The city of Mt. Pleasant is located in the heart of Michigan (or central Michigan) and it’s as pleasant as it sounds. It’s home to the Ziibiwing Cultural Center and celebrates many other American Indian customs and history through events like the Annual Saginaw Chippewa Pow Wow.
Much of our state recognizes Mt. Pleasant as home to Central Michigan University (CMU) where you’ll find a modern-day pow wow referred to as tailgating. Here, current CMU students, Alumni, fans, and family come together for their own proud traditions.
Surrounded by lakes, rivers, forests, and healthy farmland, the dynamic Mt. Pleasant offers just about anyone a place to thrive. As visitors recently, my family and I certainly had ample opportunity to learn, play, and replenish.
Thank you to Meet Mt. Pleasant for partnering with Awesome Mitten to highlight the best of Mt. Pleasant where you will find good times all year round and exceptional fall fun and beauty. We are proud to have you on our Fall #MIAwesomeList!
Packing for Mt. Pleasant Makes You Hungry
On a Friday afternoon in Kalamazoo, Dad, little brother, and Mom squeezed into a fully loaded car to pick up big brother from school. One would think we were leaving for an extended vacation at least four states away, but no, we were headed just two hours away to Mt. Pleasant for two nights.
In Michigan, where all four seasons might be experienced in one fall (or spring) weekend, you must be prepared for anything. Four people (two of them small children, which is like, next-level packing, amen?) and four climate possibilities mean packing an automobile to its near breaking point. Believe it or not, this is very well with me! After all, the fluctuation in weather here is but one of the many reasons I was excited to recently move back to Michigan. However, the supreme motive to return to the Mitten can be summed up in one word; GRANDPARENTS!
The cramming of things and bodies into my vehicle was well worth the effort because my kiddos were going to get their Grandma and Bapa time. Mt. Pleasant is one hour from my parents so we rendezvoused for dinner at Summit Smokehouse and Tap Room.
Summit Smokehouse is associated with the well-known Mountain Town Brewing Company gleaned from Mountain Town Station Brewing Company & Steakhouse. What a mouthful… of tasty corn nuggets we had as an appetizer that night! We recommend those as well as their refreshing and riveting brews on tap.
Mt. Pleasant is for Couples
After our meal, the adults switched vehicles and went our separate ways. Oh, I didn’t mention that? Our boys would spend the next couple of nights at their grandparents’ while mom and dad stayed behind to explore Mt. Pleasant. Aren’t grandparents the best?! Thanks Grandma and Bapa!
Back in California, this kind of help was few and far between. Though my husband and I were born and raised in Michigan, I’m sure we will gripe when wintertime stays too long. We will have to remind each other; GRANDPARENTS! It is invaluable to see our kids making memories with family and to have the luxury of getting a mom and dad break on occasion.
Mt. Pleasant is for Kids
Let me assure the reader, the kid handoff wasn’t due to a lack of kid-friendly things to do in Mt. Pleasant. For example, there’s the Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum, The Jump Station, Dozer’s Deli & Creamery where you can order a flight of ice cream, and plenty more family fun to be had. In fact, when it came time to swap cars and kids again that Sunday, we chose Papa’s Pumpkin Patch as our meeting place to enjoy quintessential fall family fun. But I’m getting ahead of myself, more on the patch to follow.
Pohl Bison Bed & Breakfast
So, after our see-ya-laters, my husband and I set off for Pohl Bison Bed & Breakfast LLC. Our time at this unique B&B was unequaled.
As we approached the beautiful Amish-built log home (with central air and heat, mind you!) set on sprawling 70 acres, our eyes were searching for something you don’t see too often in Michigan – roaming bison! Over 70 massive and majestic bison are on the property.
We parked, gathered our things, and were met at the door by Krista. She made us feel welcome and comfortable right from the start; the ‘hostess with the mostes’ as broadway star Ethel Merman sang in 1950 (🤓). Krista showed us to our room and pointed out the common area loft with a coffee bar and mini fridge (stocked with a personalized yummy snack plate 😋).
