|Meeting author, Kath Usitalo at Saturn Booksellers in Gaylord|
One hundred things to do in the Upper Peninsula? Ya, you bet!
As a daughter of a Yooper, and one who made annual treks over the bridge for over 50 years, I can tell you "100" doesn't cover all the great adventures in the UP. That's why I think Kath Usitalo may already need a sequel to her recently published book, "100 Things to Do in the Upper Peninsula Before You Die".
|Lots to do on the other side of Mackinac Bridge (62) - at least 100!|
We met author Kath Usitalo last weekend at Saturn Booksellers in Gaylord, Michigan. (This book store is a real gem - bright, cozy and filled to the brim with great reads.).
Kath Usitalo knows the northern Michigan territory well. Although she grew up in a suburb of Detroit, her parents were from the Keweena area in the UP where she visited frequently. Now, she lives in the Upper Peninsula year round where she writes her blog, GreatLakesGazette.com.
|Just breathe (#41) "scenic beauty & clean air" ( looks like Finland)|
Many of the residents of the UP have family ties to the Nordic countries. Usitalo is Finnish and, similar in roots, my Dad's parents immigrated from a Swedish settlement in Finland back in the early 1900's. (We visited Helsinki and Vaasa in 2001 and, aside from the pleasure of meeting many other "Engmans", we could not get over how much the terrain, with it's plentiful pines and pristine natural lakes, resembled northern Michigan).
|We even have our own UP body of water, Engman Lake|
|Engmans in Finland and UP|
|Visiting some of the UP's best kept secrets - beautiful waterfalls (#23)|
However, we didn't limit ourselves to just my Dad's hometown to experience other "things" to do in the UP. We've watched freighters carried through the Soo Locks (#72) via the marvels of modern engineering, toured the spectacular Pictured Rocks by boat (#45) and, as recently as last fall, experienced for the first time the amazing beauty of the Upper Peninsula's waterfalls (#23). On the way home from that last trip, we also stopped at Java Joe's (#2) in St. Ignace.
|Java Joe's (#2) in St. Ignace|
In addition, we've been to Mackinac Island for bike rides (#63), fudge (#4) and afternoon tea at the Grand Hotel (#64).
|The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island (#64)|
|Fancy tea with family at the Grand Hotel|
|Tea with hotel historian, Bob Tagatz|
Speaking of tea, one more thing to do in the Upper Peninsula that's not in the book is afternoon tea at Four Seasons in Houghton - perhaps for the sequel? (It is, however, in my book, Michigan Tea Rooms).
|Michigan Tea Rooms sold at Four Season's Gift Shope|
|With tea room owner, Adrea Schuldt|
One UP thing we've tried since last weekend, courtesy of Kath and her book, is Trenary Toast (#5). Kath had samples of this Upper Peninsula taste treat for those in attendance of the book signing event. This toast is twice baked and coated with sugar and cinnamon. It is dunked in coffee or milk and, once softened, adds a sweet and satisfying taste to the liquid it's immersed in. We tried it in coffee and loved it. Next, you just know we'll experiment with tea!
|Trenary Toast (#5) is a tasty treat with coffee|
|At Barb's Tea Service, we're going to try Trenary Toast with tea!|
"100 Things to Do in the Upper Peninsula Before You Die" is now available at Saturn Booksellers and other retail outlets. For more information, visit GreatLakesGazette.com.