Livingston County in southeast Michigan is less than an hour from downtown Detroit. The area has many hotels and event venues, along with affordable hotel rooms, opportunities to get outside after your meeting, delectable restaurants, and a charming atmosphere.
Think of it as an “up North” desti- nation without the drive. “Our county has a laid-back welcoming vibe, and its history is a living part of the community as we are close-knit, connected, and family- oriented,” says Mary Robinson, Explore Brighton Howell Area’s executive director. “Our area has a vibrant dining and shopping culture, but with an outdoorsy twist because of our notable cluster of top-notch parks in the area surrounding this community.”
“Livingston County is on the western edge of southeast Mich- igan, smack dab between Washtenaw, Oakland, and Ingham counties,” says Robinson.“Visitors can fly to either Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport or directly into Livingston County Airport in Howell. … Not only are we connected to Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Lansing, but we also meet in the middle of those areas.”
Livingston County has 1,200 affordable rooms. “These are mainly very convenient, newer hotels built in the last three to four years,” says Robinson.
The largest venue in Livingston County is the Legacy Center Sports Complex, a multi-sport venue with a 104,000-square-foot dome and 101,000-square-foot field house for trade shows, outdoor meetings, and retreats. For more traditional spaces, Robin- son recommends Crystal Gardens, a 15,000-square-foot facility with on-site catering for up to 900; and Walden- woods Banquet & Conference Center, a lakeside retreat that can host in its sea- sonal, permanent tent or its banquet hall with additional—but limited—lodging. For more adventurous groups, the Howell Nature Center and Wildwood Ranch offer activities like zip lines, high and low ropes courses, and nature-based team-building activities.
Dining in Brighton includes Bourbons (Southern fare and craft cocktails), Brighton Bar and Grill (farm-to-table dishes), and Diamonds Steak and Seafood in Howell.
MUST-SEES AND -DOS
Hell, the satanically named hamlet, is a hot spot for day- trippers. Visitors can be named mayor for the day; get married at the chapel; and enjoy Screams Ice Cream, which features unique toppings.
For birding, Robinson recommends Kensington Metropark for its wide variety of species.
Boutique shopping includes Jenna Kator in Howell, the Artisans Bench in Brighton, and That’s What She Shed Boutique in Hartland, which carries a variety of one-of-a-kind pieces.
If you want to get outside, mountain biking on the Potawatomi Trail is a favorite, and Island Lake is home to a nice little beach area to relax. Some of the area’s parks even offer visitors the chance to stay in yurts.