Category Archives: Historical

Forest Service Celebrates the 150th Anniversary of the Peninsula Point Lighthouse!

 Peninsula Point Lighthouse, a historic site within the Hiawatha National Forest, is a great destination for the entire family to explore. Located at the tip of Lake Michigan’s Stonington Peninsula, you’ll find limestone shorelines yielding 500 million year old fossils to comb, more than 200 different species of birds to identify, droves of late summer monarch butterflies on the move, and – of course – great picnicking opportunities. The lighthouse is open to public viewing and offer’s spectacular panoramic vistas of Lake Michigan.

The Blue Water Ramblers, a folk music band that has been performing around the Great Lakes region for over 30 years, will be performing at the 150th Anniversary celebration of the Peninsula Point Lighthouse on Saturday, August 18th.  They will offer two hour-long maritime performances:  one at 1:00 and a second at 3:00.

The Blue Water Ramblers, a folk music band that has been performing around the Great Lakes region for over 30 years, will be performing at the 150th Anniversary celebration of the Peninsula Point Lighthouse on Saturday, August 18th. They will offer two hour-long maritime performances: one at 1:00 and a second at 3:00.

In addition to the usual fun at Peninsula Point, the Hiawatha National Forest will be offering extra incentives for visitation on July 18th during a 150th anniversary event!  Enjoy Great Lakes folk music celebrating this region’s rich cultural heritage by the Blue Water Ramblers and join Forest Service staff as they bring to life the Point’s natural and historical resources through engaging and interactive programs.  The entire event is free to the public.

 The celebration begins at 1:00pm on July 18th and festivities continue until approximately 4:30pm.  Folks are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets. 

 

This file photo shows what the Peninsula Point Lighthouse looked like prior to the 1959 fire that burned the attached lighthouse keeper’s dwelling.  Now all that remains of the lighthouse is the brick tower.  The Forest Service will be celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the lighthouse on Saturday, July 18th from 1 to 4:00 PM.

This file photo shows what the Peninsula Point Lighthouse looked like prior to the 1959 fire that burned the attached lighthouse keeper’s dwelling. Now all that remains of the lighthouse is the brick tower. The Forest Service will be celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the lighthouse on Saturday, July 18th from 1 to 4:00 PM.

From 1866 until 1936 the Peninsula Point Lighthouse served a critical role in safely bringing in ships teeming with fish, lumber, iron ore and other products to the communities of Escanaba, Gladstone, Fayette and Nahma. In 1937 the United States Forest Service was granted custodianship of Peninsula Point Lighthouse and shortly following, the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed picnic grounds on site for public use. Thanks to many dedicated individuals and user groups the Peninsula Point Lighthouse stands today as a monument to this region’s steadfastness and tenacious ability to overcome adversity.

The 40 foot brick tower is all that remains of the Peninsula Point lighthouse today.  Visitors are welcome to climb the spiral staircase to the top of the tower to take in the panoramic view of Lake Michigan. Be sure to bring your camera and a picnic lunch!  The Forest Service will be celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the lighthouse on Saturday, July 18th from 1 to 4:00 PM.

The 40 foot brick tower is all that remains of the Peninsula Point lighthouse today. Visitors are welcome to climb the spiral staircase to the top of the tower to take in the panoramic view of Lake Michigan. Be sure to bring your camera and a picnic lunch! The Forest Service will be celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the lighthouse on Saturday, July 18th from 1 to 4:00 PM.

To get to Peninsula Point from Rapid River drive 2.4 miles east on US-2 to County Road 513 turn right (southwest) on CR 513 and drive 17 miles to the RV parking lot. Please note that the last 0.8 mile road to the lighthouse is single lane, narrow and winding, and is NOT recommended for recreational vehicles or trailers over 16 feet long or 8 feet high. Pull-offs have been provided in case you meet on-coming traffic. A parking area for larger vehicles can be found at the beginning of the final mile of road, and folks are welcome to walk the interpretive trail to the lighthouse or walk the road.

For additional information, please contact Anne Okonek at the Forest Service office in Rapid River at 906-280-4135.

 

Leigh’s Garden Winery: A “Fruitful” Endeavor in the U.P.’s “Banana Belt”

A Taste of Bay de Noc Red, a sweet-wine produced by Leigh's Garden Winery at the Escanaba, MI winery.

