Grayling ~ Home to the Au Sable

The town of Grayling, named after the fish that was once abundant in the Au Sable River, is the county seat of Crawford County. The grayling are gone but the river is now considered the finest trout stream east of the Mississippi. It's also known by many as the "gateway to the north" and a popular destination for those seeking casual outdoor adventures.

Mark Bear Photography It's beginnings were born from the lumbering era and it has been the home of Michigan's National Guard for over 100 years.The famous archer, Fred Bear produced the finest archery equipment in Grayling. Every summer, thousands of people come to see North America’s toughest, richest, non-stop canoe race, the Au Sable River Canoe Marathon and delight in eating a burger at Spike's Keg O'Nails. It's largest attraction has been the Au Sable River.

The Au Sable River is the premier destination for fly fishers seeking to test their skills with a fly rod sitting in the unique river boats designed for use on this river. Anglers from around the country have waded her currents and written of their passion for it's beauty.

Many have chosen to make the river banks their home, finding themselves weekend cabins or year round homes away from the grind of larger urban areas. But fly fishing is not the only reason people come to Grayling. Kayaking, canoeing and biking provide additional outdoor activities as well as snowmobiling and skiing in the winter months. The region is rich with state lands and forests ideal for hunting for the variety of game available.

In the last several years, efforts to restore the downtown business district and to give the entire area an economic boost has been a priority for business leaders and residents of the community. Exterior enhancements on Michigan Avenue in downtown Grayling along with some new storefronts has been evidence of the efforts. Already in place are some art galleries and news of some micro breweries coming soon.

The Rialto Theater is renovating and upgrading their equipment and word is that there are plans for a new restaurant on the river. It would seem that Grayling is on the move!


Grayling Real Estate

Learn more about real estate opportunities in Grayling and the surrounding area by visiting Au Sable River Realty.


Au Sable River - Vacant Land

Dreaming of a home on the Au Sable River? Living on the Au Sable River is a tremendous opportunity to improve and enjoy your quality of life. But, with limited availability of residential properties available on the Au Sable River, you might not be able to find a home, cottage or cabin that suits your needs and taste. What are your options? You might consider building!

Building is not for everyone but for those who have the will, the benefits are tremendous. The obvious pros are that you'll be building to your own specifications. And, with all the state of the art building materials now available you can build an energy saving and aesthetically smart looking structure.
When looking at vacant land for purchase, its wise to know what type of structure you're planning on building. Parcel size, ingress, egress, water quality, well, septic as well as utility availability are all key factors in your search. Contacting and understanding what local zoning mandates is also a first step in understanding what you'll need to address.
Au Sable River Realty can guide you along the way to assist you with the resources and the answers you'll be looking for. In the meantime, take a look at these Au Sable River parcels waiting to be built on. For more waterfront real estate, visit www.ausableriverrealty.com


Searching Northern Michigan Real Estate

Finding northern Michigan real estate and property couldn't be easier than when using Au Sable River Realty. The search tools at Au Sable River Realty are easy to navigate, diverse and allow the user to search for property in a variety of ways.

The convenient "quick links" located at the site's homepage will provide instant access to a variety of listing categories. As illustrated in the image above, by accessing the "Lakes" tab I can see that there are 386 residential listings on the region's lakefronts. I can view the list by price ascending or descending. If the "Map" tab is clicked, I can see where all these properties are located in northern MIchigan. Clicking on any of these points will bring up the associated listing. By highlighting any specific property, I can access the details and photos of any listing. By using the "Edit Search" tab, I can narrow down my search to specifics such as size, number of bedrooms, list price, etc.

While there are quite a few quick links to choose from, a user can conduct a specific search using the "Custom Search" tab. By entering the available fields that apply to the search, the user can quickly narrow the search to their personal specifications. Additionally, users can sign up for a free membership that allows them to save their searches in a "portal". This portal is a personal account that allows saving searches, rating the results for future consideration and review. One can set up auto notifications to keep track of what may come on market based on their search preferences. Joining is free and access is easy using your own password to enter the portal.

At some point, the serious Buyer will want to know more specifics about listings that the internet is not going to be able to provide. That means previewing the listing in person and working with a professional Realtor. Until then, use the company that can provide concise and valuable information in the search process. Au Sable River Realty and Mark Bear are here to guide you to Northern Michigan real estate.


