The natural beauty that helps make Harbor Springs special today was a part in drawing visitors to Harbor Springs generations ago.
Photo by Harbor Springs Area Historical Society
Shay Days in Harbor Springs
The Harbor Springs Area Historical Society presents Shay Days, a celebration of inventor Ephraim Shay and his contributions to the Harbor Springs community. In addition to his geared locomotive that made him famous, Ephraim Shay (1839-1916) designed and built the Harbor Springs Water Works, a stamped-steel building called the Hexagon House, and a steel yacht called the Aha.
The family-friendly, two-day Shay Days features small scale live steam locomotives in Shay Park, kids games and self-guided tours of the Shay Hexagon House, crafts at the Harbor Springs History Museum, and more. Bring your whole family to enjoy this special celebration of Ephraim Shay’s genius and to learn more about how Shay’s inventions shaped Harbor Springs.
Here's the typical schedule for the event:
- 10:15am – Lumber Camp Story time for kids with musician Bill Jamerson.
- 11am-2pm – Log Hewing Demonstration by Kyle Bagnall of the Mackinac State Historic Parks.
Friday & Saturday
- 10am-3pm – Meet the Michigan Small Scale Live Steamers, a group of model train experts who run a demonstration of their locomotive models. Shay Park- E. Main St., Harbor Springs
- 10am-3pm – Kids crafts, games, and STEAM projects will take place under a tent in Shay Park both days. These include many train-themed projects, a “penny float” boat experiment, and a “drainpipe regatta” where visitors can put together their own sailboats and race them.
- 10am-3pm – Visit the 2nd floor of the Harbor Springs History Museum at 349 E. Main St., Harbor Springs, to speak with members of the Northern Michigan Railroad Club.
- 10:30am – “In Shay’s Day” walking tour, beginning at the History Museum on Main Street, follows some of the railroad grade of the historic Hemlock Central railway. Advance registration is appreciated by calling (231) 526-9771.
Experience Harbor Springs
From spring days with a landscape covered in trillium to a summer afternoon on the beach or water, Harbor Springs is the place. Read the stories below or go to the Harbor Springs destination page.
Little Traverse Conservancy protects land and scenic areas and provides opportunities for all of us to appreciate the environment.
Wildlife sanctuary Thorne Swift Nature Preserve is located 3 1/2 miles north of Harbor Springs, between Lower Shore Drive and Lake Michigan.
Take a beautiful color tour as you travel under a tunnel of colorful trees along M-119 from Harbor Springs to Cross Village.
Harbor Springs is situated on a beautiful deep harbor. It has great downtown businesses, as well as activities and attractions for all ages.
Stay tuned for information on Shay Days 2024!
For more information on the Shay Days, please contact the event organizer:
Harbor Springs Area Historical Society
349 E. Main St., Harbor Springs, MI, 49740
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Activities & Attractions in Northern Michigan
The elegantly restored Cheboygan Opera House is an acoustically superb, Victorian theatre that presents entertainment of many genres.
Wilderness State Park’s 2,582 acres of natural area and 4,492 acres of wilderness area make this a great place to explore all year ’round.
The many ski resorts in Northern Michigan have winter activities for the entire family including sledding, sleigh rides, tubing, and more.
Within the historic Chicago/West Michigan railroad depot in Petoskey, the Little Traverse History Museum is a history filled gem.
In Northern Michigan, you’ll find lighthouses where lighthouse keepers once lived and worked that have been restored and are open to visitors.
Travel along the Tunnel of Trees in Northern Michigan and you will pass through Good Hart and see historic Saint Ignatius Catholic Church.
Petoskey State Park is one of the premier destinations for campers and outdoor lovers and is tucked away between Petoskey and Harbor Springs.
The history of the fur trade in Northern Michigan is captured at Colonial Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City.