The name Munising comes from the Ojibwe word, “Munissi,” that means island; Munising means “place of the island.” The island that those early settlers were describing was Grand Island; a massive hunk of land in the middle of Munising. My #MittenTrip took us on an adventure to this place of extensive history and picturesque beauty.
Munising is a long way from most places, meaning that you will be in the car for a long time, but it is worth the drive! Before heading to town, we checked into a cabin at the Hillcrest Motel. The cabins sleep up to six people and provide a cozy spot to unwind after a long drive. For those staying a while, they also offer a full-size refrigerator, microwave, and full kitchen complete with dishware and stove.
After checking out the digs, we went looking for some local fare. We ended up at Shooters Firehouse Brewpub. We were drawn in by the promise of a local nano-brewed beer and wood-fired pizza. Every Friday night, the “Cooking Carberrys” make delicious flatbread pies in their mobile pizza oven. I highly recommend pairing their chicken cordon bleu pizza with the Cream Ale.
We capped off the day by watching the sunset on the Picture Rocks from the Grand Island scenic turnout.
This was it, the big Pictured Rocks tour day! We started the day off right with a breakfast at Falling Rock Café. Their bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast croissant was to die for, especially paired with bottomless mugs of their custom-roasted coffee from Great Lakes Coffee Company. Also, their wonderful book selection could keep you spending the better part of a day in Falling Rock.
With a belly full of Falling Rock and Great Lakes Coffee Company, we made our way across the street to the Pictured Rocks Boat Tours. This two and a half hour tour was the perfect way for us to get up-close and personal with the Pictured Rocks. Make sure that you pack an appropriate jacket, even in the middle of the summer, the breeze off of Lake Superior is chilling. During our #MittenTrip in October, the breeze was a substantial wind and it was bone-chilling. You might want to even bring a blanket. I will admit though, tt’s easy to forget everything else, including how cold you are, when you are floating below the many colorful cliffs of the miles of Pictured Rocks along the shoreline.
Once docked, I was inspired to see more of the area’s natural beauty. Locals told me that taking H-58 east of town would be the perfect way to find what I was looking for. This winding road is a meandering path through many of the Pictured Rocks highlights. My favorite part of H-58 was the view from the top of the Logslide. From here, I could see the Au Sable Lighthouse to the west and parts of the Grand Sable Dunes to the east. We were fortunate enough to watch two eagles soaring over the lake while we were there. Almost all of the points of interest on H-58 are accessible via short, easy hikes.
H-58 is to Munising what M-22 is to the wine county of the Lower Peninsula. H-58 leads you to Grand Marais, home to the Lake Superior Brewing Company. Unfortunately, I was still full from breakfast, but I will plan accordingly on my next trip.
Upon returning from Grand Marais, we freshened up at the cabin and headed back into town to test our palates at Johnny Dogs, home to imaginative hot dog creations! Unfortunately, we were a little late! This place is definitely on my short list for my next trip; I’ve heard far too many good things about their dogs.
Before we headed back to our regular workaday lives, we took time to fuel up at the Dogpatch. Their hearty breakfast will keep you satisfied on your journey home. After breakfast, make one final stop in at Falling Rock for a redeye; I suggest the Grand Island Roast as the coffee because it will keep your eyes open on the drive home.
Make sure that you check out a waterfall on your way out of town. Depending on which direction you are headed, I suggest Scott (to the west) or Wagner Falls (to the east) because these more secluded spots offer a great place to get intimate with a waterfall. Either one will give you one final memory to cherish until your next Munising trip… you’ll definitely be back, I know I will.
What are your favorite sights to see and foods to eat in Munising?
~John Yonkers, Contributing Writer