First, let me start out by saying that I don’t want to go to hell or have anyone I know or don’t know go to hell. Hell, Michigan is the closest I ever want to come to the namesake.
I first learned about Hell, Michigan from an episode of unique places to visit on the Travel Channel. We had thought it would be funny to visit in the winter to see “Hell freeze over.” We didn’t make it in the winter and couldn’t justifly the 1.5 hour drive ” just for the hell of it.”
We decided the best strategy would be to check it out while driving back from a trip to Cincinnati because it would be along the route.
Our journey started by taking the “highway to hell.” The town of hell is very small with only around 266 residents. It has a bar, an ice cream shop with mini golf in the back, and a general store with pizza shop and post office. You can read about how the town got it’s name here.
When we asked our kids if they wanted to stop for ice cream, they said “Hell yeah” ……ok no, they didn’t because we don’t let our kids talk like that.
As we entered the store, the worker greeted us with,” Welcome to hell.” I was curious what had brought her to Hell, Michigan. She said 9/11. She had a job on the east coast that was shut down as a result of the crisis which meant starting over. Over time she fell in love with the area that reminded her of the town she grew up in. She was familiar with Michigan from past visits to Traverse City. So ironically she works and lives in Hell.
While in the store, the first thing we had to do was take in all of the funny novelty stuff.
My son had to get a pic with “the seven deadly mustaches” for his uncle Ryan ( a former longtime mustache owner)
To be honest, even though the place is a joke this “good girl” still didn’t feel totally comfortable there.
The ice cream store/ novelty shop “Screams,” had many great ice cream flavors to choose from, complete with a topping bar that rests on a casket with all types of clever renamed toppings.
The boys each got a kids cone and my husband and I shared “the gravedigger.” It has 3 scoops of ice cream on top of a banana body laying on oreo dirt and then gets buried with as many toppings as you choose. Because this can be deadly to your diet you get a death certificate with it.
I did not feel comfortable enough to put my name on a death certificate, so I chose the name “Ben Dover.” ….We still had 1.5 hours of driving left before we got home and that just felt creepy to me.
After that, we stopped next door to visit the post office/ pizza parlor/ convenient store.
We purchased our stamps and filled out our postcards. The mailroom employee then lit a candle. I was a little bit concerned at this point wondering what they do with their mail in Hell, Michigan.
I was relieved that they just give your mail the smoky effect…. no creepy chants or anything dark.
Later that week, my mother in law got her postcard from hell. Good thing she has a good sense of humor.
There is a country song that says ” If you’re going thru hell, keep on going.” I agree, and if you are going thru Hell, Michigan…. stop for ice cream and as you depart you will hear ‘”Have a hell of a day.”
The surrounding area is really pretty with 7 lakes nearby that offer canoeing and camping. If you want to make a visit to Hell, Michigan click here for more info. You can even get married there. They say ,”If your marriage started in Hell, it can only get better.”
Screams Ice Cream Shop is located 4025 Patterson Lake
Hell, MI 48169