This fall, we headed north — way north — all the way to Michigan’s Upper Peninsular, that bridge of land that stretches between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, above the tip of Michigan’s mitten. It was a new part of the country for me and a place that I would gladly return.
Our trip started with an afternoon and overnight in Milwaukee, a city known for its beer and baseball. (We drank the beer; saved a Brewers’ game for another time.) We spent the afternoon exploring the city’s Historic Third Ward, a creative hub for art galleries, trendy restaurants, boutique shoppes and its indoor Public Market, where produce, cheese and fish vendors hawk their wares, and where we perched on bar stools for a mid-afternoon snack of a brat and beer.
Next stop: Fish Creek, WI, rightfully designated by Forbes as one of the prettiest towns in America. Located in Wisconsin’s Door County — famous for its cherries — it’s one of a series of small towns on the skinny peninsula that separates Green Bay from Lake Michigan. In a word, it was charming. We stayed for two nights at The Wren Cottage of The Thorp House Inn. I suspect the town is overrun in its high season, but we arrived late enough in the year to easily score a table for brunch at The White Gull Inn and dinner at the Whistling Swan.
Leaving Fish Creek, we backtracked down the peninsula and then turned north, crossing over into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for a two-night stay in the coziest little cabin located next to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
We woke to sunshine, packed a picnic, and headed into the park destined for the Lake of the Clouds. Never have I seen trees more beautiful — sporting neon shades of yellow, orange and red — glowing like embers.
After a chilly hike, we drove to Presque Isle, on the far western side of the 60,000-acre park and hiked down to the waterfall that gushes out into Lake Superior. We found a spot on the lakefront that was sunny and protected from the wind where we lunched on an apple and cheddar cheese, a handful of cashews and a square of chocolate.
Our picnic spot reminded me of when Ed would read aloud to our kids Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha that begins:
By the shore of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Sure enough, Gitche Gumee is the Ojibwe name for Lake Superior. So we literally lunched on the shores of Gitche Gumee, of the shining Big-Sea-Water. I don’t know why, but this made me oddly happy.
Once back at our tiny cabin, we binge-watched the last four episodes of “Unbelievable,” which we are unable to stream from home. This also made me oddly happy, but, at the same time, distraught by the storyline. If you haven’t watched it, you should.
Day 6 we drove to the tip of Michigan’s peninsula, spending the night in an old-fashioned motel in Eagle Harbor, and dining at the only restaurant in town, attached to the motel, a knotty-pine paneled supper club serving freshly-caught whitefish.
And then onto Munising, where we cruised 36 miles of Lake Superior, glimpsing one amazing landscape after another of Pictured Rocks National Shoreline. Chilled to the bone, we returned to Roam Inn to find an anniversary bottle of Champagne chilling for us, compliments of the hotel. Later, we headed downstairs for dinner and to continue celebrating 34 years of marriage.
Our final scheduled stop was The Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island MI — and it certainly was grand, boasting a sweeping 660-foot porch, 397 rooms and a dining room that requires coat and tie for men. The island is delightful, with no automobiles, but lots of horse drawn carriages, bicycles and fudge shops.
Time to head home. But first, one more stop in New Albany to see how much Hazel had grown while we were away...
Some details and links of our trip...
Public Market in the Historic Third Ward
Mader’s German Restaurant
Anodyne Coffee Roasting Company
Fish Creek, WI
Accommodations: Thorp House Inn
Wild Tomato Wood-Fired Pizza and Grille (dinner)
Blue Horse Beach Cafe (coffee)
White Gull Inn (brunch)
Whistling Swan (dinner)
Carp Lake, MI
Accommodations: Cozy Rustic Cabin, vrbo
Syl’s Cafe in Ontonogon (breakfast and lunch)
The Lake of the Clouds, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
Presque Isle Waterfalls, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
Eagle Harbor, MI
Eagle Harbor Inn and Restaurant
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Accommodations: Roam Inn and Tracey's Cafe, Munising, MI
Mackinac Island, MI
Accommodations: The Grand Hotel
Sun King Tap Room and Small-Batch Brewery
New Albany, IN
and a couple of more photos...
|East Channel Lighthouse, Munising Bay|
|Pictured Rocks National Shoreline|
|Arch Rock, Mackinac Island|
|Mackinac Island from Fort Mackinac|