Albion Trail Town

The home to Albion College with the heart of a rich industrial past and the pulse of a revitalized present, Albion is experiencing a downtown renaissance. Some shining examples include Albion Malleable Brewing Company and the new Courtyard by Marriott, located just a block away from the trail. Both are a great part of a spectacular day that starts with hiking Albion College’s Whitehouse Nature Center, Albion River Trail, and the nearby Falling Waters Trail before returning to Albion for a craft beer and a delectable dinner, followed by a film at the newly restored historic Bohm Theatre in the heart of downtown. End the evening on a high note with a refreshing swim and a restful evening at the Courtyard. Or, for a more intimate setting, settle in at one of Albion’s two historic bed and breakfasts.

 

Getting to Albion

By car, Albion is conveniently located on I-94 just 15 miles west of Jackson, 30 miles east of Battle Creek, and 45 miles south of Lansing. Amtrak provides daily service to Albion, operating its Wolverine both directions between Chicago and Pontiac, Mich. via Detroit. Greyhound Lines provides daily intercity bus service to Albion between Chicago and Detroit. Both Amtrak and Greyhound offer parking at Albion’s historic train depot, which is located across Eaton Street from the North Country Trail. Trailhead parking is available at beautiful Victory Park on the Kalamazoo River, at the train depot, and in public lots downtown.

 

About Albion

Albion was first settled as a village in 1831 and later incorporated as a city in 1905. During the 1930’s and 1940’s members of Detroit’s infamous Purple Gang lived in Albion. Albion is also the birthplace of America’s first great food writer, M.F.K. Fisher.

The Albion Malleable Iron Company, a vibrant locally owned and controlled factory which was in existence from 1888 until 1967, was the major economic factor in Albion’s history in the early 20th century. It brought hundreds of residents to the town and formed the basis of Albion’s diverse population. People originally from Italy, Poland, Holland, Mexico, and many other countries came to work and settle in Albion, as did a large African American population from the South.

The Festival of the Forks is an annual celebration of Albion’s historic heritage and rich ethnic diversity. Held on the third full weekend in September, more than 10,000 people attend this popular event that showcases different musical performers, offers culinary delights, and features special events such as pet shows, parades and art exhibits. Under the auspices of the Greater Albion Chamber of Commerce, the Festival of the Forks is an annual reunion of current and former residents of the greater Albion area in celebration of the creativity and diversity of its people.

Things to Do and See 

Albion College:  A four-year undergraduate liberal arts college, Albion College is minutes from the North Country Trail and downtown Albion. During the academic year, Albion College hosts many events that are open to the public including theater productions, sporting events, and entertainment events.

Bohm Theatre:  Albion’s magnificent theater was renovated to its former glory in 2015 and was a recipient of the prestigious Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation. As a downtown anchor, the Bohm should be a part of anyone’s Albion experience. The Bohm Theatre shows movies on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with special events throughout the week. Private showings, events, and tours are also available for groups with advanced notice.

Riverside Cemetery:  Riverside Cemetery was placed on the State Register of Historic Sites on August 29, 1996. The first burial in the cemetery occurred in 1837, the year Michigan became a state. Reflecting Albion’s ethnically diverse population, the cemetery has areas known as “The Russian Section,” “German Hill,” and a section for African American veterans from World War I. A private Catholic cemetery contains the remains of people from Italy, Lithuania, and Poland. In addition to a unique array of tombstones, the cemetery includes impressive mausoleum, an office, a receiving vault and a fishpond.

Gardner House Museum:  Home to Albion’s historic society, the Gardner House Museum is full of history. Built around 1875, this Victorian charm transforms you back to another time in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The museum is open Saturdays and Sundays from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. from Mother’s Day through the end of September. If you are traveling with a large group, you may call ahead and schedule an appointment for a museum tour.

Swingin’ at the Shell Summer Concert Series:  During August and September, the Victory Park Band Shell comes alive as the home to a Sunday night concert series, Swingin’ at the Shell. Featuring a range of musical genres, each concert starts at 6:00 p.m. on the lawn of the Victory Park Band Shell. Each concert is free and open to the public. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket, and enjoy a swinging summer Sunday evening of live music!

Victory Park:  Albion’s largest public park is located just south of downtown. Within the park, there are several areas for a picnic including tables and shelters. The park is also home to many recreational activities including the Albion River Trail, Swingin’ at the Shell, a legendary 18-hole disc golf course, a 10,000-square-foot children’s playground, and winter fun at the sledding hill.

Festival of the Forks:  Albion’s premier summer festival happens the third full weekend of September every year. The festival celebrates Albion’s unique geography at the forks of the Kalamazoo River with a weekend full of fun. Festival activities happen Friday evening and all day Saturday including a classic car show, the Forks 5K, Saturday parades, live music stages, carnival rides, food and craft vendors, and so much more.

Kalamazoo River:  The Kalamazoo River runs through the heart of downtown Albion. Many of the city’s parks are situated along the banks of the river, which has excellent canoeing and kayaking.

Whitehouse Nature Center:  The Whitehouse Nature Center is a part of Albion College and is accessible via Farley Drive. The north branch of Kalamazoo River cuts across the center, and more than 150 bird species find homes among this 140-acre forest. The center also features trails, an interpretative center, a visitor center, and a research facility that’s open to varied forms of outdoor education. Several events, workshops and programs are held here throughout the year.

Kids ‘N’ Stuff Children’s MuseumKids ‘N’ Stuff Children’s Museum provides hands-on exhibits and programs for young children and their families in 10,000 square feet of exhibit space in downtown Albion. From exploring a miniature city to navigating the rapids of the water table, the museum is sure to delight! Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Sunday from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $6.50 per person.

 

Services for Trail Users

Lodging

  • Courtyard by Marriott
  • Palmer House Bed and Breakfast

Restaurants

  • Albion Malleable Brewing Company
  • Foundry Bakehouse and Deli
  • Lopez Taco House
  • Cascarelli’s
  • Charlie’s
  • Gina’s Pizza & Deli

Trailheads and Parking

  • Victory Park
  • Harris Park
  • McAuliffe Park
  • Whitehouse Nature Center
  • Amtrak station
  • Downtown lots

Restrooms

  • Victory Park
  • Harris Park
  • McAuliffe Park
  • Whitehouse Nature Center

Groceries

  • Family Fare

Hardware

  • Tractor Supply

Internet

Medical Care

Links

News and Events