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Posts Tagged ‘Michigan Trails’

I got to Highland around 11am, in the pouring rain. I sat in my car, fielding telephone calls from Hikers who where not coming out in the rain. Didn’t blame them, it had been raining since yesterday night. About 11:30am it let up a bit and I went outside the car and shot a few pictures, that I thought I would use for this rain canceled Hike.

12 noon rolled around and the rain let up to a semi-drizzle and 15 people show up in full rain gear. I was glad I brought mine, and didn’t assume we would cancel on rain. Silly thought on my part……we have NEVER canceled because of rain. :-)

We all headed up Haven Hill and roamed around the Pump-House, Carriage House, Lodge remains, Toboggan Run & Dog Kennel. Mike had all the coordinates for the three USGS Markers on the Hill. We found them all. Also explored some of the light posts that lit the Toboggan run at one time.

From there we headed back down the side of Haven Hill, to the Pool & Tennis court. Always an amazing place to see a huge built-in Pool in the middle of the forest. We went a short distance from there, over to the Fountain area. Another enclosed Ford area, with what was probably a beautiful shallow Fountain in between two small hills in the forest. A quite and natural spot. We talked there about the Estate, the Ford family and some of the details of the infrastructure of the Estate as a whole. A huge system of water pipe, underground electrical conduits and cutting edge Septic system.

We all wandered back to the Circle parking lot and decided to get some food at a local restaurant. Had a great time at the Restaurant. Lots of good laughs and stories. With the long walk and rainy conditions, it produced huge appetites in the Hikers. We ate enormous amounts of food and Deserts.

For what was suppose to be a rain-out Hike, we had an excellent time in unique conditions at Haven Hill. We all stayed pretty dry with our rain coats and hoods. Turned out to be an excellent day.

NOTES: I was appalled at the vandalism and destruction to almost every remaining building and amenity at Haven Hill. Stolen copper flashing from the Carriage house, shroud covering the Toboggan lift stolen, old light poles pulled from the ground, Gang graffiti, and many other things that are adding to the quick deterioration of the entire area. Cannot understand why a number of things are not being done to help keep what is left of the Estate, intact. A person visiting the Estate, even 1 year ago, would hardly recognize what was there before. In a couple of years now, there will only be remains that hardly resembles what was really there. It is a shame at what is happening there, both in Vandalism and lack of proper care.

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Great time to head out to Haven Hill at Highland Recreation area. The Natural area’s main trail, around the north side of the Dam is starting to come into bloom with the many wild flowers and plants that grow there. The many different habitats mean there are many different kinds of plants and flowers in this part of the Park.

Download one of the maps from the web site and take a journey around Haven Hill lake and enjoy the Spring blooms. Circle back through the ruins at Haven Hill Lodge. It is much easier to see and understand the Estate at this time of year, due to the lack of thick tree cover and ground foliage. A wonderful way to spend a Spring afternoon.

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Haven Hill is like a mystery puzzle. years worth of studying and all the pieces are still not in place. The Ford family are secretive with their family information. As would most of us be as well. Have Hill Estate was Edsil & Eleanor’s place to raise their children, and the family has protected this place very well.

New pieces to the puzzle come in all the time, from all types of sources. Recently we received some great new pieces to the puzzle from Claude. We would like to thank Claude immensely for his contributions of information. New pieces to the puzzle are not always new info, but can also be info that further confirms existing analysis or enlarges existing thought.

We welcome all information on Haven Hill. We try and share this info on our various on-line sites. (website, Facebook page, WordPress Blog, and You-Tube videos) Please feel free to contact us with any information about the Haven Hill section of Highland recreation area. This can not only be Ford family info, but also early settlers, Native presence, Foliage and fauna of the Natural area……anything. There is just so much going on at Haven Hill, in both Historical and Natural surroundings, that the puzzle gets bigger and bigger.

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Right now is some of the best times to see things at the Ford estate, that you may not see at any other time of the year. With little foliage and tree cover, many of the now overgrown Estate features, pop out of hiding. Walking the trails, or wandering off the trails can make for some interesting discoveries.

Haven Hill is all about looking closely. Stop from time to time in your travels there, and just look around and see what is hiding in plain view. Is there one of the old stone walls that encircled the main estate on the hill? Maybe one of the many hand-pumps located just off some of the modern trails, that once where used to water the Ford family horses as they traveled the Estate grounds.

There is still so much that has not been discovered or logged at the Estate. Remember…….history has many angles, leave what you find the way it was. Location and how something is places, is just as important as the discovery itself. There are still many secrets to be understood at the Estate.Only the very basics have ever been logged for public knowledge.

Explore, discover, enjoy the history and nature at Haven Hill.

