The Local Knowlege


Places We Like: Farmer's Home Tavern in Hemlock, MI

By Matthew Rudy

By Matthew Rudy

The upper half of Michigan's Lower Penninsula is known for some of the best destination golf in North America -- Arcadia Bluffs, Bay Harbor and Treetops are just a few. The middle part of the state doesn't get the same attention, but one little roadside tavern should. 

Established in 1860 as a rest stop for mid-Michigan cattle herders, Farmers Home Tavern now specializes in giant cheeseburgers, coney dogs and fried fish instead of nickel bunkhouse rooms and a community bathtub. It occupies a ramshackle clapboard building on what constitutes tiny Hemlock, Michigan's main drag, M-46, which bisects the corn and sugar beet fields in the middle of the state like a ruler from Saginaw to just north of Grand Rapids. 

The tavern is most famous for its cheeseburgers, 3/4-pound monsters made from local beef that have won the regional Saginaw News' "Best of" award for more than a decade running, but the two-for-$5.25 coney dogs are equally worthy. The decor -- and the beer specials -- will remind you of 1984, but in a good way. Enjoy a $2 Miller Lite and the Tigers game on TV as you sit in a chair that looks like it came out of a church basement. It's cash only, but you can order more food than a single person could eat for $10. 

There's even room to park a combine in the back. 

After you fuel up, it's an easy hour drive west to one of the state's best kept secrets, the 36-hole Tullymore Resort in Stanwood. The original St. Ives 18 is a Golf Digest five-star course, and when Tullymore came along in 2002 it was named Golf Digest's Best New Upscale Course. Rates range from $100 to $125, but ladies get a 40 percent discount and juniors are half off.