Experience Michigan’s Paradise


September 29, 2015 Volume 1 Issue 5 Flickr facebook youtube

Experience Fall Colors in Paradise

A splash of color...

The sun’s position is shifting south, the daylight hours are slowly growing fewer, and the air holds the feeling of autumn. The hustle and bustle of the summer tourist rushing to capture as much of the area before school starts as possible has distinctly shifted to those interested in traveling at a slower pace, those that have more time in their schedule to pick up the lull of Lake’s Superior’s waves. The anticipation of Fall Colors is almost deafening. What is it about Fall Colors that causes so many people to just hop in their car and go for a drive? The canvas is the landscape, year to year it changes. The colors are brighter or less intense and the canvas is available for a short time. Some people will travel a region to capture the colors in one area then follow them to another. Fall Colors are a praise so to speak of the bountiful harvest that so many will enjoy. Fall Colors are last splash for the quiet and calm of Winter.

In 2015, our Whitefish Township resident weather data collector recorded the following information.


2015 Paradise Weather
Month Ave High Temp Ave Low Temp Total Rainfall
June 70 45 1.5 Inches
July 81 51 1.5 Inches
August 74 52  .8 Inches


Fall colors in 2015 appear to be at a slower pace than in 2014, I wondered if this was due to the unusually dry weather this past summer. Our weather specialist reported that the ever so slight color changes we saw in the past couple of weeks were due to stress. Fall Color changes are depended on the current weather, not the weather we experienced during the summer.

As of September 23, we’ve already had 2.9 inches of rain and to be honest, I think it is greener now then it was in August. Looking at the monthly rainfall totals, this makes sense. Have no fear, colors will change. Leaves are destined to follow their usual dance with diminishing sunlight. The good news is the colors should abound and depending upon the weather, they may stay with us a bit longer this fall.

Which is the best route? Curley Lewis Scenic Byway, Tahquamenon Scenic Heritage Byway, Whitefish Bay Scenic Route, County Road 412 to Crisp Point, Country Road 414 to Muskallonge Lake State Park, M77 to Grand Maris or Highway 58 To Munising and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. As a region embedded in the Hiawatha National Forest and Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Paradise is an ideal location as your base camp. Situated on the Tahquamenon Scenic Heritage Byway, plan a three day excursion, driving west to Seney National Wildlife Refuge and Wilderness area to Pictured Rocks, then return to the Tahquamenon Falls State Park and dine at the Camp 33 Brewery then take a nice walk to see the Tahquamenon Falls. On the next day relax, take a short drive to Crisp Point or relax at Muskallonge Lake State Park. You might even consider renting a 4-wheeler or hiking the North Country Trail or Paradise Pathway Trails. When you return to Paradise conclude your day with a fine meal at The Inn, Paradise, a local gastro pub and smokehouse. On day three, travel East on the Curley Lewis Scenic Byway to Brimley and then Sault Ste Marie Michigan to visit the locks and catch a Freighter being lowered to travel onward toward Lake Huron. Driving, hiking, walking, biking, capturing images, defining memories, and preparing for the season ahead, experience Fall Colors in Paradise. Have you made your Fall Color plans yet?

Experience a Run for the Light

By Sarah Wilde, Membership and Marketing Coordinator

Join us in October for the 2015 Fifth Annual Whitefish Point: Run for the Light Benefit Race with a Half Marathon, 10K Run and 5K Fun Run/Walk.

The 2015 Fifth Annual Whitefish Point: Run for the Light will take place at the Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point on Saturday, October 10, 2015 with a blast from the Foghorn at 8:30 am. All proceeds will benefit ongoing restoration of the Whitefish Point Lighthouse.

Registration forms can be downloaded at www.ShipwreckMuseum.com (events section) and mailed with payment, received by October 8. You can also register onsite at the Shipwreck Museum Gift Store through October 9, until 7 p.m. or online at www.Active.com through midnight October 8. Race Packets may be picked up Friday, October 9, from 12 noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday, October 10, from 6:30 a.m.-7:30 a.m. at the Shipwreck Museum Gift Store.

All registered participants will receive a 2015 Whitefish Point: Run for the Light Dri-FIT T-Shirt with Race Packet and receive special admission Group Visit rate of $9 (regularly $13) to the Shipwreck Museum. Awards to top two finishers in each Age Group, Male and Female, in each Race Event (Half Marathon, 10K Run and 5K Run/Walk). Awards to overall Top Finishers, Male and Female in each Race Event. Certificate of Finishing. The course will have Chip Timing and will be on flat paved roadway. Participants are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes. The Whitefish Point: Run for the Light benefit race was voted Best Race Event in 2014 by The Upper Peninsula Road Runners Club. Hope you can join us this year!