A Taste of Bay de Noc Red, a sweet-wine produced by Leigh’s Garden Winery at the Escanaba, MI winery.

Who would have thought that Delta County could be a great place to produce international award-winning wines? Leigh Schmidt did. Well, at least he had a hunch that the area could be. In 2009, he opened Leigh’s Garden Winery in downtown Escanaba and each year has proven more fruitful than the last.

Leigh learned a bit about wine-making as a home-winemaker several years before retirement and planted his first cold climate grape vines in his backyard at his Escanaba home. Wanting to find vines that would survive in a climate like the U.P., he stumbled across the Minnesota Grape Grower Association and after several years of learning about the cold climate grapes being hybridized by the University of Minnesota, he planted a small vineyard in south Bark River on property leased in 2006.

After three years of caring and pruning and growing the grapes, his colleagues at the Minnesota Grape Growers Association pressured him to get started with the wine-making. By this time he was retired and could spend time in this “hobby”, not expecting half of what it has become today. Encouraged by community support and a fool-hardy stupidity, he invested in an historic building downtown which featured a bar as part of the tasting room and an empty cellar which became the winery production location. He established contact with two growers who were also growing Univ. of Minnesota hybrids and would supply him with quality grapes. He decided to take a leap of faith and made the move forward, not knowing the reception the winery would get, nor if it would endure through the very tight years of 2008 and beyond.

As word about the locally-made wines spread by word of mouth and some very limited advertisement, Leigh grew from 400 gallons the first year to 1,100 gallons in 2014. Leigh’s Garden Winery is now able to provide wine on a yearly basis to our local customers and the many tourists they see annually.They have also become a sort of information center about Escanaba’s downtown area, which he refers to as Old Escanaba. “We do our best to not only serve customers a taste of wine, but also project the friendly side of Escanaba.” says Leigh.

Leigh's Garden Winery offers Award Winning Wines in their Escanaba, MI Tasting Room.

Leigh’s Garden Winery offers Award Winning Wines in their Escanaba, MI Tasting Room.

In 2014, Leigh entered 5 of his wines in an international competition at the Cold Climate Grape Competition held in Minneapolis, MN and brought home 5 medals; three bronze, one silver and one gold.

Leigh and his staff offer approximately 15 varieties at the start of their season, which is April annually. They carry wines that are sweet, semi-sweet, and dry in both red and white varieties, trying to provide for the variety in taste of customers. They also feature some associated products and souvenirs, but let’s face it, people go to the winery for wine. When visiting the winery guests (21 years of age & older) receive two complimentary tastes of wine, or they can purchase a Leigh’s Garden Winery souvenir glass with 6 tastes. They offer this because they think customers should be able to taste a wine before they purchase it. Leigh is always quick to remind customers that his wines are made in very limited quantities and sell out in short periods of time, or over the course of the year.

Their home at 904 Ludington Street has been upgraded with some minor changes during winter months making the setting more appealing, relaxing and enjoyable to customers. The building they are housed in went up in 1881 and has some features related to the era. The bar, was added to the building in 1972, when Marlys Thone purchased it from King’s Bar once located a bit further up Ludington Street.

Customers enjoying a taste of wine at Leigh's Garden Winery

Customers enjoying a taste of wine at Leigh’s Garden Winery.

Leigh’s favorite part of what he does is the people that come through the door, locals and tourists. “They come in not knowing what to expect or having a preconceived notion of small mid-west wineries, and we just knock that out of their heads with our wines, our service and our friendliness. But you can find this all through downtown, friendly owners who work their shops, attend to and appreciate their customers, engage you in conversation, and are involved in their community. I know this sounds like an advertisement, but it is such a great place to do business, that once someone finds us, they come back.”

When Leigh isn’t busy serving customers his wines, he keeps busy tending the wines in the cellar or the vines in the vineyard, picking the grapes in season, and spending time with family and friends. Leigh has lived in Escanaba for over 40 years after moving here from Cleveland, Ohio and marrying “a local girl” as he says. Connie Bichler and Leigh met at NMU, and her first job as an elementary teacher for the Escanaba Area Schools brought them back to her hometown, Escanaba. He took a job with the Delta-Schoolcraft ISD. They raised two children, Emily and Soren in Escanaba and retired together about 11 years ago. Leigh says his connection to the Escanaba area grew stronger with each year as he learned to appreciate the people, the slower pace of life that was so different than a large city and the joy of nature here.

