While you are en route during your summer Michigan road trip adventure, you will likely spot barns of all shapes and sizes along Michigan’s scenic country highways. When you reach Ogemaw County, you will start to see that some of these barns have colorful squares adorning their faces – and your eyes are not deceiving you, they do look surprisingly similar to quilt squares.
Tour the Ogemaw County Quilt Trail
The Ogemaw County Quilt Trail is a self-guided tour experience that you can enjoy around the West Branch area. In total, there are nearly 20 barns with decorative quilt squares on display along the trail — each one a colorful and unique creation that was designed by a volunteer. The quilt blocks are a community effort, and they are created by imaginative people of all ages — ranging from 9 years old to more than 90 years old. In fact, no experience is necessary, you simply have to love quilts, colors, and the community in order to get involved.
If you are interested in trying to see all of the quilt squares on the Ogemaw County Quilt Trail, your best bet is to download the trail map. The map tells you the name of each farm that has a quilt square as well as its address. In seeing the map, you will be able to decide how you can customize your quilt trail experience. Perhaps you only want to check out a few barns on your way to other West Branch attractions, or maybe you want to see every square for yourself. This is one experience that you can curate to meet your own availability and interest level.
The quilt barn trend took root in Ogemaw County after an Ohio farmer designed a quilt square for her barn as an homage to her late mother in 2001. Since then, more than 30 different states have created quilt barn trails of their own, with the Ogemaw County quilt trail being one of the largest and most extensive collections in Michigan.
Exploring West Branch Michigan
After you have completed your personal, self-guided quilt trail tour, you should continue exploring West Branch and the rest of Ogemaw County. If you are interested in spending an afternoon relaxing outside in northern Michigan, then you may want to consider a stop at Irons Park in the city of West Branch. In many respects, Irons Park is the heart of this community, as most of its annual events and activities are held in the park. On a typical summer day, you will be able to picnic along the shores of the Rifle River, let your children play on the playground, and sip a glass of lemonade inside the shady gazebo.
Another unique attraction in West Branch that is worth checking out is the Ogemaw Nature Park. This family-friendly destination has been a favorite of both local residents and travelers for decades, as it gives people of all ages the opportunity to interact with the Whitetail Deer that have long called Michigan home. In addition to getting that memorable snapshot of yourself or your children feeding a whitetail deer, you also will have the opportunity to learn more about this vital species and the role that hunters in Michigan play in its survival.
In addition to the deer, you also may catch a glimpse of the peacocks and hens who roam the nature park property. Most people find that they spend several hours at this destination, enjoying both the animals as well as the beautiful park-like atmosphere. There is a playground on-site as well as several picnic areas that are perfect for your mid-day meal. The nature park is open daily during the summer season from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Keep in mind that this park may close if there is inclement weather in the area.
Where to Eat in Ogemaw County
Finally, you can finish your day of touring Ogemaw County with a meal at the eclectic Tipsy Bear Bistro. This restaurant appears as if it’s just another hole-in-the-wall diner that could be in any Michigan town, but it’s actually a haven for foodies and wine snobs alike. From shareable small plates to gourmet sandwiches, there’s something for everyone on this menu. Of course, there’s also a perfect wine pairing for each option, as the chef at this restaurant is also a master sommelier.
Lodging in Ogemaw County
Whether you’re looking for a hotel, a campground, or a vacation rental near West Branch, there are a plethora of lodging options for extending your summer adventures in Northern Michigan. Here are just a few local places to stay in Ogemaw County:
- Super 8 by Wyndham West Branch
- Beaver Trail Campground
- Clear Lake Resort
- True Johnston. Open all Year
- New! Charming Lake George House w/ BBQ & Fire Pit!