Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Michigan's Upper Penisula

Tamy from Three Sides of CrazyTamy from 3 Sides of Crazy comes to us from Northern Michigan where she writes about crafts, cooking and home but today she's got her walking shoes on as she guides us around Michigan's Upper Peninsula.


Hubby and I moved to the upper peninsula Michigan from the west coast a couple of years ago to work on an investment house. Long story short, we're still here, but hoping to return home soon. We have taken the time to explore the area though and have found many wonderful things with LOTS of history to do in the area.

Here in the Upper Peninsula, affectionately known as the UP to the locals. Locals are also known as Yoopers. The term "Yooper" is a form of North Central American English mostly spoken in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan which gives the dialect its name (from "U.P." for Upper Peninsula). The dialect is also found in many northern areas of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and largely in Northeast Wisconsin.

Yooper differs from standard English primarily due to the linguistic background of settlers to the area. The majority of people living in the Upper Peninsula are of either Finnish, French Canadian, Flemish, Scandinavian or German descent. Yooper is so massively influenced by these areas' languages that speakers from other areas may have difficulty understanding it. The Yooper dialect is also influenced by the Finnish language making it similar in character to the so-called "Rayncher speek" of the Mesabi Iron Range in northeast Minnesota.

The story goes that neither Wisconsin nor Michigan wanted this frigid, yet beautifully forested, but otherwise barren piece of land that is actually attached to Wisconsin. Michigan inherited it by default. Shortly after that they discovered many mines that made the area into virtual boom towns. Lumber is the primary industry these days. There is talk of reopening many of the mines, especially the copper mines.

Mackinac Island, MichiganMackinac Island
Mackinac Island is an island that covers 3.8 square miles in land area and belongs to the Michigan. It is located in Lake Huron at the eastern end of the Straits of Mackinac between the state's Upper and Lower Peninsulas. The island was home to a Native American settlement before European exploration began in the 17th century. It served a strategic position amidst the commerce of the Great Lakes fur trade. This led to the establishment of Fort Mackinac on the island by the British during the American Revolutionary War. It was the scene of two battles during the War of 1812.

During the late 19th century, Mackinac Island became a popular tourist attraction and summering place. Much of the island has undergone extensive historical preservation and restoration since and as a result, the entire island is listed as a National Historic Landmark. It is well known for its numerous cultural events; its wide variety of architectural styles, including the famous Victorian Grand Hotel and its ban on almost all motor vehicles. More than 80 percent of the island is preserved as Mackinac Island State Park.

While on the island you travel by bicycle, foot or horse drawn vehicles. The Grand Hotel was constructed in the late 19th century and advertises itself as having the world's largest porch. The Grand Hotel is well known for a number of notable visitors, including: Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Gerald Ford (raised in Michigan), George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Thomas Edison and Mark Twain.

The hotel served as the setting for the musical-comedy "This Time for Keeps," starring Jimmy Durante and Esther Williams (after whom the Hotel's swimming pool is named) and it served as a backdrop for the film "Somewhere in Time" starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. Every October the hotel hosts an annual convention for fans of the cult-classic.

Pictured Rocks
Pictured Rocks, MichiganRocks National Lakesore is a U.S. National Lakeshore on the shore of Lake Superior and extends for 42 miles along the shore, covering 73,236 acres. The park offers spectacular scenery of the hilly shoreline between Munising, Michigan and Grand Marais, Michigan with natural archways and sand dunes. Pictured Rocks derives its name from the 15 miles (24 km) of colorful sandstone cliffs northeast of Munising. The cliffs are up to 200 feet (60 m) above lake level. They have been naturally sculptured into shallow caves, arches, formations that resemble castle turrets and human profiles, among other things. Near Munising visitors also can view Grand Island, most of which is included in the Grand Island National Recreation Area and is preserved separately.

The U.S. Congress made Pictured Rocks the first officially-designated National Lakeshore in the United States in 1966.

Pictured Rocks, MichiganIsle Royale National Park
Isle Royale, the largest island in Lake Superior, is over 45 miles in length and 9 miles wide at its widest point. The park is made of Isle Royale itself and multiple smaller islands, along with any submerged lands within 4.5 miles of the surrounding islands. Isle Royale National Park was established on April 3, 1940, was designated as a Wilderness Area in 1976, and was made an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980. It is a relatively small national park at 894 square miles, with only 209 square miles above water. At the U.S.-Canada border, it will meet the borders of the future Canadian Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area.

The park has two developed areas: Windigo, at the southwest end of the island which is a docking site for the ferries from Minnesota, with a camp store, showers, campsites, and a boat dock; and Rock Harbor on the south side of the northeast end which is a dock site for the ferries from Michigan, with a camp store, showers, restaurant, lodge, campsites, and a boat dock. Sleeping accommodations at the park are limited to the lodge at Rock Harbor and 36 designated wilderness campgrounds. Some campgrounds are accessible only by private boat; others in the interior are accessible only by trail or by canoe or kayak on the island lakes.

