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Gazing upon the verdant rolling hills, sparkling lakes and beautiful vistas of Irish Hills, it's easy to imagine you've been transported to the Irish countryside. The area is so reminiscent of the Emerald Isle, in fact, that Irish immigrants fleeing the great Potato Famine in 1846 were naturally attracted to the area and claimed it for their own.
Although much of the farmland gave way to tourist attractions by the 1920s, it's still easy to catch a glimpse of vintage America as you travel along US 12. The road winds its way through hills and valleys dotted with more than 50 lakes, including Wampler's Lake, a 780 acre all-sports lake located within the 654-acre boundaries of Hayes State Park, a site that is popular with fishermen and water sports enthusiasts alike.
Some of the highest peaks in southeastern Michigan are located in Irish Hills, providing an ideal building spot for the Irish Hills Towers which were constructed beginning in 1924 and continuously added to as feuding property owners vied to build the tallest tower and attract the most visitors. The towers were jointly acquired in 1955 and were a top tourist destination until their closure in 2000.
History buffs won't want to miss Cambridge Junction Historic State Park, site of Walker Tavern, which was a major stopping place for stagecoaches traveling between Detroit and Chicago in the early nineteenth century. The visitor center and restored tavern with period furniture tell the story of taverns and stagecoach travel for early Michigan residents.
While You're in Town:
Michigan International Speedway - located in nearby Brooklyn, the 12,000 seat grandstand and two-mile oval track opened in 1968 and continues to thrill racing enthusiasts today.
Bahlau's Trading Post - this old time general store offers a full line of antiques.
Enchanted Schoolhouse - purveyors of antiques and primitives plus high-quality folk art and artist originals.
Mystery Hill - site of a strange vortex where gravity goes haywire and tennis balls roll uphill.
Stagecoach Stop USA - a seasonal western resort and family fun park featuring train rides, frontier gunfights and live craft demonstrations.