Tuesday, October 12, 2010

UP trip: Part 2. Manistique to Marquette

On to part two of our UP adventure: The boy and I woke in Manistique to beautiful sunny, clear skies. After an amazing breakfast at the Three Seasons Cafe, we went on our merry way enjoying the crisp fall air.

The guide at the Welcome Center had given us a few recommendations and the Seul Choix lighthouse was one of them. The lighthouse apparently got its name, Seul choix meaning only choice, when a crew of fisherman were forced to take shelter from a storm in its harbor, though it wasn't very protected or sheltering. It's really quite beautiful and I'm not sure we would have checked it out without his recommendation.

We headed on to Lake Kitchitikipi, or Big Springs. A glass-bottomed boat propelled by hand on a wire across the lake takes you over huge burbling springs of icy cold fresh water. It is about 43 feet deep and as you can see, crystal clear the whole way down. The way the sand is churned up makes it look volcanic with ash spewing out.  

We drove north through Hiawatha National Forest to Munising — a gorgeous  route, especially with all the leaves turning. We decided to take the boat tour out to Pictured Rocks. You can hike around out there, but we both wanted to see them from the water and it was way to rough for kayaking. (Maybe we'll be brave next time!)

While we waited, we stopped into this absolutely charming shop in Munising: Open Wings Pottery and Gallery.

They carry work from all local artists including, hand-turned wood, jewelry, knitted pieces, paintings, photography — and, of course, the owner's pottery.

I wanted everything in the place, including the fixtures made primarily with driftwood.

We were both so in awe we almost missed the boat! 

The Pictured Rocks: photographs can't nearly do it justice. We lucked out with spectacular weather perfect for a boat ride and the water just shimmered. The color of the water made it looked like the Caribbean, and the rocks themselves looked like the painted desert.

We had the requisite cheesy guide who tells jokes throughout, but he also plied us with plenty of interesting facts about Lake Superior that blew my mind. Did you know you can fit all of the other Great Lakes into Lake Superior and still have room for five more Lake Eries? You get the picture.

That lonely tree in the middle is living on top of those rocks with no dirt. You can see its roots stretched across the gap to the left bringing nutrients from the ground across the way. Amazing, yes?

Next stop, Marquette where this ore dock sits prominently in the harbor. It is massive and we got to see another one farther down in the harbor in use a few days later. It's quite an impressive operation.

We checked out the local food co-op and I had serious co-op envy. Marquette's Food Co-op is like the Harrod's of co-ops. Seriously. AND they had this funny sign.

We did a little thrifting in Negaunee — a somewhat depressed looking mining town nearby. The baskets that run on pulleys on the ceiling made me thinking of B&H photo in New York. Such fun.

We then rested our weary vacationing selves at Vierling's Brewery, a must in Marquette. Excellent beers and amazing food. (I think we ate there 3 times!) 

More adventures in the next leg: Marquette to the Porcupine Mountains. You can expect plenty of waterfalls, autumn leaves and vivid green moss.

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