7 great reasons to call Isabella County home

Isabella County is ready to welcome you home.

“We’re a small community with the kind of big-city amenities so many people are searching for these days,” says Chris Rowley, Executive Director of the Mt. Pleasant Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We’re known for our friendly faces, abundant places, and comfortable paces.”

Home to Central Michigan University and Soaring Eagle Casino, Mt. Pleasant is chock-full of great entertainment, shopping, dining, and outdoor adventures throughout the year. Outside the city, Isabella County’s rich farmland, rolling Chippewa River, and 1,000 acres of parkland offer plenty of spots to relax and unwind.
Emma Fuller, Broker at Hometowne Realty.
And outsiders are taking notice.

Like the rest of the nation, Isabella County’s housing market has been booming in the last year since the pandemic began.

“I’ve seen a lot of interest from people downstate who want to live where it’s peaceful, quiet, and maybe feels a little more secure,” says Emma Fuller of Hometowne Realty in Mt. Pleasant. “A lot of buyers are looking for vacant land or larger houses with home offices.”

It’s a seller’s market, with offers sometimes made sight unseen and above the asking price. The Central Michigan Association of REALTORS reports the average sale price in June for a single-family home was $166,371 – more than $22,000 over June 2019.

Fuller says homebuyers are always pleased to learn about the region’s amenities. In addition to a hot housing market, here’s a closer look at seven reasons to call Isabella County home.

EDUCATION

One of the largest universities in Michigan, Central Michigan University (CMU) has more than 16,000 students on its Mt. Pleasant campus and 235,000 alumni across the world. The nationally-ranked university offers hundreds of degree programs in fields ranging from the health professions to business and from fashion merchanding and design to engineering.

From our roots as a teachers' college, CMU offers an essential liberal arts foundation and nationally acclaimed programs in areas ranging from the health professions and engineering to business and communications, and science and technology,” according to its website.

If you love sports, there’s plenty to see at CMU. The NCAA Division 1 school has 16 varsity teams competing in the Mid-American Conference, with thousands of fans cheering on their beloved Chips.

In addition to higher learning opportunities at CMU and nearby Mid Michigan College in Harrison, elementary and secondary schooling is available in Isabella County at Beal City Public Schools, Mount Pleasant Public Schools, and Shepherd Public Schools.

“We have really great educational opportunities in our region,” says Rowley.

Floating on the Chippewa River. Photo Courtesy of the Mt. Pleasant Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
 
From golfing and kayaking to hiking and biking, you’ll find something fun to do all across Isabella County.

The area features 11 golf courses within a half-hour’s drive of Mt. Pleasant. Known as “Michigan’s laziest river,” the 80-mile Chippewa River is the perfect destination for leisurely tubing, canoeing, kayaking, or paddling with friends and family.

The region also includes 18 parks or nature preserves filled with opportunities to unwind. Island Park in Mt. Pleasant includes a spray park, skate park, softball fields, tennis and basketball courts, play equipment, canoe landing, and fishing dock. The 591-acre Deerfield Park offers camping, eight miles of hiking/biking trails, a swimming beach, and two disc golf courses. In the winter, you’ll find groomed cross-country skiing trails and sledding, too.

ART & CULTURE
From local art galleries and museums to learning more about American Indian culture, Mt. Pleasant thrives on art and culture, Rowley says.

Art Reach of Mid Michigan has made an impact on surrounding communities through its dedication to creating various events, classes, and programs for audiences of all ages. At CMU, be sure to visit the Museum of Cultural and Natural History and University Art Gallery.

The annual Saginaw Chippewa Tribal National Pow Wow in July attracts visitors from across the Midwest looking for an opportunity to observe traditional Native American dancing, drumming, chanting, cuisine and crafts. This year’s event is July 23-25.

In Shepherd on the last full weekend in April, the community celebrates their annual Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival. The family weekend includes parades, a classic car display, tractor and horse pulls, bingo, arts and crafts, and of course, scrumptious pancake meals all weekend long.

Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort. Photo Courtesy of the Mt. Pleasant Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. SOARING EAGLE CASINO & RESORT

The sprawling Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort has become one of the premier entertainment attractions in Michigan.

Owned and operated by the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Nation, the casino offers 210,000 square feet of gaming such as slots, poker, bingo, table games, and more. The adjacent resort offers first-class amenities including luxury rooms, a full-service spa, and top-notch dining.

But Soaring Eagle is much more than a casino.

The resort also offers top-name, live entertainment year-round. Its indoor Entertainment Hall has a capacity of about 3,200 reserved seats and another 3,200 in general admission, giving concert-goers access to some of today’s best acts, according to Ticketmaster. In addition, the Soaring Eagle Outdoor Concert series regularly hosts world-famous performers. In August alone, outdoor concerts include Shinedown, Kid Rock, and Keith Urban.

Just minutes away, you’ll find the Soaring Eagle Waterpark and Hotel is a family-friendly resort that provides guests with a great place to stay and play in Mt. Pleasant.

FOOD & SHOPPING

Chris Rowley, Executive Director of the Mt. Pleasant Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.Mt. Pleasant is also a popular destination for eats and treats. With a wide range of area restaurants, bars, breweries, and farmers’ markets you’ll never go hungry – or thirsty. Mt. Pleasant is home to two breweries: Mountain Town Brewing Company and Hunter’s Ale House that locally craft 70 styles of beer.

If you love shopping, the area abounds with fun, locally-owned stores, and boutiques offering something for everyone. 

“From warming your house with the cutest knick-knacks to finding the perfect outfit or accessory, you’ll be impressed with the variety of shopping in our region,” says Rowley. “Our residents really have a pretty awesome place to live.”
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