Up to the UP

Hugging the coast of Lake Michigan we headed to the upper peninsula of Michigan. A first visit for the both of us. A recommendation of an Italian restaurant in Sheboygan, Wisconsin was all it took for us to make this our lunch stop. It is not only fun to say Sheboygan, it is a charming town on the lake. We ate at Il Ritrovo. This is not just a delicious restaurant, it also has a great market with everything you need to make your next meal. The locals of the UP call themselves Yoopers. The UP is shaped like a seal and it is surrounded by Great Lakes. Superior borders the top and Michigan is below which mixes with Lake Huron under the Mighty Mackinac Bridge as it connects the two peninsulas that make up Michigan. This part of the state is rustic and remote. There are lots of forests and areas for hiking, fishing and camping. At one time the UP was populated with loggers, miners and fur traders. The amount of stuffed bears, bobcats and deer everywhere make me believe the wild animals are still plentiful in the woods.

The Pasty, pronounced Pass-tee is a typical food served on the UP. It was a staple for miners and loggers. Today, it is for everyone, especially tourists. It is basically a single serving hand rolled pie filled with savory or sweet filling. We found some that would have needed two hands to hold and eat. We ate our savory pasties with forks and knives. (True tourists)We went to Tahquamenon Falls. The name rhymes with phenomenon. Native American lore attributes the name to the water’s amber color. The falls look like they are filled with mud or rust, however, the color the result of leaching tanic acid from the cedar and hemlock swamps that feed the river. The Falls became famous from the Longfellow poem The Song of Hiawatha. We then headed south and west along the spine of the Peninsula towards the Pictured Rock National Lakeshore. The day had turned gray and rainy which made the view of Lake Superior dark and misty. It stopped us from taking some hikes including the one out to the 1864 light house. We did see the Miner’s Castle and we will get a better view from the water tomorrow.There is a great bookstore/local craft store and coffee shop in the town of Munising. The Falling Rock Café and Bookstore was a great place to hang out with a cup of coffee and wait out the rain and the midges.

Midge was Barbie’s best friend. Midges are a mosquito look-a-like that don’t bite, but they do swarm and they are incredibly annoying. Turns out they are common in Northern Michigan and around the Great Lakes in June. Their life span is ten days, I think we will be gone before their season is up.

From Mackinac to Munising, the UP offers amazing views, fresh lake fish, great trail hiking, and miles of beautiful driving and motorcycling roads to enjoy.

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