We need volunteers! Our Annual Whitefish Point: Run for the Light would not be possible without our awesome volunteers. Call the Shipwreck Society office at (906) 635-1742 or email swilde@shipwreckmuseum.com to sign up. All volunteers will receive a Whitefish Point: Run for the Light Dri-FIT Volunteer T-Shirt. Volunteer positions available at the registration tables, the start and finish line, and along the course at the three turn around points.

All race photos by Lynne Reed, GLSHS Volunteer, from the 2014 Fourth Annual Whitefish Point Run for Light.

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God, . . . ain’t you going to give us even one?

By Robert B. High

Reprinted from the Tahquamenon Paradise Resort News, 1978, Volume 1, p. 5

This is only a story, but it really happened November 10, 1975. The day began in Paradise, dark, forbidding with a chill northerly wind that held the icy breath of winter yet to come. Little shops were opening, the kids off to school.

Lake Superior, Queen of all the lakes, had changed her beautiful blue gown with frothy white lace, to dark green with a series of solid white edging for as far as the eye could see. She appeared to the more experienced fisherman and some of the older fresh water sailors who lived along her shores to be vexed over something. At least one man or  possibly several men paused as they walked along her clean sandy beach south of Whitefish Point or along the rocky agate strewn north shore west of the point and wondered what had been done to the old girl this time to make her so. Had we sailed too many times over her skirts? Had we polluted the waters around her feet too much? They knew that on occasion, she could exact her toll as tribute for the invasions and desecration. Her toll would be the lives of the sailors, sailing across her regal hem at this very moment if she deemed it so.

Many of the residents of the area, from Whitefish point, through Shelldrake, Paradise, Silver Creek, on along the shore line who had lived at least several years here were less aware of the situation because death from the lake had not touched their dear ones or friends as the commercial fishermen or sailors had experienced it. Yet they seemed to feel tense. It was a tension that defied explanation. It wasn’t talked about. They just started the day’s business as usual.

Some of the old-timers could be seen lifting their faces to the sky and then looking quickly down. Each one lost in his or her own thoughts as they hunched their shoulders a bit against the rising wind and trudged along their way on some errand.

At noon, the street and house lights were on where usually they were not needed during the day. The clouds scudded along in dark ominous blotches growing larger and lowering toward the pine and hardwood tree tops, the wind causing a deep moaning sound to come to the ears. The sound was accompanied by the growing roar of waves breaking a thousand yards off shore and finally pounding on the sand in an angry temp like the steady tolling of a giant bell. It promised one Hell of a day on land and “plenty hell on the lake”, as the old saying goes around here.

By 4:30 p.m., day and night seemed to crash together. Darkness came early, as if to cover the frightful deed our angry queen was about to commit. As if to aid her with the already unstable elements, she was to seat beside her a consort. That consort would be Satan himself.

The townspeople had closed their shops early on November the 10th and joined with their families around stoves with chill chasing fires crackling and popping within, or near the hearth-side that offered a more cheerful light. People who love each other draw together when something they can’t understand seems to cloud the emotions. It was the thing to do. The children appeared to be a bit demanding this night. It was difficult to concentrate on homework lessons and parents seemed to sense a need of reassurance. What was this tense feeling? No one knew.

Thus, out came the popcorn to be popped and buttered. A joint effort indeed. Out came the books to be read aloud for all to listen to. Stories to be told of olden days, never, never land; fun, and fancy. Each to his own.

About 5:30 p.m. the rain started in cold stinging shards, pelting window panes like tiny pebbles thrown against them by an angry god.

The wind had slowly shifted to west and south, and while doing so, rose to a howl. It seemed to lift itself from the tree tops and to hurl itself into mad oblivion.

Some people who lived on the lake shore were at their windows with binoculars trying to see, in vain, the lights of the giant ore freighters that usually sparkled on the horizon. The night was as black as they could ever remember and probably a few, offered a prayer for those brave lads they knew were at the absolute mercy of an angry queen. By now, the watery dress of the queen had been changed to black, as black as the first stage of oblivion. It seemed, consciousness had even left the night.

