Friday, September 6, 2013

Grand Marais, MI

We stayed a week in the tiny village of Grand Marais on the north end of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The name Grand Marais as it is spelled is translated "Great Marsh" in French, but there was never a marsh here, so was probably meant to be "Grand Mare" which is pronounced the same, but means "safe harbor."
Once a thriving fishing and lumbering center with a population over 2000 in 1899, Grand Marais went through tough times to re-emerge as a tourist mecca.
The city campground sits high on a bluff overlooking Lake Superior. Across the street a little church played chimes every hour. On Saturday they served a pancake breakfast. Carol and I attended services on Sunday morning, and Sunday evening went to a Community Hymn sing at another church in town.
View from the campground.
Several sets of stairs lead down to the dunes. A short climb over the dunes...
 And you are on a beautiful beach strewn with pretty stones. Many are agates if you know what you are looking for.
And if you are not sure, pay a visit to the Gitchee Gumee Museum and Agate shop of lifelong resident Axel Niemi. Axel spent 71 years collecting rocks and minerals which are now on display here.
And you can get a first-hand look at Lake Michigan agates, or purchase them if you don't want to look for your own. You can also sign up for an agate hunting class to learn how to recognize them.
Thistle got many walks around this interesting historical town.
 Some of the houses have numbers which coincide with a self-guided tour. This house called "Green Shingles" was built by John Chisolm, an official with the Railway and Postmaster from 1898 to 1907. It was first a private residence, then a tavern, a tourist inn in the 1920s, a rest home in the 1950s, and now a private residence again.
 Just a pretty little home with flowers.
 Here's a cute little cottage for rent.
 This house was built in 1894 as a single story. A second story was added in 1909 after a fire destroyed the roof. For many years it was the summer home of Dr. Rathbun and was called "The End of the Trail" and still sports the sign. It is now a private residence.

Main Street....a hardware store, outfitters, and tavern.
 Gazebo with roses overlooking the harbor.
This beautiful stone house that overlooks the bay is for sale.
 Besides the Gitchee Gumee, there are three more museums to visit. This one was the Lighthouse Keepers House, built in 1899.
 The view of the harbor from there.
Inside the museum is like stepping back to that earlier time.

Originally a Coast Guard building built in the 1940s now houses park staff for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
 The old Post Office building is another museum, built in the mid 1890s.
 Tina is studying the list of postmasters who served here.
 Outside the Post Office is another rose garden with some items of historical interest. On the left is a fish net reel.
And inside a picture and explanation of how it was used.
But by far the best museum was this one.
It was a summer cottage used by comic strip writer William Donahey and his wife.
 It was moved here from nearby Sable Lake where the Donaheys spent their summers.

Anybody old enough to remember the Teenie Weenies? 
 I don't remember the cartoon, but maybe it didn't appear in the newspapers available to me as a child.

 This picture shows the Pickle Barrel House as it appeared on Sable Lake.
This door enters into the pantry area between the two "barrels." You can see Mr. Donahey's fishing gear hanging inside.
 The pantry...
 A wee little kitchen with a wee little stove.
 And some teenie weenie pots.
 In the loft were two twin beds.

 The writing chair where Donahey drew his cartoon characters.
 The story of how the Teenie Weenies were born.
 Mary Donahey was also a writer of children's books which are on display in the museum.
One evening we drove south to drive through the Seney Wildlife Refuge. We were looking for wolves and bears and migratory waterfowl. We saw a beaver, but he disappeared before I could get the camera out. We watched this Great Blue Heron catch his evening meal.
 And we saw many Trumpeter Swans which stop here on their migratory route to where ever they go for the winter.
 We saw about a billion mosquitos and let several of them inside the car.
 And we saw the sunset.
The next day a storm blew through bringing a cold front and heavy winds.
 The winds made for some big waves on the lake.
Waves crashing over the seawall.
 It was time to leave Grand Marais.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing all your beautiful pictures of the interior of the Pickle Barrel House.