The day was sunny and cool so we headed north with John and Janie to explore Eagle Harbor, Copper Harbor and Ft. Wilkins State Park. Our first stop was Ft. Wilkins Historic State Park in Copper Harbor, formerly a U.S. Army post built to keep the peace in Michigan’s Copper Country. Located at the northern tip of Keweenaw Peninsula, it was established in 1844 and was abandoned just two years later. The story told is that the miners were law-abiding and the Natives were well-behaved also, so when war was declared with Mexico, the soldiers shipped out. I am inclined to agree with Janie that given the brutal winter temperatures, leaving for warmer climes was too inviting. The fort was manned again for a short time in the late 1860’s and became a state park in 1923. It is presently being painstakingly restored to what army life was like in the mid-19th century.
A restored lighthouse that was originally built in 1848 is reached by boat. Since we were planning to explore the lighthouse at Eagle Harbor, we decided to pass on this one.
There is a wonderful campground in the park, which is big-rig friendly. Had we not already had such an appealing site back in Houghton, this would have been a good alternative.
We continued our journey to Eagle Harbor, stopping at a little gift shop along the way. The homemade fudge was delightful and we were given some tips on places to go by one of the gift shop employees. Heading up Brockway Mountain Drive proved to be a good tip, affording us a view of the bay below. The leaves were beginning to change as well, which was an added bonus.
Next it was on to Eagle Harbor. The lighthouse here was originally built in 1851 and replaced in 1871. It currently houses a museum but continues to be a working lighthouse. The Coast Guard operates the light at the top of the tower, guiding sailors across the northern tip of Keweenaw Peninsula.
A volunteer greeted us as we entered the lighthouse. Being the polite person that I consider myself to be, I continued to acknowledge his musings even though I was attempting to read some of the history of the building. The rest of my party made the wiser choice to abandon me and him when his stories began to put them to sleep. After listening to a story that went absolutely nowhere, I said “I’m done” (to myself of course) and backed away as well.
From here we head back, with a planned stop in Calumet. We stopped for a quick photo of the landscape. Can you see the huge freighter in the background?
The town of Calumet had some great old buildings and a great looking brew pub so we decided to stop and taste the local fare. We had read about the Red Jacket Brewing Company but were sadly disappointed in both the food and the microbrews. Only one of their own was on tap and they were out of several others. Thankfully the company was good and the building itself had a great back bar and ceiling mural.
It was a great day and we still had the Parade of Nations to look forward to. Advertisements for this festival were posted around Houghton and Hancock. This is a multicultural festival honoring the multitude of countries that have come together in this melting pot. The parade was great fun, with participants in their native dress, but the food festival afterwards was most memorable. All countries represented had a food booth so there were foods to sample from around the globe. This was the 22nd year for this festival and it certainly was well attended. The main entertainment was a group from Madison, WI, named Limanya, a West African drum and dance ensemble. They were high energy and very impressive!
Our week in Houghton has drawn to an end and sadly we must say goodbye to John and Janie. We are planning to stay in touch and hope to see them down the road in the future. Janie has an amusing blog entitled flamingoonastick.blogspot.com, which I encourage all to check on. Terry and I are heading on to Munising and Pictured Rocks.