Our fall road trip to the UP, Michigan might go down as the most beautiful place I have ever been to; even more beautiful than Iceland. Yes, its true. This little area in the Midwest on the banks of the mighty Superior is full of hidden waterfalls, scenic byways, gigantic sand dunes and the MOST BEAUTIFUL fall color I have ever seen.
In case these pictures give you a severe case of wanderlust, here is a breakdown of our trip:
From Minneapolis we drove through Wausau, Wisconsin.A perfect little stop to rest for the night and stop at Shopko (ILOVESHOPKO!).
From Wausau we headed north through Watersmeet (with cute coffee roasters and gift shops) to Bond Falls. Bond Falls was gorgeous - a short hike down to the viewing bridge and spots to explore. "Best kept secret" definitely held true for this little waterfall.
From Bond Falls, we continued north to Copper Harbor, Michigan; a sleepy little lake front town. We passed through some of the most quaint little towns at the bottom of rolling hills, and the fall colors were out. of. this. world. Unreal to say the least. We took Brockway Mountain Drive Scenic Byway to some beautiful lookout spots to stretch our legs - and the views were incredible. We managed to make it around sunset and you could see for miles and miles. We ended our night at the sweet Fitzgeralds Hotel + Restaurant, right on the rocky banks of Lake Superior. Our room was lake side, with the waves crashing right outside our window. It was the best nights sleep I've had in a long time - and the BBQ at the Fitzgerald within the hotel was perfect for a chilly night.
I was most looking forward to stopping at Jampot, a monk run bakery, right outside of Eagle Harbor. I read about their cream cheese pound cake muffin and TO THIS DAY it is the best "sweet" I have ever had. Moist and dense and lemony perfection.
From Eagle Harbor, we headed to the Log Slide Overlook/Sand Dunes in Grand Marais, Michigan. I've never seen anything like it - gigantic, steep, near 300ft vertical historic log slides that lead down into Lake Superior. It was vast and the color of the lake was electric. A must see!
We spent the night in Munising, Michigan and took a scenic boat tour of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Old lighthouses, fall colors, open water, gorgeous rock formations - reminded me of the Apostle Islands only way cooler :)
The next morning we went south to Kitch-iti-ipi natural spring in Manistique, Michigan. The state park system crafted a neat little raft with an open viewing area in the middle to check out the natural bubbling springs and fish under the crystal clear greenish-blue water. It was spooky and unique and totally worth making the trip just to check out.
The tail end of the Upper Peninsula road trip was Gabro Falls (totally hidden and pretty hard to find, we had to stop and ask some locals) and Manabezho Falls - complete with a suspension bridge and lots of playing in the lake (Murphy) and skipping rocks (Jon). There were so many neat spots to explore within the falls.
After a quick stop for firewood, we drove up to the Lake of the Clouds scenic overlook to catch the sunset and views. Sigh - take me back! Our campsite had a little rock area right on the lake that we thoroughly enjoyed, especially in the morning catching the sunrise. Porcupine Mountains - the sweetest little spot on earth, in my opinion. The cast iron steaks Jon made us (even Murphy) that night might have swayed my opinion just a bit ;)
And finally, to round out the trip, we stopped at Joes Pasty Shop in Ironwood, Michigan - home of the very first pasty shop in the UP. I've had pasties all my life, and this one was truly the best. Flaky crust, tender potatoes, moist - it tasted like home in a pastry pocket.
I can't wait to make this trip again <3