IMG 4919 A #MittenTrip Weekend Getaway to Gaylord Michigan | Things to Do in Gaylord
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A #MittenTrip Weekend Getaway to Gaylord Michigan | Things to Do in Gaylord

It was a perfect blue sky road tripping day when we pulled out of Manistee headed for our latest #MittenTrip destination: Gaylord. We’ve driven through Gaylord before, but never really stopped to get to know the place, so we were excited to explore all the great things to do in Gaylord Michigan!

Gaylord Mitten Trip leaving Manistee
Leaving Manistee on a #MittenTrip to Gaylord! Photos by Rhonda Greene.

Things to Do on a Road Trip to Gaylord

Our #MittenTrip started when we got in the car in Manistee, and of course we had to stop along the way as we passed several fun attractions on our Michigan road trip to Gaylord!

Robinson Scenic Gardens in Kalkaska

On the way up, we passed Robinson Scenic Gardens, and it beckoned us in from the side of the road on US 131 just north of Kalkaska. Out front, giant, candy-colored fiberglass animals greet passers by, and we were totally unable to resist their draw!

Robinson Scenic Gardens
The giant, colorful fiberglass circus animals at Robinson Scenic Gardens beckoned us to stop. Photo by Rhonda Greene.

The place has a great kitschy-creepy-cool vibe going on, and made for some great photo ops. If you love roadside attractions, this place should definitely go on your must-stop list!

Robinson Scenic Gardens
Some of the interesting collection of statues on display at Robinson Secret Gardens. Photos by Rhonda Greene.

They also have a wide variety of concrete garden statues, and we decided that we needed to bring something home as a souvenir.

Concrete statuary at Robinson Scenic Gardens
Robinson Scenic Gardens also has a wide variety of concrete garden statues. Photos by Rhonda Greene.

There were so many to choose from that we had a hard time deciding; I have always wanted a gnome, and Adam has always wanted a Buddha, so in the end we settled on one of each! And then it was back on the road to Gaylord.

Where to Stay in Gaylord: Otsego Club & Resort

By the time we were done munching our doughnuts and browsing through camping supplies, it was late enough for us to check into our hotel, so our next stop was our home for the weekend: Otsego Club & Resort.

Otsego Club and Resort in Gaylord
The historic Otsego Club & Resort is true in every detail to Gaylord’s Alpine theme. Photo by Rhonda Greene.

As soon as we pulled up to the main lodge to check-in, we knew it was going to be a fun and unique stay!

All of Gaylord has an Alpine Village theme to the architecture, and Otsego Club is a prime example. With lots of character everywhere you look, the historic resort is full of vintage charm.

Dining with phenomenal views at Otsego Club in Gaylord
Enjoying a Short’s Brewing Huma Lupa Liscious and some red wine while taking in the views at Otsego Club’s Duck Blind Grille. Photo by Rhonda Greene.

The resort offers skiing in the winter and golf in the summer, along with several bars and restaurants on-site.

Best Places to Eat & Drink in Gaylord

Duck Blind Grill Restaurant at Otsego Club

After we were settled into our room, we decided to try out the resort’s main restaurant, the Duck Blind Grille, for dinner that night. It was a little early so we were the first to arrive and had our choice of seats, so we picked an outdoor table with a phenomenal view of the Sturgeon River Valley.

Adam was happy to learn that they had Short’s Brewing Huma Lupa Liscious on tap, and I was excited to try some selections off their award-winning wine list.

quinoa salad with chicken at the Duck Blind Grille - Otsego Club in Gaylord
Quinoa salad with chicken at Otsego Club’s main restaurant, the Duck Blind Grille. Photo by Rhonda Greene.

As our food arrived, the night’s live entertainment started, featuring a band called A Brighter Bloom. For their first several songs we were the only people seated outside, so for a while, it was like our own private concert!

Dinner was absolutely delicious and we both ate every last bite.

Logmark Bar at Otsego Club

After hanging out and having a glass of wine at Main Street Market, we headed back to Otsego Club, where the Logmark bar was still open and just a short walk from our room.

