Ontonagon, Michigan. That's where I was for a majority of last week, and what a truly beautiful place it is to visit. Unfortunately, I was there for grievous reasons. My Grandmother passed away unexpectedly while visiting her family there, and the service was held right there in her home town of Ontonagon. Despite being there under very sad circumstances, my family and I managed to have a decent amount of fun. Following in my Grandma's footsteps, we all took full advantage of what this little town had to offer, and drank in as much of it as we could.
We tried Pasty's for the first time. They are very popular in that area. If you've never heard of a pasty, let me tell you that it is one of the most delicious things you will ever eat. As my mother described it, "It's basically like a pot pie only without the gravy." I'm not huge on gravy, so that's probably why I enjoyed it so much. I'm sure there are plenty of different recipes, but the pasty I ate had beef and potatoes inside. Back in the day, the copper miners up there used to pack them for lunch often.
We (my husband and I) took a lighthouse tour. Having never been inside or even close to one before, we were pretty excited about it! We geared up and went to the local town museum and payed our $5 for the tickets. A bus then arrived shortly thereafter to take us to the Ontonagon Lighthouse. The guide was amazing, informative, and so very courteous. The tour was well worth the money and we got to learn a bit about local history.
While in town, we also visited a few local shops where Fred and I spent monies on postcards and bring back gifts for our nieces and nephews. Our favorite shop was called Gitche Gumee but the Nonesuch Gallery had the best signage. Check out that hand drawn, hand painted type. Daaaaaamn.
We had a bonfire on the beach right behind the little caboose-turned-vacation-home that we were staying in. We made s'mores and waited for the sun to go down so we could see all the stars. I didn't realize this, but this time of year-it doesn't get fully dark until 12 or 12:30 in the morning in that part of the country! Needless to say, it was a late night for us. The wait was worth it, though. I saw more stars in the sky than I had ever imagined even existed.
My family and I went on a boat ride on our very last night in Ontonagon. My 2nd cousin Scott took us out. This was probably my favorite outing as a family. We drank. We made fun of each other...and we laughed. It was good to get away from dry land for a while to free all our minds, even just for a little bit. My 2 brothers, (hopefully one day) sister-in-law, and husband all stripped down to their suits and decided to go for a swim in Lake Superior. It was so freezing cold, I could barely stick my feet in. I heard that the ice just fully melted only a month ago!
So, this concludes our trip to gorgeous Ontonagon, Michigan. Although the passing of a special lady brought us to the tiny town, there was precious time spent reconnecting with intermediate and extended family. Farewell, Michigan and farewell to you too, Grandma. I'll remember our travels together and I'll always still think of your face when I eat Caramel Nips.