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Friday, June 15, 2012

Three Lakes to Chassell

After leaving the Marquette/Michigamme area, you will pass through Three Lakes on your way to Baraga County, home to many beautiful waterfalls.  Before you get to Tioga Falls, begin watching in earnest for moose!  There is a small rest area here with clean pit toilets and a beautiful stream with falls.  Many moose have been seen around here and at the juncture of 141, where you will continue on to the north.  Watch the swamps!  That is prime moose viewing!  Also watch for them to cross the road along here.  A few have been hit in that area, and that is not a good thing for your car or your life. 

A popular Baraga County waterfall is Canyon Falls, on your left before Alberta and 15 miles before L'anse.  This is an impressive and easily-accessible waterfall, with a boardwalk much of the way.  The trail is one mile over level terrain.  The amazing old forest is my favorite part! The falls are located at a box canyon, called "Michigan's Grand Canyon".   On a hot summer day, you might see locals cliff-diving if you follow the path which continues on after "the end" of the trail.  Look on youtube for videos!

At Alberta you will see a museum, showcasing Henry Ford's sawmill for making boards to side his "woody" station wagons. He wanted to create an idyllic model sawmill village where millworkers would grow a good deal of their own food. To earn a living, Ford employees in Alberta were to farm, as well as work in the village sawmill. The elderly Ford had the resources to turn his dreams into first-rate reality. When he built Alberta in the wilderness, he installed a new water and sewage system, sidewalks, lighted boulevards, a church, a school, and a fire department.

Just before L'anse is the Hilltop Restaurant  (and adjacent motel).  The Hilltop is renowned for serving the "world's largest cinnamon roll"!  It's a good place to eat and many baked goods are available to purchase and take with you. Just after the Hilltop Motel is the L'anse Motel (which someone who knows told me is the nicer of the two, but they're both good). Not far from there, the highway will continue on (slightly to the left) as the road into L'anse veers to the right.  At this point, you'll notice the Baraga County Tourist and Recreation Association building on your right.  Definitely stop here and see Tracey (tell her Marsha sent you!) to pick up waterfall brochures and more.  This sunset picture is at the L'anse Park (straight into town from the tourist building).  Thursdays in the summer feature concerts in the park at 7:00, much of the music having a Finnish flavor.  The best!

Baraga County has lots to see and do!  A good website to view before and during your trip is  Everything you'd want to know is right there and this would be a good area to spend the night.  There is so much to see and do here! Just north of the town of L'anse is the L'anse Township Campground.  You can watch beautiful Keweenaw sunsets from the park every night! 

When traveling next to Keweenaw Bay, keep an eye on the tiptop of pine trees and you could very well see an eagle. They are numerous and easy to spot!
Your Penrose waterfall book will feature many Baraga County waterfalls.  My favorite in the entire U.P. is Silver River Falls, northeast of L'anse on Skanee Road. (There is also a Silver River Falls in the Keweenaw, so don't confuse the two.) This is the BEST place for waterfall pics!  When you exit your car, you can walk all along the river, enjoying several falls.  Be sure to inhale the scent of cedar as you imagine Indians walking the same paths as you, as they went to their favorite fishing site.  It's even better in the fall!

Also in this area is Michigan's "high point", Mt. Arvon.  You can park not too far from that point, so the walk is not very long.  Be sure to sign the log at the top!  The above eagle shot was taken in the Arvon area.

Farther east on Skanee Road are Witz Marina (in Skanee on Huron Bay) and Big Erik's Falls (and campground), not a "major" falls, but a pretty area.  I have to visit Witz Marina every summer. Such a serene spot in the early evening with the approaching sunset. There are other falls, also on Skanee Road.   Check your waterfall guide for locations.

This peninsula is LOADED with deer, so watch your driving!

Another must-visit spot, at the tip of this small peninsula, is Pte. Abbaye.  We were treated to a moose sighting, close-up, a year or two ago on our drive out to the point.  After you park your car, be sure to walk around the entire point for a view of the Huron Islands and the Huron Island Lighthouse, which is being restored.  Another perfect photo-op!  Be sure to grab a large stone or two for your home garden or pond.

Also on the Abbaye Peninsula is Pequaming, another one of Henry Ford's company towns.  This was where the wood was harvested for his woody station wagons.  You will see the old school buildings and more as you take the short drive to the end of that road, where Ford's "Bungalow" is on the left.   The Bungalow can now be rented out for overnights by groups. There was much excitement when Henry Ford was coming to town! Everything was spruced up and rocks were placed along the roadside and painted white, just as he liked them.

Make plans to visit Aura on the third weekend of every July for the Aura Jamboree.  This annual music festival features the best in traditional music with a Finnish flavor.  Stroll around the shady grounds, listening to musicians under every tree or onstage inside.  Accordions and banjoes abound!  Saturday night is the Old-Time Dance.  Such fun to watch the dancers!  Visit us on Facebook!

Almost back to L'anse and just north of town (off Skanee Road) is the Pinery Indian Cemetery.  This is another beautiful spot in the fall.  Here you will see the Indian spirit houses that mark the graves.  In each spirit house the Indians placed things they thought their loved one would need on their trip to the Happy Hunting Grounds, such as bows and arrows and food.

After passing through L'anse again, seek out the Powerhouse Falls on Falls River.  Locals say there are fifty falls on this river.  You can drive right up to the falls.  A good spot for a quick video! The below pictures show the Powerhouse Falls in summer and autumn.

Continuing north on Highway 41, around the head of Keweenaw Bay, you'll see the statue of the Snowshoe Priest, Bishop Baraga, rising high up on a sandstone cliff. There is a nice gift shop and park up there.

In Baraga, we enjoy thin crust pizza at Irene's on Keweenaw Bay. The cheese is put on last for a delicious pizza! 

Also in Baraga are a State Park, old-fashioned drive-in restaurant (with root beer!) and a casino with lodging, restaurant and pool.

After heading on around Keweenaw Bay, you will arrive in Chassell, a pretty little town with antique shops and the Einerlei, a very nice shop of mostly household decor items.  On the right is a good ice cream shop, too!

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