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Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Bay


6-24-16

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum lighthouse

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum has an important mission, to educate the public about the ships that sailed the Great Lakes over the centuries. Also to honor the sailors that have given their lives while serving aboard their ships when the weather turned deadly.

Our first connection to this museum occurred on February 24th when we went to the Mad City Model Railroad Show and Sale in Madison.  There was an Edmund Fitzgerald model there and the museum was mentioned also.

Edmund Fitzgerald Exhibit at Train Show

We got there just before they opened so we looked around awhile. There is a historic marker for the lighthouse.  To see everything, allow yourself 3 hours.

Whitefish Point lighthouse markerShipwreck Museum info

Coast Guard Lookout Tower sign

Coast Guard Lookout tower

You can even stay overnight here!

Overnight Accomodations at Whitefish Point

The museum opened and we took the optional lighthouse tour too. Our guide Kate was wonderful and was enthusiastic in her delivery.  the view was amazing at the top. You could also see the mouth of the St. Mary River from here if it is clear enough.

View from Lighthouse

View of beach at Whitefish Point

View of St. Mary River from Lighthouse

Visibility was real good that day, this is the view from Google Maps of what you are seeing here.

Map View from Lighthouse of St. Mary River

A fishing trawler was also visible.

Fishing Trawler

The light itself, impressive!

Lighthouse light at Whitefish Point

She even took a selfie with us afterwards, thanks!

Selfie with Katie Beth at Shipwreck Museum

The video also has some of the other exhibits we saw.

We did the lighthouse tour first, so now it was time to explore the other exhibits. The first building was the Coast Guard Surf Boat House.

Coast Guard Surf Boat Building at Whitefish Point

In here is a rescue surfboat on display, this model has enabled rescuers to save many lives.

Surfboat info

Coast Guard Surfboat

Inside surfboat

Next door in this building are Edmund Fitzgerald exhibits. The song “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” specifically mentions Whitefish Bay so it was still surreal that we were there.  There was a model of the ship made of Legos® (video) on display.

Lego Edmund Fitzgerald

Lego edmund Fitzgerald bowLego Edmund Fitzgerald info

Edmund Fitzgerald plaque

In this building is also a wood cut-out to take a picture with.

Cut Out st Shipwreck Museum

And now for the last building with many more shipwreck exhibits, and artifacts from the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Main exhibit building at Shipwreck Museum

Panorama of inside main building at Shipwreck Museum

Edmund Fitzgerald large display, there was also a video playing showing all of the 29 crew members who died in the deadly November 10, 1975 storm.

Edmund Fitzgerald Display at Shipwreck Museum

The real ship bell.  You could not help but to feel sadness thinking of this brave crew and their sacrifice.

Edmund Fitzgerald Bell

There were many other ships represented too along the wall on the right side of the room.

Wall of shipwrecks at museum

Other displays..

Niagra Ship's Bell at Shipwreck Museum

Independence Shipwreck display

Lighthouse and ship display

After exploring the exhibits here we went down to the shore.  You accessed it on a boardwalk and stairs down. It was sandy with stones worn smooth by the water.

Boardwalk to Lake Superior shore

Lake Superior sand and stones

There were also dedications to the Edmund Fitzgerald shore side too, we could almost imagine the storm that sealed their fate.  This one listed the 29 crew members.

Dedication to Edmund Fitzgerald

On the shore were three more for three of the crew men, resembling gravestones.

Memorial to crew of Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior shoreline

The summer shoreline is quiet and peaceful, the piles of driftwood showed the results of when conditions get rough.

Lake Superior Shoreline at Shipwreck Museum

We took a solemn self-portrait here among the driftwood, remember all the sailors who passed on.  We are glad we came here during our one day in the U.P. of Michigan.

Selfie at Whitefish Bay

Shipwreck Museum front

 

Paradise – Wild Blueberry Capital of Michigan


6-24-16

Entering Paradise sign

Paradise is located in the U.P. of Michigan and is in Chippewa County. It is unincorporated and in the heart of beautiful natural wilderness.  Every year on the 3rd weekend in August is their Wild Blueberry Festival. We found these artifacts and historical marker to the right of this sign.

Whitefish Township historical marker

Artifacts in Paradise

Oil Lamp Buoy in Paradise

We were too early for the blueberries, but not too early for the hospitality of this friendly community and other visitors in the area.  We began our morning in the nearby Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.  The staff there are exceptional and were clearly enthusiastic about being there.

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum lighthouse

Just before we finished our tour I asked where a good place for lunch would be in Paradise. They said without hesitation, The Berry Patch Bakery and Restaurant.   They knew about the song “Cheeseburger in Paradise” song by Jimmy Buffett and took advantage of that by selling t-shirts. I got one!

