The best spot in Marquette  is easily the
Landmark Inn (230 N. Front St., 906/228-2580, www.thelandmarkinn.com , $124–269 d). Built in the 1930s as the Northland Hotel, it hosted such luminaries as Amelia Earhart and Abbott and Costello. After falling into disrepair and eventually closing in the 1980s, it now has been beautifully remodeled and reopened as the Landmark. For not much more than you’d pay for a basic franchise motel room, you get a taste of history, a touch of elegance and a primo location: Lake Superior on one side, downtown Marquette on the other.
There’s also a surprisingly good and varied choice of lodgings in tiny Big Bay . Probably the best known is the Big Bay Point Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast (3 Lighthouse Rd., 906/345-9957, http://bigbaylighthouse.com , $125–190 d). As a lighthouse, it naturally occupies a dramatic position on a rocky point just a few miles from the town of Big Bay. The red-brick lighthouse keeper’s home, attached to the 1896 light, has been restored and retrofitted with seven very comfortable guest rooms, all with private baths. Five have Lake Superior views.
The inn has extensive grounds, more than 43 acres and a half-mile of shoreline, set far back from busy roads and hustle and bustle. Guests are welcome to use the sauna, climb the light tower, or relax in the living room, where owners Linda and Jeff Gamble have collected loads of lighthouse lore and history. Reserve well in advance.
For a city its size, Marquette has a very good selection of quality, locally owned restaurants. The Vierling Saloon (119 S. Front St., 906/228-3533, www.thevierling.com , 11:30 a.m.–close daily, $6–21) stands out for its consistently good food, century-old decor, and interesting views of Marquette Harbor ore docks. (Ask for a table near the large windows in back.) The menu offers a lot of variety, including vegetarian dishes, whitefish served five ways, and excellent breakfasts, soups, and sandwiches. The microbrewery downstairs features British-style ales and stouts.
In Big Bay, you should stop by the Lumberjack Tavern (202 Bensinger St., 906/345-9912, 11:30 a.m.–close daily, $5–14), which has a large local following.