win with more love spread around.
Copyright: snake3d / 123RF Stock Photo