Go to Hell
Hell, Michigan is an unincorporated community near Ann Arbor. It is not actually known for sure how the area got its name. There are a few theories. One is that it is named after Hell, Norway. Another is that it stems from locals misunderstanding a German visitor using the term "Hell" to describe the place. Hell means "bright" in German. Another theory is that the area got its name from it being treacherous to travel through. The last story about how the community got its name comes from a story in which its founder George Reeves said, "I don't care, you can name it Hell for all I care." after being asked what to name the town.
The community was founded around Reeve's grain mill and whiskey distillery in the 1800s. Eventually the distillery closed and the mill burned down. In the 1920s, a large section of property was sold by Reeve's descendants to investors from Detroit. The investors built a dam to turn the local pond into a lake and turn the area into a resort. Now, the community makes its living off of the tourist trade; catering to tourists who want to go to Hell.
Screams Ice Cream & Halloween Store
If you are in Hell, you are obviously going to want some ice cream. Screams Ice Cream fills this need. The ice cream parlor has a coffin it uses to hold toppings for the ice cream. Screams allows customers to build their own sundaes. Screams also has photo opportunities in the form of paintings with cut-out faces for visitors to stick their heads through. You can appear as a devil or a witch with the captions "I'm a Lil Devil in Hell!" or "Welcome to Hell."
Also Screams is home to Hell's Halloween store. It is Halloween all year round in Hell. Masks, costumes, props and Halloween knickknacks are all available for purchase here. There are also plenty of Hell souvenirs as well. You can buy T-shirts to show others you've been to Hell. You can also buy land in hell. For $6.66 you can purchase one square inch of land. You can purchase bottles of dehydrated water from Hell Creek. Also available is the "Bat Outta Hell" baseball bat and a fake diploma from Hell's Damnation University (Damn U.).
Screams hosts "Hell-O-Holloweekends" during October and the last part of September. The event has live entertainment, activities for kids and treats for kids who show up in costume.
Smitty's Dam Site Inn
As mentioned prior, there is a dam in Hell. Smitty's Dam Site Inn rests near it, along Hell Creek. Lunch and dinner are both served at the inn. Surprisingly, the menu isn't a collection of puns and jokes based on the town's name, though they do have a sign proclaiming that they serve "Dam Fine Food and Spirits" (with the image of ghosts partying in Hell). The inn also sells sauces in bottles with flame and devil logos on them as well as shirts for those who want a keepsake from their time dining in Hell.
Smitty's Dam Site Inn offers live music on Fridays and Saturdays. It also hosts Hell's Idol karaoke on Tuesdays.
Smitty's Dam Site Inn is not to be confused with the Dam Site Inn of Pellston, Michigan.
Hell Country Store & Spirits
This place serves as Hell's general store and liquor store. The store also carries "Cool as Hell" souvenirs. You can purchase mugs, shirts, bumper stickers, shot glasses and the like. The store has a variety of hot sauces available. The store also has "Hell's Kitchen" where you can purchase prepared foods such as pizza and "SandWitches." Lastly, you can purchase post cards and have them scorched before sending them off to friends and family.
Other Stuff to Do in Hell
There are other things to do in Hell. You can camp at Hell Creek Ranch and Campground. You can go to Hell Canoe/Kayak Rental and rent a vessel to allow you to navigate the waters of Hell. You can get married in Hell's Wedding Chapel. As they claim, a "marriage that starts in Hell has nowhere to go but up!" There is also the "Run Thru Hell" foot races and the "Helluva Cruise" which involves people driving their classic cars "To Hell and Back."
Special thanks goes out to April A. Taylor for the donation of a photo for this article.