Over the Bridge and Through the Woods

The Upper Peninsula is for a different type of traveler: One who is looking for something out of the ordinary.
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Tahquanamon Falls
Tahquamenon Falls - Photography by Aaron T. Strouse

Newly released, the second edition of “Moon Michigan’s Upper Peninsula” by Paul Vachon (Avalon Travel, a member of the Perseus Books Group, 2012) comes complete with 32 detailed and easy-to-use maps, trip-planning resources and overviews for six richly different regions: the Straits of Mackinac; Marquette and the Lake Superior Shore; the Keweenaw Peninsula and Isle Royale; Escanaba and the Lake Michigan Shore; the Superior Upland; and Whitefish Bay to the Lake Huron Shore.

Though the unique qualities that give the U.P. its appeal are scattered over 30,000 miles, this handbook also includes a map outlining the most efficient way of limiting drive time to segments of just a few hours, plus ready-to-go itineraries for 12-, six- and four-day trips. 

Welcome to Paradise

Michigan's Upper Peninsula bookOne of the book’s biggest aids are insider perspectives shared by lifelong Michigander and author Paul Vachon, whose introduction to the U.P. came on a childhood trip to see the Soo Locks. Since then he’s seen a lot more, and highlights here top stops along each region’s trail such as these in Paradise (excerpted in part from “Moon Michigan’s Upper Peninsula”):

Tahquamenon Falls State Park. West of Newberry, the headwaters of the Tahquamenon bubble up from underground and begin a gentle roll through stands of pine and vast wetlands. Rambling and twisting northeast through Luce County, the river grows wide and majestic by the time it enters its namesake state park. Then, with the roar of a freight train and power of a fire hose, it suddenly plummets over a 50-foot drop, creating a golden fountain 200 feet wide. 

“As many as 50,000 gallons of water per second gush over the Upper Tahquamenon, making it the second largest falls east of the Mississippi.”

As many as 50,000 gallons of water per second gush over the Upper Tahquamenon, making it the second largest falls east of the Mississippi, exceeded only by Niagra. Adding to Tahquamenon’s majesty are its distinctive colors: bronze headwaters from the tannic acid of decaying cedars and hemlocks that line its banks, and bright white foam from the water’s high salt content (newberrytourism.com; and michigan.gov/dnr).

Centennial Cranberry Farm. After the Michigan House of Representatives passed a resolution in 2008, Whitefish Point officially became known as the state’s cranberry capital and Centennial Cranberry Farm — established in 1876 — is the place to take in the reasons why (open from Memorial Day through the end of October).

The guide is available at bookstores state-wide or moon.com.

— Lisa M. Jensen, Michigan BLUE Magazine.

Photography courtesy Aaron T. Strouse & Avalon Travel/Perseus Books Group

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