A Fall Color Tour in the Keweenaw

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Summer has come to an abrupt end. The temps are dropping, my garden is harvested and the foliage is in full autumn mode. My friend, Megan, and I went up to the Keweenaw Peninsula to do a little sightseeing last weekend. *I apologize for the massive amount of pictures in this post! Please click on them to enlarge, and don’t forget to hit the ‘back’ button to get back to the blog.

Our first stop was the top of Mont Ripley in Houghton. Mont Ripley is a ski hill that is run by Michigan Tech. It overlooks the Portage Canal and all of Houghton. There were a lot of MTU kids up there enjoying the view as well. A lot of the students at MTU are foreign (mostly Asia). Our friends brought their dogs with them and the foreign kids were very interested in the dogs. I would say there were about 20 taking pictures of them. That was pretty entertaining.

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For dinner, we stopped at Habenero’s Fresh Mexican Kitchen in Hancock for dinner. The food was ok, but nothing to brag about. The atmosphere and drinks were nice though. Megan and I split a 64 oz. margarita with 2 Coronas stuck in it. It was great….and got us pretty buzzed up.

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1278132_10100466640540817_205274645_oThat night, we stayed at a friend’s camp in Dreamland. It is a small town on the Portage Canal. We had a nice bonfire, listened to coyotes singing in the distance, and then went to the bar down the road and had some authentic Moscow Mules. Best Moscow Mule that I have ever had! It was even in the proper copper mug.

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1374314_10100466777960427_1777463526_nIn the morning, Megan and I ventured North into the peninsula. It was a chilly, misty day, but we were happy that it wasn’t pouring rain. We stopped for breakfast at a Mom-n-Pop restaurant in Laurium. Kudos to the girl at the Keweenaw Convention & Visitor’s Bureau for recommending Toni’s Country Kitchen to us! There was a lot of construction in Laurium, and we kind of got lost. Luckily, our detour led us to the Laurium Manor Inn. We spent the $5 (student rate) to do the self-guided tour. It ended up being very cool. All of the lighting fixtures and woodworking are original. The dining room’s wallpaper is real elephant hide! Check it out if you are in the area. I would love to spend a night at the Inn.

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The coolest part of the Laurium Manor Inn was the Carriage House. Cars back then did not have reverse. So if you park your car, you have to push it out backwards if something is in front of you. Not this Carriage House. It had a rotating panel on the floor that spun your car around when you wanted to drive your car out. State of the art technology! 🙂

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We continued our drive North and went to the Delaware Mine.  We did the underground tour of the mine for $10. The mine was in operation between 1847-87. Over 8 million pounds of copper was extracted from this mine! The tour only allows you to tour the 1st level of the mine, as the other 9 levels are flooded with water. The tour was self-guided and I have to admit that Megan and I got a little creeped out being underground alone with very little light… Note to self: Don’t mention the movie The Descent or say “I wonder what would happen if the electricity goes out” while 110 ft underground! Also, I think there is an orb in one of the pictures, but I bet it is just water particles.

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1291604_10100466644547787_533154315_oAfter going underground and freaking ourselves out, Megan and I chatted with the owners of the mine for a little bit. They have owned it for 36 years and just got electricity out there 3 months ago. Before that, it was just generators. You must remember that many places in the Keweenaw are far away from civilization. The owners were so nice. They spend their summers in the UP and winters in Florida, restoring old buildings that eventually turn into museums. Part of the Delaware Mine Museum was turned into a mini maritime museum by the husband. He said that his true calling was building models of ships in the Great Lakes. They had a pet skunk that I got to hold! (stinker removed). As you can tell from the photo, I was pretty excited. He was a squirmy little stinker too. The outside buildings of the mine were unique too. We had a good time here.

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The view from the mine wasn’t half bad either. Check out those colors!

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From the mine, Megan and I headed up to Mount Bohemia skill hill at Lac La Belle. Bohemia was offering chair lift rides to the top to view the fall foliage. The drive to the hill was bursting with color. It was incredible. Unfortunately the chair lift was closed, so we continued on down the road.

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We went on a hike at Grinnel Memorial Nature Sanctuary, AKA Bare Bluff. It was a difficult hike, but worth the views. If I go back again, I will go up the short trail, and come back down the same way, instead of doing the loop. Beautiful views of Lake Superior.

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After the hike, Megan and I were very hungry and thirsty. We drove along Gay-Lac La Belle Rd. to the town of Gay. And of course we had to go to The Gay Bar. Fun place and a good ending to our mini road trip. We drove the 3 hours back to Marquette in pouring rain.

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Here are some random pictures from fall in the UP. We have been biking, Northern Lights viewing, berry picking and fishing. The ultimate autumn activities in the Upper Peninsula.

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