Thursday, August 30, 2012

The UP - Upper Peninsula of Michigan

It's amazing that it's only been three weeks since we left the UP yet it feels like we were there months ago! We've sure covered a lot of territory since then but I will try to recapture our time there. I had never even heard of the UP before we visited Michigan, but everyone we spoke to mentioned that we should be sure to get up there. At this point we were getting a bit weary of the lightening speed at which we were moving and decided that we should just slow down and let our friend Raz know that we may not make his party in Idaho on the 18th of August. We found a little campground in the town of Germfask which is pretty much right in the middle of the UP.

(A) Germfask (B) Grand Marais (C) Pictured Rocks - Munising (D) Ishpeming
(E) Houghton & Hancock (F) Eagle Harbor (G) Copper Harbor
The campground was pretty empty and we had a beautiful grassy spot to call home for a few days. Our first stop was to check out Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and the campgrounds that were there. Online it sounded as if we might fit in a few spots but we wanted to check it out in person and so glad we did because it definitely wouldn't have worked. The drive through the park was very long and beautiful and then we took the interpretive trails to the Rocks and the Falls having absolutely no idea that we were really missing the beauty of the rocks. Bill had read that the best views were from the water so we planned a boat tour for the next day. WOW is all I have to say, soooo glad we took this tour because it was breathtaking.

Before getting on the boat tour we noticed a little farmer's market on the pier and stopped to buy the most amazing red pepper baguette. After I took a little bite I sent Bill back to buy two more! That coupled with the soft cheese and salami I had brought for a nosh on the boat was divine!! The water was very rough and our boat tour was cut short but to our delight as we deboarded there was a free concert happening in the adjacent park.

The worst thing about the Munising area, though, was all of the "stable flies" - you couldn't even walk on the beach without being attacked! We did find solace, though, at the Superior Lake Brewery :)

Our first Pastie (pronounced past ee!)

While on the boat tour a group of women who have relatives in Copper Harbor told us we MUST go there. This is the northernmost peninsula in the UP and since we had no idea when we would get back up to the area we  decided that, yes indeed, we absolutely MUST go!

Funniest comment heard from Bill - when I saw a cute little lady bug yard art here - "I think 5 plants, a metal flower and a flamingo is enough yard decor for us!!"

We left the Munising area and headed a bit southwest to another brewery on the way to Houghton and Hancock which are cute little college towns sporting two more breweries. I have never seen so many breweries in such a small area, we didn't get to all of them but those we did we really liked.

Jasper Ridge brewery was on the way and sported a HUGE parking lot...I think we could have stayed here overnight if we had wanted to. We were most anxious to go to the Keweenaw brewery as Bill had picked up a few of their 6 packs at the market and we loved their beer. Unusually enough I didn't like the beer (or the staff) at the brewery. All of the beer there tasted super sweet and as hard as Bill tried, we couldn't strike up a conversation with anyone... So back to the market we went to stock up on their Amber, Scotch Ale and Black, all in cans, which we LOVE!

We also loved the architecture in Hancock

Before we left the Hancock area we took a tour of the Quincy Mine - a lot of this area was developed to support the extensive copper mining. We donned heavy miners jackets and hard hats and had a chance to get out and walk around inside the mine.

Afterwards we went across the street to Robinson's Fish Market for lunch and some beautiful white fish for the freezer. This fish market supplies all of the fish to the UP restaurants. Only the Indians are allowed to sell their fish in the area.

We took a day trip to Eagle Harbor and Calumet where we toured an old lightstation, hit up another brewpub and the Gay Bar where Bill taught the young bartender how to make a martini - in a margarita glass!

And last but not least we made it to Copper Harbor - a tiny little town with a great rv park on Lake Fanny Hooe, stumbling distance from, yes, another brewery that had just opened up. Our neighbors were a family from Atlanta that we really hit it off with and after they put their teens to bed they popped on over to our rig for a fun evening.

On our way to discover the tip of the peninsula we found ourselves a little trail to take the Subie off-roading - what fun!!

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