A Yooper For Life


| 10/17/2016 1:38:00 PM


Tags: Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Up North, Rustic Getaways,

Country MoonEvery once in a while a person needs to get away and leave all cares behind. That is exactly what we did for a few days last week as we headed north to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, my favorite getaway destination.

Michigan is unique in that it is the only bi-peninsula state in the country. Both land masses separated by the mighty Mackinac Bridge are considered peninsulas. The north is bordered by Lake Superior, the east by St. Mary’s River, the southeast by Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, and the south by Wisconsin. Michigan even gets her name from the Chippewa Indian word meicigama, which means “great water.” When in Michigan, one is never more than six miles from a natural water source or more than 85 miles from one of the Great Lakes. The Upper Peninsula has 12,000 miles of rivers and streams and 4,300 inland lakes, giving it the distinction of having ten percent of all the fresh water in the world and the most coastline in the continental United States. Hello, fishermen!

It has been a long standing joke that if you live in the lower part of the state (under the bridge) you are affectionately known as a “Troll,” while those in the Upper Peninsula are “Yoopers.” Incidentally, the word Yooper was first published in 1979 and was officially added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2014.

Besides all this water, the Upper Peninsula has acres and acres and acres of pristine forests and more than 100 waterfalls. Even though the UP (as the Upper Peninsula is known to us natives) has twenty-nine percent of Michigan’s land area, only three percent of the state’s population lives there. From its most northern point to the most southern is only 125 miles, and from east to west is only 320 miles. Yet, driving anywhere in this area, one can go for miles upon miles and never pass another vehicle or see any human life.

There are two thoughts when it comes to this vastness: either there is nothing up here, or everything is up here. To me, there is everything. It's a whole different way of life here. People take their time and are not always in a rush. After all, where and what is there to rush to?

The best example of this nothing/everything is in Whitefish Point, located on the rugged Whitefish Bay on the southeast corner of Lake Superior. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum and the Upper Peninsula Bird Observatory — which is the premier migratory bird hotspot in Michigan — is here, as well as shipwreck diving opportunities. Outside of these, there is nothing: no restaurants, no places to stay, no shopping … nothing except miles of rugged shoreline.




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