HARBOR SPRINGS -- Area residents and visitors will have the opportunity to take free horse and carriage rides in downtown Harbor Springs beginning Friday, Dec. 23, and continuing through the winter.
City council approved the activity during its regularly scheduled meeting Monday, Dec. 19.
New Year's Day.
The carriage will depart from Bay Street near Stafford's Pier, The New York Restaurant and Bar Harbor every 30 minutes, with other stops and loading zones near Island Bean Coffee Co., Woolly Bugger and the Hotel Janelle loading zone by Turkey's Cafe and Pizzeria and American Spoon Foods.
The idea for this service was spearheaded by Karin Offield, owner of Brek-n-Ridge Farm. The horse and carriage rides are meant to offer riders a unique view and historical perspective of the community.
"What a great way to see Harbor Springs," Offield said in a news release submitted to the Petoskey News-Review. "We have worked with area businesses and the Chamber of Commerce as well as the city of Harbor Springs to provide this new downtown opportunity. Carriage rides will complete the storybook holiday and skiing attraction for our winter guests' downtown and shopping and dining experience. We will be adding sounds of jingle bells and horse hooves on pavement and the visual of an old fashioned horse-drawn carriage."
Offield assured the city council the buggy will be fully lighted for safety, the operator will contain all manure from the horses and clean up any that falls on the street, the rides will operate only on routes approved by city manager Tom Richards and Harbor Springs Police Department chief Dan Branson, and only horses without history of erratic behavior and that have performed on streets with vehicle traffic without incident will be used, among other things.
This service will be funded by interested sponsors.