Berry Patch Restaurant in Paradise MI

Cheeseburger in Paradise shirt

Downtown Paradise

Let’s explore the businesses downtown while we are here.  See all businesses listed in the Chamber of Commerce.

 

Paradise Recreational Sports

Paradise Recreational Sports

Paradise Food Pantry Market and  TJ’s Restaurant.

Downtown Paradise 2

We were not here long, but we enjoyed a great lunch at The Berry Patch and learned more about the many offerings in the U.P.

Leaving Paradise back of sign

 

Yoopers for a Day – The U.P. of Michigan


Day 4 – 6-24-16

Welcome to the U.P.

Sadly it was time to leave Michigan but we weren’t leaving without seeing as much as we could on our way to Crivitz, WI.  This was our route through the U.P.

Yoopers for a Day

It was a real thrill crossing the Mackinac Bridge for the first time.  The agency charged with the upkeep of the bridge and safety of people crossing is theMackinac Bridge Authority.  They have offices in both St. Ignace and Mackinaw City.

There is a $4.00 toll payable on the St. Ignace side, which helps pay for maintenance and professional drivers. They drive people across the bridge in bad conditions or if you have a fear of bridges.  Tune your radio to 530 or 1610 AM to hear a broadcast on bridge conditions.  If there are good conditions, you hear a welcoming message to the Upper Peninsula (U.P.).

Enjoy this view of the bridge from  Michilimackinac State Park and hear the broadcast, a 4 min-33 sec. looped message.  A bonus, the freighter Joseph L. Block  goes under the bridge!

The sunrise was beautiful as we crossed the bridge. I apologize for not having a video of that, the camera was misbehaving. Enjoy these photos of our crossing though!

Mackinac Bridge Crossing

We left Mackinaw City about 6 AM to have breakfast at the St. Ignace Truck Stop. First though, we could not resist a selfie at the Big Boy next door!  Next time we will eat there.

Big Boy Selfie in St. Ignace

The truck stop was great too, still glad we stopped there.

St. Ignace Truck Stop

After breakfast we continued on, passing what I thought was a lighthouse the day before.  We found out that it was a lookout tower attraction, $1.00 admission as part of a souvenir store called Curio Fair.  Maybe we can stop there on our next visit.

St. Ignace Look Out Tower IMG_1754

Curio Fair in St. Ignace

We also drove by Castle Rock, we didn’t stop this time.

Castle Rock in St. Ignace

We continue on, our next stop is the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Paradise.  Here we saw MANY great displays, including one dedicated to the Edmund Fitzgerald. Gordon Lightfoot’s song  “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”  figured prominently here.

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum lighthouse

After our visit we headed into Paradise for lunch at The Berry Patch.

Entering Paradise sign

They knew about the song “Cheeseburger in Paradise” song by Jimmy Buffett and took advantage of that by selling t-shirts. I got one!

Berry Patch Restaurant in Paradise MI

Cheeseburger in Paradise shirt

We also enjoyed talking to some of the other patrons eating there. One couple we met suggested visiting Tahquamenon Falls State Park  to see the waterfalls. The day pass was $9.00 to be able to see both falls. We took them up on their suggestion and did go after lunch. We ran into them there too!  The falls were beautiful and were worth the visit. We went to the Upper Falls first.

Upper Teq Falls info

Upper Teq Falls in Michigan

And now the Lower Falls.

Lower Teq Falls Info

Lower Teq Falls

Lets see both falls in action!

By this time it was 3:40 PM and it was time to move on.  We passed through other communities on our way to Crivitz.

Escanaba

Escanaba

We have reached the entry into the U.P., Menominee.  This is how we will enter Michigan on a return trip and skip the car ferry.  We discovered we could get to St. Ignace in a day from Madison by entering Michigan from here.  Menominee also has a well-stocked Welcome Center to pick up literature on ALL of Michigan. We actually visited Menominee on our way home, also the last lighthouse we saw.

Menominee marker

 

Menominee Visitor Center

Menominee North Pier Light House

We arrived in Crivitz at about 7:30 PM. A long but fun day.

Michigan Light Houses


June 20, 21,22,23, 26, 2016

On this trip we saw many lighthouses since most of our destinations were located lakeside.  There are so many, we only saw a small sampling of them.

We begin with Ludington, the North Breakwater Lighthouse.

North Breakwater Lighthouse

Also the Big Sable Lighthouse, visible from the S.S. Badger Carferry.

Big Sable Light Station in Ludington

Manistee

Could not see it since it was wrapped for restoration work.

Manistee light house

Mackinac Island

Round Island Lighthouse

Round Island Lighthouse and sailboat IMG_0036

Round Island Light and rainbow

Round Island Passage Light Station

View of water from Windmere Point on Mackinac Island

Mackinaw City

McGulpin Point Lighthouse

McGulpin Point Light House in Mackinaw City

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

St. Helena Island Lighthouse

St. Helena Island Lighthouse in Michigan

Paradise

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum 

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum lighthouse

Menominee North Pier Lighthouse

Menominee North Pier Light House

 

We hope to see more on a future visit!

