Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lower Peninsula of Michigan

We have really enjoyed the National Forest campgrounds of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

We also learned a lot about Pasties(Pass-tees),a great local meat pastry, and that the locals are called Yoopers, and that they refer to people from the Lower Peninula( south of the Mackinac Bridge) as Trolls( hmmmm?)

It would have been easy to spend more time in the Upper Peninsula.  Friendly small towns , easy access to Lake Michigan, and great , inexpensive campgrounds.

But, it was time to head over the Mackinac Bridge.

The longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere, it is very impressive.  Built in our lifetime, it was a boon to economic growth in Northern Michigan.

After crossing the bridge, we head south on the eastern side of the Lower Peninsula on Route 23.

Passing many beautiful homes right on Lake Huron and lots of open spaces.  It is not at all crowded.

Stopped in Cheboygan, which was a quiet town with a pleasant Main St. right on Lake Huron.

We have wanted to try state parks across the U.S., so we decided to try Michigan state parks in the Lower Peninsula.

Our first park is P.H. Hoeft.  These parks in this section of Michigan are right on Lake Huron.

They are neat, well run, and very popular. They are also a bit more expensive than we expected. There is a charge for the camping--usually in the $20 plus range--but there is also a day use charge added on. Not cheap.
We were lucky to find a spot.  The views remind us very much of Cape Cod seashore.  So surprised to not have salt water!!

Right out of the park is a paved bicycle trail that will take you to 40 Mile Point Lighthouse.  The coast of Michigan is lined with many, many lighthouses.  This one looks very much like a regular house with an afterthought added on as a lighthouse.  Quite popular, with docents in the light house, furnishings from the 1800's( how come we remembered having so many of these items in our house growing up?), gifts shop, and more.

Notice that the Great Lakes can have surf-- of sorts.

There are also many mentions of shipwrecks---the reason for so many lighthouses.  That also reminds us of similarities to Cape Cod.

Our procedure in the state parks is the same as what we followed in the national forests.  We mention that we are self-contained with a view out our back windows.  They will mention that the beachfront sites are close together and quite busy.  And we will mention that we are quite happy to be more secluded and away from the beach.  Love the site!

Unlike some other states , we notice that Michigan has electric service on all sites.  We had to remember how to plug in!

We are now in Harrisville State Park.  Still on Route 23 and still on the shores of Lake Huron.  This is one of Michigan's oldest state parks, established in 1921.

Unlike Hoeft, the beachfront sites here are not just close to the beach, they are on the beach.  No dunes between.

You can understand why families are loving this park.

On the off season, we would be quite happy to choose a beach site , if it were available.

But , at this time, for us, we love having our nice , quiet, private site.  That still allows us to walk the park trails, walk the beach, bring our chairs to beach--not at all crowded in late July.

Part of what we look for in state parks is a good system of roads and trails for walking.  Harrisville does not disappoint.  There is even a bike,walking trail into town which would access many stores and restaurants.  It would be about 2.4 miles.

Approaches to the beach remind us of Sebago Lake State Park in Maine.  Some differences--you cannot see the opposite shore, the beach is very fine sand and goes on for a great distance.  Plenty of room for lots of beachgoers with no crowding.  Also, these two parks seem to have a long run of shallow water before the water gets too deep.  Great for parents with small children.

Once again, this is a warm day in later July.

Not very many people crowding the beach.  Good place to relax and enjoy.

Okay, so , off we go with chairs and kindles

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