By Christal Frost
As a lower Michigan native, it’s hard not to feel the magic crossing the mighty Mackinac Bridge into the Upper Peninsula. To me, the U.P. feels like an old friend, welcoming me home with open arms. Marquette boasts a unique blend of wilderness, nature and urban luxuries. Take notes on the journey, and get ready to follow in my footsteps!
Donckers Lunch Counter And Candy Store
I loved the Red Rooster—a delicious blend of egg, bacon, roasted red pepper, smoked gouda and avocado spread on a ciabatta bun. We also grabbed a pound of Lake Superior chocolate rocks, which may or may not have made it home.
Blackrocks is a house-turned brewery founded by long-time friends, David and Andy. The pair made their home-brewing hobby commercial, with a mission to make the best beer possible while always having fun. Blackrocks was buzzing with locals who literally wore their love of the brewery in the form of hoodies and hats. By the way, Coconut Brown will change your life.
Originally opened in 1930 as the Northland Hotel, its history includes visits from celebrities like Jimmy Stewart, Abbott and Costello, and The Rolling Stones. After closing in 1982, the Northland found new life as part of a historic restoration project, reopening in 1997 as The Landmark Inn. We requested Room 502, which was dubbed the “Amelia Earhart room” after Earhart reportedly stayed there in 1932. The Landmark’s meticulous dedication to historic preservation is noteworthy, as is its staff.
Boomerang Retro & Relics
The U.P.’s first retro-chic boutique allows visitors to step back in time with an amalgam of authentic vintage and vintage-inspired clothing, accessories, décor and furniture.
The converted movie theatre restaurant kept the big screen, giving diners a creatively curated meal with the backdrop of cinematic classics.
Ore Dock Brewing Co.
The upstairs community space offers rotating artists in addition to an impressive lineup of musicians from across the Midwest. From the taproom, the lead brew-tender chose his favorites for our beer flight—I personally loved the Bramble on Rose.
The Steinhaus was recommended by virtually every local I spoke with, and it did not disappoint. I kept it simple with the eggs Benedict, but the Steinhaus delivered an Italian-inspired twist, using thinly sliced and fried speck ham. Be sure to order a side of potatoes to soak up the hollandaise sauce.
Eben Ice Caves
The caves, also known as the Rock River Canyon Ice Caves, are located on the outer edge of the Hiawatha National Forest. The trail into the caves is around a mile long, and ice cleats are a necessity. The hike can be challenging, but it is completely worth the effort. The phenomenon of ice sheets surrounded by the blankets of freshly fallen snow was a sight to behold.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is home to some of the kindest and most genuine people I have ever met. And Marquette, a city surrounded by the waves of
Lake Superior, will indeed become your second mother. Don’t be surprised when, weeks after your visit, you feel her calling you to come back.