Saturday, August 22, 2015

Over the Bridge and on to Marquette

When you live in a place as lovely as Northport, there's not much of a pull to leave, especially in the summer.  But I decided to take a short vacation into the Upper Peninsula to explore an area I'd not visited before, Marquette, the largest city in the UP.

Our travel day was raining, but calm so I anticipated no difficulty crossing Mighty Mac.  I'd hoped to stop in Mackinaw City to take some bridge pictures and do a little shopping.  But as we neared the bridge, I learned there was a high wind warning so we decided to get across before the weather worsened.  The crossing was uneventful, thankfully, but we could see the straights below us were whipped up by the winds.

The force of the winds became even more evident as we traveled westward along Highway 2.

The skies went in and out from bits of sunshine to stormy and it was a beautiful drive along the low dunes that accompany the highway.

 Arriving in Marquette and driving along Lakeshore Boulevard to our lodging, I was struck by the sight of this hulking structure along the coastline.

 I later learned it was an abandoned ore dock.  Later in the day we would see the new dock in full operation.

Our first area to explore was Presque Isle (almost an island) recreational park located at the north end of Marquette.  A small lighthouse with a long breakwater was located not far from the park entrance.  While people were walking the wall, there was also a sign warning that high waves not only are beautiful, they can also have tragic results.  Iron gates could close off the pathway in strong weather.

We drove around the peninsula, stopping occasionally at the scenic turnouts.  Ancient rock formations dotted the shoreline, similar to what is seen at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

But what  I was most interested in seeing on my visit was the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse.  It's striking bright pink appearance made it something I had looked forward to photographing.  In 2002, the Marquette Maritime Museum took over the maintenance and control of the lighthouse.  Because it is located on active Coast Guard property, visitors can only view the museum through escorted tours.  On this particular day, there would be no tours, seemingly because of an influx of yellow jackets.

I was determined, however, to see more of the lighthouse.  Traveling along Lakeshore Boulevard, I pulled into several beach parking lots to see if the lighthouse was more visible.  Finally, on the third try, as the road curved sharply towards the light, I was able to catch more of it with my long lens.  Photographing some of the Harbor Light was better than photographing none of it.


  1. Thanks for sharing your get-away photos, Karen. My favorites are the top, wide-angle capture of the bridge and the bottom shot of the lighthouse. I admire your persistence!

  2. Thanks, Jan. When I took the bridge photo, I was disappointed I was so far away, but then I saw the clouds and thought it made a nice photo. I like the last one too, but really wanted more of the building. I was amazed at all the pink buildings in Marquette. But then after taking a drive outside the town, and seeing the amount of pink in the rock formations, it became evident why there was so much pink in old and new buildings alike.