Saturday, September 24, 2016

St Ignace and Petoskey, Michigan

We left Wisconsin and headed to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  As soon as we got into the U.P. we started seeing the signs.

The people of Upper Peninsula Michigan call themselves 'Yoopers'.  I wondered why that was until I realized that they didn't care to be called 'Uppers'.

We stopped at a small town called Gladstone to spend the night on our way to St Ignace.

The drive to the U.P.  followed the northern tip of Lake Michigan and there were continual views of the water. 

Arriving at St Ignace we saw the Mackinac Straits Bridge connecting the two peninsulas of Michigan.
We had one main reason for stopping two nights in St Ignace.  We wanted to purchase a supply of pasties. The pasty was introduced into the Lake Superior region during the 1800's by Cornish miners.  The miners were originally called 'Cousins' or 'Union Jacks' because of their English origin but the term quickly became  'Cousin Jacks' and their wives were called 'Cousin Jennies'.  Back in Cornwell the wives baked pasties in the morning, rolled them in their aprons, and hurried to the mine shafts so their husbands and sons could receive a hot noon meal.

The pasty consists of economical roast beef, potatoes, onions, rutabaga, and carrot seasoned and wrapped in a crust and baked.  Today, you can also purchase chicken pasty or vegetarian pasty.  The Captain had pasties when he grew up in Montana but I had never heard of them until I met him and had a pasty one year while we visited his family in Helena.  The Captain always puts gravy and catsup on his pasty which didn't appeal to me until I tried it.  Pasties are made on the dry side so a gravy is really necessary. Adding some catsup gives it a special zing.

Well now that was the easy part.  The hard part (for me) was the pronunciation of the word pasty.  I would call it a pasty (long i) and the Captain would correct me and say it was a pasty (short i).  This went on for several days on our drive to the U.P. and finally, in exasperation, the Captain told me a pasty (long i) is what a young woman would wear while a pasty (short i) is something you eat. Hmm.......that could certainly make me wonder about his prior conquests.  However, when we arrived in St Ignace we found a wonderful shop that was selling pasties and had a perfect way to help me understand the correct pronunciation.

What a great way to remember what to call them.   
We had pasties that night for dinner and they were delicious.  Before leaving St Ignace we purchased several dozen and placed them in our extra freezer in the rig.  Now we can enjoy them over the winter months.
Our stay in St Ignace was right on the water

As we left the area crossing over the Mackinac Strait Bridge we saw these people lining up.  They were having a parade that day which would cross over the bridge and close some of the lanes.  We luckily made it over before the festivities began.

Driving over the Mackinac bridge.  One side of the bridge is Lake Michigan and the other side is Lake Huron.

A barge slowly moving through the water.
Two years ago we spent one day in downtown Petoskey and enjoyed the area.  That is where I purchased my jewelry made with Petoskey stone.  The stone can only be found in lower portions of Michigan.  When dry, the stone resembles ordinary limestone but when wet or polished the distinctive mottled pattern of the six-sided coral fossil emerges.  I already had earrings and two necklaces but I needed a bracelet to go along with it thus another good reason to stop in Petoskey.

We had planned on staying at a county park in Petoskey but were not able to confirm they could take a 42 ft rig so we upgraded to this resort park.

A very fancy entranceway to the  RV resort.
And a beautiful view from our from window.

Before we toured the town we had to exercise the pups.  Lucy, going on nine, is getting to be very laid-back but Desi is still a maniac and needs to get out and run.  We found a great park in town where they could run and play.

The last time we were in Petoskey we went to a farmers market and found a vendor selling mushrooms.  We bought some and they were great so we decided to stop there on this trip.  On our walk with the pups we did notice this potential meal.   Question is, are they safe and since we didn't know we left them alone and chose to visit the vendor again. 

I've said this before but it bears repeating.  The waters of Lake Michigan are absolutely beautiful.  On the license plates for vehicles in Michigan it says 'Pure Michigan'.  I can see why they are so proud of their lake.  Every single place we've stayed in the state has had the most beautiful clean water.  

The pups like it, too.

Desi has trouble seeing items to fetch in the water because he is going blind.  We've found large sticks or colorful objects help him to be a real retriever.  What a happy boy!

A view of  Little Traverse Bay  in Petoskey.  It's not as little as the name says.
Throughout the area there are 26 miles of bike trails.  From where we stayed it was a five mile bike ride into downtown Petoskey.  The weather was perfect and many people were on the trails.

Petoskey is a very wealthy resort town.  This side of it we never saw two years ago.  What a fun place to explore.

The Cliffs of Petoskey.

And the beautiful water.

We stopped at the farmers market and purchased some mushrooms from the same people who were there two years ago.  This type is called a Chanterelle mushroom. 

