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Sammie Lukaskiewicz, visitmanisteecounty.com

Featured Article

"I Go Find Things"

An expert on Michigan attractions you've never heard of, Ron Rademacher of Michigan Back Roads has created trips just for Mount Clemens City Lifestyle readers

For three decades, Michigan native Ron Rademacher traveled the arts and crafts circuit. At each stop, Ron found little-known but often astonishing attractions. These unique finds inspired Ron to document the Michigan destinations that fly under most people’s radar.

As Ron puts it, "I go find things."

Ron’s written eight books on Michigan’s unknown treasures; he's also a virtual travel guide for explorers with his podcast, Michigan Back Roads.

“I like finding things that even the locals sometimes don't know about,” Ron says. “I go after the things people overlook.”

Ron only has two rules for his out-of-the-way destinations: “it has to be in Michigan and it has to be fun.”

Especially for our readers, Ron’s created a day trip and an overnight trip. Before you head out, though, Ron has just one piece of advice.

“Even if you're gonna walk 10 feet off a trail, to get a better picture, or you see an interesting rock, make sure someone knows.”

DAY TRIP: Sanilac Petroglyphs

“There were very terrible firestorms in the thumb back in the 1870s, so hot they warped railroad tracks. They came across the thumb so fast that people only had time to run and jump into Lake Huron to save their lives.

"When the fires were over, the winds blew away the topsoil and ashes, and this huge piece of sandstone with hundreds of carvings was revealed. They’re the only authentic stone carvings in the state of Michigan. You’ll spend 60-90 minutes at the site.”

8251 Germania Road, Cass City MI 48726 • (989) 856-4411 • Open seasonally

OVERNIGHT TRIP STOP 1: Gravity Hill Mystery Spot

“This spot always amazes. Keep your foot near the brake pedal. Drive downhill from the church until you nearly reach the curve and can see pine trees on your right. Stop your car, keep your foot on the brake and put it in neutral. Be prepared for a surprise when you take your foot off the brake: my car literally accelerated backwards up the hill.

“Illusion or not, I recommend caution.”

Near Blaine Christian Church, 7018 Putney Road, Arcadia MI 49613

OVERNIGHT TRIP STOP 2: Kaleva Bottle House

“John Makinen operated a bottling plant. He noticed the soda pop bottles in his warehouse didn't freeze during winters. Realizing the insulating properties of his bottles, John used a special cement and more than 60,000 bottles to build his Bottle House. On a hot summer day, the 10-inch thick walls keep the indoor temperature a good 10 degrees cooler than outdoors.

“Be sure to visit the small mudroom at the back of the house. You’ll find six murals created by elementary school children during the Great Depression. They depict the Finnish story of creation, with dwarfs, princesses, gods, goblins, and a host of other mythical creatures, in brilliant colors that still burst forth. The murals alone are worth the trip.”

14551 Wuoksi Avenue, Kaleva MI 49645 • Open Sat-Sun, 12PM to 4PM, through December

For more on Ron, visit michiganbackroads.com and upnorthmichigan.com

  • Sammie Lukaskiewicz, visitmanisteecounty.com
  • Dominique King
  • Heather Roggenbuck, @daisy.roux.mitten.adventures
  • Jonathan Katje, travelthemitten.com
  • trekers.org
  • Scot Stewart, sundewphotography.com, Page 2 top photo
  • Sammie Lukaskiewicz, visitmanisteecounty.com
  • Sammie Lukaskiewicz, visitmanisteecounty.com
  • Jonathan Katje, travelthemitten.com
  • Jonathan Katje, travelthemitten.com
  • Jonathan Katje, travelthemitten.com
  • Christine Benson
  • Cynthia Asiala