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A Lot of Travel, A Little Bit of History, and a Whole Bunch of Photos

Tag: Upper Peninsula (Page 1 of 3)

Michigan Bucket List

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Download a Printable PDF Version here: MichiganBucketList

Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen these location-based “ultimate bucket list” graphics floating around Pinterest. I’ve even pinned a few of them for future trips. I searched and searched for a Michigan one (I was curious how many “bucket list” worthy things I’ve done in my home state) but when I came up empty, I decided to make one myself! Some of these are attractions and others are cities, but they span both peninsulas and are definitely the highlights of the Great Lakes State!

Ultimate Michigan Bucket List:

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Empire Bluff Trail at Sleeping Bear Dunes

  1. Sleeping Bear Dunes
    Located in Northwest Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore covers 35 miles of Lake Michigan coastline. In 2011, the area was named “The Most Beautiful Place in America” by Good Morning America. The Dune Climb is one of the most popular hikes in the park, but the Empire Bluff Trail (above) has amazing views of the crystal blue water!
  2. Grand Rapids
    The Second Largest City in Michigan, Grand Rapids is known for its food and its art. In 2011, Grand Rapids tied with Asheville, North Carolina for the title of “Beer City USA”. Grand Rapids was also the childhood home of US President Gerald Ford and is home to the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum.

    Tawas Point Lighthouse

  3. Tawas Point Lighthouse
    An iconic Michigan landmark, the Tawas Point Lighthouse is located on Lake Huron in Tawas State Park. The lighthouse was built in 1853 to prevent shipwrecks on the point.
  4. Pictured Rocks
    Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is located on the southern shores of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. 1966, congress named Pictured Rocks the first National Lakeshore.
  5. The Henry Ford
    Located in Dearborn, The Henry Ford is an indoor and outdoor history museum started by Henry Ford himself. In 1929, President Herbert Hoover dedicated the museum to Ford’s longtime friend, Thomas Edison, on the 50th anniversary of Edison’s successful incandescent lightbulb. On display in the museum are The 1896 Ford Quadricycle, the limousine where Kennedy was assassinated, George Washington’s camp bed, the bus where Rosa Parks was arrested, and the chair from Ford’s Theater where Lincoln was assassinated, among many others. The Village is home to Henry Ford’s Birthplace, The Logan County Courthouse where Lincoln practiced law, Noah Webster’s Connecticut Home, along with many other historical buildings.

    Lower Tahquamenon Falls

  6. Tahquamenon Falls
    Located in the Upper Peninsula, Tahquamenon Falls State Park is home to two waterfalls on the Tahquamenon River. The Upper Falls is more than 200 feet across with a drop of 48 feet. Located four miles downstream, the lower falls are actually a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island. The Tahquamenon is also known as being the land of Longfellow’s The Song of Hiawatha, which contains the line: “by the rushing Tahquamenaw”, where Hiawatha built his canoe.
  7. Frankenmuth
    The name Frankenmuth translates to “Courage of the Franconians”. Frankenmuth wears its German Heritage on its sleeve with Bavarian architecture, German Food, and the first Oktoberfest to be recognized outside of Germany. Frankenmuth is also home to Bronner’s, the World’s Largest Christmas Store, as well as dueling chicken restaurants.

    Big Sable Point Lighthouse at Ludington State Park

  8. Ludington
    Ludington is located on Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Pere Marquette River. Ludington is home to the SS Badger, a car ferry that will take you across the lake to Wisconsin. Nearby Ludington State Park is one of the most popular parks in Michigan and is home to the iconic Big Sable Point Lighthouse. In 1675, French explorer, Pere Marquette died and was laid to rest in Ludington.
  9. Drive M-22
    Running from Manistee to Traverse City up breathtaking Leelanau Peninsula, M-22 is so popular, people steal the road signs to hang up in their homes. The Michigan Department of Transportation has redesigned the signs in hopes of reducing the number of thefts. In 2015, readers of USA Today named M-22 the best scenic autumn drive in the nation.
  10. Mackinac Bridge
    Connecting St. Ignace to Mackinac City, the Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge between anchorages in the Western Hemisphere at 26,372 feet long. The bridge officially opened to traffic in 1957 after three and a half years of construction. Once a year on Labor Day, the bridge is open to pedestrians for the annual bridge walk.

