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Riverside Resort & Livery
Benzonia, Michigan
Spring time at Hanmer's Riverside Resort
    Come spring the forests around the area come alive with
    color. The trillium flowers blanket the forest floor and the
    famous morel mushroom can be found close by. (See
    Package Specials)
    March through May is when Steelhead can be
    found in the Betsie River. Fish right from the dock
    at Hanmer's or use waders or rent a canoe and
    spend a day drifting down the river in search of
    that trophy.
    A fish cleaning station and freezers are available
    for you when you return with your catch.
This is a quieter time of year, before the migration of summer visitors to
the area and an excellent opportunity to visit the many gift and antique
shops nearby.
    Climb aboard your bicycle and pedal
    into the past while catching a glimpse
    of the future. The Betsie Valley
    Recreational Trail, built on the bed of the former Ann Arbor
    Railroad corridor, traces 23 miles of transportation history as it
    crosses open countryside and forests, paralleling the Betsie
    River and skirting the shores of Crystal Lake before ending at
    Lake Michigan's sandy shoreline.
Preserving a sense of the past while creating a major asset for the future, the Betsie Valley
Trail begins just nine miles east in the village of Thompsonville. Here's where the roar of
locomotives and piercing train whistles once created in, where a bustling village of 1200 people
once thrived and hotels, sawmills, saloons and even a cigar factory lined the streets. A tall
gristmill standing across from the trail head parking lot is a hulking reminder of the days when
Thompsonville's strategic location at the junction of the Pere Marquette and Ann Arbor
Railroads made it a prosperous center of commerce. Over a century ago, railroads were the
economic engines of Benzie County communities as railroad tracks stitched the small towns
together. Eventual depletion of the surrounding forest resources, plus the rise of the automobile
and interstate road system, led to the demise of the railroad industry as Betsie County's
primary mode of transportation. By the mid-twentieth century, the tracks were abandoned.
In 1993, the Friends of the Betsie Valley Trail, a non-profit volunteer group, formed to
encourage the development of a recreational trail along the deserted rail corridor. With its wide
paths and low grades, the Betsie Valley Trail offers a healthy place to recreate as well as
providing a catalyst for community revitalization. Like the railroad before it, the trail is again
linking small towns together, recycling the picturesque countryside views once enjoyed from a
passenger train window.
Your bicycling journey begins at the Thompsonville trail head on a surface of compacted
aggregate. Within the first two miles of the 12.3 miles stretch to Beulah, there is a spectacular
overlook of the Betsie River on the old trestle bridge that spans the water.  Pedaling eastward,
you'll coast over a landscape loaded with young hardwood forests, field of ferns and
wildflowers and open vistas. Near Homestead and Zimmerman Roads is the site of the former
settlement of Homestead, which maintained a post office and housing quarters for railroad
workers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries before evaporating into time.

Entering the village of Beulah, bicyclists are greeted by a
handsome new depot building serving as the trail's welcome and
information center. Completed last summer, the building is a replica
of the former Ann Arbor Railroad Beulah depot and was built by the
Benzie Sunrise Rotary Club in cooperation with the Friends of the
Betsie Valley Trail and the Village of Beulah. Park your bike and
stretch those cycling muscles with a walk down Beulah's main
street. Enjoy hot or frozen coffee drinks and fresh fruit smoothies at the Phoenix Cafe. Don't
miss the flavorful sandwiches and unique beverages offered at the East Shore Market and the
L'Chayim Deli.  There's lot to browse through at Crystal Crate & Cargo or a number of other
gift and antique shops. If you've worked up a sweat, now's the time to take a dip at Beulah's
Crystal Lake beach, a prime swimming and sunbathing beach spot. But don't dally long. Put a
bookmark in Beulah and saddle up, for the best riding is yet to come.