The waves had grown to mountainous size. Spray blew from their tops in solid sheets of black water against the side of sterns and forecastles with main decks awash like an ebony shroud.

Radar became their only hope to search their way around Whitefish point and relative safety in Whitefish Bay, for at 5:53 p.m., the beacon at Whitefish point lighthouse, had, for some un-explainable reason gone out. Since the station is automatic, there was no one there to repair it.

The wind, by this time had gone completely wild. Eighty to eighty-five miles per hour with gusts well over ninety were registered. On land trees were crashing to the ground unheard in the roar of the wind.

A few residents from Whitefish Point down to Eckerman sent C.B. radio messages to each other. Those who had marine monitors or scanners, as they are called, made coffee and with worried frowns, prepared to listen through the rest of the night.

A night gone mad.

Around 6:30 p.m. worried townspeople were nervously phoning friends who lived along the beach Inland, they could hear the thunderous crashing of the waves and the roaring of the wind, each seemed to be trying to drown out the noise of the other. “Can you see any freighter light?” they would ask. “Nope”, came the rather glum and noncommittal reply. “Can’t see a thing out there.” “Must be terrible out there eh?”, the caller might say or ask in the form of an anxious question. Because of the tension and worry each one might have felt, the words (disaster or drowning) was not mentioned. “Call me if you see anything,” or “call me if there is anything I can do to help” May seem strange to the reader, because no one could see anything at all and there was nothing anyone could do to help on a night as insane with wind, wave, and rain as this one was. Sincerity in feeling; true concern for the living who were rolling and pitching on the largest inland lake in the world has that effect on us and is understood by everyone.

Usually, before they rang off, a final reply. “Sure will, I’m going to stay up for a while tonight anyway, so I’ll call if something comes up.” There seemed to be a reluctance to hang up the phone, but everything that needed to be said, had been said.

By 7:00 p.m., the queen of all the lakes had now reached the apex of her rath. It was time now for her decision. All the elements she had mustered forth were hers to command. The wind, it seemed, in order to please her, reached for its full fury. The waves in order to justify her decision had, peaked at forty feet or more. The darkness grew blacker as if to hide the act she was about to perform. Suddenly she rose from her iron throne, reached down, and on the crests of several huge waves broke the huge ore freighter EDMUND FITZGERALD into three pieces. Releasing the wreckage, she allowed it plunge to the bottom, taking each and every one of the 29 sailors with it. All this was done in less than a minute. Seating herself, she allowed the wind and waves an ecstasy of complete madness. An insane joy for the terrible toll she had so suddenly taken. On through the night the elements cavorted and danced to the tune of Satan’s Hornpipe.

The following morning, November 11, 1975, townspeople in the Paradise area began to sire and arose to a sullen day. The children began preparing themselves for school. Breakfast was started. Radios were turned on for the morning news and weather. Suddenly, the news no one wanted to hear, came to them anyway. The over 700 foot ore freighter EDMUND FITZGERALD was lost during the night approximately nine miles north and east of Whitefish point down bound toward the Soo. All hands were missing.

The shock, the sudden feeling of loss, thoughts driven crashing through the brain. Thoughts about the parents of the boys who were yet floating on that cold water; thoughts about the boys who had gone down to join so many others in the years gone by. Thoughts some of the women felt pushed back because they were too terrible to dwell upon, like, “But for the grace God, goes my son.”

A fleeting prayer for the survivors. All this in one galvanized moment. It can’t be true that all were lost? It’s too soon to say yet. Certainly there will be some lads struggling to live? It’s too monstrous to believe all are gone.

Some of the men folk had reached the beach, dressed as warmly against the wind as they could. They brought with them small boats with outboard motors, hoping in their hearts to see a man’s head above a life jacket; a flailing arm rising above a dark green forbidding wave. Hoping in vain to launch the boats against the waves. Walking the beaches in search of wreckage, or survivors, or worse yet, bodies. The men kept touch with walky talky radios, C.B. radio operators in their homes kept a constant monitor hoping to be able to pass the news that at least some of the boys had been found. Yet, practically everyone knew that only the dead might be found. The temperature of the water only allows a few minutes of life to a hapless swimmer out there. But we can’t give up hope? It isn’t in us to give up? The wind direction has got to carry them here along this very stretch of beach. We just know it?

Fishing tugs in the refuge harbor at the Point were prepared and all tugs that could, pushed their bows bravely into the waves to join the larger coast guard cutters moving about in search patterns.

