In many U.P. towns, descendants of European immigrants maintain the traditions of their ancestors from Scandinavia, Cornwall, Germany, or Italy. The blend of heritage and warm hospitality in the region can be absorbed through the food: Enjoy meatballs at a Swedish café or homemade ravioli at an Italian eatery, or try a Cornish pasty (a bread turnover filled with pork, chicken, or venison), a local favorite.
A visitor in search of culture will feel at home in the Upper Peninsula. Art museums, outdoor concerts, and a bevy of historical museums offer stimulation for both the heart and the mind.
So what doesn’t the U.P. have? Crowds and congestion, for one. Even the larger cities of the U.P. have a small-town feel, exemplified by the absence of parking meters. And with a population density of just 19 people per square mile, Michigan’s extreme north offers plenty of room to explore. Hundreds of miles of trails await hikers, mountain bikers, cross-country skiers, and snowmobilers.
People from the Lower Peninsula jokingly refer to their U.P. counterparts as “Yoopers,” who return the compliment by dubbing those from downstate to be “Trolls.” But the rivalry is good natured—each year the Upper Peninsula welcomes all visitors to a northern paradise.
Excerpted from the Third Edition of Moon Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.