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A couple and their pet dogs next to their Polaris GEM

Mushroom House Tours Deliver an Unforgettable Experience with Polaris GEM

All-Electric Low-Speed Vehicles Provide Comfort and Convenience

Tucked away in Northern Michigan along the shore of Lake Michigan, the small town of Charlevoix is recognized for its scenic views and natural beauty. Pristine beaches with access to crystal clear water, historic architecture, boutique shopping and exceptional dining make Charlevoix a popular summer tourist destination.


Several notable people spent time in the area including iconic author Ernest Hemingway, who set many of his Nick Adams stories on or near Lake Charlevoix. American architectural designer Earl Young also called Charlevoix home.


Young is recognized for building many of the architectural treasures that attract visitors to the charming town today. Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s idea that buildings should respect their surroundings, Young worked mostly with limestone, fieldstone, and boulders found in Northern Michigan. The structures are more commonly referred to today as “Mushroom Houses,” which originated from one of Young’s more photographed houses that resembles a mushroom.

A whole family riding their Polaris GEM e6

Comfortable and Convenient Mushroom House Tours

In 2009, lifelong Charlevoix resident Edith Pair started Mushroom House Tours to share her knowledge and excitement for the stone structures with local tourists. While the tours began on foot, she quickly realized they needed to invest in transportation to conveniently view all 28 houses.


“We tried trolley and horse and buggy tours, but nothing quite fit right,” said Pair. “Someone recommended we try a GEM, so we bought one and it works perfectly. It keeps our tours feeling intimate and private, but also comfortably fits five passengers per vehicle.”


Polaris GEM, a street-legal low-speed vehicle, features an open-air design, plenty of legroom, and all forward-facing seats to promote conversation among passengers. It’s also all-electric, which means a quiet ride that allows passengers to clearly hear Edith during the tours and reduced vehicle maintenance in comparison to a gas-powered vehicle.


With eight 50-minute tours a day, the Mushroom House Tours team has little to no downtime to charge vehicles between tours. Luckily, Edith says her GEM can handle 8 tours a day without a problem. At the end of each day, she simply charges the vehicle by plugging it into a standard outlet and it’s ready for another day of tours by the following morning.

Two GEM owners standing in front of their vehicle

New Vehicle Features Elevate the Tour Experience

Mushroom House Tours recently added a new 2022 GEM to their fleet of low-speed vehicles. Nicknamed “Fun-Guy,” the new vehicle features a Bronson Rock-colored exterior, Panoramic Sky Roof, and interior feature lighting that elevates the tour experience.


To schedule a tour of the Mushroom Houses in Charlevoix, MI, please visit:


To learn more about Polaris GEM low-speed vehicles, please visit our Homepage