Michigan’s Upper Peninsula: Four Days in Ontonagon County and Lake Superior

Photo by Elizabeth Granger

Remote - and definitely worth the drive

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Plan to arrive between 4 and 6 p.m. to check in to the Mountain View Lodges in Silver City, Mich. Have dinner with you – perhaps something simple like hot dogs. The cooking choices at your cabin are numerous: stove and microwave inside, grill on the deck outside. But this is the U.P. This is on the shore of Lake Superior. This is your vacation! And the fire pit beckons. Firewood is for sale just about everywhere,

No food with you? Choose the AmericInn in Silver City or the Curbside Kitchen. Choose carry-out if this is your first day here.

Ontonogan County: Day 2

Have breakfast at your cabin. Drive a couple miles west to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. There is an entrance fee.

Make the Visitor Center your first stop. Wander through the gallery, then get maps and info from the rangers. Ask them to help you map out a course for your day.

For sure, go to Lake of the Clouds. If you’re not hiking, you can drive to the overlook and walk a very short distance to get to the bluffs above the lake. The wood walkway is handicapped-accessible.

If you’re hiking, have water and perhaps some energy bars or jerky with you.

If you’re not hiking for the day, stop at your cabin after seeing Lake of the Clouds to freshen up and have lunch. Get out on the water in one of Mountain View’s kayaks. Then check out the souvenir items at Silver City Gifts (Wilderness Adventure & Supplies), across the road and a bit east of Mountain View.

Or check out Lake Gogebic.

For dinner, stop at the Curbside Kitchen, the food truck in the owners’ front yard on the eastern outskirts of Silver City on Hwy 64.  Did you bring lots of marshmallows? Skip the chocolate bar and graham crackers; toasted marshmallows are an Up North staple. And if you burn them, they’re still marvelous.

Ontonagon County: Day 3

Have breakfast at your cabin again, but save room for sweets. Head east to Ontonagon for the day – it’s about a 15-minute drive – and stop first at Syl’s Cafe for bakery items. No. 1 choice for locals: custard-filled bismarks. There’s a full-menu restaurant, so if you raced off without eating, fuel up here with a late breakfast or early lunch.

Then check out the Ontonagon Historical Museum, which will lead to a tour of the Ontonagon Harbor Lighthouse.

Stop to browse through the Nonesuch Gallery for souvenirs that include magnificently-crafted items made by the owners. Then walk about a block toward the river to the Gitche Gumee Landing gift shop with unique items different than those in Nonesuch.

Drive back to your cabin to get ready for dinner at Konteka in White Pine.

Ontonagon County: Day 4

Another breakfast at the cabin. Take a lunch with you. You’ll be heading east again today, but past Ontonagon. First stop: Old Victoria. You’ll find a handful of restored cabins and an interpreter to welcome you to a deserted copper mining village. When you’ve finished the tour, drive about half a mile farther to Victoria Dam and Reservoir.

The afternoon takes you to Adventure Mine in Greenland, an abandoned copper mine now open to the public.

Have dinner at Henry’s Inn in Rockland, or return home for  your last evening on the Big Lake.

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