( Nicole Rupersburg ) St. Ignace
Fall foliage Road Trip Along Michigan's Upper Peninsula
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OCTOBER 02, 2013
Nicole Rupersburg

Fall colors are as short-lived as they are glorious. While there's no shortage of beautiful mountain ranges, national forests, and wooded shorelines in the U.S. to enjoy this season, Michigan's Upper Peninsula offers some of the most rugged terrain and diverse natural scenery you'll find anywhere. A driving tour across the U.P., as it's known, will let you take in all of the stunning scenery, outdoor recreation opportunities, and delicious food and beer.
The UP is vast. It stretches some 384 miles from east to west, and has 4,300 inland lakes and 1,700 miles of shoreline on three Great Lakes. Much is forest, so you'll be able to take in all of the reds, oranges, golds, and greens of the season.
Here's a suggested itinerary
Day 1
While the Upper Peninsula is bordered by Wisconsin to the west, the better-known access point is over the Mackinac Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere. Start there. The bridge takes you into the city of St. Ignace where you should load up on pasties and locally-made jerky and smoked fish. Pasties are a handy hand-held hot meal, basically a potpie completely encased in a rich buttery crust. You'll find these Cornish pastries all over the U.P. Finnish immigrants brought the pasty with them in the 1800s when they came to the U.P. to work the copper mines, and it has been an integral part of Yooper cuisine ever since. Jerky (mostly beef, but also turkey and venison) and smoked whitefish pulled straight out of the surrounding Great Lakes are also in great abundance, available at pretty much every gas station and convenience store. Also learn to embrace famed butter burgers, pizza burgers, and the U.P.'s own special version of the spicy Italian sausage sub, the Cudighi.
Once you've got a cooler full of pasties, jerky and smoked fish, it’s time to get on the road. (You're going to be in the car a LOT, and some areas are pretty remote. It's best to have snacks with you at all times.)
From St. Ignace, head north towards Tahquamenon State Park. Tahquamenon is the second largest of Michigan's state parks, bordered to the north by the majestic Lake Superior and also home to Tahquamenon Falls. These 50-foot falls are the second most voluminous east of the Mississippi, after Niagara. The park has 22 miles of hiking trails, and rowboats and canoes are available to rent to approach the Lower Falls. There are five campgrounds in the park, or you can stay at the handsome Magnuson Grand Hotel Lakefront eight miles from the park, which serves breakfast daily.
Before turning in for the night, head over to the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery for dinner and a couple of pints, known for having excellent food and beer. Just don't overdo it: you have an early morning tomorrow.
Read more: Fox News