Best of the Thumb

Best Places to Visit in the Michigan Thumb

Port Austin Farmers Market  Port Austin Farmers Market

Open Saturday mornings during the summer season at the tip of the Michigan Thumb in Port Austin. Crafts, fresh locally produced fruits and vegetables, craft foods and flea market items.  Considered the largest open-air market in the Thumb. Saturdays 9 am to 1 pm, Open May 23 to October 10, Kids’ Day – June 20. 

Best Stop on Your Way to the Thumb Scott’s Quick Stop

Best of the Upper Thumb Forty-five minutes into our trip back to Detroit from the shoreline of the upper thumb, I find a need to stop.  We’ve found a convenient, quirky place to stretch your legs enjoy an ice cream and browse semi-automatic weapons. Scott’s Quick Stop is located north of Marlette on the corner of Van Dyke (M53) and Sanilac (M46) Roads. The truck stops sports a huge parking lot and always has a steady stream of cars. The main draw outside of gassing up is their ice cream. For a couple of bucks, you can get two huge scoops on a real waffle cone. While you’re enjoying your cone you can also browse a huge sporting goods area with guns and ammo of every type. It’s an odd combination but somehow it works. The other unique draw of Scott’s happens during the opening day of deer season. You’ll notice “The Buck Pole” on the side parking lot. During opening day hunters from all over the thumb place their buck for display and compete for prizes. There have been several record-setting bucks brought in to Scotts. In 2010 an 18 point was taken near Bad Axe with an unconfirmed score of 198.

So if you’re heading up to Cheeseburger in Caseville or coming back from a day at the beach its worth pulling in to Scott’s Quick Stop if only for a quick look around. 

Bay Port Fish Company


This has been a commercial fishery in Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay since 1895. Currently, the fish company is owned and operated by the William brothers. The Williams purchased the company in 1977 from Henry Engelhard. In 1949 Engelhard starting selling fish sandwiches in front of his house to pay his daughter’s college tuition, his sales grew and grew until in 1978 it became The Fish Sandwich Festival. Bayport Fish Company ArgoThe festival still offers the original freshwater mullet sandwich made from fish caught locally by the Bay Port Fish Company. The fish are cleaned by members of the Bay Port Chamber of commerce and coated in a secret batter recipe.

Bay Port Fish Company operates between spring and fall, depending upon the weather and has four boats: the Osprey, the Argo, the Patsy, and the Sunflower. You can see the Osprey and the Argo tied up in Caseville harbor at the fish house just south of the break wall. Fresh, smoked, and frozen fish can be bought from the retail store in Bay Port. They also can be found at several Farmers Markets in Michigan. Look for booths at the Port Austin Farmers Market, Ann Arbor Farmers Market, and the Detroit Eastern Farmers Market

White Church Gallery – Grindstone City

White Church Gallery

Mike and Carrie Zaitz renovated an old Methodist Church in Grindstone City, Michigan. Mike claims he just wanted a studio to work on his art. He sold Carrie on it since she’s usually up for adventures. From that happy December of 2011 till now, the investment in time and money has seen the church rebuilt from its glorious but crumbling bones into a work of art, in progress. Carrie is documenting the process because it’s easier to hold a camera than to hold an edging sander. She’s done both because she is having an adventure, but it is Mike who drives this project with his intelligence, talent, and energy. Together they have created an art gallery. 

The White Church Gallery is considered the first full-time gallery in the Upper Thumb and one of our favorite spots to visit. 

Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse

White Church Gallery

Built in the 1850’s this is one of the oldest lighthouses on the Great Lakes that is still in operation. Located east of Grindstone City in Lighthouse Park. There is a museum, bookstore, and you can climb up the lighthouse tower at specific dates of the year for a small fee. 

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Michigan Thumb Lighthouses



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