The transformation was rapid. In 1994, simultaneous explosions demolished the cement plant smokestacks. Eight months later, the barrier between Bay Harbor and Little Traverse Bay was removed, and water rushed in at the rate of one-million gallons per minute. Within 24 hours, over 2.5 billion gallons of water formed the new "Nautical Center of the Great Lakes" and became Bay Harbor Lake. Bay Harbor embodies the ultimate lifestyle; with Bay Harbor Lake ranking as one of the top marina resort facilities in the United States (as described in 2002 by Applied Technology & Management, Inc.) and Motor Boating Magazine in 2006, being home to the Bay Harbor Yacht Club. Bay Harbor Lake Marina is a unique amenity that provides a safe harbor and has become a major destination for Great Lakes boaters.
Bay Harbor's town center, the Village at Bay Harbor, bustles with boutiques and restaurants where the defunct cement plant once stood. The Village is now the heartbeat of the community, featuring such public elements as a marina, public observation platform and walking trails. In fact, nearly one mile of Michigan shoreline and 70 acres of prime land were donated as public parks by Bay Harbor Company and are connected by five miles of non-motorized public nature trails, providing permanent enjoyment for the residents and visitors of Bay Harbor and neighboring communities. It is this combination of a vibrant setting, beautiful scenery, and a diverse array of shops that has turned the Village into a site used frequently for community events, weddings, and outdoor festivals.
In many ways, the Bay Harbor Equestrian Club brought equestrian activities to northern Michigan for the first time. It now attracts trainers, breeders and riders to northern Michigan for shows and clinics and has created an equestrian culture where none had existed before. Events include the Buck Brannaman (Horse Whisperer) Clinic, calf roping and pony camps.
Now that Bay Harbor has hundreds of satisfied homeowners, the community has taken on a life of its own. An increasing number of extraordinary events are being held each year producing countless successful product launches and forming sustainable community traditions. The Bay Harbor Art Fair, Bay Harbor Vintage Car & Boat Festival, Baynanza, Boat Rendezvous and Ice Festival, as well as many philanthropic events including the Bay Harbor Concours Festival and Home Tour have drawn thousands of visitors to the community throughout all four seasons.