Lush woods, crystal clear waterways, and crisp, fresh air. If this appeals to you, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is calling your name.
The peninsula sits south of Lake Superior, North of Lake Michigan, and West of Lake Huron. It was first inhabited by Algonquin speaking people around AD 800. They later were joined by French fur trappers and then Scandinavians, Germans, English, and the Irish.
Today’s Yoopers, as residents are often called, are a mix of friendly and practical people. They make their living mostly on logging, mining, and tourism although most mines closed by the 1920s.
The UP is a great destination for camping and outdoor sports. Wildlife is plentiful, so bring your binoculars, cameras, and fishing rod.
White tailed deer, moose, black bears, gray and red foxes, wolves, river otters, bobcats, coyotes, cougars, snapping and painted turtles, and a wide range of birds make the UP their home. You’ll also find walleye, northern pike, trout, salmon, bullhead catfish, and bass as well as clams, snails, and crayfish in abundance.
Local cuisine features pasties, which are meat turnovers; pannukaku – a cardamom flavored sweet bread; and hard slices of toasted cinnamon bread called korppu that are dunked in coffee. You’ll also find fresh Great Lakes fish, smoked fish, chokecherry and Thimbleberry jams, and pancakes with local maple syrup in addition to regular American food on the menu.
Every season in the UP is alive with some of America’s most stunning natural beauties. However, summers are short, so hurry if you plan to visit at this time of year.
©Mary K. Doyle