THE UPPER PENINSULA


The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is ideal for creative inquiry and contemplation with its rugged landscape; miles of old growth forests, untouched glacial lakes, wild rivers, and stark weather conditions. Out-of-the way small towns are strung together beside shorelines and small mountains, serving as a reminder of a community with a history steeped in industry, built on mining and logging industries in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Ontonagon County (from Ojibwa tribes who first lived in the area) encompasses the town of Ontonagon and the handful of towns surrounding the Ontonagon River near the Porcupine Mountains. Ontonagon reflects the unique culture and community of the area. Many inhabitants are descendants of Finnish settlers who immigrated in the 1800’s. Logging and mining were primary employers until 1995 when the last mine closed. 

The Upper Peninsula accounts for 30 percent of Michigan’s land area, but only three percent of the state’s population (down from 1910 when the Upper Peninsula accounted for 12 percent of Michigan’s population). There are many examples of a community once present: abandoned homesteads contain traces of lives lived there, remnants of furniture, kitchen items, and clothing, sun spotted and moth eaten, still hanging on hooks on the wall.

The remaining UP population has developed its own culture and traditions, including its own dialect and a shared commitment to the outdoors. The oldest standing log home in the US is an example, now the Ontonagon Historical Museum.


LOCAL FAVORITES

Ewen Building Supply
Our local hardware and building supply store, family owned and operated for over 50 years. These guys are always friendly and helpful. They also sell lumber and appliances, and build sheds and cabins. The story goes that they started out building sheds, selling them to make the money to build a few more sheds each time, until they had made enough money to buy the building supply business. The Visitors' Center tool shed was originally one of their creations. We re-sided and repainted it, restoring it to it's former glory. ewenbuilding.doitbest.com

Settler's Co-op, Bruce Crossing, MI
For all your basic food and beer-buying needs, plus some camping and fishing supplies.

Char's Cafe, Bruce Crossing, MI
A great greasy spoon diner in Bruce Crossing! Char is very welcoming and the food is delicious and filling.

South Branch Saloon, Ewen, MI
Run by Rocky and Stella, this is the best bar around! Billiards, darts, a jukebox, and good company.

The Paulding Light
A mysterious "floating" light in Paulding, MI, which attracts all sorts of curious folks to the end of a deserted road to stare into the woods at night. Bring your binoculars. www.pauldinglight.com



SCENIC PLACES

Agate Falls, Bruce Crossing
A 39 foot high waterfall on the Ontonagon River. There is an old railway, now a hiking bridge, that spans the falls.

Bond Falls, Watersmeet
A 50 foot high waterfall on the Ontonagon River.
 

The Irish Hollow Cemetery, Rockland is on the way to the abandoned rock quarry and Lake Superior. It's creepy and beautiful. There are some plots that still get mowed, but most of it is like a hike through the woods with ruins of graves and tombs. Cameron said he wants to be buried here. 

Lake Superior, Ontonagon

This secluded beach on the South Shore of Lake Superior is a vast expanse of sand, sky, and beautiful blue waters. We usually see very few other people here. A short hike or canoe ride brings you up the river from the road near Ontonagon to this amazing sun-bathing and swimming paradise.