Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Michigan's Upper Peninsula Part 1

Finally, I am catching up a little! Here is our trip up north to Michigan's Upper Peninsula or the UP. I would wager that a lot of people don't even know there is a second "piece" of Michigan at all. I was curious as to why we have this entire section of our state that is actually connected to Wisconsin instead of us. In 1836 Michigan agreed to trade the "Toledo Strip" for the entire UP. There is a little more to it than that, but trust me, it's pretty yawn inducing. I did find it interesting that people from the UP are nicknamed Yoopers and that they call people who live in the mitten section of Michigan "trolls". Because we live under the bridge. Ha ha.

Anyhow, it's insanely lovely up there, and I've always wanted to see the Mackinac bridge (pronounced Mackinaw, there are about four different spellings for this same word), so we decided to make the trip up. It's just under 4 hours from East Lansing to the bridge. We went the first weekend in October which was General Conference weekend, the first time in ages that I didn't have church calling responsibilities and Clayton didn't have massive school work, so we were both stoked to have a mini-break. Road Trip!

Here is our cutie in the car. She and Winston were both champs. We essentially spent three days driving around and she couldn't have behaved better.
Starting across the bridge.
Did you know the bridge is 5 miles across? It's the largest suspension bridge (from shore to shore, not the central span) in the Western Hemisphere, 3rd worldwide. If you count the length of the central span it is 12th worldwide and 3rd in the US. Whatever the numbers, it's impressive to see, although we found it a bit underwhelming to drive across. Here is Clayton driving us across. We doubted it was really 5 miles, as it seems much much shorter, but we checked our mileage coming back across and sure enough, 5 miles it is.
Yeah, it kind of looks like any other bridge when you are on it. The pictures I took of the views turned out muddy and blurry (Shooting through car windows, you know.), but the views of either side are gorgeous.
We had a great hotel in St. Ignace (pronounced Saint Ig-nus) that was right on Lake Huron. Eleanor liked the "secret room" of the window well.
I love any picture of her and Lamb.
See the lake? It's right there! Just a few yards past our car! There is also a fire pit where they roast marshmallows each night. Fun! (We never made it for that, but still, it's a cool feature.)
Here are the grounds looking up from our room. We were lucky to hit the lull between summer season and hunting season. With the hotel being so vacant we got a great room.
As if it wasn't cool enough, there was a playground right outside our door. I mean, come on!
Here is a shot of part of the town of St. Ignace. It was very quaint. We were very excited to find a good place to eat dinner, thinking that the fish here should be fantastic. (It should!) Um.... not so much. I have to say, as much as we love Michigan, this is still my biggest complaint. Great restaurants are hard to come by. We ate at a place that smelled great outside so we each ordered the local catch done a different way. Cue trombone sound: Wom-womp. It was sub-par at best. It was akin to cafeteria food. Canned vegetables, gravy etc... It's kind of sad when you would've wished you ate at McDonald's instead, but hey, no biggie. At least it's lovely to look at, and we got fudge and taffy at a shop on our way back to the hotel, so the UP earned a few points there.
I made Clayton take us to see this side of the bridge one more time before we settled down for the night. It really is so pretty. To the right of the bridge is Lake Michigan, on the other side is the start of Lake Huron
Another shot.
And looking towards the right. Win was asleep in the car, so I just took some shots while they waited for me. I made them promise we would take family shots with the bridge on our way home.
As you can see, it was pretty dark and a bit overcast at this point.
Back at the hotel we chilled, licked Winston a bit and then E and I went swimming in the indoor pool!
Eleanor has always been our fish baby. I plan to start her in some Mom/Tot classes at the start of next year.
She had the time of her life playing on these steps for about an hour. We also enjoyed the hot-tub (it wasn't much hotter than the pool, so I felt ok about letting her get in) and she kept cracking me up by saying "Ohhh, dis is niiiiiice."
The next morning, er... so maybe it was closer to noon, we made our way out for breakfast in St. Ignace. Again, "eh" on the food. Sadly we found that the UP is like a concentrated section of what is wrong with food in Michigan. If it's ok below the bridge, it's probably awful up north. Do I sound bitter? Sorry, I just hate wasting money like that. Eating out is such a treat that it is a crying shame when it isn't awesome.
We made our way north past Castle Rock and found one of the many Paul Bunyan statues that dot the Northern Mid-West. Everyone claims that their nook of the woods was where the origin of the tales started. We didn't climb the Castle Rock overlook, too high with two small children made a few things a no-go. But Paul and Babe were neat to see.
We drove up to Ste. Sault Marie (pronounced Soo Sain-Marie) to see the locks. Clayton Eleanor and Win were happy to stretch their legs.
Hello cutie.
As you can see, it was an insanely gorgeous day. As you can also see, the locks are bohhh-wing.
That big white building is a ship in the lock. I guess the lock was either filling up or draining out, but we were too distracted by the paint drying to tell. However, we weren't too disappointed, as now when we play Ticket To Ride (possibly my favorite board game ever, well, past Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit) we can now act like pompous jerks whenever someone gets that card. What's that? We already do act like pompous blowhards about traveling? Oh. Hmm. Sorry about that. Well, not really.
My boys. I do like saying that. So that is the exciting first half of our UP adventures! Get excited for round two, coming soon!


Lisa and company said...

cute kids!!! I sooooo know what you mean about eating out and having the food suck. I hate it so much that once I find something at a particular restaraunt that I enjoy I order it every time we go there just so I know I won't be waisting my money!

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Eleanor Month by Month----Current Blog Below