Wednesday, September 21, 2011

2011-27 Houghton Michigan, Family hometown visit


Houghton Mich.
Bete Grise

How much is that doggie in the window, (arf, arf)
  The one with the waggley tail (arf, arf)
How much is that doggie in the window,
  I do hope that doggie is for sale

The song was coming over the sound system at a nice restaurant (Joey’s)  in downtown Houghton where I was having lunch.  I believe it was being sung by the Patty Page.  A song I remember from my childhood growing up here in the U.P.  We might have even had it on a 45 record, which I’m sure we played and sang too often…. Driving our Mom a bit nutty. Talk about instant memories of growing up here in the U.P.

Even though I had lived in the this area for 20 years, there is always something to explore, so after checking out a few maps I decided to concentrate on the east side of the Keweenaw Peninsula.  And though Jacobsville, my first stop along the way is only about 17 miles from Hancock, it took over an hour to drive around Rice Lake and Torch Lake to get to Jacobsville.

It was one of those drives through a very remote area of the U.P,. Jacobsville having no stores or gas stations just the end of the road and a light house at the entrance to the Portage Canal, a few homes making up the community and a small Swedish Lutheran Church now acts as a community center.

National Park Ranger, Ron
The small town of Gay has a tavern (with of course the expected tacky T-shirts with gay references), Fire Department and the remains of a once large stamp mill.  The old school is being renovated into a museum as the area has some wealthy patrons who have homes along the lake shore.   A small campground with cabins is being built along Lake Superior.  The campground appears to have been in place for some time now.  What a remote area to spend a few days along the shores of Lake Superior.  Ron and I enjoyed taking pictures at the old Mohawk Stamp Mill.  Seeing the tall smoke stack, concrete walls with many unusual shaped doorways and a concrete slew going to the lake along with the black stamp sand along the shoreline.

Lake Superior Shoreline

Bete Grise has the most beautiful protected harbor with a lively community around the bay, a lighthouse tucked away behind a thicket of pine trees.  Along the Lake Superior shore line, seeing steep red sandstone cliffs, rocky shorelines and a white capped lake, with many areas to for blueberry picking in the fall months.  A number of trees are starting to turn color with a few splashy reds, yellow and oranges scattered amongst the thick green forests.

This whole area is often overlooked by the casual tourist who would normally drive up US 41 to Copper Harbor, Brockway Mt Drive, Eagle Harbor and Eagle River.  A superb drive worth taking, but I sure enjoyed getting off the beaten path and seeing a side of the Keweenaw Peninsula I’d never experienced.

Of course I’ve been visiting with my Sister Ann and Jim, having them over for dinner one evening a playing a few games of Mexican Train (dominos).  And I hate to say it but Jim was the winner of all of the games.  Talk about luck!  I’ll get him next time….

I was telling one of my stories from a visit to a restaurant on the eastern end of the U.P.  The waitress was talking to some customers, of course her voice carrying across the room so everyone could hear.  She was telling them how all the roads in the U.P. are posted at no more than 55 mph except one small stretch that was designated at 65mph.  Now she was saying, “I know this sounds dumb, but I just had to drive over to that stretch of highway and drive up and down it, going 65, just to experience going that fast.”  Everyone got a chuckle out of her slightly eccentric behavior, but it was also a statement about how frustrating it can be for the locals traveling at only 55 mph across vast stretches of lonely highway up here.  Especially if they have to follow us tourists who are following the speed limit and enjoying the drive.

Ann and Jim

and a visit with the Palosaari cousins

and of course more pictures on PICASA.

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