Leigh Schmidt, The Wine Maker in the Vineyard

Leigh Schmidt, The Wine Maker in the Vineyard

To learn more about Leigh’s Garden Winery, stop into the tasting room and chat with Leigh yourself. If you aren’t able to do get to the winery in-person, head over to their Facebook page where updates about winery happenings are posted on the regular.

– Written by Escanaba resident Carrie Bartel.

The Nahma Inn: Quaint, Comfortable, and (Maybe) Haunted

If you’re traveling between Manistique and Escanaba, along the shores of Big Bay de Noc, do yourself a favor and check out the historic little town of Nahma. Founded by a lumber company in the late 19th century, the town was a prosperous forestry hub for a generation or two. Eventually, it earned the dubious distinction of being one of the few American municipalities to be put up for sale in its entirety.

Nahma isn’t on the chopping block anymore. Today, it’s a quaint section of eastern Delta County and a reminder that nothing is permanent. It’s also home to one of the Upper Peninsula’s most interesting lodgings — the Nahma Inn.

What’s the Nahma Inn All About?

The Nahma Inn is located within easy reach of Big Bay de Noc. It’s open year-round, so keep it in mind if you’re heading our way for your next winter getaway. Though it was constructed in 1909, it has been refurbished since then, and it perfectly balances historic, rustic charm with the modern conveniences that you’d expect from a full-service inn. It’s also the gateway to the town of Nahma, which is among the best-preserved “company towns” — other examples include Alberta, Michigan, between L’Anse and Covington — in the Upper Midwest. For the inn’s guests, an on-site restaurant and performance space offers the chance to unwind and be entertained.

Haunted, or…?

There are plenty of historic lodging facilities scattered about the Upper Midwest, but the Nahma Inn has another claim to fame: It may or may not have a haunted room on the premises. According to legend, the ghost of Nell Fleming — the sweetheart of the local lumber company’s founder — lives in the aptly named “Nell’s Room” suite. Previous guests have reported strange happenings around the property, from rearranged furniture in Nell’s Room to broken dishes in the kitchen. If you’re brave enough to stay in Nell’s Room, you’ll have to let us know if you see her!

Accommodations and Amenities

The Nahma Inn is a great home base for exploring the Garden Peninsula and the shores of Big Bay de Noc. In the winter, check out Wilderness Trail Outfitters, a local company that specializes in dogsled adventures. Self-serve snowmobile trails abound here as well. When it’s warmer, the nearby Upper Peninsula Golf & Lake Resort and the Nahma Golf Course offer two challenging opportunities for visiting golfers. Down the Garden Peninsula, the abandoned town of Fayette stands in eerie splendor on the lakeshore. Kitch-iti-kipi (Big Spring), the state’s largest freshwater spring, is popular with visitors throughout the year.

Closer to the inn, the Bay de Noc Dining Room and Arrow Lounge can satiate your hunger and thirst without necessitating a drive to Manistique, Escanaba or Gladstone. In the summer, they’re open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. Winter hours are a bit more constrained, but you should still be able to grab a bite or drink Wednesdays through Sundays. The Arrow Lounge has regular entertainment, too, with local musical acts and performers keeping things lively. The space is pretty big, so it’s a legitimate choice for weddings, rehearsals, anniversary parties and more!

And if it’s warm out, don’t hesitate to venture down to Nahma’s sandy beach. The protected waters of the bay are warm enough for adventurous swimmers from June through September, and it’s hard to beat the open-water and shoreline views you’ll get on clear days.

So what are you waiting for? Book your next Delta County vacation at the Nahma Inn!

Ludington Park: The Crown Jewel of Escanaba’s Park System

From the intersection of U.S. 2 at the edge of downtown Escanaba, the view down Ludington Street is an impressive one. Have you ever gazed out that way and wondered how Ludington Street got its name (it’s more than a hundred miles across the lake from the lower Michigan town of the same name, after all)? Or, for that matter, what lies at the far edge of your view?

The answer to both of those questions – sort of – is Ludington Park, one of Escanaba’s most popular outdoor attractions. Let’s discover why this gem needs to be high on your list of things to see on your next visit to Escanaba.