All day of the 11th of November 1975, dozens of men and women searched along the shores. All day the fishing tugs, the Coast Guard cutters, aircraft, helicopters anything that could bring a pair of eyes to focus on water was utilized. All in vain.

As the day turned to dusk, and vision was no longer of use to search, the tugs began returning to the harbor. Wet, weary, fatigued almost beyond endurance, the men tied up to the slips. Hope was gone. One man summed it all up with a weary sigh. He raised his eyes to heaven and was heard to mutter under his breath. “God, ain’t you going to give us even one?”

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Paradise Area Community Experiences



Claudia Brings Music to Whitefish Bay

Story by N. Craig

Have you ever met Claudia?

Once Claudia sets her mind to a specific goal, to some extent there is no stopping her. Facing retirement in 2015 she was more then a little concerned as to how she would spend her day. After all she is a busy person. If she isn’t working on lesson plans, encouraging students to learn, mentoring teachers to achieve even more or cross-country skiing trails around her home with her dog, Star, until the very last bit of snow is gone, Claudia just isn’t Claudia. Just ask those who know Claudia. One neighbor will lovingly reinforce to anyone that will listen that Claudia is just a high energy bundle of crazy.

Have you ever been to the Wild Blueberry Festival? Many people have. The small community of Paradise swells beyond recognition as people from all over the UP and the upper lower peninsula of Michigan travel to one of this region’s greatest arts and crafts show and family entertainment festivities ever imagined. You may have even noticed the decorations around town. Well, more then likely, Claudia and her small team put those decorations up. Claudia loves to celebrate life! Let me tell you, decorating Paradise is no easy task. This is a small community with a lot of folks (including me) that finds the natural green of the trees, and the blue of the waters just about all that God wanted to do to decorate the place, why would we need tinsel, balloons, and even more colors? But decorate she does. Undaunted and determined, Claudia perseveres.

In the fall of 2014, Claudia had a phenomenal idea to raise funds for the Wild Blueberry Festival and to enhance the strong entertainment program. Her plan included a means to reach out to younger people and elicit their participation in this great community. Claudia exclaimed to the Paradise Area Chamber, let’s establish a Blueberry Idol Contest at the festival and set up a series of seven, free community concerts, Music on the Bay, whereby contestants could qualify to be in the final two or four groups to compete at the festival. The Chamber was elated, the Wild Blueberry Festival steering committee was less so. But undaunted, Claudia persevered and even though the Blueberry Idol package was on hold she proceeded with the concept of the free community concerts. She had the Chamber backing, but she needed funds to contract local talent. It was getting late in the season to schedule artists. She met with the Paradise Area Community Foundation, they approved her request for funds. She met with the Paradise Area Tourism Council and they too approved her request for funds. Music on the Bay was born.

Claudia did take retirement from teaching in the Brimley School System in the spring of 2015 and she delighted the Paradise community by accepting the role of Wild Blueberry Festival Chairperson for 2015. Immediately she was hit in the face with the loss of the ovens at the school. How would the committee bake blueberry pies. (I believe it was at this time, that I dared suggest, “Who needs Blueberry Pies.” and Claudia replied, “Come on now, it’s the Wild Blueberry Festival! We will have pies.”) She worked with the Whitefish Township Community Schools, dug through years and years of receipts to prove ownership of the oven the school was replacing with hopes of claiming the oven and setting it up somewhere to be put to good use. She reported to the Paradise Area Chamber of Commerce, she contacted the supplier of the oven. Keep in mind 2015 was the 32nd year for the Wild Blueberry Festival, there were a lot of receipts and a lot of traditions that she challenged. Undaunted, Claudia much like the Man of La Mancha, picked up her sword and approached Joy, the community meals program coordinator. Joy found a new oven, put together pricing, Claudia approached the Paradise Area Chamber of Commerce and the Wild Blueberry Festival Steering Committee about donating funds early this year and offer the township up to $5,000 toward a new oven. If Whitefish Township were to do the same, and the community meals program were to chip in then the community center could replace their oven with a new oven that could meet everyone’s needs. At the township meeting, Claudia was eloquent as she laid out her plan. A number of Wild Blueberry Festival enthusiasts and volunteers attended the meeting as a show of support. The Board approved. The Whitefish Township community would purchase this new oven. The blueberry pies were saved.