    Scott Fountain on Belle Isle

  11. Belle Isle
    Belle Isle, the 982-acre park on the Detroit River, was designed by urban park designer Frederick Law Olmstead and is the largest city-owned park in the United States. The island is home to the Belle Isle Conservatory, Belle Isle Nature Center, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, The James Scott Memorial Fountain, and Belle Isle Aquarium. Before it closed in 2005,  the aquarium was the oldest operating aquarium in the United States. It was reopened in 2012 as part of the Belle Isle Conservancy.
  12. Traverse City
    Traverse City is located in Northwest Michigan on Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay. Being the country’s largest producer of tart cherries, each summer the National Cherry Festival is held in Traverse City. Known for vineyards, freshwater beaches, downhill skiing, and breweries, there is much to do and see in TC.
  13. Detroit Institute of Arts
    The Detroit Institute of Arts has one of the largest and most notable collections of art in the United States. The collection includes works of art by Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, Cezanne, and many more. One of the highlights of the museum is the huge fresco-style murals by Diego Rivera known collectively as Detroit Industry, or Man and Machine. Built in 1927, the Italian Rennaisance inspired building the museum is housed in is beautiful as well.
  14. Whitefish Point
    Whitefish Point is a cape in the Upper Peninsula that marks the entrance to Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior. For visitors, Whitefish Point is great for rock hunting, birding, and ship watching. It is also home to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum and Whitefish Point Lighthouse.

    Kitch-iti-Kipi

  15. Kitch-iti-Kipi
    Located near Manistique in the Upper Penisula, Kitch-iti-Kipi is Michigan’s largest natural spring. Early Native Americans referred to it as the “Mirror of Heaven”. The limestone bottom of the spring gives it its unique emerald green color. The water in the spring is has a constant temperature of 45 degrees so even in the middle of winter, it does not freeze.
  16. Houghton
    Located on the Keewenaw Peninsula in the Northern Upper Peninsula, Houghton is home to a lot of wilderness and is a great place for outdoor exploration from hiking and biking to snowshoeing and snowmobiling.  The Keewenaw is home to the Copper Mining boom and you can experience that history today at Quincy Mine near Houghton. Houghton is also where you can catch a ferry to Isle Royale National Park.
  17. Porcupine Mountains
    Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is located in the Northwestern Upper Peninsula and is made up of a group of small mountains. As a wilderness state park, Porcupine Mountains has a large system of backcountry trails for hiking and backpacking with the North Country Trail running through the park. Seeing Lake of the Clouds should be on everyone’s Michigan bucket list.
  18. Mackinac Island
    Located in the Straits of Mackinac, Mackinac Island is a popular summer tourist destination. The island is closed to most motor vehicles so most people travel by foot, bicycle, or horse-drawn carriage and stepping off the ferry is like taking a step back in time. One of the biggest attractions on the island is the Grand Hotel, a Victorian-style hotel with the world’s longest porch. The island is also home to a British fort that was built during the American Revolution and saw action during the War of 1812.

    Tulip Garden in Holland

  19. Holland
    Where Frankenmuth was settled by Germans, Holland was settled by the Dutch. Located in the western part of the state on Lake Michigan, Holland is home to Tulip Time, the largest Tulip Festival in the United States. Located in Windmill Island Park, De Zwaan was supposedly the last windmill that was allowed to be removed from The Netherlands. Dutch culture is pervasive in Holland; wooden shoes are available in all of the gift shops.
  20. Eastern Market
    Eastern Market is a historic commercial district located in the city of Detroit. Covering 43 acres, it is the largest historic market district in the country. The market changes on different days of the week. Saturday Market is a big event with over 225 vendors selling everything from produce to tacos. The Sunday market features a taste of Detroit with the work of local artists, jewelers, cooks, musicians, and more. A more traditional farmer’s market can be found on Tuesdays and every third Thursday in the summer Easter Market offers a unique night market with food, drinks, music, and shopping.
  21. Turnip Rock
    Located in Lake Huron near Port Austin at the tip of the thumb is Turnip Rock, a unique geological formation. The water of Lake Huron has severely weathered this small rock so that the top is much larger than the base with trees growing out the top. The rock is located on private property so the only way to see it is by water. The trip to the rock is a 7 mile round trip paddle along the Point aux Barques trail with several local companies that will rent you a boat for the trip.