Ludington Park: Location and Layout

Located at the eastern end of Ludington Street, on the beautiful waterfront of Little Bay de Noc, Ludington Park draws hundreds of visitors on nice days (and a fair number on gloomy, cold ones, too). The park actually stretches a long ways down the shoreline, angling back to the southwest and encompassing a beautiful series of inlets. It’s also within spitting distance of the Sand Point Lighthouse and Delta County Historical Society, two popular attractions for Delta County visitors. So if you’re sick of walking (or snowshoeing) along the waterfront with the breeze in your hair – or if that breeze is driving sleet or snow into your face – you can certainly take shelter in some interesting indoor spaces here.

During the warm season, you can take advantage of plenty of outdoor facilities here too. From the basketball, tennis and volleyball courts to the boat-friendly confines of the nearby harbor (complete with Escanaba’s main marina), it can take hours to exhaust your options. A beach and wading pool offers swimming opportunities for folks of all ages and skill levels. And during the cool season, a hockey and skating rink caters to fans of true U.P. sports.

Special Events and Attractions

But the real highlights of Ludington Park are the scheduled events that enliven the place throughout the warm season. During the summer, Blues for a Cause sponsors Monday evening (7 to 9 pm) music shows that attract such luminaries as the Madison Avenue horn/rhythm band and the Cadillacs classic rock band. Meanwhile, the Escanaba City Band plays at the Karas Band Shell on weekday summer evenings (the rain date is Thursday). Bigger events occasionally come to the park as well, with the city offering a speedy event application process.

Visit Ludington Park Soon!

In Delta County, nature and history collide. And you don’t have to travel far off the beaten path to see both in the same location. At Ludington Park, you’ll find something to keep the whole family busy – and more than enough to keep you coming back a second and third time.

5 Things to Do in Escanaba in the Rain

Locals occasionally refer to parts of Delta County as the U.P.’s “Banana Belt,” due to a slightly longer growing season and somewhat milder climate. It’s true that the highlands of Marquette County are a bit colder, on average, than this part of the Upper Peninsula. But that doesn’t mean Escanaba is a tropical paradise. The weather here is just as changeable and unpredictable as in other parts of the region.

In the summer, that means that rainy days can strike at any time. Instead of hiding under the covers in your hotel room or cabin, use these dreary periods to discover slices of Escanaba and Delta County that you might otherwise have missed. We’ve collected five suggestions here.

1. Relive History at the Sand Point Lighthouse

The Sand Point Lighthouse is one of the oldest and most historically significant structures in all of Delta County, and it’s right in Escanaba’s own backyard. First opened in 1868, it provided a much-needed beacon for sailors in the Bays de Noc region until 1939, when it was decommissioned and replaced by a more modern system. The station was converted into a U.S. Coast Guard outpost, complete with a residence for the commanding officer on site. Though no one has lived there since 1985, the residence remains in pristine condition. Visitors are welcome to look through the grounds, the entirety of which have been lovingly restored to their former glory. You can even arrange tours, including for bus groups, by calling (906) 789-6790.

2. Enjoy a Leisurely Meal at a Fine Restaurant

Escanaba is one of the Upper Peninsula’s premier dining destinations. Many of its finest restaurants are clusted along Ludington Street in the central business district. If you’re in the mood for a burger and a beer, Hereford & Hops should be high on your list. For innovative Italian fare in a spacious location that can easily accommodate groups, try Pacino’s. And if you’re in the market for an incomparable fine dining experience, perhaps to celebrate a birthday, career milestone, or engagement, Stonehouse will charm and amaze your entire party.

3. Spend Some Time at the Delta County Historical Museum

Like Sand Point Lighthouse, the Delta County Historical Museum is operated by the Delta County Historical Society and contains some of the region’s most significant artifacts. Housed in a former radio station, it has been educating locals and tourists alike since 1956. Admission costs just $3 for adults, $1 for kids, or $5 for the whole family. Although there’s an extensive permanent collection, including a separate Delta County Archives with thousands of documents and artifacts from the past 150 years, you might be lucky enough to come when there’s a special exhibit on display.

4. Visit the William Bonifas Fine Art Center

Speaking of special exhibits, the William Bonifas Fine Art Center houses some of the most innovative arts and history displays in the region. The place does a good job of blending the two disciplines, showcasing historical art, folk art, and craft artifacts firmly rooted in the culture of the Upper Peninsula. After all, one of the best ways to learn about the past is to study what its people wore, wrote and believed. It’s open Tuesdays through Saturdays, year-round.