Music on the Bay was a great success in its first year. Each Tuesday evening at 7:00 PM a singer/songwriter performed their best at the Whitefish Township Community Center. If the weather was willing, the concert was held outside in accordance to the preliminary concept. Concessions were made available and donation jars set about for concert attendees to make donations for a 2016 concert series. Young and old alike, sat midst family and friends to enjoy the music and sounds wafting from the stage of our small community. At the chamber’s September Annual meeting, reports as to the success of the concert series were reassuring as the chamber members were excited to offer the free concert series in 2016. Each Tuesday evening, 7:00 pm members in the community will enjoy music.

Claudia is making a difference. Not just decorating the town with colors and joy but music to lift our spirits and comfort our souls. Children need celebration in life. Children of all ages. Ovens and blueberry idols were not the only battles left to our dear friend Claudia. She sought the opportunity to serve her community as the Whitefish Township Community Schools Superintendent, she accepted that role for a fleeting moment. Shortly thereafter diagnosed with an aggressive cancer, she found herself having to step back from the Superintendent’s job, step back from the Wild Blueberry Festival Chairperson’s role and letting others step in. Undaunted, persevering she continues this battle but for certain she has brought music to the Paradise community and we are eternally grateful to her tenacity.

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by N. Craig

The concept eluded me, my entire life until moving to the Paradise area in 2010. Sure I knew people that enjoyed rocks. They had traveled to Arizona during the winter months from Indiana and brought back Apache Tears and a variety of quartz stones. They invested in a rock tumbler and purchased a few “fixins” chains and clasps to attach to the polished stones and make a few gifts to give to family members for birthdays and Christmas. While I found them interesting and appreciated the efforts of my grandparents and cousins, I found the “fixins” turned my skin green and broke readily so often times those precious gifts were kept in my jewelry box to remind me of family. My Mother, an elementary school teacher had created a rock collection in 1952 which identified different type of rocks: sedimentary, quartz, shale, and limestone, pulled together and store in wooden box. It came out once a year while she taught to give young people a hands-on-experience in understanding geology. 50 years later it found its way into my data base design classroom a couple of times for high school students to shake loose the concepts of categories and classifications and to inventory these inexpensive treasures in their data base.

Sure people covet diamonds, rubies, and emeralds but to actually spend time looking for agates, jasper, or Petoskey stones simply wasn’t in my understanding of popular activities until moving from Indiana to Michigan and the shorelines of the Great Lakes. I must admit that leisurely strolling along the shoreline of Lake Superior, seeking a stone with colors that sparkle from the waves moving in and about that appeals to my “eye” is an experience that I recommend to everyone. The shoreline is continually changing, the selections every altering with each new wave, and especially with each spring. Rock hounding knows no age limit or social economic boundaries. If you like the stone, then you pick it up. Some people create incredible pieces of jewelry with genuine silver chains and mounts while others store their precious finds in mineral oil in a decorative decanter.

Today there are Tips for Rock Hunting in Northern Michigan, and Rock Hounding Facebook pages. The Whitefish Township Community Library offers a wildly popular free session each summer coordinated by a local rock enthusiast and jewelry designer, Valerie Smith. Agate seekers meet with her at the library for a session in understanding different type of rocks: Basalt, Granite, Unakite, Quartz, Jasper, Rhyolite, Chert, and Agates. Then the entire group travels north to the infamous Whitefish Point shoreline to stroll the beach with pails and a personal assistant, Valerie to confirm your rock identification. You do not have to have any special training in Rock Hounding. If you think the stone or rock is attractive, that is all that really matters. As your collection grows, you might find yourself being more selective. Take a pail, water resistant footwear and comfortable clothing. Periodically throw one of those less desirable rocks back out in the lake with your best pitching arm and release even more stress of the day. After collecting a number of rocks, you can decide what you would like to do with them. I’m still in the phase of adding them to my flower gardens or special paper weights, but you may be finding smaller rocks or breaking up larger rocks seeking the beauty within and may consider adorning a frame.

With the vast shorelines along Whitefish Point, Crisp Point, and Vermilion Point, there is room for many rock hunters. Characteristics of the rock hounding experience include but are not limited to fresh air, walking, bending over to study that rock a little closer, picking up those treasures, and adding them to your pail of precious finds. Whether hunting solitaire or with a few friends, the stress release and witness of the beauty of these shorelines is an experience Michigan’s Paradise that you may find enthralling.

Images Courtesy Valarie Smith


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