The Occasional Yooper

Guest Michigan Blogger Robin Driessen Bruecker shares her “Pure Michigan Moment,” an annual trip to the Upper Peninsula with her husband.

Flickr Photo Credit: John Noltner

Miner's Beach in Munising

There’s something magnetic about Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Maybe it’s the mile after mile of forests or the vast stretches of refreshingly undeveloped land. Maybe it’s the vibrant sunlight or the pale sand and blue waters of a sunny Lake Superior summer day that reminds me of the beach in Kauai. Maybe it’s the rolling hills, alive with color in autumn; the charming cottages of all sizes, conditions and styles; a small lake completely ringed with wild roses; or an abundance of wonderful waterfalls.

Our most recent escape to the Upper Peninsula was last July. We stayed at the Knots Log Cabin, part of the Cabin Fever Cabin Rentals, nestled deep in the woods near Grand Marais. On a trip into town, we found we had arrived the same weekend as the Great Lakes Sea Kayaking Symposium. The bay was bustling with kayakers on their colorful watercrafts. We ate at the Lake Superior Brewing Co., where we found new culinary favorites: the turkey panini and beer-battered Lake Superior whitefish were delicious enough for a second visit during our weekend vacation.

We trekked to Munising for lunch at The Navigator, where I had Babe the Blue Ox blueberry pancakes (something I discovered on our last trip—I had been waiting a year to taste them again!). At nearby Open Wings Pottery, I found a great locally made souvenir—a luminary with a cutout of the Upper Peninsula.

On our last morning, we returned to Grand Marais and sat on a bench overlooking the bay, watching the anchored boats and the remaining kayakers. The serenity of it all was perfect for simply sitting and watching.

I’m Wisconsin born and raised with many summers spent “Up North,” but Michigan’s Upper Peninsula fills an equal space in my heart.

Robin, from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, wrote about her “Pure Michigan Moment” for Michigan Travel Ideas. Robin tells us, “Some of the best things about the UP are the vast expanses of wooded land, the lack of traffic and crowds, the Lake Superior shoreline and what we felt were relatively lower prices.”


9 thoughts on “The Occasional Yooper

  1. We have 43 acres at Rice Lake in the UP’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Nothing can compare to the solitude we get when we enter this amazing area. If you haven’t breathed in the cool fresh air, you’re missing out!

  2. Oh how we love the UP! every Sept we spend our Wedding Anniversary at Mackinaw City, St. Ignace, and Munsing. love the forests and the gorgeous Great Lakes. We have traved all over the United States, and our favorite places are in Michigan. Michigan has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Say yes, to Michigan!

  3. We, my wife and i like looking up lighthouses along the michigan coast line, we are in June starting on the east coast side of Michigan and following the light houses from Bell Isle up to Mackinaw City. Then taking a boat tour out on Lake Huron to see Lighthouses that are off shore that you cant reach from land.

  4. me and my boyfriend goes pike fishing up at cedarville, we just love it up there, all the people are so friendly! and the dnr officier is over 80 years old, and is a nice guy to talk with, we are going to get a used camper tralier when we retire and move it up there for the whole summer and fish, fish, and relax

  5. I whole-heartedly agree that the UP is a wonderful place to explore. In fact, our family vacationed in the UP for many years. We enjoyed the Soo and Munising areas. And then we found the Porcupine Mountains! There is simply no place like it! After many years of long 12 hour rides to arrive at our little piece of paradise, we decided that once a year was just not enough. We left our jobs, sold our belongings and moved to Silver City! We now enjoy this beautiful spot year round.

  6. Although I have made the choice to be a Clevelander for now, Michigan will always be my home, and I will always be a Yooper. The memories of growing up in the U.P., and of the friends that are forever, are some of the best a kid could have. Where do I start? Riding on the back of the motorcycle with my dad on a Sunday afternoon down Portage Street in the Soo, watching the freighters passing through the Locks, as we head to the West End Pier for milkshakes (and a great hope that the railroad bridge would have to move up and down). Or, spending a large portion of each August at Chippewa Landing in Bay Mills, listening to the bingo game being called slowly waft down the Lake Superior beach, having bonfires, picking blueberries for pancakes in the morning, driving up to the Monocle Lake overlook. Or spending Saturday afternoons as a teenager at “our” spot on Lake Michigan . . . where the Rexton Road dead ended into US 2. Or, as a family, taking our bikes to Mackinac Island every summer and spending the day riding through every inch of the island. Or going with my grandpa to Parker’s Hardware to pick out my first three speed bike. I could go on and on. The point is, the U.P, and all of Michigan, is a very special place. It is a privelege to call it home.

  7. I’ve had an ongoing love affair for the U.P. for close to 40 yrs. I love the Keweenaw the best. When you visit a stop at The Jampot bet. Great Sand Bay & Eagle River on M-26 is a MUST! It’s an annual pilgrimage for us. As far as the Mitten, my favorite place is Greenfield Village, part of The Henry Ford, where I work. Come visit me in Liberty CRaftworks. It’s all part of Pure Michigan !

  8. My husband and I love the UP also. We have stayed at the Woods Cottages at Grand Marais a few times. We haven’t been able to get up there in the last few years. My father-in-law passed away last January at 101 years old. We did not want to be too far away from him. We live in Dowagiac which is about an eight hour drive. Hopefully we can get up there again real soon.

  9. My hubby and I love the U.P. and especially the Grand Marais area. We host the Blind Sucker #2 State Forest Campground 12 miles east of Grand Marais throughout the summer. Next time you’re in the vicinity, stop by the campground and say hello. Or we may run into you at LSBC. It’s our favorite eatery and watering hole.

    Sharon and Ed Seaton

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