If you haven't already visited the picturesque Tahquamenon Falls near Paradise, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula, you are missing out on a chance to view some of the most beautiful waterfalls around, as well as some great walking trails bordering the river.
If you HAVE visited the Falls, then here is a reason to return- swimming in the Lower Falls! I always wondered what the park officials would think if people starting wading in the river, and evidently they don't mind because the last time I was there, hordes of people could be seen taking in the rush of the falling water and wading up and down the river. I suggest water shoes for the wading part, in order to protect your feet from sharp rocks and to get a grip on the slick, flat rock on the bed of the river. But, given a few days of hot temps, the water is usually a reasonable 70 degrees or so. So dress in a bathing suit and wade into Tahquamenon's lower falls to feel the powerful rush of the clear water!
Coming back up Main St from the locks we stoppd at a little winery in Sault Ste Marie that I thought was pretty cool. Not only do they make their own wine, with tastings and retail sales etc., but they will also make YOUR wine. They will sit down with you and design a recipe to your taste, then import the grape juice and ferment the wine. They also brew beer, but as the designated driver, I didn't partake.
At first glance this is a tribute to Pere Marquette, the most important of the early French explorers in the region, but by no means the only one. Also detailed on the plaque are a dozen or more names, ranging from the relatively well known Joliet to the almost unknown Le Sueur Cadillac.
As you're walking around the base of the fort and thinking about a second helping of handmade ice cream from one of the shops you might want to drop into the wigwam chapel. The exterior might look like just a bunch of twigs held together with mud, but inside there is a diorama and some information posted about the early missionaries from France. It mihgt amuse you for five minutes.
If you like a bird'seye view of the UP, you can stop here, just about two miles north of St. Ignace on I-75, easily visible from the freeway. These kind of rock formations really aren't all that uncommon aroudn the Great Lakes, but finding one you can climb is quite rare.
I just attended my first Pow Wow -- a traditional American Indian celebration. (I thought Native American was the correct term these days but they were using 'American Indian' so I will too.) At a Pow Wow, American Indians celebrate their ethnic heritage with dancing and rhythmic song. While you might expect they would be doing this outside around a big bonfire, the one I went to took place in the Lansing Community College gymnasium. There were traders in attendance selling various related items such as jewelry and native crafts. Apparently, these events are fairly frequent across the state. Some judicious web searching should scare up more info if you are interested.
The endangered Kirtland's Warbler (Dendroica Kirtlandii) is one of the rarest members of the wood warbler (Parulidae) family. It is a bird of unusual interest for many reasons. It nests in just a few counties in Michigan's norothern Lower and Upper peninsulas, in Wisconsin and the province of Onario and, currently, nowhere else on Earth! Its nests generally are hidden in mixed vegetation of grasses and shrubs below the living branches of five-to twenty year-old jack pine forests.
Because the Kirtland Warbler has just a small range and unique habitat, it has probably always been a rare bird.
Between Manistee and Ludington on US 31 is Manistee National Forest. You can camp 400 ft. away from Lake Michigan in the dunes. The dune valley serves as an effective campsite: hidden from beach walkers, at the edge of the forest (firewood), sand is a great firepit, 2 minute walk to the lake for water.
Furthermore, there are extensive hiking trails in the forest if you are interested in day hikes.
Great place to camp in seclusion and only 10 minute walk from your car!
Sunsets are excellent. So is watching a storm roll across the Lake.
Near the tip of Michigan's thumb, on Hwy. 53, is the town of Bad Axe, Pop. 3,462, county seat of Huron County. In 1861, while surveying a road through here Capt. Rudolph Pabst made camp at an old hunters cabin where he found a worn out axe. The captain used the name on his survey, and later on his county map. The name stuck, although it was changed for a while to Huron, until the townspeople voted back the original name.
A favorite tourist attraction here is Pioneer Log Cabin Village, a replicated settlement of historical buildings. There is a log cabin home, blacksmith shop, chapel, general store, barn and a one-room schoolhouse. Each log building is furnished as it would have been in the 19th century.
Point Iroquois gets its name from an Indian masacre which took place here in 1662. A war party sent westward by the Iroquois Confederation was set upon and slaughtered on this point by an army of Ojibwas.
