We've all been told to go to Hell once or twice, but did you know that you can actually comply with the command? There's no better retort than whipping out a deed to your own plot of land in Hell, Michigan, and letting your insulter know that yes, you've been there, and you were once the mayor. The tiny town of Hell is located just outside of Ann Arbor in the southeast portion of Michigan. If you somehow missed the giant yellow sign on the way in, you'd think that Hell is just like any other small town, with some shops, restaurants, and a little church. Frankly, Hell isn't nearly as bad a place as it's been made out to be.
Legend says the town received its name thanks to its founder, a scheming entrepreneur, who when asked for his opinion on naming the town allegedly responded by saying, "I don't know, you can name it Hell for all I care." The name stuck, and nearly 200 years later the little town not only bears the same strange name, it embraces it. A visit to the local gift shop will usually result in the standard greeting of, "Welcome to Hell! How the Hell are ya? Where the Hell ya from?" In winter, there's no better local news headline than "Hell Freezes Over".
There are all kinds of (frankly hilarious) Hell-themed souvenirs you can get here (more on those in a minute) but the ultimate memento from your trip to Hell has to be the chance to run the town. For just $100, the town will declare you Mayor of Hell, complete with all the official documents, award you a key to the city, give you a deed for one square-inch of land, and then impeach you at the end of the day. Amazing.
Every town needs a biker bar, and Hell is no exception. In fact, a biker bar in Hell is guaranteed to be a good time, and Hell Saloon is no exception. You'll find live music on the weekends, a good selection of craft beer (because you need something to cool you off when you're in Hell) and delicious fire-and-brimstone themed grub. Think, deviled eggs, housemade Brutus Beelzebub Chili, and cleverly-named burgers, salads, pizzas, and more. The atmosphere is fun, and a little devilish, so stay for a few drinks and enjoy!
Another way to beat the heat in Hell is with a nice ice cream cone. Screams Ice Cream From Hell serves as an ice cream shop and the main souvenir store in town. I mean, you can't go to Hell and back without picking up a few kitschy mementos along the way, right?
If you want proof that you've been to Hell, you need to look no further than the local post office, located inside Screams, where they'll take your postcard, singe the edges with a candle, and stamp it "Been Through Hell". This is also the place to go if you're looking to be Mayor of Hell for a day or own a piece of Hell for yourself. The building also contains the Hell Hole Bar, which is a little diner that serves up burgers, pizza, sandwiches, and the like, a mini golf course, a canoe/kayak rental shop for those who want to explore the lakes and streams of the nearby Pinckney Recreation Area, and the infamous Hell's Chapel of Love.
If you happen to be traveling to Hell and are in search of a romantic spot, look no further than Hell's Chapel of Love. Yep, that's right... you can get married in Hell. If you and your S.O. are of the ironic sort, it could be absolutely hilarious to have your marriage certificate signed in Hell, and you get a few little keepsakes, like wine glasses and a "United in Hell" magnet, which is freakin' epic, if you ask me. They'll help you plan a small elopement or a big ol' celebration of a marriage. If you're looking for a destination wedding, I think this is an excellent, exotic, and outside the box option.
If you're already hitched, you and your dearly beloved can add a padlock to Hell's Love Lock Bridge and toss the key into Hell Creek (in the grand tradition of Paris's Ponts des Arts bridge). It's a nice reminder that love isn't always heavenly, and that a sense of humor can work wonders in a relationship.
Whether you're on a trip to Hell and back, or you just happen to be passing through, this quirky little town is about as wacky as they come. The best part? You'd expect the locals in Hell to be a rotten bunch, but they're actually incredibly warm and welcoming. So don't be afraid to go to Hell, because you'll probably wind up having one hell of a good time.
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