Whitefish Point, a winter destination
Winter sends many people south seeking sun and warmth.
Some hardy souls have discovered a different get-away -- in the north, on the shores of Lake Superior where over New Year's weekend 2010 wind chill was as low as -39 F and daytime highs reached all the way to 4 degrees F.
There are colder places by the score, but Whitefish Point just north of Paradise, Michigan, at the eastern end of Lake Superior can be cold and snowy enough to enjoy the opportunities for beauty, fun and solitude that can be memorable.
Bring a camera, dress warm, and remember the wind from the west here is coming over a more than 200-mile fetch of open water and ice. It can sting and bite. The grounds of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum are open to wander through. The red and white buildings and the lighthouse tower contrast with the snow. Nearby is the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory. Whitefish Point is a noted place for bird watching, especially during the spring and fall migrations.
nearby Paradise is a snowmobile Mecca in Michigan with a trail system that can take you to other towns and across the Upper Peninsula.
Less well-known is its attraction for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. There are designated ski trails west of Paradise and in the beautiful Tahquemenon State Park and in the Hiawatha National Forest south of Whitefish Bay.
And there are plenty of roads, wilderness areas, the North Country Trail and other options for those with a sense of adventure, properly prepared and some skill in backcountry skiing and, yes, perhaps survival.
The Tahquamenon Falls in winter can be spectacular, especially as the season progresses and icicles form on the gorge walls in surprising shades of pastel colors due to the mineral content of the water oozing from the ground above the river gorge.
The river itself runs root beer red-brown due to the tannins from the swampy watershed the falls drain.
There are accommodations in Paradise and the privately owned and operated brew-pub within the Upper Falls State Park serves food and local beer all year.
Sometimes heading north is cooler than heading south.
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