Wisconsin, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and Northern Michigan—Kay’s Reflections

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Surprisingly, I fell in love with Door County, Wisconsin. I loved the small villages—Egg Harbor, Sister Bay, Fish Creek, and Ephraim. Each had its own personality, lots of shops, artists, & restaurants—a very eclectic mix. Wonderful harbors and boats in each of those bays with great sitting areas on common greens and many sand beaches. I’ve observed that the natives and visitors suntan a lot—enjoying the warm sun—but few enter the water—it’s cold! There’s a sense of casual sophistication also on this peninsula—several playhouses with performances and many free concerts several times a week. We especially liked Peninsula State Park and the Sunset Bike Trail. There were bikers everywhere on many of the back roads in the middle sections of the peninsula where there are many farms, vineyards, and orchards. Cherries are grown all over as well as corn, etc. So there’s the mix of touristy towns & harbors and the rural farms. Very quaint and we enjoyed the slower pace of this area. 

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Each home, farm, city had gorgeous flowers everywhere—in flower beds, hanging baskets, and planters. To have winter 7-8 months a year, it’s amazing that they have such gorgeous flowers, fruits and veggies in only a 4-month period. If you’ve never been here, I highly recommend it. ost of the summer tourists appeared to be from Illinois—maybe folks escaping from the ‘Chicago’ area to come to a coastal area and ‘chill’. The temps this summer here were very moderate and somewhat cooler than they used to have:  70’s during the day and 50’s in the evenings. If one needs a ‘town’ fix, then drive to Sturgeon Bay for a Target or Super Walmart trip. Oh, yes, it’s a requirement to try the ‘fish boils’—a local favorite at many restaurants. Otherwise, we’ve enjoyed the beauty, the fantastic weather, being outside, and relaxing!

I wasn’t so impressed with the Copper Harbor area in the UP or the UP in general. It was interesting and seeing Lake Superior was great – it looks like an ocean without the salt water. But it was a little too remote for me. We stayed for ½ of the time in the UP on the southern side of Lake Superior and then we dropped down to the northern side of Lake Superior and drove Hwy. 2 all the way across the UP. I did enjoy the boat ride to view Picture Rocks National Lakeshore—that was a beautiful area.

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Mackinac Island was interesting to see, especially the Grand Hotel which was a prominent setting in one of my favorite movies, “Somewhere in Time”. Even though it costs $10 per person to walk up the steps of the hotel and be on the front porch, if you’re not a hotel guest! It was way too crowded; jostling for position on the road with other bikers and of course the horse drawn carriages. Also squeezing through crowds to go in to shops and restaurants was a hassle. I did thoroughly enjoy the bike ride around the 8-mile perimeter of the island; and I enjoyed the fort atop the island and the reenactments. It’s a ‘one-time’ shot, in my opinion. Glad we saw it but wouldn’t go back. Dodging horse shit was not easy! Glad I didn’t live back in those days! 600 horses on that island as the main means of transportation—no autos—but bikes allowed! We did eat at a historic inn and restaurant—The Legs Inn—that had wonderful Polish food. It was in Cross Village about 30 min. from Mackinaw City and our RV Park.

Now we’re in north western Michigan on the Leelanau Peninsula near Traverse City. This area is on the same parallel as the middle of Door County, Wisconsin – the 45th parallel (halfway between the equator and the North Pole). They are fifty miles apart on Lake Michigan. The small towns here are Empire (near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore), Glen Arbor, Leland, Lake Leelanau, and Sutton’s Bay. Each is a small village with quaint shops & restaurants. Most of the tourists here seem to be native Michigan folks. Michigan is surrounded on three sides by three of the great lakes – Superior, Huron, and Erie—so everyone seems to be drawn to the water. There are also many lovely and large lakes in this area as well. 130817 WIMI E 003 he water is quite beautiful – almost the same color as Caribbean waters. We’ve met several nice RV couples at the Indigo Bluffs RV resort here and have enjoyed visiting with them each afternoon/evening enjoying this wonderful weather. This area is my second favorite area. The dunes are pretty incredible and beautiful. I like Traverse City—it caters a lot to the summer tourists in the area. There are many good restaurants here also. We especially liked one called Georgina’s—an Asian fusion and Latin fusion restaurant on Front Street.

I’m glad we made this trip and I wouldn’t mind escaping to Door County in the hottest part of the summer next year or whenever. I can see kayaking there; riding bikes, visiting the interesting towns; festivals; seeing local plays, attending concerts; watching the sunsets; going to the state parks; hiking; eating at new and interesting restaurants and loving the cool days (70’s) and cooler nights (50’s). We’ve hardly used our RV air conditioners at all.

One of the most fun things about this trip is that we’ve been able to ride our bikes quite a lot. 130816 WIMI E K 001 onald rode his bike yesterday on a 26-mile trail. Unfortunately, we miscommunicated on his end location and it took me almost an hour to find him to shuttle him home to the RV. I’ve built up to a 10 mile ride which we did in one hour. Felt pretty good! Not bad for an old lady—hehehe!

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