 

Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City


6-23-16

Headlands sign

Headlands International Dark Sky Park is one of the few Dark Sky certified sites in the United States.  If you can’t get here, this Light Pollution Map can help you find your local spot of darkness.  We just went to see it in the day on our visit.  It is open 24/7 365, free admission.  Donations are happily accepted!

Headlands Dark Sky Park entrance

Emmet County Self Guided Tour

Headlands Welcome sign

There are big things going on here, making this special park more accessible for workshops and events in the future.  We could not see the whole park due to the new Observatory under construction right now, a telescope will be housed there and rooms for groups to gather.

Headlands map

We walked down to the shore where the sky viewing is located.  To keep the skies dark, only red flashlights are allowed.  We got our red LED flashlights from Ebay.  Here is the Bortle Dark Sky Scale, the Headlands darkness levels can be found here.

red flashlightlight-pollution-levels_small

Now to the shoreline!

Dark Sky viewing by shore at Headlands

After passing though the gap in the trees, we see the new Observatory building under construction. I look forward to seeing it completed next year!

Headlands Telescope building in Mackinaw City

You can also see the St. Helena Island Lighthouse from here.

St. Helena Island Lighthouse in Michigan

A wider view of the shoreline, the water is so blue on this sunny day!

Dark sky viewing area in the daytime at Headlands

Even though we didn’t get back that night, it was worth the time to stop here.  A beautiful park any time of the year to visit.

McGulpin Point Lighthouse in Mackinaw City


6-23-16

McGulpin Point sign

McGulpin Point Light House in Mackinaw City

McGulpin Point Lighthouse has been a sentinel on the Straits since 1869 and was recently refurbished to continue the service.  Admission is free but donations gratefully accepted.

Lighthouse sign

This is a self-guided tour , the rooms are decorated with many historic items. This is the ground floor.

McGulpin Tour InfoMcGulpin tour QR code

Let’s take a look at the many rooms in the lighthouse.

McGulpin Lighthouse room 1

McGulpin Lighthouse room 2

McGulpin Lighthouse Room 3

Here is the attic level rooms.

Attic level map McGulpin Lighthouse

McGulpin Lighthouse small bedroom

Large Bedroom, now a room to view a video about the lighthouse.

Large Bedroom McGulpin Lighthouse

Now, lets go up into the light area of the tower, what a great view of the Straits and the Mighty Mack!  Also a panoramic view from all of the windows.

McGulpin Light House light

Panorama View from Lighthouse windows

You have to crawl through this small door to go outside to the Observation Deck, we did!

McGulpin Lighthouse small door

Just in time to watch the barge Lewis J. Kuber go under the bridge!

Lewis J. Kuber going by McGulpin Point

It was time to go down and take the trail through the woodland down to the shore. There were info boards along the way.

Ch-Sin trail at McGulpin

Chi-Sin trail display at McGulpin

McGulpin Family Life sign

Across from this display is a replica of a wellhead constructed by an Eagle Scout. Very impressive!

Wellhead sign at McGulpin

McGulpin Wellhead

Further down the trail, we learn more about John McAlpin.

John McAlpin sign

John McAlpin figure

Charles de Langlade was another significant person in this area.

Charles de Langlade sign

Chi-Sin trail

Nissowaquet at McGulpin

And the last display before reaching shore, life here 9000 years ago.

Native Americans at McGulpin  9000 years ago

Native Americans in the Streights

We are here!  What a great view, a lot going on this summer day.

GcGulpin point shoreline

You could see Mackinac Island and St. Ignace from here.

St. Ignace view from McGulpin

Mackinac Island view from McGulpin

The St. Helena Island Lighthouse was also visible across the Strait.

St. Helena Island Lighthouse in Michigan

Also this interesting structure I thought was another lighthouse. We found out the next day after we crossed that it was a lookout tower attraction, $1.00 admission as part of a souvenir store called Curio Fair.  Maybe we can stop there on our next visit.

St. Ignace Look Out Tower IMG_1754

Curio Fair in St. Ignace

What a good time and we learned a lot about the early history at this crucial  Straits of Mackinac Lighhouse.  Stop in if you can!

McGulpin Lighthouse back

 

Mackinaw City- Gateway to the Upper Peninsula and Mackinac Island


6-22, 23 and 24 – 2016

Mackinaw City sign-Mark Beaudry text

Mackinaw City Historical marker

On Day 2 of our trip, we headed to Mackinaw City to catch the Arnold ferry to Mackinac Island.  Our first view of the Mackinac Bridge really built up our excitement!  Residents and visitors alike LOVE their bridge and are not shy about showing it.  The Mackinac Bridge Authority, located in both Mackinaw City and St. Ignace, takes care of the bridge and the many people crossing it every day.  There is a $4.00 toll payable on the St. Ignace side, which helps pay for maintenance and professional drivers. They drive people across the bridge in bad conditions or if you have a fear of bridges.  Tune your radio to 530 or 1610 AM to hear a broadcast on bridge conditions.  If there are good conditions, you hear a welcoming message to the Upper Peninsula (U.P.).

