Is Ludington The Best Historic Small Town in America?

Is Ludington The Best Historic Small Town in America?

Lumber Sculpture Ludington Mason County Sculpture Trail

It’s only March and we’ve already featured Ludington quite a bit in this year’s posts, as we celebrated a milestone anniversary for one of its lighthouses, got excited about the S.S. Badger returning to service, and offered up lots of activities to do at Ludington State Park before it closes this fall. Last year we got to showcase 15 things we love about Ludington as it celebrated its 150th anniversary. Now we get to see Ludington get some national recognition, as it has been named as one of twenty finalists for Best Historic Small Town in America in the latest round of 10Best Reader’s Choice polls. We certainly agree that Ludington deserves some love for its rich history, and today we will take a look at its chances against some tough competition. It is the lone Michigan city in this contest after a few years of Mackinac Island making a strong showing, and voting takes place now through April 1st.

Mason County Lumber Heritage Trail White Pine Village Barn

The nomination for Ludington reads: “Building its economy on the lumber industry, Ludington continued to thrive as a shipping port, both by water and by train. Today, visitors come to explore Ludington’s small-town charm, take advantage of its waterfront location for swimming, boating, and more, and shop at its many specialty shops and art galleries. Explore the town’s past at Historic White Pine Village and the Port of Ludington Maritime Musem.” The museums are definitely a great way to explore the town’s history, but we don’t recommend stopping there.

Ludington Maritime Heritage Trail Carferries

The city is home to Michigan historical markers for its courthouse, the Big Sable Point Lighthouse, a church that dates back to the early 1900s, historic car ferries, and even the final resting place of Father Jacques Marquette. You can also dive in to history on the Mason County trails: the Agricultural Trail, the Barn Quilt Trail, the Lumber Heritage Trail, the Maritime Heritage Trail, the Music Heritage Trail, and the Sculpture Trail. We learned a lot about Ludington’s early history on the Lumber Heritage Trail, which showcases the mansions built by lumber barons and visits the cemeteries where they are buried. The S.S. Badger, a historic coal powered car and passenger ferry, still travels from Ludington to Manitowoc, Wisconsin daily during the summer months.

Ludington Michigan Maritime Museum

Home to roughly 7,500 people, Ludington is a paradise in all seasons. We think it deserves to be named the Best Historic Small Town, and it has a good chance of beating out Cumberland (MD), Abilene (KS), Breckenridge (CO), and Winslow (AZ). You can vote for Ludington once per day, and as of this writing the Lake Michigan port city was holding down the number one spot.