And this one is called Chicken of the Woods.  When cooked properly it tastes just like you were eating chicken.  The Captain made a dish with the mushroom, some other vegetables, and rice and it was wonderful.  

Of course we also stopped in the area to check out some of the wineries.  We went to this one with the dogs and had a great lunch out on the veranda.

As we entered the property we noticed the vines were covered with a type of mesh.  They told us this was to keep the birds  and the raccoons off the vine crops.  Michigan is the first state we have ever seen with their vineyards covered.  Almost looks like something from a sci-fi movie.

Since fall was on the way, especially up here, there were lots of pumpkins and mum plants for sale.

Now that is an incentive to behave.

Spooky Halloween designs.

Because it was a farm they had many other crops and farm animals around.

The Captain bringing the pups up to the outside eating area while I waited for the wine :)

Growing along the latticework is hops they use with the beer they produce.

During lunch the waiter told us about the squash toss.  This is where you purchase a bucket of  squash or potatoes (I'm assuming they are past their prime) and load them into a really big slingshot to flick them into a field where the sheep and goats race to get them. 

The pigs didn't get included in the game.

Here's an observant goat.

The rest haven't noticed us yet.
The Captain went first.  The veggies flew into the pen and the stampede began.  Well, maybe not a stampede.  A few of the goats hustled over for the food while the sheep kind of meandered.

The Captain went a few times and then it was my turn.  The slingshot was hard to pull tight so I had to really work at it.

"Pull harder",  the Captain yelled, so I did and then let go.  What he didn't tell me was that I would go flying the other way after I let go and land right on my butt. What an embarrassment!  The only good thing was that some other people were watching  and they gave me a '10' for effort so that made me feel a little better.  Luckily, for me, the Captain's camera was still focused on the sheep! 
We took a drive through an area called the Tunnel of Trees.

Very pretty and cooling on a hot day. 

While in the Petoskey area we also saw some local artwork.  

Different .

Also saw this flock of wild turkeys while driving. 

We visited some other local towns and ended up in Boyne City.  Another farmers market was in progress so we stopped in.  The Captain liked the name of this vendor's product so we bought a couple.  Since it was near the end of the market time he gave us two more for free just 'cause the Captain complimented the name of his business.   They were quite good.  Wish we had bought more.  

Boyce City is another boating town near Lake Michigan but is on the bottom end of Lake Charlesvoix.  

Lots of shops and artwork.

The next day we drove to the town of Lake Charlesvoix and this one became another favorite for us. Boats from Lake Michigan can access the town through a canal into Round Lake which is basically a boat harbor connected to Lake Charlesvoix.  It is a fun town with many shops, restaurants, and art places but is also very laid-back and dog friendly.

The canal from Lake Michigan where boats can enter the harbor area.

The bridge raises every half hour to allow boats into or out of the harbor.

Since this is the main street through the town, all the traffic stops until the boats pass through.

Restaurants and hotels are along the canal.
On the other side of the bridge is Round Lake and the entrance into Lake Charlesvoix.

We had a great time walking around the town exploring everything but the Captain had also heard about something called Hobbit Houses in this town so we took a drive out to see them.  Earl Young was a young man who spent his first year at the University of Michigan studying architecture.  After a year he returned home to build houses the way he thought they should look and today the buildings are known as gnome houses, mushroom houses or Hobbit houses.  He worked mostly in limestone and fieldstone he found throughout Michigan.   

He was difficult to deal with because he never made blueprints and workers were lucky to get a rough sketch that was often refined by his wife.  

Notice the roof lines are always wavy and the chimneys unique.

He was an on-the-spot designer who said the stones spoke to him. When asked which was his favorite he always answered, "The next one".

Over 50 of these homes were built in his lifetime and all are still privately owned today.

When we travel we like to find new pieces of artwork to add to our home.  We decided to check out this gallery outside of Charlesvoix.

There were three buildings and one of them was the Hilton School built in 1878.

The lawn had all types of unique pieces.

Most of the outdoor pieces were made of metal.

Artwork  was everywhere.
Inside was a treasure chest of beautiful pieces.  We spent a long time looking and one of the items we picked was a mirror with a leaf design around it.  We are hoping it will go well in our living room at home but, if not, we will find another place for it in the house.

This piece is called a grape leaf wreath mirror made from stainless steel reacting to extreme heat.  The leaves look like they are in different stages of fall colors.  

Well that about takes care of our trip in this part of Michigan.  We are heading further south to the Leelanau Peninsula which is on the Grand Traverse Bay.

Leaving the area we caught this quick picture of a local eating establishment in one of the towns.  Sounds kind of insulting to the patrons of the place but it was busy so I guess they didn't mind.  Sorry the shot is so blurry.  Peace!

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