This Is The America I Like

And so this short break in Michigan’s Upper Peninsular draws to a close. Friday will find me on the road, back to the heat, humidity, and eternal flatness of Central Illinois.

The western Upper Peninsular has been an escape into paradise. Lush greenery, cool clear streams, verdant hillsides, lakes the size of inland seas. Above all, the weather has been so typically British.

Of the places visited, Houghton is without doubt the most appealing town. Nestled among hills on the banks of Portage Lake, this delightfully compact municipality has a sense of character frequently lacking in small town America.


At the bottom of Main Street, a sharp right-hander leads one without warning onto a glorious example of a double decked vertical lift bridge. In fact, built in 1959, it’s the widest and heaviest of its type in the world.


The main thoroughfare from Marquette to Houghton bejewels the traveler with a myriad of delights, not least the magnificence of Lake Michigamme as viewed from a roadside rest spot.


Marquette is a great base to explore the western Upper Peninsular. The harbor area on Lake Superior is a good place for a stroll in the evening and the sheer size of the old iron ore dock, built in 1911 and rumored to be still commercially active, dominates the view.


Sixty or so miles south of Marquette is Escanaba. While the town itself is not particularly impressive, its frontage onto Lake Michigan most certainly is. The large marina is a pleasure to stroll around, or just sit and admire the many boats entering and leaving its compact harbor, though some are definitely too large to be accommodated among the many yachts and sportsboats.


Even if you’re not into boating, the adjacent parkland with its ornamental fountain and acres of recreational space are there to be enjoyed to the full.


And……no, I didn’t stand and salute the flag. Sorry!

Sadly, I will be leaving it all behind me for now, but I’ll return to Illinois with fresh hope that one day, hopefully in the not too distant future, I’ll be coming back.

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4 Replies to “This Is The America I Like”

  1. You missed your calling. You should have joined the Houghton Chamber of Commerce. It really does look like a wonderful place to visit. I’m glad you and your wife were able to really enjoy the area and relax.

  2. Hooo, I hope you can get things together to move there. It gets mighty cold in the winters, especially with the winds off the lake. But, you’ll be cozy. Good luck!

  3. Do you notice that nearly all of your lovely photos are of water? You must find a place near something with whitecaps.

    New places always look more interesting than the familiar. Since I just moved here, a couple church types have been by to invite me to church and rather than trying to convert them to heathenism, I talk about how pretty the buildings are on main street if you look above the storefronts (lots of carvings and architectual beauty) and both told me they never noticed.

    It is my theory that everything has a honeymoon period. Everyone loves their new job and everyone loves their new town, etc. Pretty soon, it becomes familiar and boring. That is why they invented vacations – to get away from the familiar – that and moving vans.

  4. Al – I’m not sure the Houghton Chamber of Commerce would have had me! Sadly, I did not have my wife’s company on this trip, but I hope to share with her the joys of the Upper Peninsular one day.

    PM – yes, cold in the winter, certainly. It’ll likely be another four years before we’re in a position to move, but that’ll soon pass by.

    Flimsy – I was brought up around water, and much of a misspent youth sailing small boats when I should have been at lessons. It holds a strange fascination for me. But then, we Brits are an island race and ruled the waves for centuries. It is true that familiarity can breed contempt for surroundings, as well as people, but to be close to nature is a need I have had from very young. I’ve always disliked living in towns and feel uncomfortable if too long in a big city.

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