Okay, I've been over this a few times before, but in case you are new to my blog or you aren't familiar with the geography here in the US, I will try to give you a quick recap. The state of Michigan is shaped kind of like a left hand mitten if you look at it on the map. That's part of the reason we are called the "mitten state".
There is a small area between what would be the thumb and forefinger that is part of Lake Huron and it is called Saginaw Bay. The area to the West of that is called the Great Lakes Bay Region, and the area to the East of it is called "The Thumb".
Just a little past the tip of the thumb and through the small town of Port Austin is a little community called Grindstone City. The community itself was established back in the mid 1800's, and had two major quarries and facilities that had the express purpose of creating grindstones.
As you will see as I walk through the community, the town is aptly named. There are remnants of the grindstone legacy strewn everywhere including as decorative pieces in many peoples front yards.
Think I am kidding? They are literally just strewn about the place everywhere. @mrsbozz and I took a walk one morning with our nephew and he found this pile along the shores of Lake Huron that he just had to climb as young boys are known to do!
There is a small area in the center of the community where they have a little display that gives you a bit of history about the area and the industry that put it on the map.
I'm going to try and post some of the signage that is in this area as well, but I am not sure how much you are going to be able to read it. Much of it is similar to what you can find on the Wikipedia page that I linked a little earlier in this post.
It's pretty fascinating how they used to make the stones and all of the work that went into giving them the perfect shape. Personally, I never would have guessed that grindstones were such a big industry, but apparently it was. At least up until the Great Depression. That is when operations shut down in this part of the state and unfortunately, the small community was never the same.
Luckily, Lake Huron still gives people plenty of reason to visit this area and pump a little bit of money into the economy.
Here are a couple more pictures showing how the grindstones have moved from an industrial use to something more decorative. I'm not kidding, if you walk along the shore of most of the beaches in this area, you will find pieces of grindstones strewn everywhere.
I picked up several of them that were palm sized so I can keep them in my travel trailer to use as a whetstone to sharpen my knives, hatchet, and axe.
Sadly, given the decline in industry in this area, there are plenty of derelict buildings. I thought about giving them a look ala @slobberchops, but the clearly posted no trespassing signs aren't something you want to ignore in the US of A. You might find yourself looking down the barrel of a shotgun or a .45!
We saw some other cool things on our walks, like this wasp nest that was sitting precariously over the garage door of this maintenance barn. As we were walking by the owners had opened one of the other doors, but it appeared they were steering clear of this one.
A short walk from the house we were staying in was this old building that looks like it houses a soda shop/ice cream parlor now. It's funny because Grindstone City may not have much, but they have two bars, two ice cream shops, and a party store. I think a lot of the economy now is supported by fishing charters and tourism.
We found ourselves strolling down an old country road and the wildlife was out in full force. Most specifically, bunnies.
If you look really closely, you can see them in the photos above. I was half expecting a deer to come walking out of the woods, but we didn't see anything that big. A lot of this area is kind of swampy given the proximity to Lake Huron, so it is hard to say what we might find out there.
We finally reached this point and decided to turn back. That sign says "Trail not maintained travel at your own risk". They are really talking about vehicle traffic, but we decided it might be a good idea to turn around anyway.
Grindstone City is aptly named, and it is a great little community to take a morning walk in. There is plenty to see and do in the area especially if you have a boat and you can go out on the Lake. I don't think it is one of those places that you absolutely have to visit, but if you are heading up highway 25, it is worth stopping in to check out. For the history alone. Plus you might pick up some cool little grindstone pieces.