We recently took a trip through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P.) to see all the big cities and see all of the Great Lakes. We stopped into Escanaba Michigan not knowing what we would find. From what I learned, people come here for fishing, beaches and hunting. We came to relax, see the lighthouse and go to the U.P. State Fair.
Where to get food in Escanaba
We enjoyed a few restaurants during our stay.
Bobaloons – Hot dogs, grilled cheese and hot ham and cheese sandwiches were enjoyed by our family. Some of the greenest relish I’ve ever seen. We arrived at lunch time during the week and there was a wait, but worth it.
Happy Day’s Ice Cream Parlor – This was a cute little shop downtown with soda shop decor. They serve delicious Jilbert’s ice cream, which is the ice cream company from the Upper Peninsula.
Rosy’s Diner for breakfast. Consider sitting at the counter and talking to Rosy’ herself. She’s a character that doesn’t sugar coat what she says. She was very busy but took the time to talk to us.
Elmer’s – This was a large busy diner. We were here during the U.P. Fair, so busier than normal I think. Good food. The decor is dated, but we were happy with our food.
What to see in Escanaba
Joseph Medill Fire ship – located off the 600 block of 1st Avenue North, look towards the shore and you’ll see it. It was a fire ship used in Chicago to fight fires from the water. Be sure to check it out quick, from what I am reading online now, it is in the process of being dismantled. Find it early in the morning or at night for beautiful sunrise and sunset photo opportunities.
The House of Ludington – built in 1865 as the Gaynor House Hotel and then renamed in 1871 to honor local lumberman Nelson Ludington. The building was rebuilt in 1883 out of brick and became the hotel you see today. The hotel is locked only open if the restaurant is open. The building is in need of some upkeep and maintenance.
Ludington Park – one of the largest parks in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This park is three-quarter miles long, along the lake shore going into Little Bay de Noc. Lots to keep the family busy. Pack a picnic and spend the afternoon. Walk along the dock. Location: Downtown Escanaba
Murals – there are several beautiful murals on the buildings, so be on the lookout and have your camera ready. Looking left and right, up and down while downtown and you won’t miss any of them.
Sand Point Lighthouse – The lighthouse was in operation from 1868 to 1939. Mary Terry was the first lighthouse keeper (and one of the first female lighthouse keepers on the Great Lakes). Mary’s husband John was to be lighthouse keeper, but got consumption and died while the lighthouse was being built. Nine different families manned the lighthouse before it was decommissioned. The lighthouse has been restored to how it was when built and has period furniture as well. Location: Northeast shore of Lake Michigan along Ludington Park.
Shop – there are unique shops in the downtown area, including Saykllys Candy and Gift shop. Lot of candy and other gifts to select from.
U.P. State Fair – In August, the Upper Peninsula has its own state fair. Understandably, Michigan is pretty big and the lower peninsula state fair is in Novi (near Detroit). The fair is not state funded and is now governed by the Upper Peninsula State Fair Authority (made up of the 15 counties in Michigan’s U.P.) When we were there, parking was free, but you pay to get into the Fair. There are rides, that delicious fair food and all other things Fair. Location: 2401 12th Avenue North
U.P. Steam & Gas Engine Museum (Agricultural Museum) – located at the U.P. State Fairgrounds, this was created to preserve the local heritage. You will find an eclectic collection antique equipment and artifacts. Check the days and times this museum is open. It is free to visit, but donations are welcome.