I was tired of the swamp and the woods today and decided to drive north to Houghton and Hancock to run errands, buy organic food at the co-op and indulge at the coffee shop. Today’s outdoor adventure would be a walkabout around the two cities.
For all you non-Yoopers (Yoopers are folks from the Upper Peninsula), Houghton houses about 7,000 residents and Hancock 4,323 as of the 2000 Census, at least according to Wikipedia. You might not even want to call them cities. You could call them large towns. But for folks who live near the really small towns (or in the woods) we think these cities are really big…
Driving around Houghton these days keeps one alert and focused. If you haven’t visited recently, there’s new routes and roads and pathways to follow. The city is doing a streetscape project for the next several months, tearing up the main street and replacing it with brick pavers. New sidewalks, street lights, and water/sewer pipes will grace the downtown.
The above photo shows the initial construction which goes south from the bridge for a couple blocks. I heard rumors they dug up old streetcar or trolley tracks beneath the pavement. Isn’t it fascinating to think of the history which might be uncovered digging down through the layers of soil? Years ago I spent a week on an archeology dig in the Ottawa National Forest. It’s so interesting (well, and sometimes a tad bit boring) to sift through the dirt, finding recent and prehistoric treasures. Seems like we found a chipped prehistoric stone tool on that dig, if my memory is even slightly accurate.
After wandering around Houghton, I attempted to follow the directions to cross the bridge to Hancock. Mission: a success! It really wasn’t hard, once you figured out where to go. I parked the car at a great little bookstore, Northwind Books, and started the walkabout through this city. Wanted to wander through a neighborhood and see what interesting photo opportunities presented themselves. (Believe me, lots presented themselves. Fifty photos were uploaded, just to prove it.)
It was really hard to decide whether to post the picket fence photo or the gate photo. Or the step photo. Or the bench photo. Or the Yooper snow scoop photo (every backyard had one to help them shovel out the 250 inches of snow each year). Or the raven sitting on the phone wire. Or how about the guardrail with this most magnificent plant/weed growing upward near it? I’ll tell you, deciding which photos to post is a real challenge.
For some reason, this fire escape really looked interesting. Doesn’t it just look like you can keep walking up into the sky from it?
After the walkabout, one more stop beckoned. Time to go to the Keweenaw Co-op. It’s a regular stop. Best place in town to buy natural food, organic produce and all sorts of cool eclectic healthy products.
They feature panels of hand-painted murals on the side of the building. For your viewing pleasure, here’s one:
I wish you all could have enjoyed the luscious piece of melt-in-your-mouth dark chocolate and the cool berry ice tea. Very delicious.
A delightful walkabout in the cities!