Sunday, July 7, 2013

Exploring Gitche Gumee

The largest of the Great Lakes, aptly named Superior, was originally called Gichigami by the native Ojibwe. According to Wikipedia, it was reworked to Gitche Gumee by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Gordon Lightfoot. There are several Michigan communities located along the lake’s 1,826 miles of shoreline.

While staying in Marquette, MI, I made a day trip to Munising. There were three draws for me: a local food restaurant, a winery, and the availability to tour the Pictured Rocks area of Lake Superior. I chose Tuesday, because they have a farmers market 4:00 – 7:00 pm that day in their Bay Shore Park. It was mid-June, and the locals were still waiting for the vegetables to come on after the cool, damp spring that had blanketed the entire state. There were rhubarb, herbs, fresh eggs, and soaps along with arts and crafts booths.

I lunched at the Rock River Lunch Bag downtown – a sister site to the Rock River CafĂ© in Chatham. On the menu, were Higher Grounds coffee, local greens, and Lake Superior whitefish. There were more vegetables to come as the season takes hold. They also sell two flavors of Mitten Munch trail bar – made in Holt - which I noshed for my dessert.

The same building is home to a quaint store called Harvest Market Natural Food Grocery. They make a point to service people on special diets, such as gluten free. They also run two buying clubs purchasing through Country Life in Pullman, MI.

Also, in downtown Munising is a Garden Bay Winery tasting room. The wine is made in the Upper Peninsula from grapes and other fruits grown in the Southwest area of the Lower Peninsula. They also have a tasting room in Mackinaw City. They specialize in fruit wines, such as blueberry, cherry, raspberry, and cranberry but also make grape wines.

The highlight of a trip to Munising is taking a boat trip along 40 miles of Lake Superior shoreline featuring the pictured rocks area. The lake was placid, the air temperature perfect, and the view was spectacular. I shot well over 100 photos, some of which are below.

If you get to the area, Munising is worth a day trip or longer for exploring.

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  1. I hope you had a chance to visit The Co-op and Farmers Market in Marquette while you were there. I've always found good, fresh vegetables and other goodies at both.

  2. I was not there on market day, but I LOVED the co-op and wrote two blog posts about it. Keep reading. :-)