This past Saturday, April 8 brought with it a bright sunny day here in West Michigan. It had been some time since we had been “wheels up” so Randy and I decided it was time to climb into the Navion and set out on another adventure.
In the spirit of our “throw the dart at the map” types of trips, I began browsing the Fun Places To Fly website for a destination in Ohio. (No special reason – I just thought I’d look south this time.) I was narrowing down my choices when the phone rang. One of our flying compadres called hoping to hitch a ride to Midland, MI to pick up his airplane from the maintenance shop.
That is how it happens so many times. Something will happen, causing us to deviate from our original plan and initiate a “Plan B”. However, looking back, some of our best destinations have been our Plan B trips. For instance, remembering our Sedona journey last summer, our first night’s stop was in Cuba, Missouri. We had originaly intended to land at the airport in Cuba. After learning en route that the airport was closed for runway repairs, we diverted to the closest airport, Rolla National (KVIH). Rolla turned out to be a WWII era airport rich in history, where we found a plethura of dilapidated C-47s sitting in their final resting place on the field. It was a hidden gem we would have missed had we stuck to our “A” plan.
Saturday’s B Plan didn’t disappoint either. Since we would now be heading north to Midland, I scanned the Michigan sectional for northbound destinations and randomly choose the town of East Tawas which is located on the east side of the state just north of Saginaw Bay, approximately 60 miles south of Alpena.
After a pleasant flight to Midland, we dropped our friend off and then made the remaining 52 mile hop to Iosco County Airport (6D9). Prior to landing, we took a tour of the area, from the air. The scenery below was stunning. We are constantly reminded how fortunate we are to live in a state that offers so many beautiful destination just a short flight away.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted by airport manager, Marv Poland and his wife, Linda. They were very hospitable and accommodating. Marv explained that the airport courtesy car had a dead battery, and insisted we take their personal car to town. Yet another wonderful gesture from our extended family of aviation aficionados!
East Tawas is a small resort town sitting on Tawas Bay off Lake Huron. The short drive to town is reminiscent of a family vacation destination from the 1950/60s. There are rows of quaint mom and pop motels and cabins lining the route. There is nothing pretentious to be found here. The people are friendly, down to earth and the small town atmosphere is welcoming and refreshing. (I swear I saw June and Ward Clever drive past and wave!)
Newman Street, the main business district is dotted with gift shops, restaurants, and coffee shops. We chose to dine at the Whitetail Cafe, as it appeared to be a favorite of locals. It is a small family run diner with a small town feel. The food is homemade and did not disappoint. Randy and I both had corn chowder that was out of this world. My Traverse City Chicken Salad piled on homemade fresh bread was amazing, as was Randy’s Hamburger. No frozen meat here. It was an old fashioned hand formed patty of fresh beef, grilled to perfection. The service was good and the staff friendly. Another great find.
After lunch and a walk through town, we drove to Tawas Point State Park to check it out. It is picturesque and offers campgrounds along with two miles of sandy beaches for strolling and swimming. This would be a great destination if you like to fish, are into birding or just enjoy being outside in nature. The Tawas Point lighthouse, located in the park was just as impressive from the ground as it was from the air.
We enjoyed the East Tawas area very much and would like to return during tourist season, as there are many attractions and things to do in the area during the summer season. What a nice “B” destination this one turned out to be!