5. Catch a Flick at Willow Creek

What better way to pass a rainy afternoon than to cuddle up with your significant other and catch up on recent releases at Willow Creek Cinemas 8. Run by the Thomas Theater Group, a homegrown exhibition company, this theater has everything you’d expect from a modern movie house. Grab a box of popcorn and take advantage of matinee discounts to see your favorite stars of the big screen in action! Showtimes vary, so check the theater’s website before showing up.

Don’t worry: There’s plenty more to do on Escanaba’s gloomy days. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and we’re happy to point you to other ideas once you’ve exhausted the options on this list. We’re also looking forward to seeing you in Delta County real soon – rain or shine!

William Bonifas Fine Art Center: A “Friendly Spot” for the Whole Family

The arts are alive and well in Escanaba, thanks in no small part to the William Bonifas Fine Art Center. Does the name sound a little intimidating? Rest assured, you don’t have to be a highbrow art critic to get the most out of this cozy facility near the center of the city. In fact, Bonifas bills itself as a “friendly place” that “exists to enhance and inspire the cultural and creative lives of the people of the central Upper Peninsula.” And, of course, visitors to the central Upper Peninsula.

History and Mission

Bonifas has been committed to artistic excellence for more than four decades. Founded in 1974 by a partnership that included Players de Noc and the Bay Area Arts Association, the center takes its name from “Big Bill” Bonifas, a Luxembourgian emigre who made a fortune in the Upper Peninsula’s lumber industry during the closing years of the 19th century. His wife, Catherine, was one of the region’s biggest patrons of the arts and education, donating untold thousands of dollars to the St. Joseph’s School and other local institutions.

When St. Joseph’s closed, the imposing auditorium structure that Catherine financed was chosen as the new home for the Bonifas Center. Naming it in her honor was a foregone conclusion.

Bonifas started out modestly but has since expanded to fill much of the structure. In addition to two floors of gallery space, there are dedicated studio spaces for local visual artists, potters, multimedia specialists, and other talented types. There’s even a theater for special film showings. In recent years, the museum has added an elevator to provide unmitigated handicapped access to the upper level.

Exhibits

As is its prerogative, Bonifas focuses more on marquee exhibitions than on building a permanent collection. Many of these exhibits focus on matters of interest to residents of the Upper Peninsula. For instance, the star attraction of the moment – running from June 26 through August 7 – is “Selling Nahma,” the inspiring story of a company town that was put up for sale in a last-ditch effort to save it from oblivion. The gambit worked, and Nahma avoided the “ghost town” fate of so many similar settlements.

“Selling Nahma” opened with a banjo-infused musical performance on June 26 and will feature weekly lunchtime presentations on various aspects of Nahma’s story. A companion exhibit will show artifacts, photos and oral histories from Nahma as it is today, including contributions from some of the area’s residents.

Special Events and Classes

The William Bonifas Fine Art Center isn’t just about the visual arts – far from it. The place puts on a regular schedule of classes, some of which have nothing to do with painting, drawing or sculpture. The Ashtanga Yoga classes, each of which run for the duration of a monnth, are a huge hit, as are the center’s “Studio Safari” offerings.

The center’s events are another big draw. In addition to the weekly “Selling Nahma” events, you can look forward to the Waterfront Art Festival on Escanaba’s beautiful waterfront in early August, the Holiday Art Fair in early November, and a cabaret extravaganza during the second week of November. If you don’t live too far away and can find some time to contribute your talents to the Bonifas Fine Arts Center, you’ll be invited to a volunteer brunch on December 10.

Other Useful Information

The William Bonifas Art Center is located at 700 First Avenue South in Escanaba. Visit its contact page for staff emails or call (906) 786 3833 for more information about regular exhibits, auctions, special events, or anything else. The facility is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Next time you’re in town, stop by and say hello!

Check Out the Delta County Historical Society

delta county historial society1Don’t let our virtually untouched forests and pristine coastline fool you. Here in Delta County, history is everywhere. While we have more than our fair share of older buildings, well-worn farmsteads and educational markers, the Delta County Historical Society’s sheer concentration of historical artifacts and exhibits makes the place hard to beat. Let’s take a look at what the DCHS is all about – and what its hardworking employees and volunteers have been up to lately.

