Monday, August 9, 2010

Strange and Quirky Keeweenaw

Disclaimer: The Keeweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan is probably not stranger or quirkier (?) than any other place on earth. It's just that when you're on vacation, you notice stuff, and that's what this post is about.

First of all, can you guess why this fire hydrant is so tall?  (If you knew immediately, then you might be a Yooper.)

According to Wikipedia, the Upper Peninsula contains almost one-fourth of the land area of Michigan but just three percent of its total population. That fire hydrant is a hint why; they average more snowfall per year than almost anywhere else in the U.S. (the record, set in 1979, is 390 inches!!), so I guess raising the fire hydrant to twice the normal height helps a little.


Raise your hand if, whenever you use a creepy public restroom, you look for possible hidden cameras. (I know I'm not the only one!) When we had a drink at an old bowling alley in Calumet, I used the restroom and did my usual scope around for cameras, just cuz the place was old and unfamiliar. The ladies' room appeared to be just a normal bathroom (assuming you're familiar with exposed plumbing.) The men's room, on the other hand, had something so unusual that Mr.4444 called me in there to take a picture (he's very supportive of my blogging, you know, and always keeps an eye open for blog-worthy topics!) He struck gold on this one!

Yup--That's a double-wide sink, and it's not for hand-washing.  See that plastic tube thingy? It's a flushing device.

So yeah, there's that.

Then there's this...

You might think, "So what? It's a bar full of people," but that's what's strange; there's rarely been more than a handful of people in this bar when we've visited in the past. Turns out it was a 1975 class reunion. So, this was good-strange, as the area is so depressed financially, and it was good to see this bar getting this kind of business.

Also quite strange was the site of an art gallery in town. Seriously? In Calumet, Michigan? I gotta tell you, having seen this town slowly fading, it was a wonderful feeling to learn that in recent years, things have picked up a bit, and there are several new businesses that have popped up, including a coffee shop!  Thankfully, another business (Copper World, in the good-strange category) is always alive and kicking, as it's a must-stop shop in Calumet, and here's one reason why...

Copper World is owned an operated by some of the nicest people you'll ever meet. (truly). Their customer service is fantastic, prices are very reasonable, and they have a wide variety of one-of-a-kind gifts and clothing items related to the area. We love this store! I also loved this sign, which cost something like $6, but if I can't hang it up at school, I don't want it, but I can fantasize...

Also in the quirky-in-a-good-way category are the old copper mining business offices. Is this gorgeous or what?

I love visiting the U.P. It has so much to offer, geographically, historically, and culturally.  If you ever get a chance, you should take it. And if you're still not convinced, stay tuned for a couple more posts :)


  1. I think I've learned more about the UP in this one post than in any geography class I've ever had.

    That office building is very pretty. Love the stone work design.

  2. Next time you're in the Keewenaw, watch for more of that distinctive stonework with the brick on the corners. I've seen it around L'Anse too. I think that mason either was quite busy, or that he taught his method to others.

    Nice post----but eeeewww on the bathroom! That's exceedingly strange and quirky....

  3. I NEED that sign in my kitchen!!!!!!

    Also, the urinal-sink is definitely a must see.

  4. wow I feel smarter after reading this post! very interesting info! That is one tall fire hydrant for sure and a lot of snow

  5. Love that photo of Kendall with the salt water taffy! It would be hard to choose a favorite flavor with such a stupendous selection!

  6. Calumet is a gem. Did you happen to go to the bakery run by monks on the west road to Copper or Eagle Harbor? Its off the beaten path near a waterfalls. They are famous for their baked items. You would like it.

  7. the stone on that building is awesome! that potty/sink thing is crazy, as is the super tall fire hydrants. love your quirky post :-)!

  8. Here in NE the fire hydrants have a long rod sticking in the air with a flag on it, at least in this county.
    It is interesting to see the high hydrant in your picture. Hubby's sis live in Grosse Pointe Woods in MI and we are frequently comparing how much snow each place gets. Good catch for Mr 4444. That is indeed an unusual set up for a urinal.

  9. I like the pictures in both this post and your last one (I'm catching up on blogs from my offline traveling time - so one comment for two posts)
    I often thought of going to that big island in Lake Superior (you probably know the name). It's good to know you can communicate with yoopers (little like Wisconsin talk?).
    Funny about the disclaimer - would you expect a disclaimer if I posted a cheesehead post?
    hidden cameras - no I don't look for them but I smile all the time I'm doing my business. I've seen stranger urinals but never thought to take pictures.
    Lastly - did you use a tripod or just a big rock for the timer pic?

  10. I need a sign like that...actually, I need business cards with that saying. :)

    I have never seen hydrants like that before, probably because I have never been where it snows like that before!

  11. The bathroom hardware is unique, to say the least.

    This was a fun post. I'm excited to see more.

  12. That bathroom is just weird, LOL

    I love that building, very cool!

    I love that Mr. 4444 is so suportive in your blogging to show you that "toilet" thing, very nice!

  13. The bathroom was very odd...I love to see places like that grow a bit too...I worry about our small towns lately the one I am from back home seems to be a bit stale in growth and I sure hate to think of all of the lost jobs in these kinds of places....Just sad...I have Michigan on my list of spots we will go to and maybe summer 2012 is the time ...

  14. Heeehehehehe, a redneck urinal, up north no less! Great!

    Have a good one....I'm sure your countdown is on.

    God bless :o)


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