First view of Mackinac Bridge text hearts

Enjoy this view of the bridge from  Michilimackinac State Park and hear the broadcast, a 4 min-33 sec. looped message.  A bonus, the freighter Joseph L. Block  goes under the bridge!

Michilimackinac State Park map

Michilimackinac State Park

Old Mackinac Point Light House is also at this park, admission charged if you go in, except if you just want to visit the gift shop.

Old Mackinac Point Light House marker

Old Mackinac Point Light House sign

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

Dinner at Hunt’s Mackinaw Pasty and Cookie Co., right across the street from our hotel on the 23rd. Delicious!

Hunt's Mackinaw Pastie and Cookie Co.

The next day dawned with a beautiful sunrise outside of our hotel, the Super 8 Beachfront.  After breakfast there we began our day of fun!

Super 8 Beachfront hotel in Mackinac City

Mackinaw City sunrise 6-24-16

Our first attraction was the Mackinaw Bridge Museum downtown, they opened at 8 AM.  This museum is quite large, you need at least an hour to explore it. Two videos are playing, showing the building of the bridge.  You can buy them both together for $30 for a great souvenir. Having a meal at Mama Mia’s Pizza sounds like a good pairing with a visit here too!

Mackinac Bridge Museum

Mackinaw Bridge Museum display

This museum is located in Mackinaw City’s main shopping district. To us it resembled Broadway Street in the Wisconsin Dells.  In the center of it all is Mackinaw Crossings. There you will also find their historic train depot, now a restaurant.

Mackinaw Crossings Shopping Center

Mackinaw City has a great many historical markers, more than we had time to see.  Some of them are interactive, there are audio clips to go with each marker.  It is part of the Mackinaw City Historical Pathway.  This is what the signs look like.

Mackinaw City Historical Pathway sign

From here we headed to McGulpin Point Lighthouse.   We even got to go up into the light part. It is open until Nov. 1.

McGulpin Point sign

McGulpin Point Light House in Mackinaw City

McGulpin Light House light

From the shore you could see the distant St. Helena Island lighthouse.

St. Helena Island Lighthouse in Michigan

If you like stargazing, the Headlands International Dark Sky Park is in nearby Emmett County.  We went in the daytime, it is open 24/7.

Headlands sign

We walked on the trail to the shore, from here you could see the new telescope building going up. It should be done by next summer!  This is where you look at the blackest sky possible.  If you wish to do some stargazing in your area, use this light pollution map as a guide.

Headlands Telescope building in Mackinaw City

It was lunch time, we headed to one of the city’s favorite places, Darrow’s Family Restaurant.  The Darrow family also were the Mackinac Bridge builders as well. It was pretty busy!

Darrow's Family Restaurant in Mackinaw City

We also paid a visit to Wawatam Park, named after a brave Indian Chief who lived in this area.  You can see Mackinac Island in the background behind the wood carving of the Chief. There is also a historical pathways sign here.

Wawatam Park in Mackinaw City

Wawatam Park Historical Pathways sign

We also went to the Gary R. Williams Memorial Park, where we got day and night pictures of the Mackinac Bridge.  A freighter passed under the bridge at night while we were there.

Mackinac Bridge from Gary Williams Memorial Park in Mackinaw City

Night freighter

We also enjoyed visiting the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum, a retired Coast Guard Ship.  What a great tour and view from the deck!  This was the last attraction we visited that day.

Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum in Mackinaw City

Two freighters passing in front of Mackinac Island!

Freighters passing each other

We finished our day with dinner at the Dixie Saloon, located at the endpoint of the famous Dixie Highway.  It follows most of the outline of Michigan. I have been near the beginning of this highway when I lived in Illinois. It passes through Chicago Heights.   The restaurant does not have free wi-fi, but you can pick up a signal from the nearby Shepler’s Ferry.

Dixie Saloon in Mackinaw City

Shepler's Ferry in Mackinac City

This rounds out our only full day in Mackinaw City. We had views of other attractions  we may get to on a future visit.

Mackinaw Parasailing

We saw great views of this from the shore, looks like fun!

Mackinaw Parasailing

Parasailing and Mac island

Colonial Michilimackinac

See what life was like in the fort in the 1700-1800’s, complete with cannons and muskets.  It is still an active archeological site too.

Colonial Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City

Heritage Village

Heritage Village in Mackinaw City

It was an enjoyable stay in Mackinaw City, we hope to go back again soon!