Sometimes we are just lucky and what was good gets even better. Such is the case of the Headlands International Dark Sky Park – a must see when visiting the Petoskey Area!

This Emmet County park, one of the first 10 International Dark Sky Parks in the world, has been attracting guests from all across the country since its prestigious designation in 2011. Many come during the day to explore the pristine Lake Michigan shoreline. Others want to hike the trails, take advantage of the many photographic opportunities, or catch a peek at the eagles, osprey and turkeys that inhabit the 500 + acres of woods.

Night time though – this is when the park the really shines. Once your eyes have adjusted to the dark (only red-filtered flashlights are allowed), make the trek along the pathway before reaching the prized destination where twinkle, twinkle little star is much more than a children’s song. Especially for those who live in the city, the wonder of the skies is amazing! Program Director Mary Stewart Adams puts together one or two programs a month that never fail to teach and delight audiences. Making Wishes on Lucky Stars, Nature’s Fireworks, and Autumn Equinox are some of the 2017 presentations, most of which are free to attend.

And if all that was not enough, last week the park held grand opening ceremonies for their new Waterfront Event Center and Observatory – this is where the good got even better! The event center is all natural stone, wood and green roof and is fully ADA compliant. The pièce de résistance is the 20-inch telescope, a gift from the Chauncey and Marion D. McCormick Family Foundation in honor of the late Roger McCormick, who parceled the property and called it the Headlands. Both scientists and the public alike are able to use the powerful tool to bring the heavens closer. There are surely lessons to be learned here, but even more so, there are wonders to be seen.

Plan your getaway to the Petoskey Area which is just a 45-minute drive to The Headlands. This area will also be a perfect place to see part of the upcoming (and very rare!) solar eclipse on August 21. The Headlands will host an event for that, too.

Photo by John Hill


About the author

Diane Dakins is passionate about all the lakeside communities that comprise the Petoskey Area of northern Michigan: Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor and Boyne City. As assistant director of the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau, she has “been there – seen that” when it comes to virtually every area attraction. Her blogs give potential visitors the scoop on planning a northern Michigan vacation.