We’ve been coming to Tawas Bay since 2016. We had spent the year before visiting other small coastal towns around the state and as soon as I drove through this area I knew this was where I wanted to be. The location is great, 3 hours from Detroit, considered Northern Michigan but not drastically different than what we were used to as far as temperature and snowfall amounts. Close enough for our friends to drive up and spend a weekend with us, far enough to feel like we were really moving away and starting our own adventure. Our first weekend here we actually stayed in Oscoda and while it IS a nice town as well, East Tawas captured my heart.
The charm of the downtown shops, the friendliness of the people, the access to the water front. We noticed right away that the city is investing in their parks and public places which is a sign of a good economy. The town is clean, filled with pretty flower arrangements in the summer and festive decorations in the fall. There are events year round; Blues by the Bay, Summerfest, Classic car shows, Perchville. In the summer there is a community band which plays in a waterfront park every Monday. On Tuesdays downtown is closed off and people bring their chairs for a live band concert. There is also an active community theater group.
Chad and I enjoy being active in our community. We knew that our future hometown needed to not only be on the water but have a thriving community with plenty of opportunities to get involved. We spent the next year coming to East Tawas as much as possible. We spent a lot of money on hotel rooms! But we needed to be sure. And we wanted to see it year round, not just during the busy summer tourist months.
During that year we helped pass out Halloween candy with the FOE. We started going to karaoke and getting to know the locals. We started talking to local business owners. We went to the community plays, parades and events. We joined the Friends of the Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park group. We brought our friends up here to share our new town. We confirmed our decision and got a place of our own in the spring of 2018. It already feels like home to me. It will only be a few short months before we move up full time and it IS home. I can’t wait to find other opportunities to volunteer and get involved in my new town.
During my afternoon walk today we came across the East Tawas Community Center. We’ve driven by it many times but never stopped in. What a gem this is! There is a gorgeous full size gym, a walking track above it with gym equipment, open gym times as well as scheduled pickleball and volleyball times, a nice locker room and plenty of lockers. You can rent out the space for a private event too. Outside there is a baseball field, tennis courts, basketball, a covered pavilion you can rent, a play structure and horseshoe pits. The library onsite as well. All of this for only $25 a YEAR for a resident couple/$15 for an individual resident. Growing up in the suburbs of Detroit I can tell you that is a bargain! I was not expecting so many amenities for a town of less than 5,000 people (combined with Tawas City).
So now within walking distance from our home we have a very nice community center (maybe I can learn to play pickleball?), the community theater playhouse, the chamber of commerce, 6 bars/restaurants, the real estate office Chad has his license with, a dry cleaner, a dozen or so cute storefronts, a beach bar with live music in the summer, the state boat dock, 2 waterfront parks and a beach. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to have a problem finding ways to get involved and meet people once we live here full time.