Our. Room. Was. Marvelous.
Typing this now and reminiscing about entering the room that first night is making me melt! I wish I could go back and do it all again…
We settled in quickly, it was fairly late in the evening and to waste kid-free time should be a punishable offense! I’ll let you in on our guilty pleasure. When we are able to have seemingly unattainable, very rare, and uninterrupted time to ourselves – we like to watch brainless television. We are talkin’ reruns of Friends or The Office, maybe a rom-com. It could be soft background noise for all we care. We haven’t ruled the remote in almost 5 years! If a kid-appropriate show ain’t on, the TV is off.
After a restorative sleep on a well-adorned mattress, my husband and I were offered hot coffee and a home-cooked meal in the morning. The food was top-notch and we really enjoyed a little meet-and-greet with Krista and her husband, Jim, as we finished eating.
Much More Than a B&B
It was nice getting to know a bit more about our hosts as well as the operations at Pohl Bison because, as it turns out, it’s not just a B&B. It’s much more. Pohl Bison sells bison meat, bison products such as leather goods, in the summer they offer camping and bison ranch tours, and most recently, the exclusive Black Horn Boutique.
The Black Horn Boutique is Krista’s dream come true that launched at the ranch in 2019 and has grown by two locations since. Make an appointment to shop at the ranch, or even better, be a B&B guest with full access to the warehouse! You will witness Krista radiate as she helps you shine by the way of growing your personal style.
Cops & Doughnuts
After our filling breakfast, we did just about the last thing we should do, some might even say it was criminal. We went to Cops & Doughnuts, Central Precinct, and overindulged ourselves.
A doughnut shop and bakery in Clare, Michigan that began operations in 1896 was in danger of closing its doors when all 9 members of the local Police Department came to the rescue. They saved a historical business and confirmed what was always suspected. The affiliation between Cops and doughnuts is factual and can be upheld in a court of law.
Thus, Cops & Doughnuts was born and handmade confections of all types are served as justice is served; hot and sometimes sticky. Go enjoy treats and steaming cups of ‘Cops Coffee’ in a friendly, and very safe, setting.
Buckley’s Mountainside Canoe
Thank goodness we made a reservation to kayak with Buckley’s Mountainside Canoe and paddle off some calories on the Chippewa River.
With the Ziibiwing Cultural Center being located in Mt. Pleasant and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe in Isabella County, one can’t help but think of all the Chippewa river has seen. The water was soothing and somehow all-knowing. If I continued to float on its’ current I felt as though I might become all-knowing, too.
Unfortunately, we were just shy of viewing fall color beauty on our mid-September weekend, but see here for a helpful guide to experiencing “A Fall Color Tour on the Chippewa River Water Trail.”
We finished our expedition and made conversation with Allie, a Buckley’s Adventure Specialist for 10 years. She bragged on the owner, John Buckley, and rightfully so! For his 80th year, he paddled 80 miles in a canoe on the Chippewa River for Isabella County’s Commission on Aging. The endeavor provides a community focal point for the needs of older adults, 55 and up. They provide direct care services, meal assistance, plan events, arrange for betterment classes, and more.
And just when we thought we were getting our calorie intake under control, Allie recommended a restaurant for dinner that night: Wood Shop Social Kitchen and Bar. We considered it – for all of two seconds! We couldn’t wait to ‘Eat, Drink & Be Social’ in accordance with their branding.
But it had to wait…
At this point, IT WAS ONLY LUNCH TIME! I think you can officially call us foodies. 😏
Max & Emily’s, Ponder Coffee
Toward the end of our kayaking the weather turned misty and chilly, so we headed to Max & Emily’s for warmed sandwiches and hot soup. Is there much else that sounds better on a brisk day? Oh, yeah! There is! Hot coffee from Ponder Coffee which is conveniently located across the street in Mt. Pleasant’s charming downtown. Yum, and yum! We were completely satisfied with both venues.
