Always in Season on Mullett Lake

Topinabee Development Association

The Mission of the Topinabee Development Association is to preserve and enhance the unique historical character and charm of Topinabee while promoting future growth and development of its business district.

Where Pride and People make the Difference

The TDA has worked hard to promote projects to improve the community. 



Topinabee is small town with a very rich history.

Modern history of the area began when settlers moved to the area in the 1880′s with the extension of the railroad to what is now Mackinaw City.  Horace Pike developed a Hotel along the banks of Mullet Lake adjacent to the railroad tracks and people began to build homes in the area.  Pike wanted to give the area a unique name and he named the area after an Indian Chief-Topinabee. The area continued to grow around the Lake with the hotel the center of activity. (more…)



Fun Things to Do in Topinabee

Winter is a great time to be UP NORTH in Michigan. The scenery is great and there are many activities to enjoy-snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing!  We have it all in Topinabee.  We’re the village right on Mullett Lake and we’re proud of it.

Mullett Lake is legendary for boaters around the Inland Waterway and Topinabee is the only town around its shoreline. Indian River and the sweet waters of Burt Lake are just around the corner. Our game fishing is fabulous, touted by competitive bass fisherman as the the best in the north country, and we’re famous to walleye seekers in the Great Up North. Trails for biking, snowmobiling and ORVing are everywhere. (more…)










We have unique shops and restaurants in Topinabee.

You’ll love the famous Breakers Bar and Grill right on the lake, our acclaimed Noka Cafe, and the Topinabee Market and Deli. Topinabee features public access to Mullett Lake, and a warm welcome to all.




Topinabee invites you to join us along the shores of Mullett Lake in northern Michigan where the good life is always in season. We enjoy a wonderful small town atmosphere with shops, restaurants, and a local market and deli. But it’s the awesome natural beauty all around that is the real reason we live here in our part of the Great Up North. Come and visit us in Topinabee and you and your family will see what we mean!


Theresa is a Cheboygan County native and  graduated from Cheboygan High School.  She lived in Boyne City for many years and had always worked in the restaurant business as a waitress.  The thought of owning her own restaurant is something she always had in the back of her mind.  She purchased the NOKA CAFE 19 years ago and has been running it every since.  The cafe is well known throughout the area fir its great breakfast and lunches.  Theresa has a daughter and one grandson.  She enjoys bingo and gardening when not busy with the Noka.  Theresa’s business is a real asset to the Topinabee Community.  



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Four kiosks have been installed at the Topinabee park  with a kiosks for each of the following topics: Topinabee, The Railroad, Inland Water  Route and Recreation.  These kiosks were part of the overall park project and do an outstanding job of presenting many historical features of the area.  Joe Hines of Project Arts and Ideas along with local volunteers spent time researching the project by visiting area museums, talking to area citizens and visiting area libraries.  The kiosks depicts each topic in text and pictures.  People using the park or the trail will have the opportunity to learn more about the area from these presentations. This project was funded  through a grant from the DNR Trust Fund and Mullett Township.

Two of the kiosks at the park

one of the kiosks- more pictures under the area activities tab

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The Topinabee


Did you know there was once the Steamer Topinabee cruising the Inland Water Route?  It all started with a man named A.L. Hamill, a native of Cheboygan, better known as “Dolly”.  In the very early 1900′s, he began as a railroad ticket broker then added the title Steamboat Agent.  His office was located in Petoskey, in a book store next to the Post Office at the corner of Lake and Howard (or Park) Streets.  “Dolly” was a member of the Guarantee Ticket Brokers Association of the United States.  There are many references in history to the railroad* and its’ influence on the development of Topinabee, but the Steamers traveling the Inland Water Route added what was referred to as the “voyage of enchantment”  through the “scenic grandeur of this beautiful chain of inland lakes and rivers”.  The tour started every morning at 9:25 in Petoskey via the G.R. and I. Railroad traveling to Oden.  In Oden you boarded the Steamer Topinabee.  The trip was made entirely in daylight.  In July of 1907 the stops along the way included Alanson, Sagers/Buckeye House, Columbus Landing, Indian River, Topinabee, Dodge’s Point/Club House, Hackmatac Inn, Cheboygan, Point aux Pines, Mackinac Island and St. Ignace.  The brochure stated “The lower half of the INLAND ROUTE , from Oden to TOPINABEE is one of the navigation curiosities of the world and no visitor to Northern Michigan should miss the delightful trip on Hamill’s Inland Route Steamer”.  The cost of a round trip ticket for the entire trip was $4.25!  Prices varied for those who wanted to disembark along the way.  No meals were served on the Steamers but passengers were allowed one hour at the Topinabee Hotel for dinner (lunch).  Children over five and under twelve were half-fare and under five were free.  Each adult traveler was allowed 150 pounds of free baggage and half-fares were allowed 75 pounds.  Anything in excess of that was charged at a rate of 12 per cent.  Transfer of any baggage was 25 cents for each piece. 

 The decor of the Steamer Topinabee is described as follows:  “Her cabin is velvet carpeted, and with a fine piano, seats upholstered in plush, French plate mirrors, and costly draperies, every comfort is assured to the passengers.  Just forward of the pilot house is a large, spacious deck, from which the tourist can command a fine view of the surrounding country, and which is elegantly furnished with folding chairs upholstered in leather and made especially for this steamer.  Although the dangers of water travel are unknown to the Inland Route, still, to make her complete, the steamer is fully equipped with life preservers, life boats, fire buckets, and hose.”

 *The Michigan Central Railroad, Mackinaw Division, gave Topinabee four through passenger trains daily, two north and two south.  These trains had buffet parlor cars and Pullman sleepers from and to Detroit and Chicago, via Bay City and Jackson.  “Tourist tickets” to Topinabee were available at all of the Michigan Central Railroad offices.  Other railroad companies of that time connected at various stops along the way to other trains bound for Topinabee and Oden to board the Steamers for the INLAND ROUTE tours.  The Topinabee Train Station had a Western Union Telegraph office and American Express office and “those who must have them are bothered with four daily mails”. 

 Life was good!