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Aug 21, 2011

Vacation in Northern Michigan!

Rest day today; I ran 18 yesterday up north when on vacation; and also walked 3 for 21 miles but I meant to do just 17 but I underestimated how long it was to run around Otsego Lake.  It's a bit further than I though it was.  Normally I do my cross training(bike) today but I still have a flat so I will get that fixed this week.


I had an unbelievable time on vacation this past week.  We went up north in Michigan and we also went up to the Upper Peninsula and visited Pictured Rocks in Musining and Taquanamon Falls State Park.  It was absolutely stunning up there and we had excellent weather up there(high 70's and low 80's and no rain).

We had a few days to relax at the cottage before we headed up to Paradise, Michigan.  We crossed over the Mackinac Bridge which is a suspension bridge that is 5 miles long.  I met a guy at our hotel that used to come up to the UP(upper Peninsula) in the 1940's when there was no bridge and he said they used to take a fairy across the lake.  Amazing!

Paradise is the closest city to Taquanamon Falls.

I do like small towns but this down is ridiculously small.  One pizza shop, one grocery store(really small) and a couple restaurants.  That's basically what the town had.  And the hotel we stayed in - The Best Western.  Here's a picture of a view from the back of our hotel.  It was right on Lake Superior.  The location was excellent in that it was close to the Falls.
For those of you that don't know, Lake Superior is the largest of the great lakes and it's freezing!  In any case, it was a great view.  There was a sandy beach down those stairs.  Here I am walking on the beach.
We ordered Pizza one night and my wife took a picture of it.  The pizza place is really tiny and there was one girl working there.  She made every pizza herself from scratch so you could not just walk in and pick up one like at Little Caesar's.  Here the picture of that pizza.
I opted to pass on the pizza although it did look good.  There was no other options for food that was take out so I just ate some food that we brought with us.

We vistited Taquanamon Falls State Park and had a fantastic hike along the river between the upper and lower falls.  In the next four days, we walked/hiked at least 13 miles and saw some beautiful land.  Here's what the lower and upper falls look like.
Lower Falls
 We even saw people walking around IN the lower falls but it looks too dangerous.  Here's the warning:

Upper Falls
If you have never been to this area, it is an oasis for hiking/running and the views are unbelievable.  They take your breath away the first time that you see it.

I'm going to do a separate post just about our hike along the river which was unbelievable!  It was my favorite part of the trip.  While my wife and kids liked it, they did not like it as much as I did since there were some tight single track parts with bees buzzing around.  That hike alone was worth the trip up there.

We also visited Whitefish Point.  Here's a map of the area showing paradise and Whitefish Point right above it.

Whitefish Point is where the Edmund Fitzgerald sank.  If any of you are Gordon Lightfoot fans, you will know the song about the ship.
Ship bell from Edmund Fitzgerald

Things recovered from shipwrecks

Lake Superior

Shipwrecks in the area - lots!

We then made a quick stop at the Oswold Bear Ranch where they rescue black bears from the wild.  It was very interesting to see the bears.

After this we drove West to Musining where Pictures Rocks are.  We toured the many waterfalls in the area and some of the pictures rocks sites - they have tons of them!  I will do a different post with pictures of all the waterfalls.

We also went on a shipwreck tour on a glass bottom boat.  Here's a couple pictures of our tour on the boat.
Old lighthouse on Grand Isle

Some pictured rock

Wheel in Shipwreck

Anchor in shipwreck

Grand Isle
There are homes on Grand Isle but no electricity or running water - unless you have a solar panel to generate electricity.  Crazy!  There is over 6,000 shipwrecks in the Great Lakes with many of them in Lake Superior due to all the rock.  You have to steer through the lake carefully.

We made our way to St. Ignace to shop in the city and we also stopped in Mackinaw City as well.  Just before our stop in St. Ignace, we went to the Mystery Spot and the kids and I did zip lines!  It was lots of fun.  Here I am on it:
On the zipline

View from the zipline platform - we are up high!

Me taking off!
After this, it was back to our cottage for a few days of relaxation!  A really enjoyable time in Northern Michigan!  Please visit us!  One thing we did notice is that most people we met were from other States which is nice to see they are visiting us here.

Have a great day and.....Keep Running!!!!!


  1. Loved this post! The UP is my favorite area of Michigan :) I am glad you had a great trip!

  2. I love the UP! My grandma grew up in a small town called Baraga and my Mom, while she grew up in NJ, spent summers going up there to the family farm. They often took the ferry, but my grandpa also flew. It's such a gorgeous area! I remember spending time at the farm when I was young, watching that generation make pasty's and taking walks. It's really a treasure, isn't it. Sounds like you and your family had a great time!

  3. Sounds like an amazing vacation! And I loved the pictures. I've heard such great things about the UP. Maybe I need to convince the hubby to take me there! ;)

  4. I love the UP. It is a beautiful area. You are lucky to live close enough so you can vacation day.

  5. I have always been interested in Mackinac Island because of the movie Somewhere In Time...but you are probably too young to know that movie. :) Your blog layout is very nice. I usually see the generic Google Reader version.

  6. Sounds like an awesome vacation. I never thought of a vacation up there. Will have to look into it!!

    Great post!!

  7. We crossed the bridge last week to go to the Soo. You probably could still hear my screams from when we went over and had to drive on the grate. I'm a wuss:)

  8. Take it from someone who damn near fell over a waterfall once--it's terrifying. You were definitely smart to heed the posted warning! It looks like a great trip.

  9. Loved all the photographs, thanks for sharing. Such a beautiful, scenic places you visited.

    That's so cool that you went zip lining!

  10. Kristen - I know the movie

    Jess - Oh, come on, it's not that bad. I'd love to run across it on Labor Day.

    Joanna - sometimes Kayakers go over it(the lower falls) Crazy!