Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Our Northern Adventure

It seems a trip for us can never be without some element of the unusual. We love to leave after work, drop the dogs at the dog sitter, and drive another three hours to the halfway point between home and college daughter. That always gets us to Marquette around lunch time the next day, which works perfectly.

Anyway back to the adventure. We arrived at the hotel at the half way point in the trip only to find that the entire west side of Gaylord was without power, including our hotel. It is already after 9 p.m.by this point, dark and very cold outside. We were meeting friends in Gaylord who were going up to Marquette with us. We decided to go to a restaurant for a quick snack to discuss our options. Fortunately Glen is familiar with the area so he called another hotel that was on the east side and had power, booking two rooms for the night. Light and heat are essential items in the middle of winter.

The next morning we wanted to get an early start since the weather was going to be questionable for the next four hour leg of our journey. We got to the Mighty Mackinaw Bridge an hour after leaving the hotel, so around 10 a.m.

They close this bridge quite often in the Winter because of high winds or poor visibility. Less than two hours after we crossed they closed it.

It was a slow drive across the Upper Peninsula with snow covered roads and occasional white out conditions, but eventually we made it to Marquette and met up with college daughter for lunch.

We spent the afternoon visiting some of our favorites places downtown including the indie bookstore and doing a drive by of Mallory's potential house for next year.

Saturday morning, Mallory and I were going to her favorite coffee shop in Marquette for breakfast. The guys were out cross country skiing. Being an early riser and having an extra hour on my hands I set out to explore a large boarded up building that I have always seen from the highway, but have never taken the time to search out. 

Holy Family Orphanage

Built in 1914 and opened in 1915, the Catholic diocese built this orphanage to help with the overcrowding in two previous built, area orphanages. 

There are rumors that this place is one of the most haunted sites in Michigan. I didn't get any weird vibes while I was here, but I also wouldn't want to be here at night by myself.

When I go back in May I am going to have to see if I can get to this staircase.

I came across this blog post which contains a lot of background and history, as well as, additional photos. Even though the light is gorgeous on this morning, the temperature was -6 and my poor fingers froze fairly quickly once I took off the tops of my fingerless gloves.


Mallory and I had a great breakfast of ginormous muffins, a chai latte and a hot chocolate. Always so wonderful to have face to face, one on one conversations. Her little coffee shop reminds me a lot of my beloved coffee shop, right down to the chalk board and chalk.

Presque Isle Park

We spent the afternoon hiking around Presque Isle Park, a 323 acre forested oval shaped headland/peninsula that juts into Lake Superior at the Northern tip of Marquette. 

This is my favorite place to go to in Marquette, even though it is located at the edge of the city and is a short drive from Mallory's campus, you feel a million miles away from civilization when you are out here. The rocky shores remind me of Maine.

The snow is even with the seat of this bench that Mallory is trying to sit on.

Sunday was our last full day in Marquette. We went to Mallory's church with her in the morning. Since we are heavily involved in the service quite often at our own church, it was so refreshing to go someplace else and simply enjoy the act of worship.

After a very hearty, late breakfast/lunch we bundled up for a trip to the ice caves.

Eben Ice Caves

Eben Ice Caves are located outside the tiny town of Eben Junction, about a 30-40 minute drive from Marquette.  The ice caves form when melting snow runs over the edge of a small cliff and freezes, forming ice caves. If you were to visit here in the summer you would see little to no water running over the edge.

It is about a half mile hike from the parking lot to the ice caves. These caves are heavily visited so the trail is well packed down. The first part of the trail is quite flat, but as you get closer to the caves there are quite a few steep ups and downs.

Ice cleats are highly recommended. This is our friend Cal giving his a try on the ice at the base of the caves. I did not wear any but I did have my hiking poles for the steep ups and downs on the trail, which worked wonderfully. Since I was the photographer I didn't have any plans to go into the caves any way.

Our friends Cal and Jane at one of the entrances.

We were so happy that Mallory's boyfriend, Jon, could join us for the hike. They have been dating since November but have been best friends since Malloy's freshman year. 

Off they go to explore at the top of the cliff.

At the top.

Turn about is fair play I guess, since the photographer is being photographed here.

We had a great weekend away in Marquette, as always it went too fast. Mallory is nearing the end of her junior year at Northern Michigan University, and it is sad to think about not coming up here anymore. So I feel a big need to photograph as much of Marquette as I can over the coming year. I am sure you will see more sights in the future. My next trip up will be at the beginning of May to help Mallory move home for the summer and Jon will be graduating, no way I would miss that. Hopefully most of the snow will have melted by then.

