"Wisconsin-Happy Festival State", by Eve Phillips. My husband and I love to travel in the state of Wisconsin where we live and get great pictures on the way. My name is Laurie Kutil and photography has become a great passion of mine since 2010. One thing I have learned in researching each town before visiting it is that, "Every town has it's story". When I do uncover those stories by connecting with local residents, our experience becomes so much richer. In turn, sharing the stories with you brings me joy :)
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.
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.
You can even stay overnight here!
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.
Visibility was real good that day, this is the view from Google Maps of what you are seeing here.
A fishing trawler was also visible.
The light itself, impressive!
She even took a selfie with us afterwards, thanks!
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.
In here is a rescue surfboat on display, this model has enabled rescuers to save many lives.
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.
In this building is also a wood cut-out to take a picture with.
And now for the last building with many more shipwreck exhibits, and artifacts from the Edmund Fitzgerald.
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.
The real ship bell. You could not help but to feel sadness thinking of this brave crew and their sacrifice.
There were many other ships represented too along the wall on the right side of the room.
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.
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.
On the shore were three more for three of the crew men, resembling gravestones.
The summer shoreline is quiet and peaceful, the piles of driftwood showed the results of when conditions get rough.
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.
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.
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!
Let’s explore the businesses downtown while we are here. See all businesses listed in the Chamber of Commerce.
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.
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.).
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!
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.
The truck stop was great too, still glad we stopped there.
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.
We also drove by Castle Rock, we didn’t stop this time.
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.
They knew about the song “Cheeseburger in Paradise” song by Jimmy Buffett and took advantage of that by selling t-shirts. I got one!
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.
And now the Lower 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.
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.
We arrived in Crivitz at about 7:30 PM. A long but fun day.