Notes from the road – In Copper Harbor, June 25th

Saturday morning I awoke, stumbled into the Bella Vista lobby and asked Mike’s wife where she’d recommend for breakfast. She said Mike usually goes to The Pines, so that’s where we went. If it’s good enough for a local, it’s good enough for me.

And it was indeed. Again, nothing was out of this world, but it was good. We had a couple omelets and coffee. I had the Copper Harbor omelet (cheese & mushrooms) and my wife had some other omelet (I forget which one) that was also pretty good. The service was good. We’ll be back.

After breakfast hopped in the car and drove south on 26 toward Eagle River. I’d read in one of my U.P. guidebooks that the 26, which runs right along the ragged edge of Lake Superior, is best driven from North to South (true) and that Brockway Mountain Drive is best driven from south to north (also true) so that’s what we did.

Our first and longest stop was at the Eagle Harbor lighthouse. My wife has a thing for lighthouses and I’m happy to oblige since I think they’re pretty cool myself, so we spend a couple hours hanging out at the Eagle Harbor lighthouse compound.

There’s the lighthouse, a museum, a rock point that used to support a dock, and a scenic overlook. All in all, this is definitely a nice little stop. It’s $5/person. Kids are free.

Eagle Harbor (broken thumb) Lookout

View from the lookout by the Eagle Harbor lighthouse

The drive from Copper Harbor to Eagle Harbor was awesome. Highway 26 twists and turns along the lakeshore, past big outcroppings of rocks and postcard worthy lake homes. And the stretch from Eagle Harbor to Eagle River (further south) is just as good if not better.

Along the way we were given a stunning view of Great Sand Bay, where we lingered for a bit to take some photos. Our next top was the Jampot, a bakery run by Monks.

Yes, really.

And man, do they have some good stuff! We bought for types of jam (one had burgundy in it and another had brandy) and a small “abbey cake”, which was raisin bread moistened with bourbon. (LOTS of bourbon)

 The Jampot

The Jampot, a bakery run by monks

We arrived in Eagle River and, with little time to do touristy stuff because it was getting close to my daughter’s lunch time, we went straight to Eagle Falls to take pictures of the falls and the historic bridges right next to it. Cool stuff.

After that we drove a few blocks toward the lake and had lunch at Fitzgerald’s because I’d heard it was good.

This place was nothing short of fantastic! First of all, it’s right on the beach, so we had a full frontal view of Lake Superior the whole time. The menu is great, the drink list is great, the food is fantastic, the owners (both were working) were super cool guys. We’ll definitely be back, and next time I think we’ll be staying here because they have a little hotel in the building also. (Right on the beach is right up my alley).

For the record, I had the pulled pork and my wife had a burger, both were most excellent. I would have loved to chill out on their deck with a beer and watch the waves lap the sand but I think I’ll save that for another time when it’s just my wife and I. This definitely seems like a good spot for that sort of thing.

After lunch we drove back to Copper Harbor, this time taking Brockway Mountain Drive. And WOW, what a view! As I understand it, on a clear day you can damn near see Russia! (okay, maybe not quite that far) But at any rate, today was not a clear day. Although, hazy as it was, we could still see for several miles.

With Brockway Mountain Drive under our belt, we drove back into Copper Harbor. I stopped at the marina to get info on the Copper Harbor lighthouse tour, mostly for future reference.

I was told that the boat ride out to the lighthouse is basically a slow boat ride where the guide gives you about twenty minutes of Copper Harbor history on the way out to the lighthouse. Then, at the lighthouse there’s a tour and an interpretive trail. And after that, you hop back on the boat and get twenty more minutes of the history of Copper Harbor on the way back.

We’ll do it at some point, but it didn’t sound like something for this weekend’s agenda.

We got back to the hotel and decided to go for a bike ride. And am I glad we did. There’s a great little trail with a bunch of small ups and downs that makes for a lot of fun. It’s short; I’d guess only a couple miles at most. But it’s well packed gravel and connects Copper Harbor to Fort Wilkins state park just a little further down the road. So, if you decide to stay at Fort Wilkins know that you’ve got an easy bike ride into town and back.

We tried the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge for dinner and the food was excellent. The portions were way more than either of us could eat (I think we could have split an entrée and still had leftovers, truthfully). I had the chicken carbonara and my wife had the baked rigatoni.

After that we pretty much just went back to the hotel and crashed.

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