Joining Helen for her Weekend Walks


  1. Loved this post Sarah . . .
    The orphanage is so tempting . . . Yes, I hope you can walk up those steps . . .
    Love the Ice Caves . . . seeing chilly photos of friends . . . Mallory, Jon . . . and you too!
    Very nice . . .

  2. What a great trip - so full of adventure. From the abandoned building to ice caves with family and friends thrown in, it sounds wonderful. Although, I am happy to be sitting under a warm blanked reading about your cold adventures.

    I absolutely love the photo if the ice surrounded by the rocks. The blue is is pretty, a photo like that taken here would be very brown. Water here is always brown, brown, brown. :(

  3. You are tough folks! Not that we don't have cold and snow in Nebraska, but barely any snow this year at all. Your adventures are wonderful!

  4. The orphanage is interesting. I do hope you go back in better weather. Looks like you had such a great visit and I love the ice cave shots.

  5. I just checked out the link for the orphanage. What a site full of incredible photos, thanks for the link.

  6. What a packed and fun adventure post Sarah. I'd be afraid of those icicles falling on me! I'd love to go exploring that orphanage with you...and a few more peeps for back up!! Great pics Sarah.

  7. I agree with Jill...you are tough! Seeing all this snow and ice, knowing that you just get out and go...that's mind boggling to this southern girl who is iced in because we have ONE INCH of sleet on the roads! Looks like you had a wonderful trip! Love those ice falls and the old building!

  8. what a great trip and i loved all the pictures!! definitely want more of the orphanage!

  9. Oh I don't know where to begin. I love the atmospheric misty bridge to the fresh ice in the caves.I think best of all I like the cracked ice on the lake. I've not come across any snow or ice this winter. Jon and Mallory look so happy together. Thanks so much for linking to Weekend Walks!

  10. A great day for all of you...the ice caves would be my favorite,...:)JP

  11. One thing for sure you all dressed for the cold and I have to agree you are tough bunch! I would have wanted to be sitting by a fire eating comfort food. I thought those arches were pretty cool at the Orphanage and still do but I have to say, seeing more pictures of it gives me a bit of a creepy feeling. I need to click on your link. That second click in Presque Isle Park is beautifully composed.. gorgeous shot! All the pictures are lovely and I enjoyed you sharing your visit. Such happy smiling faces!!! Be looking forward to more pictures when you visit in May for Jon's graduation and Mallory's move home.. :)

  12. I love the UP - my best friend has a cabin (in her family for generations) at Eagle Harbor. It's such a scenic place. I've never heard of these ice caves - they're spectacular.

  13. You just proved to me that hiking does not have to be just for the warmer months. Now if I can convince my body to get outside for a hike!

  14. It looks like you had a grand time with your girl. YAY! But you are heartier than I. No hiking for this gal when it's below 50. Love your photos and Mallory looks so much like you!

  15. Girl, you must be mighty rugged to be hiking in those temps. Just looking at those pics makes me cold, but they are a beautiful site to behold. Glad you had such a nice weekend with your daughter. Stay safe!!

  16. ok, I'll stop complaining about being cold now (not really - but I'll at least hold it in perspective now). Absolutely love the water shots and so nice to see pictures of your lovely daughter and her beau.

  17. A truly spectacular sight the frozen lake and the ice caves I have never seen anything like it. It is lovely to see Jane and her boyfriend. It looks like you all had a great time I love the orphanage you find such great places to photograph ...

  18. I don't think I would go to the orphanage at night either... I love the picture at Marquette with ice in the lake. That one should be framed and on a wall.

  19. Wow you are right about not seeing the ground. The ice caves are wonderful. Looks like you had a very nice trip. I hear you are leaving soon for warmer weather, right? Now I am jealous...

  20. This looks like such an awesome trip! I've never been to the UP but hope to get there someday! It must have been great fun to spend the weekend with your daughter, her boyfriend and your friends - what could be better than that?! The ice caves are amazing, and the orphanage makes me a little sad (just the thought of children growing up without parents). It would be fun to go back and explore it a little more when the snow is gone.

  21. So beautiful but so cold. Are these the same caves that my niece was at?

  22. I'm so glad that you went so I could see all these beautiful photos - Oh my! I can only image how beautiful it is in the warmer months...and can I say, what a cute couple your daughter and boyfriend are (and what a smile Jon has)

    But, I'm so cold just looking at these - I would be a wimp now that I have lived in Texas for the last 20 years! lol


Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)