Black Horn Boutique
My husband looks forward to maybe two sporting events a year, both being college football games. Do you think he gets to watch them in peace? No. But, at least this one weekend he could have a Michigan game on in the B&B that Saturday afternoon. While he was upstairs, I took the opportunity to have a personal shopping experience downstairs in the Black Horn Boutique.
Never have I ever had such service in my life! Not only was Krista plating SCRUMPTIOUS breakfast meals (my husband still wants that bran muffin recipe, by the way 😉), she was also making me feel like Julia Roberts on a shopping spree in the film Pretty Woman! Krista doted on me, showing me what was new, what was on sale, what would look nice with my hair color, and styling options. It was just too much fun.
Pop question, why did Julia Roberts have to go on her magical shopping spree? OK, fine. She was going to some fancy dinner meeting with Richard Gere’s client. But shortly after that she was wined and dined wearing something gorgeous from said shopping spree! Well, guess what? That’s exactly what I did! Yes, I suppose I am living the dream.
Wood Shop Social Kitchen and Bar
Our date night at Wood Shop Social Kitchen and Bar was AMAZING. Amazing seems like an overused word, but check it, this is the first time I’ve used it in this entire article. Amazing. There’s number two. BOTH, used for Wood Shop Social. You need to go here. Like, yesterday.
Thank you, Adventure-Specialist-Allie for the suggestion!
Wood Shop Social Kitchen and Bar is Jim Wood’s third restaurant and do you know what they say? Do you? The third time’s a charm.
I had to do that. Granted, I haven’t been to the first two restaurants but I’ll be hunting them down, trust me.
Wood, Executive Chef and owner of Wood Shop Social Kitchen and Bar, is a fifth-generation Mt. Pleasant resident. He is classically trained in French cuisine, however, succumbs to New American offerings. Furthermore, ALL the fixings are sourced locally whenever possible.
Based on talk at the bar (where we sat all evening), the mouthwatering fare created at Wood Shop Social doesn’t exist in Central Michigan. You would have to drive to Grand Rapids or Detroit to find anything comparable. In response, a staff member recalled a visiting sommelier stating even their wine list can’t be found within a 60-mile radius.
My husband and I had the sharable roasted and fried Brussels Sprouts with bacon aioli, citrus, maple, and surprising green apple. I savored the delectable Game Bolognese while my man had the quote-unquote, “best pork chop of his life.” The menu was exciting from cocktails to desserts.
Papa’s Pumpkin Patch
The next day we were ready to join in some family fun at Papa’s Pumpkin Patch. A delightful place that checks all the boxes you’d expect from a patch and then some.
- Caramel Apples
- Corn stalks
- Small Farm Animals
- Pumpkin Maze
- Gator Train Rides
- Specialty Ice Creams
- Treat called a ‘Donut Delight’
- Natural Soap Products
- Pumpkin Wash Stations
- Highly Customizable Photo Opp (pictured directly below)
This may look like quite the comprehensive list, but I wouldn’t doubt it if I’m missing some things. One can get distracted seeking adult conversation, wrangling kids, and trying to produce an informational piece about a farm even after an energizing two-night stay alone with their spouse. I’m not talking about me. This could be any parent out there, any parent at all. But I digress.
Papa’s Pumpkin Patch was a big hit. Visit their friendly employees this fall, or, any time for that matter. They carry farm produce, nursery items, and the freshest Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables year-round in their Country Farm Market.
Mt. Pleasant is for Everyone
I’m not sure how, but IF, you are still looking for more Mt. Pleasant things to do and see, best follow the advice of a former local: “A Pleasant Surprise in the Middle of the Mitten: Mount Pleasant Michigan”
Happy exploring Mt. Pleasant, Michigan to you! My family and I had a breathtaking weekend here and I’m positive you will, too.