    Chapel in the Woods at Hartwick Pines

  22. Hartwick Pines
    Hartwick Pines State Park is one of the largest parks in the lower peninsula. Located near Grayling, the park contains 49 acres of old-growth pine forest, one of the few remaining in the state. The Hartwick Pines Logging museum pays tribute to the 19th-century logging industry when Michigan led the nation in lumber production.
  23. Motown Museum
    Motown Records was founded in Detroit in 1959 by Berry Gordy. Hitsville USA, once the home of Motown Records is now the home of the Motown Museum, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeastern Michigan. Visitors to the museum will walk through Studio A where many Motown Stars recorded their hits including The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, and many more. Michael Jackson’s white glove is on display as well as countless other Motown artifacts.
  24. Headlands Dark Sky Park
    Located near Mackinaw City, Headlands Dark Sky Park is a 550 acre park including 2 miles of undeveloped Lake Michigan shoreline. It was only the 6th park in the US to receive the Dark Sky Park designation and is one of the best places in Michigan to view the night sky.
  25. Soo Locks
    The Soo Locks provide ships with a way to bypass a waterfall on the St. Mary’s River and gets ships adjusted to differing water levels on Lake Huron and Lake Superior. The Locks are located in Sault Ste. Marie, in the northeastern upper peninsula. There are four American Locks and one set of Canadian Locks. Visitors can watch ships go through the locks from the observation deck, or can take a Soo Locks Boat Tour and experience the locks first hand.

    Meijer Gardens

  26. Meijer Gardens
    Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park is a 158 acre botanical garden located near Grand Rapids. The Gardens are home to more than 170 sculptures from sculptors such as Alexander Calder, Auguste Rodin, Dale Chihuly, and many more. At five acres, the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden is one of the largest children’s gardens in the country. In 2009 the Gardens were named one of the 30 “must-see museums” in the world in the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.
  27. Silver Lake Sand Dunes
    Located on Lake Michigan, bordering Silver Lake in Mears is Silver Lake State Park. The park is best known for its 2,000 acres of beautiful sand dunes. The Silver Lake Sand Dunes are known for ORVs and dune buggy rides, but there is a section of the park that is closed to vehicles for people to climb. Also within the park is the beautiful, brick, Little Sable Lighthouse.
  28. Isle Royale National Park
    The crown jewel of Michigan and the least explored is Isle Royale National Park. Established in 1940, the 894 square mile park is located in northern Lake Superior and can only be accessed by boat or seaplane. Camping, hiking, and fishing are popular on the island. Isle Royale is the only known place on earth where moose and wolves cohabitate without bears.

So far, I’m at 22/28. What’s your number? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments! Feel free to share this on Social Media to show off to your friends!

Download a Printable PDF Version here: MichiganBucketList

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Point Iroquois Lighthouse

Point Iroquois Lighthouse is located in the Eastern Upper Peninsula, on the shores of Whitefish Bay (that is the same body of water guided by the Whitefish Point Lighthouse), at the entrance to the St. Mary’s River. Point Iroqouis Lighthouse is located in the Hiawatha National Forest and is operated by the National Forest Service. Because of this, it is very hard to find information about it, such as their hours. Despite this, this summer, while camping at Straits State Park, we made the drive east to check out this historic lighthouse.

Interestingly, the name Point Iroquois comes from a 1662 battle between the local Ojibwa people and an invading Iroquois war party, looking to dominate the fur trade. The Ojibwa were able to stave off the Iroquois, halting their westward expansion. It is said that the Ojiwa refer to Point Iroquois as “Nau-do-we-e-gun-ing”, which means place of Iroquois bones. (NFS)

The lighthouse itself, is a classic, Michigan lighthouse with attached lighthouse keepers’ quarters. The current lighthouse was built in 1870. After 107 years of lighting up the bay, it was replaced by an automatic light. I am so glad these beauties are being preserved for future generations to enjoy and learn about the Great Lakes maritime history.