A Closer Look at the Delta County Historical Society

The Delta County Historical Society is located near Ludington Park in Escanaba, Delta County’s largest city. The grounds, which overlook beautiful Little Bay de Noc, support two buildings: the historic Sand Point Lighthouse and a recently rebuilt structure that houses the historical society’s museum and archives. Both places are worth a visit.

delta county historial society9First up, the museum. Once housed in an old radio studio, the DCHS Museum houses a comprehensive collection of artifacts that spans nearly two centuries of Delta County’s history. Locals, take note: The museum relies on donations to support its entire collection! At the moment, admission fees are set at $3 for individuals, $1 for children and $5 for families. The museum is currently in the process of a welcome transition into its new digs – a spacious, modern structure near the intersection of Water Plant Road and Ludington Street – and won’t be open to the public until this summer.

Right next door, the Sand Point Lighthouse presides over the upper reaches of Little Bay de Noc. Erected in the late 1860s, it helped ships steer clear of a dangerous reef for about 70 years. Remarkably, it continued to operate even after the arrival of the railroad from the south – and a fire that nearly destroyed the entire structure.

By the late 1930s, though, it had succumbed to age and obsolescence and was taken out of commission for good. (A “crib light,” positioned in the shallow water just offshore, replaced it.) For a time, the Coast Guard used it as a base of operations as well as a private residence for its local officer-in-charge. After the Coast Guard moved to a new facility in the mid-1980s, the DCHS arranged a long-term lease on the structure and restored it to its historic glory.

And when we say “glory,” we mean it.

Getting Involved (or Just Stopping By)

delta county historial society7Now that the Delta County Historical Society has found its way into modern digs that are worthy of its mission, it’s looking for members, donors and volunteers to help it sustain the momentum. If you’re a regular visitor to the Escanaba area, consider going all in for an individual lifetime membership. If you run a business that might benefit from regular access to the DCHS, a commercial membership might be the way to go. And if you just plan on stopping by on your own or with your family, a basic individual or family membership is probably your best bet.

If you’d prefer to contribute time instead of money, the DCHS is always looking for folks to help with various projects, speak with visitors, and just generally keep the place looking sharp.

Interested in touring the Delta County Historical Society? You’ll need to call ahead to confirm your reservations, but the place currently charges just $75 for busloads of 40 or more people and $50 for busloads of 50 or fewer.

One final point: If you live in Delta County and own an artifact or heirloom that you believe is worthy of inclusion in the DCHS’s collection, read this brief primer on how and what to donate. When in doubt, give the historical society’s friendly staff a call or drop by to discuss your donation in person!

Finding the Delta County Historical Society

Ready to visit yet? We hope so. The Delta County Historical Society isn’t hard to find – it’s located out on Sand Point, just beyond downtown Escanaba. To get there, follow Ludington Street east from the intersection of U.S. 2/41 and M-35. After you pass the Delta County Economic Development Alliance office and enter Ludington Park, make a left on Water Plant Road. Almost immediately, you’ll see the Sand Point Lighthouse and the historical society’s main building.

And on the off chance that you get lost, you can “virtually” reach the historical society by calling (906) 789-6790 or emailing deltacountyhistsoc@sbcglobal.net.

My Visit to the Nahma Inn

nahma inn nahma michigan8The Nahma Inn is a unique lodging and dining venue located about fifty minutes east of Escanaba, forty minutes from Fayette State Park and forty minutes from Kitch-iti-Kippi (“The Big Spring”).

Built in 1909 for employees of the Bay de Noquet Lumber Company, the Nahma Inn remains one of the most impressive and unique buildings in the area. It’s been restored with much of the original detail intact.

Today, the Nahma Inn boasts a bar area that serves great food, spirits and often hosts live music, as well as a separate dining room for more formal dining. The Inn also features fourteen guest rooms, with one of them said to be haunted by the spirit of “Miss Nell.”

nahma inn nahma michigan7My Experience at the Nahma Inn

I’ve been to the Nahma Inn twice and both experiences have been great. In fact, I’m looking forward to going back and spending the night. (Just not in “Nell’s room”.)

The first time I visited, my dad and I sat in the Arrow Lounge (the bar), ate an appetizer and sipped a couple Keweenaw Brewing Company beers. I had an awesomely messy burger and my dad had a whitefish sandwich, both were excellent. It was a warm, weekday summer night and I was surprised to see how busy the bar area was. A few patrons slipped out onto the deck to watch the sunset and an employee arranged speakers for the live music that would take place later on.