The lighthouse was established in 1855 and the present sixty-five -foot tower and dwelling were built in 1871. This is a strategic point for Lake Superior ship traffic where the open lake funnels into Whitefish Bay and the St. Mary's River, toward the Soo Locks. The beacon is now a part of the Hiawatha National Forest and is maintained by the Bay Mills-Brimley Historical Research Society. There is also an interesting museum and a gift shop here.
Point Iroquois is 28 miles from Sault Ste. Marie. Take 1-75 south for 12 miles, then turn west on M-28 for eight miles to M-221. This will lead north through the small town of Brimley where M-221 dead ends into Lake Superior. Turn left onto six mile road which leads 7.5 miles to the lighthouse.
Of the dozens of lighthouses we have explored, this is our favorite. It is not as tall or as important as many other lights, but there is something about the character and charm of this one that we find particularly appealing. Built in 1840, The Old Presque Isle Light only saw service for about 30 years before the much taller New Presque Isle Light was built nearby. The old light is now maintained as a park and museum and may be toured for a small fee.
We were shown through the property by an elderly woman, Lorainne Parris. Her husband, George, had been the custodian and tour guide for many years before his death in 1992. We were spellbound as Lorainne told us of the dark night the old deactivated light mysteriously came on, even though it was not connected to any power source. She said her husband had told her that after his death he would find a way to signal her and let her know he had passed safely to the other side. Their story has been featured on the television series, "Unsolved Mysteries."
The light is in Northern Michigan on the shore of Lake Huron, north of Alpena. From US-23, turn right onto Hwy. 638, and follow it to the lighthouse. Watch carefully for the signs.
The Grand Traverse Light, built in 1858, rises as a cupola from the top a the 2 1/2 story keepers house. Today the restored light is a museum and gift shop operated as part of a Michigan State Park. The house replicates a keeper's home from the 1920's and 30's. There is also a working fog signal building which is occasionally demonstrated.
The light is located on Cat's Head Point, Leelanau State Park, at the tip of Leelanau Peninsula, 9 miles north of Northport. This is a beautiful drive with views of Lake Michigan and turn-outs to several secluded beaches along the way.
Admission: $2.00 - Adult, $1.00 - Child
Hours vary, so click the web site below for the current information.
Established in 1858, the Point Betsie Lighthouse is still active. The white brick tower, only 37-feet-tall, is attached to the front on the dwelling. When we were there in the summer of 2001, the dwelling was occupied by Coast Guard personel and off limits to the public. It will soon be turned over to Benzie County and opened to the public.
To see the light and station take MI-22 along the coast of Lake Michigan, just south of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and exit at Point Betsie Road. This is a somewhat lonely spot, well off the beaten path.
Because tours of the lighthouse are just beginning, the hours may change. Click on the web address below for the latest information.
This 58-foot tower on the shore of Lake Superior, inactive since 1989, is one of the loneliest lighthouses in America - REALLY off the beaten path. To find it, turn north off of MI-123, just a short distance west of Tahquamenon Falls State Park, onto County Road 412. The road is unpaved, winding and narrow with many forks. However, we were able to follow it by going slowly and watching carefully for directional signs. After 18 long miles you will come to the end of the road at a small parking lot. From here you will see the lighthouse. We felt that it was a magical place, well worth the effort to find.
The beach at Crisp point is a great spot for collecting agates and other colorful stones, washed smooth by the waves of Lake Superior.
In the Huron National Forest, west of Au Sable, on River Road Scenic Byway, is the Lumberman's Monument. Dedicated on July 16, 1936, the memorial was "Erected to perpetuate the memory of the pioneer lumbermen of Michigan through whose labors was made possible the development of the prairie states." Beside the monument is an interpretative center operated by the National Forest Service. The Lumberman's Monument is in an exceptionally beautiful area on the banks of the pristine Au Sable River (River of Sand), which was of great importance to 19th century logging. This is a popular area for hiking, canoeing, and other outdoor activities.
84 E. Ferry St., Detroit, Michigan, 48202, United States
Good for: Families
The Main Street Inn has been our Lodging since they opened 4 years ago. They are perhaps the...more
As we chose a place to stay in Traverse City, it became pretty apparent that it wasn't going to be...more