Thank you for stopping by! For more information about Point Iroquois Lighthouse and to plan your visit, visit the Hiawatha National Forest. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Wordless Wednesday: Manitoulin in the Locks

Wordless Wednesday: Driftwood

Driftwood

Whitefish Point

Beach Teepee

This fall, we took a long weekend trip to Tahquamenon Falls and Whitefish Point. Unfortunately, with our unseasonably warm fall, the colors were late and everything was still pretty green. It was still a relaxing weekend in nature that I definitely needed. We did get to photograph a relatively empty Great Lakes beach, although it was pretty chilly.

Whitefish Point is a landmark on Lake Superior that is known for its lighthouse, Shipwreck Museum and the Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial. One of the reasons it is a popular tourist spot is because it is about an hour from Tahquamenon Falls. It is designated an “Important Bird Area” and the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory runs research and education programs in the park’s marshlands. Its a beautiful place to enjoy a Lake Superior beach too!

Thanks for stopping by! For more information about the Whitefish Point area, visit ShipwreckMuseum.com. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Wordless Wednesday: Superior Beach

Superior Beach B&W

Wordless Wednesday: Tahquamenon in Fall

Lower Falls

Guided Photography Tours

Whitefish PointOver the summer, Chris and I began a new venture, Guided Photography Tours. As I’m sure you know by now, we enjoy traveling and exploring new places to photograph. Through this project, we hope to share our love of travel and photography with other photographers. Currently, we are offering two classes at our local library: Photography Basics and Better Smart Phone Photography. It has been fun to see our students learn new things and discover new places in their home town. To learn more about Guided Photography Tours and our upcoming evernts, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Thanks for stopping by! To sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any upcoming events, visit the signup page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

McLain State Park

Superior Self Portrait

Last summer, during our road trip, we made a stop in the Keewenaw Peninsula on at McLain State Park. The park had breathtaking views of Lake Superior and allowed you to view both the sunrise and sunset over the water, but it was in desperate need of repair. In my campground review, I mentioned that the bathhouse was the worst of the whole trip and the fact that the park had a bizarre layout due to the fact that the old campground road virtually crumbled into Lake Superior. Well, as I began planning our camping adventures for this summer, I noticed McLain was not open for reservations. I did some digging and learned that the park is beginning a major renovation this spring. Well, it seems like someone at the DNR must read this blog, because the first phase of the construction is going to focus on all of my complaints.  The plans include a new bathhouse as well as 30 new campsites and a new road throughout the campground. I am very excited for the renovations and will have to make reservations once its all complete.

About the Photo
I posted a similar photo shortly after our road trip and once I set up for that shot, I realized, it would make a great location for an epic self portrait. Sometimes, its fun to put yourself in the landscape to give it perspective.

Camera Gear
Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm kit lens on a tripod

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For more information about the construction plans for the park, click here.

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2016: Year in Review

The Big Spring

At the end of last year, I made the goal to go at least one place I had never been before and I think I accomplished that and then some. I explored many parts of my home state that I had never visited before. I explored many of the towns on the Lake Michigan shore. I traveled to the northern tip of the Upper Peninsula. I spent some time exploring the Sunrise Coast along Lake Huron. In the fall, I headed south and explored Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail.  I discovered a few places that I can’t wait to return to and one or two that I would like to make annual visits to.

I feel like I took some of my best photos this year. All that exploration gave me needed inspiration for my photography. I did some more portrait work and even shot my first wedding this fall! I learned a lot about lighting and have been dabbling with off-camera flash (Chris is still the expert in this, but I’m learning). I really put my focus on Instagram this year and it has been great to see some of my photos get over 100 likes. Its almost unbelievable.

On a personal note, I lost my beloved 18 year cat, Ebert this fall and that has been so hard. Months later, I still get teary eyed thinking about him. A few months ago we adopted another fuzz ball, Roary, who we are training to be an Adventure Cat and take with us on our various adventures. If you want to see pictures of him, I’m always posting photos of him on Instagram with the hashtag #roarymowers.

I hope that 2017 will bring more improvement in my photography. I would like to upgrade from my entry level gear this coming year. And of course, I hope to continue exploring. I wonder what new place I was discover next year. Stay tuned to the blog to find out!

Thanks for stopping! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

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