For the last week we have been associating with Yoopers.  Voluntarily!  Seems that residents of Michigan’s U.P., or Upper Peninsula, are called Yoopers.  And very nice ‘ers they are.  We’ve enjoyed their beautiful environment.


Sand Point Lighthouse

Construction was started on Sand Point Lighthouse in 1864.  John Terry was appointed to be the light keeper, but he died just before the lighthouse was finished.  His wife, Mary, lit the lamp for the first time on May 13, 1868. (Happy Bday Lori!)  She ended up serving as the light keeper until 1886 when she died in a “mysterious fire” in the lighthouse.  Was it an accident?  Or was she murdered, the lighthouse robbed, and fire set to cover the deed? It was never discovered what really happened…

The lighthouse was shut down in 1939 when a new light was installed in the harbor.


The harbor at Sand Point was very peaceful.




Sunrise from our bedroom window:



Mackinac Island

This beautiful island is named for the reaction my Dad would have had here:
Mac – in – awe.  Sometimes it is spelled with a “w” as the last letter, most of the time with a “c”.  Usually the pronunciation is blamed on the Indians who lived here, but I think it more likely the French influence.  They seem to love lots of letters that they don’t bother to pronounce.

The trip to the island starts with loading our bikes onto a ferry, at a very nice terminal.

The ferry takes only about 15 minutes, and gives a nice view of the Mackinac Bridge.  Some of the ferries throw up a big “rooster tail” of water, looking to me like the most inefficiently trimmed jet boat ever.  I asked the captain of our ferry about that… He said they have a third diesel engine just to pump water up and out the back like that – just for show.  Make the kiddies happy!  They are powered with two diesels running huge props.



The most prestigious lodging on the island is the Grand Hotel:


The island is unique in that no cars are allowed.  Transportation is by bicycle or horse drawn carriages.  Or of course, you can use your feet.  The architecture is elegant, the scenery gorgeous… just watch out on the street for all the exhaust from the horse drawn vehicles!

There must be 500 shops selling fudge!



The bike trails are plentiful and plenty pretty.  Sometimes a bit challenging to avoid horse exhaust…


A stone arch makes for a nice framed ocean view:


Sugar Loaf Rock stands all alone it its clearing, much larger than it appears in the photo:


From the lookout you can see it rising far above the treeline.


While at the lookout, a pair of Bald Eagles flew right by us!  Magnificent!



The main fort on the island is Fort Mackinac (Who’d have guessed?) which is NOT pictured here.  This is Fort Holmes, up above the much larger fort, and on the highest point of the island.  This is a re-creation, but very interesting to note construction techniques and a great place to eat lunch!




We have a photo (somewhere) of both of our lovely daughters on this cannon, taken many years ago.  Sorry they couldn’t be here this time!


Here’s the Arch Rock from sea level:



Everything is so well manicured, it’s hard to tell the golf courses from the hotel lawns.



Three Churches

The first is the evangelical protestant Mission Church.  Built in 1829, it hosted very simple worship services, in a very modest interior with enclosed pews.




In marked contrast to the Mission Church is the Saint Anne’s Church.  This Catholic congregation got started on the island in 1670.  It later moved to the mainland in St. Ignace, and later again moved to what is now Mackinac City.  The first church dedicated to Saint Anne was built in 1742.  In 1780 the building was moved across the ice to the island, near the fort, and then later moved to this site.  This church structure was built in 1874.  I can’t believe all the moving!!  And you will notice this is far more ornate, with fancy woodwork and impressive stained glass windows.IMG_1860


The third church I’m featuring here is the “Little Stone” Church.  It was built by the Union Congregational Church in 1904, and 10 years later they added hand painted stained glass windows.  These have almost photo-like images for the faces, and the scenes depict the progress of the protestant movement on the island.





The Grand Hotel

If you are privileged to stay at the Grand, you must arrive in a classy carriage.


These two seemed dressed appropriately, (I’m pretty sure they worked there) but the fascination with the cell phones somewhat ruined the effect.



There were hundreds of butterflies in the flower gardens… so I shot a few.



Before we left, we had to get something at what is billed as America’s Oldest Grocery Store.  I’m not sure how they have decided this.  Maybe they sell the oldest groceries??



Ste. Anne’s from the water:



A little lighthouse guarding the harbor entrance:




Back home



In a park Gladstone, MI, is this interesting collection of concrete figures, made around 1910, to honor the Indians who were there first.  They are life sized, and remarkably colorful.


The park in Gladstone



We’ve heard many times that Lake Michigan is very high right now.  We’ve seen docks either underwater, or floating way off kilter, but this playground was the most striking evidence we’ve seen so far!



Another sign (literally) is this rock.  “Chi-Sin” or “Big Rock” sits near the shore as a water level indicator.  I include this sign here to show how it is usually far out of the water…


And here it is today… the one on the left.  Under a fair bit of water.




McGulpin Point Lighthouse

… was closed.  So you don’t have to read a lot of history about it.




So now we have moved our home to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.  Talk about funny pronunciations… “Sault” is pronounced “Sioux”.  Does that help?  Or “Sue” if you’re not French. Or “Sue” if you’re a lawyer.

Anyway, “Sault” means “Rapids”, so the name is really “Saint Mary’s Rapids”.  The rapids have been augmented by a series of locks, so the resulting channel is a huge shipping route from Lake Superior to Lake Huron, and eventually out to the Atlantic.  [The locks are called the “Soo Locks”, just to further complicate things!]

The St. Mary’s river forms the border between the USA and Canada.  A walk along the Canadian shore in the evening was fascinating, both in the beautiful colors present and the interesting swirling of the water coming from the locks.






  1. I learned a couple months ago from my Yooper friend that those who live in Southern Michigan (below the Bridge) are called Trolls. I asked my best friend about that and she groaned. Lol

    You know, enclosed pews would be awesome for toddlers in church……. 😉

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