This is Paradise. Really. It is a small town in the eastern part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Paradise is the gateway to Tahquamenon Falls and Whitefish Point. I’ll be writing more on the area in upcoming posts. One of the cool things about Paradise is that it’s about 3.5 hours from Long Lake. Cross over The Big Mac, drive an hour and 30 minutes, and you’re there.
Paradise is the wild blueberry capital of Michigan. From the 1880s until the 1920s, the area’s huge stands of white pines were logged basically into stubble. The stubble caught fire regularly and wild blueberry bushes thrived in the acidic soil. In June and July it’s low bush blueberries and in August and September it’s the high bush variety. The berries were in high demand back before folks learned how to cultivate blueberries instead of just find them. Wild blueberries are mighty tasty–in a way that’s different from the farm grown ones. They don’t all look like they were extruded from some machine. And low bush blueberries have a violet-colored inside. When you bite into them, they don’t pop out of their skin so easily like the cultivated ones do. That means that when you chew a mouthful you don’t feel like you’re chewing little slimy eyeballs.
Today, Paradise relies on hunters,fishermen, birders, shipwreck enthusiasts, kayakers and those looking for waterfalls and whitefish. We met friendly folks, in a town with one ATM–a dial-up modem inside this combination convenience store, sporting goods store, gas station–guarded by a cool example of modern folk art.
We saw much natural beauty during our two days in Paradise. We also visited some very sobering sites, including the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point and a local cemetery. But I thought I’d start the blogging where our visit started, enjoying one of the more memorable bikers and his dog.
Really, how is somebody supposed to take a biker dude seriously when he travels with his purse dog?