Charley McIntosh, the owner, stopped by to chat with us and then ended up giving us a tour of not only the Inn, but also the old general store next door. (The store was featured on the TV show American Pickers.) We were impressed with how friendly all the staff were, even by U.P. standards.

nahma inn nahma michigan13Since the food, service and overall atmosphere were so excellent, as we left my dad (an avid motorcycle rider) brainstormed how he could plan a bike trip around the area so he and his group of friends could end up staying at the Nahma Inn. And I was thinking about how it’d be the perfect place to get away with my wife for a weekend.

As we left, a man from nearby Iron Mountain stopped Charley to tell him how impressed he was with the place. He’d seen the the Inn on American Pickers, he said, but before that had never heard of it. He told Charley that he and his wife loved the place and were already planning their return trip.

I have a feeling that sort of thing happens a lot.

With its central location to both the Escanaba and Manistique area’s, as well as it’s historic charm and great service, it makes sense to pay a visit to this unique and well-preserved part of Upper Peninsula history on your next trip to the U.P.!

Address: 13747 Main Street Nahma, MI 49864

Phone:  (906) 644-2486

Website: http://www.nahmainn.com

Facebook: The Nahma Inn Facebook Page

Written by Jesse Land of Things to do in the U.P. on behalf of the Bays de Noc Visitor’s Bureau.

My First Visit to the Peninsula Point Lighthouse

peninsula point lighthouse stonington peninsula michigan3 I grew up about forty-five minutes from the Peninsula Point Lighthouse, but until recently, I’d never been there.

And now that I have, I can say without a doubt that I’ll be back often.

Getting there

As with most lighthouses, getting there is half the fun.

Like most waterfalls, historic places and scenic sites in the U.P., the Peninsula Point Lighthouse is a little off the beaten path. True, one could say the entire Upper Peninsula is “off the beaten path,” but many points of interest in our neck of the woods require a little more work still.

Directions

From Escanaba, I headed east on U.S. 2 for about eighteen miles to county road 513. A small sign that read “Peninsula Point” just before the turn onto CR-513 let me know I was headed in the right direction. I turned south onto 513.

And then, on the sixteen or so mile drive through the lovely Stonington Peninsula, an occasional sign on the side of the road marked how many miles remained until the lighthouse. The road out to the lighthouse was almost entirely paved. It’s curvy, and scenic.

peninsula point lighthouse stonington peninsula michigan14Less than a mile before the lighthouse, the pavement stopped, a dirt road continued, and a sign that read “RV’s / Hiking trail” marked a large parking area for those who wished to hike in.

On a nicer day, I would have done just that. But with temperatures in the forties, wind and rain, I decided to drive all the way to the lighthouse.

I continued on the dirt road and can say that even though the remainder of the road wasn’t paved, it was definitely accessible by pretty much any vehicle. At least that was the case when I was there.

My First Impression

Due to the less than ideal weather I thought I might have the lighthouse to myself, but there was one other car in the parking area.

A mother had brought her infant son out to see the lighthouse. She said she had great memories of Peninsula Point from her childhood and couldn’t wait to bring her son here on his first visit to the U.P.

Exploring the Lighthouse

I walked around the lighthouse grounds a bit, read the interpretive sign about the Monarch butterfly migration (for which Peninsula Point is a hotspot in the fall) and then strolled over to the lighthouse.

Before my visit I wasn’t sure if you could climb the lighthouse. You definitely can! The Peninsula Point lighthouse is open to the public and there’s no charge to climb it. The iron spiral staircase inside appears to be original and the overall lighthouse is well maintained.

The View

Even though it was a gray day, I could see across Little Bay de Noc to Escanaba. I could see across Big Bay de Noc to the Garden Peninsula. The Monarchs had all flown south weeks before, but the scenery was still beautiful without them.

The setting is serene, too. As with most lighthouses, Peninsula Point is remote. It inspires reflection.  This is a place to come to relax and breath the freshest of fresh air.

Looking south, the horizon on Lake Michigan is endless. The large grassy areas surrounding the lighthouse make this a choice spot to let your kids or dogs play for an afternoon, and the several permanent grills on site make it an easy spot for an afternoon cookout.

And did I mention the view?

I’ll be back, Peninsula Point Lighthouse. I’ll be back.

– Written by Jesse Land on behalf of the Bays de Noc Visitor’s Bureau