We stopped in for one last drink for the evening. Then it was off to bed, because Saturday was going to be another busy day!

Bearded Dogg Lounge

After a full day of shopping and hiking on Saturday, we had worked up an appetite again, so we stopped by the Bearded Dogg Lounge to grab another bite to eat.

Their menu included lots of delicious twists on old favorites, like smoked crab cakes and potato soup with mushrooms and leeks.

Things to Do in Gaylord Michigan

Cops & Doughnuts Jay’s Precinct – Gaylord

Gaylord location of Cops and Doughnuts
The Gaylord location of Cops and Doughnuts, in the Jay’s Sporting Goods plaza. Photos by Rhonda Greene.

That day also happened to be National Donut Day, so when we arrived in Gaylord, our first stop was at their local precinct of the world-famous Cops & Donuts.

They were offering free cake donuts in celebration of the holiday – I opted for cherry, and Adam got blueberry. We also picked up a giant cookie to split later. Everything they had in the case looked really, really good!

And of course, we had to stop for some obligatory mugshots before we left.

Mugshots at Cops and Doughnuts in Gaylord
When you stop at Cops and Doughnuts, make sure you snap a few pics in front of the mugshot wall! Photos by Rhonda Greene.

Jay’s Sporting Goods – Gaylord

Since Cops and Doughnuts is in the same building as Jay’s Sporting Goods, we decided to check that out as well.

Jay’s is absolutely enormous and has everything you need if you enjoy hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, kayaking, or any other number of outdoor activities. You could spend hours in there!

Gaylord Elk Park

Elk Park in Gaylord Michigan
Enjoying a visit to Gaylord’s Elk Park. Photo by Rhonda Greene.

After dinner on Friday we still had quite a bit of daylight left, so we decided to check out an attraction we’d heard a lot about, Gaylord’s Elk Park. The fenced-in city park is home to a herd of elk, as well as some fallow deer and sika deer.

Visitors can walk around the perimeter of the fence to observe the animals; a feeding area near the parking lot draws them close for a fun, unique animal experience.

Gaylord Farmer’s Market

Gaylord Farmer's Market haul
Haul from the Gaylord Farmer’s Market: Shopping bag made from a recycled bird seed bag, squash pickles, apricot jam, hand-spun wool yarn, a bottle of wine, pure beeswax, and some meat sticks. Photo by Rhonda Greene.

After we were dressed and fueled up for the morning at the resort, we headed right back downtown because it was time for the local Farmer’s Market!

We wandered around to look through everything and bought a bunch of great stuff, including a few food items, a bottle of wine, and some fun handmade items.

Shopping in Gaylord – Michigan’s Alpine Village

Downtown Gaylord has whimsical, Alpine-inspired architecture everywhere you look! Photo by Rhonda Greene.
Downtown Gaylord has whimsical, Alpine-inspired architecture everywhere you look! Photo by Rhonda Greene.

Then we headed back downtown where we did a little more shopping. We popped into the local independent bookstore, Saturn Booksellers, a chocolate shop called Alpine Chocolat Haus, as well as a hobby shop called Geniehobbies.

We were delighted with the variety of fun, unique shops that downtown Gaylord had to offer, as well as the Alpine architecture theme that is evident everywhere you look.

Hiking the Jordan River Valley in Gaylord

Celebrating National Trails Day at the Jordan River Pathway. Photo by Rhonda Greene.
Celebrating National Trails Day at the Jordan River Pathway. Photo by Rhonda Greene.

It turns out it was also National Trails Day, so next we headed to the Jordan River Pathway to celebrate. We just did the shorter day-use loop, but there is also an 18-mile loop for backpackers that would be a wonderful adventure!

Visiting Gaylord Michigan

Our #MittenTrip to Gaylord Michigan was just the tip of the iceberg of all the fun things to do in Gaylord! Next time, we’ll be sure to stop by the Call of the Wild Museum, too! What’s your favorite thing to do in Gaylord?

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