Those that told us the drive from Northern Michigan through the Upper Peninsula would be one we wouldn’t forget, well, you were absolutely right. Apparently we hit this drive at the perfect time, trees were in their prime, not as full and spectacular just two days before we ventured off.
We spent Sunday night in Traverse City sitting admiring one of the most spectacular sunsets on the beach.
We set off on Monday morning (10/6) from Traverse City, which was a cool and rainy start to the day.
We took Route 31 (the non-highway) all the way up towards the Upper Peninsula, hugging Lake Michigan on our left the entire way.
We have been absolutely blown away and in awe of Lake Michigan. First of all, it’s huge. Enormous. Vast. We had no idea how blue and cool the water was nor did we realize that the beaches that Lake Michigan meets throughout Chicago, Michigan and Wisconsin were so similar to the beaches we grew up knowing. The water rivals the Caribbean in color and there is nothing more stunning than seeing crimson and orange leaves falling onto the sand while the calm waves crash the shore.
From Traverse City we drove through Elk Rapids, Torch Lake, Charlevoix, Petoskey, Crooked Lake, Levering, Carp Lake to just name a few. Quick history note, Petoskey means “where the light shines through the clouds” and the town is also known for it’s high concentration of Petoskey stones – which is the state stone of Michigan!
Also, check out this cool find in Charlevoix. Too bad they weren’t baking a pie when we stopped by!
As we drove into Mackinaw City, we kept getting quick glimpses of the Mackinac Bridge which would take us over to the UP. As we got closer we started to realize how big the bridge really was and as we pulled over to admire it from Mackinaw City, we realized how much in a way it resembled the Golden Gate bridge (minus the color).
At this point in our travels, Michelle was driving. At first she was very timid to make the drive over the Mackinac bridge as it would mean conquering one of her biggest fears – driving on bridges (and well, bridges in general). She decided she was up for the task and happy to report she did a spectacular job driving ever so slowly and cautiously over the 5 mile bridge. She didn’t even freak out over the fact, about a mile onto the bridge, the trunk light went on…..see video.
A sunny stunning day, we had a perfect view of Mackinac Island from the bridge. So many of you suggested that we make the trip over to the island and we were so hoping to make it happen. Unfortunately, timing didn’t allow it for this trip, but we will be back – FOR SURE.
Once across the bridge (aka Da Crossing, Da Bridge or the Big Mac) we were excited to “officially” be in Yooperland. We had been told that every few miles we would see signs for pasties, you guys weren’t kidding. We had just eaten our tuna fish sandwiches so we didn’t have a chance to stop and try one of your delicacies. Next time.
The drive through the UP down Route 2 was one of our favorites. Lake Michigan on our left, trees in full bloom and quant little towns to drive through. Gould City, Gulliver, Manistique, Escanaba and Wallace into Menominee. For a brief time we said goodbye to Lake Michigan and drove through Hiawatha National Forest. Beautiful big trees.
We unfortunately didn’t get to see the northern parts of the UP, some of the places we were hoping to get to. Pictured Rocks, Fall Lake, Porcupine Mountains, to just name a few. As we were driving through, we got the feeling that we could have spent our three months just in Michigan alone as there is so much to see and do. We have just begun to scratch the surface and look forward to coming back and exploring more.
Thank you Grace, Emily, Ian, Renee, Andrew, Jessie, Brian and Ken, and all of you for suggesting we take this route. You were right, we won’t and don’t regret it.
Here is a little tidbit into our drives. We love to sing, out loud. Belt it out. Here is a clip of us singing one of our all time favorites:
Off to Wisconsin!
P.s. Loved this map we found!