Copper Harbor is nestled in so much natural beauty, and if you enjoy playing outside, this is a perfect place to visit (any time of year!).
We only have one full day in Copper Harbor, so Matt and Chris rent mountain bikes and my parents and I get started on our busy itinerary. First we drive over to Eagle Harbor, mainly to check out Jampot, a bakery run by monks.
At Jampot, you first notice the wall of jams and jellies that is immediately on your left when you arrive, but your gaze then quickly moves to the spread of muffins that stretches across the front counter (it’s heavenly). When my mom asks a monk how we could possibly choose from this array of baked goods, he suggests that we indulge. So we do. (My favorite is the cream cheese pound cake muffin.)
From Eagle Harbor we drive back to Copper Harbor and head up Brockway Mountain Drive. It’s a gorgeous afternoon, and everyone we encounter is having a great time (Some are even drinking cocktails out of red Solo cups. What?). How could you not, with this view.
Our next stop is Fort Wilkins State Park, a restored military outpost that was originally built in 1844. So this place was built because copper mining was starting to boom in the Keweenaw Peninsula and the government thought it would be a good idea for the military to help local law enforcement to keep the peace between the Native Americans and the miners.
As it turns out, Fort Wilkins wasn’t actually necessary as everyone was on their best behavior. And it wasn’t long before the enlisted men were called out to the Mexican-American war. So by 1846, this place was all but abandoned. It was utilized here and there afterwards, and then became a state park in 1923. The grounds are beautiful and the museum is very well curated and you really do get a glimpse of what life was like in what was an extremely remote place. (Winters were incredibly rough and lonely I’m sure, but these people kind of seemed like a bunch of whiners, and really, they actually only had to spend one winter up there. Okay, maybe two. I’m not quite clear on the timeline.)
At some point during the day, we stop and have a pizza for lunch and even go into a few shops in town, but then it’s on to Hunter’s Point Park. The trail follows the shoreline of Lake Superior and it is seriously beautiful. The hike is easy and flat, but there are several sections of roots and rocks to navigate.
We squeeze in our last stop before we meet Matt and Chris for dinner. Estivant Pines, a nature sanctuary that houses what is believed to be the last stand of virgin white pines in the Upper Peninsula (and one of the only few stands remaining in the Midwest). This is another wonderful trail system and we want to stay longer and enjoy it, but it’s time to head to dinner at the Harbor Haus. Which I have to mention because it’s a really good restaurant. The food, the atmosphere, and the view of Lake Superior.
That’s it! We loved the U.P. I think we all considered what it would be like to live there too. It was really hard to leave, knowing how much there is we still have yet to see. Next time I’d love to go backpacking over at Isle Royale, and hike in the Porcupine Mountains, and tour some of the old mines.