No attorney in view, the restaurant and bakery in Houghton, a local tradition, is the Suomi. (pronounced Sue Me) *. The bearded busboy, a student at Finlandia University, is very polite, yet appears a raccoon with distemper.
The no-nonsense waitresses, so quick you feel their passing breeze lift the napkin from the counter; the French toast made from freshly baked cinnamon bread, exquisite. This is Paris, in denim, hiding from polyester vacations.
Sunday regatta, looking toward Hancock, MI and the Finlandia campus
Since our first visit to the Keweenauw, 2008, the entire peninsula has become more vibrant. Calumet and sister city, Laurium, on the verge of extinction, are now in resuscitation. Not hip or trendy, i.e. disney, cruise ship, water park, cookie-cutter franchises. Tourism, home-grown small business, renewed historical interest in mining, and the abundance of natural beauty trump Priceline.com or Sandals® resorts. Credit the Pure Michigan campaign.
(full disclosure: I am not an actor or compensated spokesperson)
The entertainment choices, like most university towns, are often unique. The Festa Italiana in Hancock boasted its headliner, “The World’s First Indestructible Italian Polka Band”, but ran out of spaghetti, overwhelmed by hungry festival goers. The Michigan Tech Pep Band is reputed to be a techno-geek sensation, but sadly, we arrived a month prior to practice.
“The ice bucket challenge is for wusses”
Laurium’s own, George Gipp, immortalized on the football field and in fieldstone by Knute Rockne and Ronald Reagan.
The lodge of the Keweenauw Resort, built in the early 1930’s has changed little in eighty years. Built by the WPA to provide labor for the 80-90% unemployment among miners, it retains the craftsmans’ unduplicated charm to this day. A baked haddock sandwich, cole slaw, chips and beer never tasted better.
[may click to enlarge]
Nearing our goal, the Copper Harbor lighthouse from across Horseshoe Bay as seen August 2008. A beautiful, lonely, desolate finger into the teeth of northwest winds of Lake Superior.
August, 2014, same view, Lynn explaining to Mrs. Wilson our first visit with Jack.
We’ve reached our goal, the genesis of U.S.41.
Family portrait; and a vow to one another we won’t wait 6 years to return.
This is where snowfall is measured in feet, not inches. Where people think hockey is an actual sport although admit never seeing the puck. And most important, the natives regard the current frenzy, the ice bucket challenge**, as a thermal joke. They wouldn’t consider participating unless they needed to warm up.
*reputed to be the best breakfast in MI by Rachel Ray, the chatty, chubby, petite Jewish doyenne of kitchen kitsch
**when will this ever end ?