I love hearing from many of you regarding Part I of our summer fun in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.). I am so glad you shared your stories and enjoyed the natural beauty of northern Michigan.One of the things I love most about the UP (Yoo-pee), is all the “mom and pop” places along the way. It’s small towns, shops, and businesses full of tradition and charm.
We usually take time to rest a day in Mackinaw City (you could easily spend a week in this “touristy” spot). I found a local bakery there that treats you like family while you enjoy fresh baked goods and coffee. If it’s your first time over the Bridge, make sure to take a trip to Mackinac Island. It’s a must see!
Ever since I saw the movie, Somewhere in Time, I have always wanted to visit the Island. A few years back, I got my chance and enjoyed the 150th celebration of the Grand Hotel . Now, the Ferry ride over to the Island is not cheap. However, if want to make an adventure of it, some of the hotels offer packages for families that include the round trip ferry tickets with your stay.
After leaving Mackinaw, we spend most of our time in Copper Country. The Keweenaw Guide is a great resource to make your way to all the attractions.In between our adventures, we visit my Mother-in-law’s hometown and see all the relatives and friends.She grew up on a farm (surrounded by farms) and enjoyed summers at their lake cottage.My hubby (and Momsy) can’t wait to play Christmas music during our stay. There is nothing like the smooth sound of Bing Crosby and White Christmas as the moon dances across the lake. 🙂
I found this 1970’s photo of my hubby’s dad (the gentleman wearing a yooper hat), grandparents, uncle, and cousins at the cottage.It’s an area rich with Finnish named towns and families. There are more Finnish Americans in Michigan than any other state. Finns were known for their hard work and were recruited to come to America to mine for copper in the late 1800’s. Therefore, the local culture is full of Finnish traditions.
One of my favorite traditional foods, is a pasty. It is found throughout bakeries and shops in the UP. More than likely, someone knows where to get a pasty before they know where to buy a sub sandwhich. A pasty is sort of like a pot pie (without the gravy) and hot pocket combined. Very hearty and easy to transport. Therefore, it made it easy for miners to take in their lunches. Stories are told that if the pasty got cold, the miners would heat them up with their headlamps.We try to sample several while we are in the UP. Our first stop is always to Muldoons and if we get a chance we go to Roy’s, Toni’s, Krupp’s and Amy J’s. They are all delicious…it’s hard to say which one I love more! Make it (pasty recipe) and let me know what you think?
Also, it won’t take you long to spot Finnish flags throughout Michigan, especially in the UP. They hang from homes, shops, street posts and are painted on mailboxes. It’s simple beauty that makes my heart smile.
My hubby tells me his family would take Finn Crisp on boat trips to snack on (partly, because it does not mold as quickly as a loaf of bread would in the misty air). They would butter it or pair it with cheese. So of coarse I had to try it! 🙂
Finnish Americans proudly identify with the Finnish word, Sisu. They know what is means to have fortitude to survive hard times. Summers are special and you make the most of every moment, not only to enjoy, but to prep (wood cutting and roof patching) for the next winter. That “white stuff” is coming!!!
It’s hard for me to imagine, but the stats show well over 200 inches of snow a season. As you drive through and see the giant snow indicator maintained by the Keweenaw County Road Commission, you clearly see that “sisu” says it all.Another symbol of the UP is a wood burning sauna. Most families have one…it’s just a way of life. I’ve never spent a winter there and I’ve always associated a sauna with ‘country club’ living. However, I am sure if I had to endure nine months of snow, I would not be able to live without my sauna either. Plus, who wouldn’t want their own personal sauna!!!
One of our favorite drives is up through Calumet, to Eagle River, Eagle Harbor and then spending a night or two in Copper Harbor (detail map, HERE).
I love visiting the shops and historic sites in Calumet. It’s fascinating to see all the handmade gems from local artists and eat candy (best fudge ever!!!) at Calumet Mercantile.
It’s a peaceful and beautiful drive along M-26 and US-41. Plenty of scenic views and shoreline to stop and enjoy a picnic lunch.Do calories count on vacation? Could not resist ice cream at this sweet shop along Eagle River Township.There are plenty of places to stay while taking in the sites at Copper Harbor. We love the cozy feel of the log cabin cottages and the campground facilities.It’s a small town at the end of US-41 with an artsy easy-going atmosphere. It’s rich with local art and photography. I could spend hours perusing through the shops and taking in all the local history regarding the copper mines and gemstones. Folks are friendly and proud to live in a place “where the road ends and the adventure begins.”
From amazing bike trails to a peaceful boat cruise to the Copper Harbor Lighthouse or a sunset cruise on the Isle Royal, it’s a place we love to visit over and over.We hope you will too!
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