Just a few travel pix from our journey to Hessel/Cedarville, then the southwestern Upper Peninsula:
We flatlanders aren't used to mack-daddy rocks like this boulder gracing the Hessel Cemetery.
Our very favorite tourist trap, just north of St. Ignace, run by a friendly but curmudgeonly older man who likes to talk current events. We were talking about the flat tourist season, and he told us he blamed the weather: "No one wants to spend big bucks taking the family to Mackinac Island and smelling wet horse manure all weekend."
Pte. Seul Choix Lighthouse in Gulliver -- a couple of past lighthouse keepers are supposed to haunt the property, but we didn't experience any paranormal activity the day we visited; just warmth and sunshine and a friendly docent. One of the unintentionally interesting finds at this site was the large pile of zebra mussel shells on the shoreline; zebra mussels are a rogue European mollusk, introduced by ships emptying their ballasts in the Great Lakes, whose voracious eating habits are disrupting the Great Lakes ecosystem. My thought, on seeing the sun-bleached pile of tiny shells, was selling them as landscaping mulch for the waterfront cottage crowd, if they could be mass-harvested without wreaking even more havoc upon our native wildlife. Any entrepreneurs reading this?
The light at Manistique.
This is an artists' collective gallery in the tiny village of Garden, on the Garden Peninsula between Manistique and Rapid River. We were wowed not only by all the artwork and artisan items made by UP artists and craftspeople, but also by the reasonable prices; why buy a Yooper tourist tschotschke made in China when you can purchase the real deal here?
The peninsula seems to have a more moderate climate than the mainland, with many farms -- a winery, even. There's also a tiny fishing village, Fairport, at the very tip, and a state park preserving the ruins of the old iron-smelting boomtown of Fayette; it's very eerie to see the empty public buildings of this totally abandoned community and ponder the impermanence of life.