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Here is the first in a series of 4 new Haven Hill videos. This first video is an overview of the Estate and it’s main structures and features. There are many new pictures and recent video clips, as well as new detailed maps.

The next video in this series will be exclusively on the Ford Historic Nature Trails. This area of the Estate was developed by Edsel and landscape architect Jens Jensen, as a private nature trails system, for the Ford family and friends. Bridges, benches, ornamental  ponds, structures and all the wonderful things that make up a beautiful nature area as this.

We suggest that you download our newly updated Estate maps from the web site, and go exploring for yourself. The combination of history and nature combined at the Estate is as joy for almost everyone.

Our new Explorer Estate and Park maps will be available next week. These 13″ x 19″ maps are printed on archival paper and show just how the Estate was in 1930 at it’s hay-day. These two maps are different from the free maps that you can download from the web site at this moment. They contain every detail, road, building and feature at the Ford Estate in 1930. We guarantee you have never seen anything like these maps.

So…..get out to Highland State Recreation Area and discover the wonder of what once was the Edsel & Eleanor Ford Estate. There is no place in Michigan quite like it.

Downlo0ad a Trails map of the Estate and state designated Natural area at the park. TRAILS & ESTATE MAP

Download a map of Haven Hill and the locations of the various structures and features that made up the Ford Estate.  MAP OF THE HAVEN HILL ESTATE

Read a two page excerpt from the upcoming Book about the Estate and the history of the area starting from the 1600s and running to the present day.  HISTORY SHEETS

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To start off the Spring season the Haven Hill Project has a jam-packed schedule of Hikes, Talks and publications to be released. We have had many delays in our Book and some redos on our extensive Maps, but everything is back on schedule and will be released shortly.

There is a Campfire History Talk to be announced in April, followed by a detailed HISTORY Hike of Haven Hill proper. This forth History Hike will be extensive, with a Lunch planned on the hill. We will be exploring the Ford estate and features as well as a extensive look at the State designated Natural area that surrounds Haven Hill lake. This should be our best HISTORY Hike to date.

So stay tuned for many exciting Hikes, Campfire Talks and map and Book releases, all starting in April. Thanks for your patience with these delays, it will be worth the wait!

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The HAVEN HILL area at Highland State Recreation area is always a beautiful place to wander. Every season has it’s own feel and look. The old Ford Estate takes on a new look in the winter snows. The Haven Hill Natural area has a whole new feel to it as you walk the trails.

The animal population is diverse and healthy in the Natural area. Wandering around this section of the Park you will see much activity. Look for animal tracks and the many signs of activity along the trails.

Up on Haven Hill, the Ford Estate is always an amazing place to visit. The winter snows only further intrigue one to explore and wonder just how things where almost 90 years ago when the Estate was a bussling place.

Stop in to the web site and download a Map of the trails and Ford Estate at Haven Hill, and spend a wonderful afternoon exploring nature and history together.

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With the HAVEN HILL book to be released, weather-proof maps, pamphlets and History papers, there has been little time for any new field work or even much posting. All the final details are being finished in a mass release of many different informational media about the Haven Hill estate at Highland State Recreation area.

It has been two year now, of hundreds of exploration miles through out the Estate. Countless hours scouring over various archives around town, and endless hours editing text and hundred of photos for these many upcoming releases.

I hope it will have been worth the wait when everyone gets a chance to see the results of such extensive investigations, research, study and writings about the Ford family and their estate at Haven Hill. We will start releasing many of our projects very shortly, and the excitement here at our workshop and studio is electric. Stay tuned for the first announcements, right here on our Blog.

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We have been very busy getting all the work done on the HAVEN HILL book and a few other things that will be available along with the book release in the next few weeks now.

We will be releasing some waterproof trail maps of the Estate and Haven Hill Natural area, as well as an 11×17″ map of the entire Haven Hill Estate, the way it was in 1930 after most of it was completed. This map shows all the building locations, fences, rock walls, estate roads & ponds and horse and hiking trails. A great way to explore and discover at Haven Hill.

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Hiking Michigan will be assisting us in a very special Tour of the Ford estate and the Natural area surrounding the Estate shortly. This extra special tour will be by reservations only, in order to hold the number of hikers to less then 20.

We are holding this special Hike/Your to celebrate the release of both our “Guide Booklet” and hardcover book called simply, “HAVEN HILL”. We wanted this special Tour to be able to visit and examine some of the special and little know places through out the Estate. Something we could not accomplish with the groupd of 75 people we have been getting at past HISTORY HIKES.

Stay tuned of more details and announcement on a first come first serve reservation for this very special Tour. You will simply be bowled over at what you will see and explore with this small group on this unique and extra special Hike/Tour.

So stay tuned for details and be the first of 20 people attending this Tour.

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