Need a break from the rush of daily life? Go back to a time when things were a whole lot simpler. Welcome to Crossroads Village. It’s an authentic Great Lakes town from the turn of the last century, with more than 34 historic structures and a thriving community to welcome you. Ride the Huckleberry Railroad, catch a show at the Colwell Opera House, or learn a trade from one of our craftspeople. It’s a place out of history where you can make a little history of your own. And it’s just around the corner. At your Genesee County Parks.
Always family friendly!
One Hundred Years of Fun!
Celebrate the 180th birthday of Genesee County with a thrilling ride on our Charles W. Parker Superior Wheel! It was built by Parker in 1910 and had a long and colorful history before it was moved to Crossroads Village in 1991. It even survived the flood waters of Hurricane Agnes!
Its ten original gondolas are hand painted and adorned with carved wooden scrollwork and mirrors. You’ll be nearly 45 feet above ground when you round the top of the Wheel, and from that vantage point, you get a spectacular tree-top view of Mott Lake and the Village!
The Superior Wheel shares its lakeside setting with C.W. Parker’s magnificent 1912 Carousel and its herd of handsome hand-painted horses. This is the only place in the world where you can enjoy two side-by-side Parker rides in full operation.
We round out our collection of vintage amusement rides with the Mott Lake Flyer, Venetian swings and pony carts that provide plenty of old-fashioned fun for your little ones.
It is Morning in Crossroads Village
Tiny plumes of smoke rise from the boiler at the Master Cider Mill and drift silently over the wooden walks and dewy grass. Down the street, a woman walks in her garden as she gathers flowers in her apron. She waves to the gentlemen at the sawmill, where they are turning huge logs into planks. There’s a game of checkers just starting at the barbershop, and musicians backstage at the opera house are getting ready to sing for the first show of the day.
The century-old grinding stones at the Atlas Mill are turning wheat into flour for the day’s bread, while a little girl learns to crochet as her mother admires a handmade quilt. Eager passengers slide onto their seats in the wooden coaches of the Huckleberry Railroad as the conductor calls out, “All aboard!”
Most of the 34 buildings here were moved—brick, board, and stone—to this magical place at the edge of Mott Lake. Many came from just a few miles away. In this peaceful setting, the buildings have been preserved, furnished, and put back into use—so you can experience first-hand what life was like in a small village in Michigan in the late 1800s.
Take a seat on the Huckleberry Railroad and enjoy a scenic 40-minute ride through woods and meadows and along the shore of beautiful Mott Lake. Experience the “modern” way travelers crossed the country more than one hundred years ago. Most cars were constructed in the 1890’s and are over 120 years old!
The narrow-gauge railroad’s collection of cars includes 11 original and replica wooden coaches plus a classic red wooden caboose. The train is pulled by one of two restored coal-fired locomotives built by Baldwin Locomotive Works. Engine #464 was nicknamed the Mud Hen and originally carried miners to Colorado on their quest for gold and silver.
Do you know how the railroad got its name? Old-timers say that huckleberries grew alongside the track, and because the train moved slowly, passengers could hop off, pick a handful of berries and hop back onboard before the last car passed them by.
Summer Train Departures:
May 24 – September 1, 2014:
Wednesday though Sunday: 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, and 4:00 pm
On selected and busy days, additional trains may be added.
Around and Around You Go! Wheeeee…
Pick your pony and hold on tight! This herd of handsome hand-painted wooden horses, along with an exotic dragon chariot,
will carry you back to a time when small-town audiences eagerly awaited the arrival of traveling shows, and the familiar tunes of a band organ filled the air on warm summer nights. Come experience the same exciting ride on this Charles W. Parker Carousel that has delighted families since 1912.
This is the only place in the world where you’ll find two side-by-side Charles W. Parker amusement rides restored and ready for your enjoyment! Just next door, step into a gondola on Parker’s 1910 Superior Wheel for a breathtaking tree-top view of Mott Lake and Crossroads Village.
Your little ones will enjoy old-fashioned fun when they ride the Mott Lake Flyer, Venetian swings, and pony carts. These colorful vintage amusements offer plenty of pint-sized pleasure!
Spend a Whole Day in the Village
There is so much to do here and so many people to talk with, like the cider maker who presses apples, the miller who grinds the town’s grains and the blacksmith who labors at his forge hammering hot iron into horseshoes and fireplace tools. Their skills have often been passed from parent to child and fine-tuned through the decades. Working alongside their neighbors, each villager-from barber to cleric, doctor to seamstress-has an important role and helps keep the 19th century village running smoothly.
Would you like to lend a hand? The cream needs to be churned into butter, and there are herbs to be picked and brooms to be made. Each week there are new projects you can take part in that reflect the history of Genesee County and the lives of the people who settled here.
If you’re a theater buff, you’ll love the 20-minute performances presented several times every day at the Colwell Opera House. Admission is included with your ticket to the Village.
Watch and Learn from the Tradespeople
Learn how type was used to print the daily newspaper. See wood cut into planks by the steam-powered lumber mill saw. See and hear iron being shaped into home tools, or see grain ground into cornmeal and buckwheat.
Kids Love Our History Programs
The Village offers daily programs just for kids so they can see, touch, and taste history— and learn all about the lives of pioneer children.
The Genesee Belle
There’s a surprise waiting for you at the Village dock…the beautiful Genesee Belle! She’s a replica of the paddlewheel riverboats that were so popular during Mark Twain’s time. You’re invited on board for a 45-minute excursion around Mott Lake. It’s there for you to enjoy all summer, and on weekends during Ghosts and Goodies in October.
You’ll enjoy cool breezes and scenic views of Bluebell Beach and the wooded shoreline. It’s likely you’ll spot great blue herons and other wildlife that call this area home. The Belle also offers lunch and evening cruises in the summer. You can also charter the boat for meetings and special occasions. Many happy couples have exchanged marriage vows on the Belle! The lower level is enclosed and climate-controlled for your comfort. For more information, call the reservation office at 800.648.PARK , ext. 6.
Genesee Belle Village Departures:
Not available until May 24, 2014.
Departure times from May 24 to September 1, 2014:
1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm, and 4:00 pm departure times exclude Wednesdays in July.
Every Wednesday in July, departures are: 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm, and 4:00 pm.
On July 4, there is no 1:00 pm departure due to the parade.
During the Day Out With Thomas event, there will be additional departures at 12:00 pm.
The Genesee Belle does not depart from Crossroads Village on Mondays and Tuesdays, as the Village is closed on these days.