Saturday, August 12, 2006

Pasties in Paradise

My pal and I traveled miles and miles along the Lake Superior coast -- long stretches of forested, uninhabited land with periodic glimpses of the big lake through the trees -- but it was in the small town of Paradise, up near Whitefish Point, where I finally felt as if I'd truly arrived in the Upper Peninsula. We'd stopped at a place called the Berry Patch Bakery -- this after passing the town welcome sign ("Welcome to Paradise -- Glad You Made It") and looking around for a place to eat lunch.

The bakery, which includes a gift shop, was packed with the lunch crowd; we wound up sharing a table with a delightful older couple from Battle Creek who have a summer home nearby, who told us about how they'd gotten together in their later years and how they wound up in the U.P. The friendly bakery staff greeted us with lilting Yooper accents. My friend and I split a pasty.

You are here.

And then we made it to Tahquamenon Falls; a very busy park that, on the sunny afternoon we arrived, was filled with visited from all over -- literally from all over the world, who'd somehow made it to this relatively remote corner of the country: families of various configurations (including a surprising number of "family" families); group tours; lone hikers; lots of little kids; lots of dogs. Yet despite the number of people, and the more touristy areas of the park (a brew pub; a gift shop that featured some of the same kitsch we had laughed over back in St. Ignace), there was still a profound sense of wildness, of frontier. We marveled over the size of the hemlock and beech trees around us and the beauty of the tumbling water and surrounding rock formations and sky overhead. It was awesome; truly awesome. Several of my relatives, on arriving at Michigan Tech as students, went native; simply stayed up there. Now I understood the attraction.

And now I can say that I ate a pasty in Paradise. In more ways than one.

Tahquamenon Falls, upper level Posted by Picasa

Tahquamenon Falls, lower level Posted by Picasa

Lake Superior Posted by Picasa

Point Iroquois Lighthouse Posted by Picasa


Cathy said...

Simply beautiful - makes me want to travel up that way to see the beauty of the US I have not seen.

I will admit I had to look up the word pasty as I was not positive as to what it is.

LutheranChik said...

Yes; definitely not to be confused with the burlesque-show accoutrement.;-)

Pasty facts: Pasties came to the U.P. by way of Cornwall -- when Cornish miners came to work the iron and copper mines there they brought this traditional "convenience food." A real U.P. pasty uses minced beef, not hamburger, and also contains potatoes, carrots, rutabagas and onions; the crust is delightfully flaky and tender, yet tough enough to hold up being eaten out of hand. (Not being a very good pastry maker, I can only marvel at this.) Pasties have a thick crimp; back in Cornwall, this crimp was less an aesthetic embellishment than a safety feature, since the tin miners who took pasties to work with them wound up with tin dust on their hands -- the thick edge allowed them to hang onto the pasty, eat the filling side, and then discard the crimp.

Anyone reading this who's traveling in Michigan Lower Peninsula: Mr. Foisie's Pasties in Cadillac has really excellent pasties. If you're on M-115, traveling north, Mr. Foisie's is on the east side of the highway, just before you get to the M-55 junction. Their pasties are huge, too -- one will easily feed two people. They also have vegetarian and chicken varieties, although purists will scoff.

P.S. (an after-thought) said...

Pasties are popular in my area, which is also a mining area. They are in the grocery stores and at least one small restaraunt makes them.

When we've had a new male pastor and someone in the church suggests making and selling pasties as a fund raiser, the pastors have always had some trouble with the word and its pronounciation. Apparently this isn't taught in seminary.

Trish said...

Those are awesome pictures. I especially liked the one of the upper falls. Thanks for sharing!

peripateticpolarbear said...

Oh. I miss Michigan!

Mary Beth said...

So gorgeous! and I bet not so HOT as we have it...!


David said...

Oh you are killing me.....signed "Homesick Pasty Eater".

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Thanks for posting the photos... I have a photo of the lower falls in my office from a trip around Superior two years ago. By the time we got home, I'd forgotten where I took it.

I'm glad you had a good trip. I love the U.P. -- sometime you should do the Canadian and Minnesota side of the big lake... very different scenery.

Questing Parson said...

Oh great! Thanks a lot.

We're not vacationing until next year. They just cut down the trees between our house on the hill and the Shell Station on the highway in the valley. And now I see your pictures.

Excuse me, I've got to let the shade down and paint a vacation scene on it.

The Thief said...

Wonderful pictures! It reminds me of when I was there... some 20 years ago. Aw, now you've gone and made me feel old.