Patch Passport: Plan a Day Trip to White Lake-Highland
Here are a few things you need to know about visiting White Lake-Highland.
We wrote this little daytrip guide to White Lake-Highland for a summer series called Patch Passport. Other Patch sites in Michigan — from St. Clair Shores to Dexter and two dozen in between — have done the same.
All summer long, we'll offer up a weekly daytrip guide to another southeast Michigan destination. Here's what you should know if you're planning a trip to White Lake or Highland.
Many of you may have driven right through these two towns as M-59 splits them both right down the middle. Some of you may have even stopped off for a quick pit stop, whisking through one of the fast food restaurants or stopping for gas.
Many people, however, have no idea about the history our small towns hold -- the one that is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the busy highway.
If you're looking for a new adventure, take the day and drive off the highway to see what you're missing. You're first stop should be The Looney Baker in Highland. They have a fantastic selection of fresh donuts that taste even better than they smell. If coffee is your thing, head on down M-59 into White Lake and visit the friendly coffee experts at Biggby.
After your donut and coffee, head down the road to one of the area's hidden jewels - Haven Hill Estates. Haven Hill, located inside the Highland State Recreation Area, was the country get-away for Edsel Ford and his family. It was built as a safe-haven for the family soon after the Lindbergh baby kidnapping. The two families were close, and the Fords felt they needed an area where they could escape their fame. Haven Hill, tucked away on the White Lake-Highland border was that place. The estate was state-of-the-art and one of the first to be fully electric. The carriage house, sheep barn and gate house are still intact and in the process of being restored. In addition, the footprint of the lodge (where the family lived) is open to the public. Unfortunately, the lodged was burned down in an arson fire in the 1990s.
Continuing on, you can check out the historical buildings at Fisk Farm and shop for flowers, fruits and veggies at the Ruggles Farm stand on the property. The home and school house at Fisk Farm are an important part of White Lake history, and currently being preserved by the White Lake Historical Society.
How about lunch?
After your trip through time, head up the street to the Detroit Free Press Restaurant of the Year: The Root Restaurant & Bar. The menu emphasizes local, in-season ingredients and the staff is friendly. Reservations are recommended for this popular destination, but walk-in seating is available at the bar.
After lunch, hit up the stores that line M-59 in both towns. Whether it's the newly opened Bed, Bath & Beyond or Kohl's, you're sure to find just the right store for your needs. If you want a special experience, visit Cheryl and Carol at Fragments in Highland. The store specializes in unique home decor and handmade items by local residents. Whether it's a baby shower gift or something for the garden, you won't be disappointed at Fragments. If you just want to browse, check out the interior of the store which is a 1900s home remodeled by the owners. Each room has a different theme and the decorating is sure to please.
Where to have dinner?
At the end of you day, you are in the perfect position to drive to several great dinner locations.
Here are the restaurants that consistently receive thumbs up from local residents:
- The Comeback Inn (try the sweet potato fries and dipping sauce)
- Highland House (the bread sticks are amazing)
- The Root Restaurant (try the Michigan beer sampler and the trout)
- Dukes of Highland (try the sliders with fries)
Best time to visit?
For everyone curious about the history of White Lake, come to the town's Fisk Farm Festival the first weekend after Labor Day in September. Or hit up Sparks in Park in June of every year for an amazing fireworks display, local market and live music and entertainment at Milford High School in Highland.