Day Two – Picture Perfect

The weather is not cooperating. We awoke just after 7 am to gray skies and a solid drizzle with no end in site. Such is life. We load up our car and begin the drive out of Copper Harbor.

The road hugs the lake and is lined with ancient cedar trees that stand ready to enclose the road should civilization ever cease to exist. Then again, it really does feel as though we are in the middle of nowhere. We stop at one of several lakeshore stops and look out on the big lake. Her glasslike features fade into the gray sky, creating a neutral backdrop against the deep green cedars. After wandering around the shore for a while and stumbling across the impressive Jacob’s Falls, it is time to make our way south towards Marquette.

On the way, we make a stop in Alberta, Michigan. Here, Henry Ford remains a legend. You see, back in the day Henry Ford was spending some time in the UP when he fell in love. He loved the area so much that he created a “Utopia” of sorts along with a saw mill. Today, the town is abandoned and owned by Michigan Tech. While visiting the abandoned town, we ran into a local who creates spectacular Birds Eye Maple woodworking pieces. After much discussion, I purchased my first Lake Superior Circle Tour souvenir—a Walnut and Birds Eye Maple candle.

The afternoon was spent exploring beaches and taking a hiking in the woods to give our puppy some off-leash time. By the time our hike was over, the skies had cleared making way for a picture perfect backdrop in Christmas, Michigan.

After one more cheesy photograph, we made our way into Munising where we ordered in some fabulous pizza from Main Street with some Keweenaw Brewing Company Pick Axe Blonde Ale. Then, it was time for a sunset cruise along the Picture Rocks. Standing in line with people from all over the Midwest, and well the world, it became clear some “colored rocks along the lake” were more than an afternoon adventure. As our boat pulls out of the harbor, I gaze into the horizon. It is hard to imagine in just a few days, I’ll be staring back from the other side. The tour is quite good. The photography options are endless.

 

Perhaps the most inspirational shot was this majestic white pine that despite all odds, it still alive. It is literally hanging on by a thread—on in its case roots. Despite its struggles, it still stands strong.

As the sun sets over the lake, I can’t help but smile. A day that started out a little lackluster, is literally ending picture perfect. I cannot wait to see what Day 3 brings.

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Back in Civilization

Day one equaled no internet access so I’m already delayed in my posts but I did manage to write a quick recap last night of our first day adventures which I can post now, along with hopefully some photos from yesterday and today. In about 30-minutes, we’re headed out for a Sunset Cruise on Lake Superior around the Picture Rocks National Lakeshore. It is 70, sunny, and absolutely gorgeous! This is good since the first half of our day was solid drizzle. I’ve discovered that I have way too many photos to post (over 200 in the first 24 hours) but I’ll post a few at least. Enjoy!

Day One

Our morning starts out simple. After loading our car (and making one last trip to the house for that must have thing we “almost” forgot), we head east. Soon, we find ourselves inMichiganfor our first roadside attraction of Hiawatha – the world’s largest wooden Native American statue. After figuring out the self-timer, we snap a few shots and hop back in the car for the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness Park. There, we hike some trails and enjoy a cooler lunch under a bright green canopy.

Our focus for the afternoon is historic sites along theKeenewahPeninsula. Our first stop—Old Victoria. The mini-village is impressive from the parking lot. Unfortunately, the caretaker is nowhere to be found. This doesn’t prevent some great photos from happening, though.

As we role into Calumet, my guide book casually mentions Schute’s as the oldest known tavern inMichigan. I figure the bar is one more thing I can check off the list. Plus, my husband looks like he could stand a beer. Walking in, it is readily apparent this isn’t just any old bar.

Schute’s dates back to 1890. On tap, Keenewah Brewing Company’s favorite brews. (I highly recommend the Pick Axe Blond). What’s more intriguing, though, is what’s behind the taps. “Pretty cool glass,” my husband casually says to the man behind the bar. The bartender’s eyes immediately light up. He soon dives into a story about the Tiffany stain glass backdrop that 10-years ago sold for $1.3 million to a tourist. Unfortunately, (or fortunately forCalumet,MI), not a single insurance company would insure dismantling and shipping the piece so the piece remains. It is now owned by the town and is registered with the historical society. As the bartender wipes down the counter, he takes us back toCalumet’s mining boom. Stories about the original bar owner and the Speak Easy during prohibition role off his tongue, bringing me back more than 100 years.

Our historical trip continues at the Old Delaware Mine where a self-guided tour gives me a glimpse into mining life. Despite being in the 60s above ground, the weather is cold and damp in the mine. Our dog runs ahead, indifferent of the chill. I find myself grateful that my life is easier. On the way out, we meet Snickers and Oreo—two pet skunks who are an unexpected touch and attraction for an old copper mine.

Soon we arrive in Copper Harbor. The town itself takes mere minutes to explore. We’ve arrived too late to hit any of the shops. But, after chatting with the owner of the local bookstore in-town, we find ourselves driving down an unmarked (and unpaved) road to a hidden cove called Horseshoe Bay. The bay, which is now owned the Nature Conservancy, is speckled with skipping rocks and an expansive horizon of blue water. The million dollar view is preserved in perpetuity.

Our day comes to a close in front of a bright orange fireplace fire in a private cabin at the Keenewah Lodge. The lodge, which dates back to the 1930s, was built entire off the sweat and tears of the Great Depression. Following the Mining Boom, unemployment sat at 70-80 percent. Rather than sit, the men joined the CCC and built an impressive series of cabins, a lodge and an endless brick wall. Today, the lodge and golf course are owned and managed by the county ensuring many of the historical aspects remain.