Winter is Fun!

Gaylord, the Alpine City
The holidays have come and gone. Seems it was just yesterday that the leaves were turning and here we are in the New Year! Winter started early in our northern region of Michigan and I suspect that it will be sticking around for awhile. Global warming has not been a topic of conversation here lately with cold temps and an abundance of snow arriving weekly. And the snow has been spectacular, providing outdoor enthusiasts to get out and enjoy winter at it's best.

Looking for events and things to do in Northern Michigan's Winter Wonderland? Check out these activities. It's a great time to be up north and to enjoy the outdoors!


Water Off a Duck

Ever since I was a kid, I've been near the water. The ocean, big lakes, small lakes, rivers, ponds, swimming pools. Heck, even a flooded street was an invitation to float a paper boat made from my parent's newspaper!

Depending on the activity, getting wet can be fun, calming, refreshing, exhilarating, and exciting. But unlike a duck, water does not roll off the backs of humans. Our bodies and anything associated with our person are subject to the consequences of contact with water. While I'm generally very cautious in my water surroundings, my brain occasionally does a disconnect...

Recently, one morning down by one of my favorite lake destinations, I decided to do a little exploring. I grabbed my camera and proceeded through the woods to a spot where large trees had fallen over the lake's surface. The early morning light was casting shadows and reflections on the water. I soon found myself climbing and walking out on the hovering tree trunks.

Moving steadily, I braced myself here and there and sometimes squatted down to get closer to the water. Getting wet was not a concern but my camera was. I made sure that the strap was around my neck. The water was shallow but dropping the camera would be a disaster. After awhile, I was satisfied that I had the shots I wanted and returned to dry land and my car. After storing my camera, I went to check my iphone for messages. But, at the end of the charging cord there was no phone. Oh yeah, I had put it in my pocket. Wait...not there either. Back tracked my trail. Sure enough, deep-six in about a foot of water! Water doesn't roll off of iphones either. I don't generally take my phone near water but maybe a watertight phone case is an addition to my collection of waterproof paraphernalia.


Empire ~ A Destination to Remember

My "out there!" travels often take me over to the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan. A favorite destination is Empire, a quaint village nestled in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore,  Empire was founded in 1851. The village was named after the schooner "Empire" which was icebound in the village during a storm in 1865. Although the name may imply something vast and enormous, Empire has remained small in size for more than 150 years. What is quite grand though, is the hamlet's personality. Front St. is dotted with delightful seasonal cottages, galleries, shops and an eatery appropriately named "Joe's Friendly Tavern".

A very special attraction in Empire is it's Lake Michigan Beach Park. The public beach is a favorite destination for Lake Michigan sunsets throughout the year. The views of surrounding dunes and bluffs are spectacular and the beach stretches forever along the "unsalted" seaside.

At the north end of the park, stands a proud little lighthouse. The Manning Lighthouse

   This 35 foot lighthouse at the beach in Empire, is a memorial to Robert Manning. Manning was a life long resident of Empire. It is said that he always expressed a desire for a lighthouse in Empire to guide him home from fishing the blue waters of Lake Michigan. After passing away in 1989, friends and family made that wish come true. Although smaller than most lighthouses, the Coast Guard has included it in it's navigational charts. It is one of only three memorial lighthouses in Michigan.

  Attractions & Events

  • Michigan Shore to Shore Riding & Hiking Trail runs from Empire passes through Grayling and on to Oscoda, and points north and south. It is a 500-mile (800 km) interconnected system of trails
  • Empire Bluff Trail
  • Philip A. Hart Visitor Center for Sleep Bear Dune National Park
  • Empire historical center and museum
  • The Empire Winterfest, held each year in mid-February has been celebrated for the past twenty-five years. Events include ice skating, curling and the polar bear dip into South Bar Lake. There is also a pool tournament held in the Empire Village Inn (known to locals simply as "The V.I.") and a pancake breakfast put on by the Empire Lion's Club in the Empire town hall.
  • Empire is the former home of the Dunegrass Festival. A three day music festival featuring folk and bluegrass groups, as well as a multitude of stands from local artisans and business owners. It is now held a short distance away outside of the village.
  • Empire Heritage Days (2nd weekend in October).
  • Empire Asparagus Festival (3rd weekend in May—weekend before Memorial Day weekend).