Six Reasons Why Michigan's Upper Peninsula is an Ideal Valentine's Retreat

Cuz, Baby, it's cold outside.

While the iconic stencil of Michigan's mitten makes it one of the most recognizable states in the U.S., the portion that comprises the Upper Peninsula looks like an impressionistic quarter-note rest flipped once and turned on its side.

The U.P. has familiar bed-and-breakfast allure and breathtaking vistas with three of the five Great Lakes as a backdrop. But the people and culture of the U.P. possess an eccentric charm, one that's uniquely American and not mired in urbane cynicism.

Natives, called "Yoopers," descended from mostly Scandinavian settlers who started coming over for copper and iron mining in the 19th century. Logging is still a vital industry. And so is tourism – some intrepid romantics even visit in the deep freeze of winter.

Sunny seasons bring suntanned sojourners. Clear waters, sailboat races, floral gardens, gushing falls, and red amber hills make the region an easy sell in spring and summer, but barely beyond fall. Even craft shows and antique shopping are most likely to occur only May through Christmas.

But Valentine's Day is in the heart of winter, and 'da Yoop' might as well be part of that immense national park we call Canada.

So, why go?

Pace and Simplicity

One viewing of this video by an enterprising local known simply as "Steve" speaks volumes of a land of blissfully self-actualized lumberjacks, fisherman, bakers, brewmasters, and snowmen. With his own weekly vlog, he invites you to tour with him so you don't miss the subtle high points.

Steve's Facebook "Live Drive" will take you on a snowy night's land cruise where passing any other driver is so unlikely, that Steve drives, operates the camera, and blatantly disobeys road signs. Before long, you enter a twinkling town with windows dressed for the season.

What Steve unquestioningly calls the "famous Snow Thermometer" is a tall red vertical at the side of the road two-thirds of the way up the Keweenaw Peninsula on US-41 north of Mohawk. "We measure snow in feet up here," he boasts. The ironically repurposed mercury goes to 35 feet and includes an indicator for the 54-year average and last year's total.

It's Cold Outside

So what could be more romantic than huddling inside against the elements? Savor the prospect of being knocked offline for a spell ­– or better – not being able to get back home in time for work if a blizzard kicks up. Just the thought of it could bring giggles, but in reality, chances are pretty good for staying on schedule. What Michigan calls its "Storm of the Century" happened back in 1938. But be prepared for anything.

NOTE: The sailboat race that makes the U.P.'s Mackinac Island a known destination doesn't leave a trace once the winter comes. Ferries will get you to the isle where automobiles have been banned since 1898, but only until conditions turn glacial. Then there's no way to get there but by air or snowmobile over frozen lake water. Nevertheless, there is a Mackinac Island Winter Festival in early February with sledding, bonfires, broom hockey, and cross-country skiing by lantern light on two miles of tidy white trails. But forget about splurging on a night at the famously opulent Grand Hotel until rooms open up in high season. If you do manage to make the crossing, admire the hospitality icon's colossal front porch colonnade ­­­­– eye-popping in any season – then bunk up at the darling Bogan Lane Inn, likewise built in the 1800s but possessing a modest number of white columns.

The Great Outdoors

Prone to cabin fever? Afraid to abandon your paleo plan for an all-eating no-moving vacation? There's plenty to keep the blood pumping after you leave the toasty confines of your lodging and your lover's embrace.

Snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, ice-fishing, sledding, snowboarding, tubing, pond hockey, ice golf, snowshoe hiking, and ice climbing can be arranged all over the U.P.

Just across the bridge on the westernmost shore of Lake Huron is the flat and forested St. Ignace (pronounced "IG-niss"), a Native American gathering site and the trailhead for routes headed further north and west into the U.P. It is one of the longest-inhabited localities in the U.S.

An hour north of St. Ignace is the town of Paradise on a coastal curve that looks east across the national boundary toward Canada. From Paradise, it's 15 minutes to the second biggest waterfall east of the Mississippi, with only Niagara topping it. Thundering amber-hued waters cascade 50 feet down from a 200-foot expanse. Tahquamenon Falls State Park is open year-round with a parking lot a half-mile hike from the Upper Falls observation platforms. Bring your camera.

Need a break from water and ice? Curve north 15 minutes along the shore from Paradise to Whitefish Point, and you're at the lighthouse and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. The fabled S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald was the largest ship on the Great Lakes and the largest to have sunk there in 1975.

Westward along what is known to be North America's first national lakeshore, you'll find immense rock formations with Lake Superior lapping at their feet. The 42-mile Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore features 15 miles of striated sandstone.

