Although our family only lived in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula 4 years, Joel was born there, and that era was very formative for our family’s lore, so we’re often drawn to return on vacations…as we did just before school started. Last week I shared about yet another climb to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain, hiking the North Country Trail and swimming at Wetmore Landing. By then we were ready for our favorite lunch: some of Jean Kay’s tasty pasties taken out as a picnic to Presque Isle…a tradition since 1989 for us, although the first time Alan and I took some pasties to the park, we didn’t realize it was going to be as chilly as it was, so we left our pasties on the table and went back to the car for jackets. Big Mistake! A seagull swooped in and tried carrying off the pasty, which broke into a shower of golden crusts, rutabaga, steak, onions, & potatoes! 😦 Since then, we’ve learned a lot about living in Yooperland, and that’s why I want to share the scoop on some of Marquette’s best! After lunch we took a meander out to the end of Presque Isle’s break wall, which becomes a bit of a rock-jumping exercise once you’re out a ways. From the break wall, there are lovely vistas of Marquette’s lower harbor and the clear, cool waters of Lake Superior. If you ever have several days to explore the Marquette area, climbingHogback Mt. has been one of our favorite secrets since the kids were little. However, having just one day, we opted for a quick nostalgia tour checking out all the places around town that had been special to us: the Yooper Dome, NMU (where Aaron started college when he was thirteen), Marquette General, where Alan worked and Joel was born, Alan’s old office, & the youth center where our GR youth group once helped with renovations. We didn’t stop at the lighthouse or maritime museum, but they’re both worth visiting, and on a warm day, McCarty’s Cove (here) is great place to swim. Another well kept secret is Jilbert’s Dairy…much loved by those who know.We used to get “mixed pails” (a gallon pail made from the tail-ends of two different types of ice cream that had been made that day) for great prices, but they don’t offer those anymore, although their home made ice creams are still “to die of” yummy (as Alan likes to tease) and priced very well.But, I’ve saved the very best secrets for last! When we lived in Marquette, we “just happened” to live on 50 acres that dead-ended at the Dead River Falls. This wonderful series of falls is all on private property (as part of the flood plain for the Dead River dam system) and therefore isn’t a public park…but you can unofficially hike them by walking upstream from Marquette’s Tourist Park. Alan and I think they’re even more beautiful than Maui’s 7 Sacred Pools!
When we lived in Marquette, we used to hike the falls from our backyard, and we were so enchanted that one summer I wrote a mystery for our children called The Dead River Diamond. Perhaps I can publish it in time for the grand kids, since I don’t really want my book to be just another well kept secret!
For many on this earth, the all-time best kept secret is where to find not just one big diamond, like the Dead River Diamond, but a wondrous treasure that’s been hidden for each of us. Jesus called it “the pearl of great price,” and he was referring to the Kingdom of God. Have you found it yet? If not, please just ask. I have found it, and I’d love to share with you how you can have it for your own too!
“The kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field, which when a man has found, he hides, and for joy thereof goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field” (Matthew 13:44).