Sunday, July 3, 2011

Michigan Vacation: Marquette

Lately we have been visiting Marquette almost every June.  My step-mom lives there and my father did before he passed.  It's a great town in Upper Michigan (the UP)!  I lived there with my dad when I was younger and he showed me many fun spots over the years that I thought I would share.

Marquette has a casino, many festivals, beautiful views, and don't forget Northern Michigan University!

First - when you are entering Marquette via US 28 (which merges with US 41) you will come across a great visitors center.  I recommend stopping if you are looking for information on places to visit while in the area (or any area of the UP).  They have a ton of brochures and knowledgable staff to help you.  They also have restrooms :)  

After the visitors center you will soon encounter my next destination to share.  It's not advertised by the road and I actually only know of it because I was a "local".  It's a great spot for a scenic view of Marquette!!  

How to get there:  

After you have passed the visitors center (US 28/41) on the way into Marquette you will soon pass a prison gift shop (on the left).  After that you will come to your first turn. Here's a view from my car so you have an idea of what to look for:

Turn left off US41 to Cliffs Power Rd.  You will have the option to go up the hill to an abandoned hotel or down the hill to a dirt road.  Go down the hill to the dirt road (see picture below).

The next option to turn will be Mt. Marquette on the right (see picture below).  This is a very steep dirt road and it's one way!  I have mostly had great experiences with this road but once there was a washout on the way down the hill that had me a little concerned about how to get around it.  There are also many hiking trails in the area.

There are a couple of spots to stop on the way up where you will see some great views of Marquette!

My kids love climbing the rocks!

View from the first stop.

Stairs at the second stop.

Old railing at the second stop.

View from the second stop - it was a little foggy that day.
The way down the hill will bring you to the Mt. Marquette ski area.  Just take a right and it will bring you back into town.

If you stay on US41/28 (which becomes Front St), heading into Marquette, you will pass my favorite bakery!!!  They have the best bread options!!!  We load up every year and freeze the bread at home for special treats.  I live in a large city and have not been able to find bread like this anywhere else!!!  Every time I am there I meet others who travel from distant areas to load up on bread :)  I heard that they may start offering delivery this fall!!!  They also have great donut/danish options.  

A beautiful drive into Marquette would be Lakeshore BLVD.  It begins just after you pass Huron Mountain Bakery.  Turn right onto Lakeshore BLVD (across from Beef-A-Roo).  This will take you along the lakeshore, past many beautiful places to stop, and all the way to Presque Isle.

You can't visit Marquette without visiting Presque Isle Park!  Even if you just simply drive through it.  They usually have some fun events going on but here are some things that I love about it.

This usually helps me locate the park.
I've also been told that the swimming area you see here is usually warm.

There are many trails to walk.  You can drive around the park but times are limited to encourage more walking.

This is the black rock area of the park that I LOVE!!!  I always called it lava rock as a kid :)
I encourage you to get out and explore it!

When I was there in August people were diving off this.
It looked crazy to me but I didn't see anyone get hurt.
August is the only time of the year that the water seemed warm enough to actually swim ;-)

Off to the side there is a nice area to get into the water.

And the rocks are pretty!

Another area of the park that is nice to stop at.
It's just beyond the drive to the black rocks.

It's a little scary to stand at the edge when you realize there isn't much under you!

This is the biggest beach area of the park.
Now for some more of my Marquette favorites! 
This is one of my favorite places to eat.
I love the waffle fries and cheese stuffed bread sticks!!
Vango's is located on 3rd Street.

The Northern Michigan Dome - another way for me to keep track of where things are located!

Jean Kay's Pasties!!!  Yummy!!!
It's not hard to find since it is by the dome ;-)

I LOVE the vegetarian pasties!!
They sell frozen mini's by the dozen so I bring some of these home too!

My husband loves the steak (without rutabaga).
Sugarloaf Mountain:

If you are up for a hike to see a great view of Lake Superior then this is a spot for you!  Make sure you have comfortable hiking shoes and it may get cold so bring a jacket.

To get there, take Front St (US28 turns into Front St) to Washington.  Turn left (West) on Washington and go to Fourth Ave.  Turn right (North) on Fourth Ave which becomes Presque Isle Ave.  At Hawley turn West.  Take that about 6-7 miles until you see this:

Free Parking

We did not do this hike this year because I'm sure we would end up carrying our little ones.  If I remember correctly, the "difficult" path is mostly up a rocky hill/mountain.  I've read that this is a 20 minute hike for an experienced hiker.  The view is worth it if you have the option!!!

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