Snowy Destinations and Frosty Fun

Frosry Winter Fun - Courtesy of Midwest Living MagazineEscape to a premier winter vacation destination with its signature lake-effect snow falls and the feel of a nostalgic fairyland from the pages of a treasured novel of yesteryear. Come, experience Michigan's snow- swathed Upper Peninsula at its sparkling best.

Lake Superior significantly controls the climate of the Keweenaw Peninsula, keeping winters milder than those in surrounding areas. The peninsula receives bountiful amounts of lake-effect snow from Lake Superior, averaging as much as 220 inches (560 cm) around the Hancock area, where official snowfall records are maintained.

It seems as if every mile up the Keweenaw Peninsula takes you further back in time to a lost-but treasured--vacation kingdom. Keweenaw Mountain Lodge would have to be the castle. The timber and stone lodge stands atop a 1.100-foot ridge with views of a forested valley below and the imposing cliff face of Brockway Mountain in the distance.

Spend a winter night or weekend at one of Michigan's historic beacons. The 1896 Big Bay Point Lighthouse B&B is one of the few surviving resident lighthouses in the country. Perched atop a cliff jutting out over the deep waters of Lake Superior, guests at this secluded retreat enjoy a half-mile of shoreline, spectacular views and sightings of the occasional ghost. The 14-room inn has seven guest rooms with private baths, the largest of which is The Keepers Room, with a queen sized bed, a warming fireplace and views of Lake Superior. A living room, extensive library, sauna and lighthouse tower, at 120 feet above the surface of the lake, are open to all inn guests. A full offering of spa services are also available, including hot stone massage, a Dead Sea mud pack and herbal body scrub and wrap, as well as couples massages.

The tiny town of Big Bay, just 30 miles northwest of Marquette, has a population of just over 300. The town drew national attention in 1951, when an Army officer staying on site as part of a training mission for an anti-aircraft battalion was arrested for murdering the owner of the local Lumberjacks Tavern. The incident was the subject of a book, published in 1958, and a movie starring James Stewart, produced in 1959, called Anatomy of a Murder. Both the book and the movie are available for B&B guests to borrow and enjoy, during their stay.

The Upper Peninsula is a winter lovers paradise and Falling Rock Lodge B&B on Powell Lake in Wetmore is for those who want a truly unique and snowy Northwoods adventure. Located in the Hiawatha National Forest and along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, this retreat features a 700-square foot two-bedroom cottage and a separate two-bedroom suite above the garage. A free-standing wood-burning fireplace is the focal point of the main-house living room, meant to keep the chill out of even the coldest winter night. Your stay includes a breakfast basket of fresh roasted coffee from the Great Lakes Coffee Company, bagels, and delicious baked goods or coupons for breakfast at The Falling Rock Cafe and Bookstore in Munising.

Snow Time Activities
The best winter activities are right out the front door: groomed cross country ski trails, snowmobile trails connecting to the main groomed trail system in Alger County and ice fishing on Powell Lake. The adventurous and skilled might try ice climbing or dog sledding in nearby Munising. Frozen waterfalls and the lakeshore, historic lighthouses and the snow-covered countryside make great snapshots for amateur and professional photographers alike. The 27-mile Valley Spur located just five miles from Munising offers 12 loops ideal for beginners or advanced cross country skiers, as well as five miles of marked snowshoe trails. The first Saturday of March is the annual Taste and Glide a chance to cross country ski from one trailside buffet to the next savoring sweet treats.

More Snow Time Activities
A popular UP activity is to ski or snowshoe along the shore, or on the many trails in the area. Local tour guides can show you the ropes, including Down Wind Sports with their snowshoe tours equipment rentals.

Share in the magic of dog sledding at Snowy Plains Kennel with sled rides and mini-adventures from one mile to ten miles for individuals, couples and groups. Ride in a sled powered by a team of happy Alaskan or Siberian huskies, or drive your own team. Afterward, if you like, hike or snowshoe our private scenic trails though the snowy woods. Dogs have spacious areas for exercise and play and are not tethered. Appointments and advance deposit necessary to reserve dog sledding experiences.

For a complete list of lodging options, winter activities and area attractions, visit the Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau or the Upper Peninsula Travel and Recreation Association.

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