You’ve probably heard some version of this:
The UP, hey!? Someone remarks curiously, “So what do you do up there?”
My brain usually locks up at that point. And it does that for two reasons:
- There are so many things to do
- I haven’t even scratched the surface
Don’t me wrong; I’m no stranger to travel. My passport has been stamped a few times, if you know what I mean… I just haven’t seen much of my homeland.
It really hit me one night in Australia.
A group of my friends and I were camping in the Outback. It was campfire/story/beer time and this Irish guy asked one of the American guys to tell him about where he was from.
Well, Barry (the American guy) was from North Carolina, and he proceeded (proudly) to spin the cultural history of his state in such a way that made me suddenly really interested in North Carolina (whodofthunkit?) and, well… ashamed.
I was a little bummed that I didn’t know more about where I came from.
Yes, I knew the U.P. was populated mostly by a booming mining industry which then gave way to the logging industry. I knew we had some sort of Finish heritage thing going on. And I knew there were a lot of Italian people in Iron Mountain. And we’ve got the great lakes. And the bridge. And Mackinac Island. And the Porkies. But…
My knowledge of the U.P. was (and still is) a little more disparate and not as deep as I’d like. I’d really like to be able to spin the tale of the U.P. like Barry did for North Carolina, God knows we’ve got plenty to tell.
And I also want to be able to show people what it’s like up here. I want to be able to give them a really good answer the next time someone utters…
“So what do you do up there?”
“Man…” I’ll say, “Have I got a web site for you.”
And so with “things to do in the U.P.” I’m off to do 1,000 things… all in the UP.
So, what kind of things?
Well, I’ll be checking out Pictured Rocks, Tahquamenon Falls and the Porcupine Mountains just like everyone else. But I’m also going to slow down a little and take the time to hit the tattered tourist traps and small town museums chocked full of history.
Some of it might be boring, yeah, but I’m betting the scale will be tipped much further in the direction of “cool stuff I didn’t know existed.”
What am I going to do when I reach the 1,000 things?
I’ll throw a HUGE PARTY of course. I’m thinking we’ll call it something super original like… oh… how about the “1,000 Things Party.” And you’re all invited!
No, really. All of you! And the best part…
Okay, okay… and a piñata.
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See you in the U.P.!