The campsites vary in capacity. The only amenities at the campgrounds are pit toilets, picnic tables, and fire-rings at specific areas. Campfires are not permitted at most campgrounds; gas or alcohol camp stoves are recommended. Drinking and cooking water must be drawn from local water sources (Lake Superior and inland lakes) and filtered, treated, or boiled to avoid parasites. Hunting is not permitted, but fishing is, and blueberries and thimbleberries may be picked from the trail.

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is located in Chippewa County, Michigan. It is on the northeastern portion of Michigan's Upper Peninsula on Whitefish Point which forms the northern end of Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior. Situated literally at the end of the road about 10 miles north of Paradise, Michigan, the museum is located on the site of Whitefish Point Lighthouse, the oldest active light on Lake Superior. The museum features artifacts retrieved from local shipwrecks, including the SS Edmund Fitzgerald and utilizes part of the old Coast Guard facility.

Whitefish Point is a popular spot for ship watchers, bird watchers and rock collectors.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Tahquamenon Falls State Park, MichiganTahquamenon Falls State Park follows the Tahquamenon River as it passes over Tahquamenon Falls and drains into Whitefish Bay, Lake Superior. The Tahquamenon Falls include a single 50-foot drop, the Upper Falls, plus the cascades and rapids collectively called the Lower Falls. During the late-spring runoff, the river drains as much as 50,000 gallons of water per second, making the upper falls the second most voluminous vertical waterfall east of the Mississippi River, after only Niagara Falls. The North Country Trail passes through the park. The water in this region contains large amounts of dissolved minerals, accounting for the golden-brown color of the water as it cascades over the falls.

In winter, the ice that accumulates around and in the falls is often colored in shades of green and blue. Much of the park is undeveloped but it does have more than 22 miles of hiking trails. Row boats and canoes are rented to use to approach the lower falls. The state parks are plentiful and gorgeous. Porcupine Mountains State Park, Keweenaw National Historical Park, Grand Island National Recreation Area are just a few of the other beautiful and wonderful family places to spend a weekend with hiking trails, vista points and a scrumptious picnic.

Pine Mountain Ski Jump and National Ski Hall of Fame
Located in Iron Mountain, this is one of the largest artificial ski jumps in the world. The ski jump, built in 1938, has seen more competitive ski jumping than anywhere else in the U.S. An international competition takes place each February and provides a good excuse for a fun time tailgating even if windy conditions don't permit skiers to jump. Skiers land mid-hill at 65 mph. It makes me nervous to even look at this ski jump. It is 176 feet tall and 380 feet long and it is SO close to the main road. The record jump is 459 feet long.

The U.S. National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and Museum is located in the City of Ishpeming in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the birthplace of organized skiing in the United States. In 1905, the National Ski Association, today known as the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, was formed in Ishpeming. It also includes a theater, gift shop, offices and storage space for archive material and collections as well as the Roland Palmedo Memorial Library, one of the largest research ski libraries in the United States is housed here.

These are just a few of the great family attractions. The best time to visit is summer and there are very few crowds!

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Anonymous said...

What a great post about Michigan, thank you! We live in this beautiful state, but lately all we hear about is how horrible the economy is here.It's nice to pause and think about how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful area.

Take Care,


Stacy said...

Michigan is a uniquely beautiful state ~ we have it all! The Upper Peninsula offers a great escape from the rigors of daily life and is a very serene place to visit. The Lower Peninsula is equally as wonderful. Great post!

boinky said...

Looks beautiful...

But having lived a half dozen years in northern Minnesota, I caution you to remember those photos were taken during the summer...

when it's 40 below, it's a bit less glamourous.


~3 Sides of Crazy~ said...

Thanks Michelle, I enjoyed putting this together for you.

LOL Boinky ~ definitely a place to visit in the summer for the boat rides, but if you're into winter sports, this is the place for cross country skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, hunting... though in all honesty I'm the ski bunny in the lodge drinking lacy hot chocolate.

Joyce said...

That was such an interesting, informative post. I've never been to Michigan (or Alaska), but maybe someday.
I'm one of Tamy's regular readers.

Brenda said...

My immediate reaction when I saw the title of the post, was to remember friends I had who were from the "Ooh-pea" (I was tempted to spell that another way). Also remembered the work mate who said she was from Upper Michigan and got excited when I called it that, using the pronunciation I had heard used so affectionately.

So of course I immediately expected to see something about it's name by the natives and stuff about pronunciations. Thanks for not letting me down!
The rest of the article looks interesting and I skimmed over it. Good that you covered the important bases first!

Sarah said...

What a great post! I grew up in Michigan and spent most of my summers in the U.P. I'm a little nostalgic now... *sniff*

Beth Gray said...

Awesome article and pictures. Thank you for sharing.

showmelakes said...

wow that looks beautiful, our family is just getting ready to go canoeing/backpacking in Michigan right by the border with Canada. Thanks for the pictures, gets me excited for our trip!