Brockway Mountain Drive
Back on the Keweenaw Peninsula, we spent a day doing Brockway Mountain Drive, a route that's known for its views. Our first stop of the morning was The Jampot - a tiny, charming shop run by monks.
In my hometown, we had monks who baked fruitcake, but this was different in that A) the monks here focus on jam-making and B) they're Eastern Orthodox. I may have embarrassed myself rushing to take a picture of a monk carting a case of jam across the parking lot. (A picture that didn't even turn out well enough to post here, you'll note. Moral of story? Don't chase monks.)
The UP is the perfect place to buy preserves, with all ingredients grown locally. There were the usual suspects - cherry, strawberry, and raspberry - but also more unusual ones like wild thimbleberry, bilberry, and lingonberry. And for those of us who like to eat our liquor as well as drink it, the monks offer preserves fortified with brandy, rum, and port.
The monastery, Holy Transfiguration Skete, is located across the street. The building is gorgeous - a nice mix of traditional (flashing copper onion domes) and woodsy (cabin-like construction). We wandered through a ridiculously pretty little garden full of roses, wildflowers and butterflies, before setting off.
We stopped at the little town of Eagle Harbor (lighthouse!) and visited a few galleries (Mom bought a flashy pair of geode earrings) and antique stores (*long-suffering sigh*). Afterwards, we wandered down to the beach. I had a moment when a girl, maybe seven or eight, ran over to me and asked, "Are you an adult?" Well, technically, yes, but here I was on a road trip with my parents, whom I still lived with. Not wanting to burden the poor kid with my own neuroses, I said yes, and she promptly explained that her friends had found fireworks and were playing with them. I walked over to check it out - turned out to be an empty box, but it was an amusing exchange.
Totally adult-y adult.
Finally, we wound our way up Brockway Mountain. Stopping at the scenic overlook, we took a moment to admire the view with some bikers on holiday. Having done various mountain drives, like Skyline Drive and Cadillac Mountain, it was pleasant, but nothing incredible. Mom purchased a copper wind chime at the nearby gift shop - we had fun testing them and choosing the one with the prettiest tone.
Reaching the top of our loop in Copper Harbor, we turned back on the main road. This was the first trip I'd done with my laptop, and our next stop was one of my day-of discoveries - the Cliff Cemetery. A tiny sign on Rt 41 nods to its existence. We parked, hopped out, and made our way back into the woods. The trail led back to the Catholic burial grounds. The markers - some your typical stone, but others ornate metal crosses - were set amongst trees and other forest greenery. Some were well-kept, others in states of disrepair.
At the end of our drive, we stopped in Calumet. We had a late lunch at the Michigan House Cafe and Brew pub before browsing more galleries. Calumet was a little like the town time forgot, but had some neat shops, including one that sold the most amazingly-flavored salt water taffy. There was even a little copper-working shop where we bought an ornament for our "travel tree". (It's completely normal to have one of those, right?)