Catch the Sled Dog Race in Grand Marais, and get a dreamy snap of the lighthouse at Sullivan's Landing and further westward the Au Sable Light Station through the crystalline haze of wintertime. Then warm yourself at the Dunes Saloon Lake Superior Brewing Company.

Munising is the next pivotal town for venturing out. The overlook for Miners Castle rock is everybody's photo op. And with snowshoes or skis, a trail will take you on a three-mile stomp or glide to Miner's Falls for a view of a 40-foot-high column of ice.

Or get even more athletic. Ice climbing at 'the Curtains' off Sand Point Road is the featured activity at the annual Michigan Ice Fest.

In the Hiawatha National Forest 15 miles west of Munising are the Eben Ice Caves in the Rock River Canyon Wilderness. The so-called ice 'caves' form every winter from water seeping through the walls of the Rock River Gorge. Go north a mile and a half on Eben Road from the New Moon Bar, turn east on Frey Road, park at the bend, then hike or snowmobile a mile to get there.

Pitch-Black Skies ​

It's low season for viewing the Northern Lights, which show their colors mostly in fall and late spring, but you never know. Auroras or not, the number of stars seen from this latitude is unfathomable. Whether you're in it for scientific stargazing or giving yourself the willies for an excuse to clutch tightly to your travel companion(s), trek to an off-road clearing and look upward.

If uncharted territory is too spooky at night for all the cougars and coyotes you probably won't encounter, just cross the bridge barely exiting the U.P., and spend your cold wee hours at the Headlands International Dark Sky Park two miles west of Mackinaw City. It is open 24/7/365, but you can't camp out. You can, however, bring a sleeping bag, a folding chair, your warmest clothes, a midnight snack, and a red-filtered flashlight.


a typical Yooper pasty (say PASS-tee)

Roxane Assaf-Lynn

Best not pronounced like the nipple coverings on an exotic dancer, the pasty ("PASS-tee") is a handheld beef pot pie. Back in the day, miners would warm them up on a hot shovel when the lunch bell sounded. A shop with a hard-earned reputation is Jean Kay's Pasties and Subs in Marquette, but the long-standing Lehto's in St. Ignace is practically a landmark.

But Yoopers live not on pasties alone. So when variety is in order, try the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery. Part woodsy lodge, part trinket shop, part brew pub, this place romances the region to never let you forget you're in the land of Longfellow's Hiawatha.

Whitefish, walleye, salmon, perch, trout. Find out what's open, and ask what's good that day. Supplement your intake with fudge, maple syrup, and thimbleberry jam.


U.S. and Canadian cities share the name and the international border at Sault Ste. Marie

Roxane Assaf-Lynn

The Great White North is right there, after all. And if staying over night – just to say you did, the Algonquin Hotel in Canada's Sault Ste. Marie will make an impression.

Steve's exuberance comes to mind when visiting each of the U.P.'s "really super-famous" destinations. "It never gets old," he tells his Facebook video audience. "Look at that. Snow-covered cliffs. Isn't that awesome? Isn't this great, guys? I mean look at this, you don't get this down in Chicago, Grand Rapids, Detroit."

And he's right. You don't.

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Travel Tips

Best Jobs for People Who Love To Travel

If you want to travel but have a job that is currently holding you back, here are a few of our suggestions for the best jobs for people who love to travel.

For many people, traveling is an amazing experience, but traveling is not always feasible because of responsibilities to work.

One way to get around this roadblock is to get a job that will let you travel and see the world. Here are some of the best jobs for people who love to travel.



A translator is a wonderful job for those who want to travel. It will bring you to many places as you work, so long as those places speak the language you can translate. The great thing about translating is the variety of work you can get by translating for specific clients or just translating for tourists in the area. You can choose what type of scene you wish to work in very easily.


A pilot fits the definition of a job that gets to travel perfectly. Now, whether you are a private pilot or a commercial pilot, you will still get to fly all over the planet. The only major problem with this job is the requirement of flight classes. But once you get your license, you can fly freely around the world while making yourself money to fund your trips.

Travel blogger

Being a travel blogger is a temperamental job but, if done correctly, it will allow you to visit anywhere you want. Writing to fans as you travel the world can be a fun and exciting way to engage with the planet. This job can be difficult to do, though, as you must be able to write consistently and capture your audience with each post.

English teacher

This may not sound like a job that allows you to travel, but schools all around the world are always looking for more people to teach English.

In this career, you would move near the school that you would teach at and live there over the course of your time there. The interesting thing about this job is that it does not necessarily require a teaching degree, depending on the school and country in question. You also get to live in a new country for an extended period.

When it comes to the best jobs for people who love to travel, these are just a few of our suggestions. There are plenty of jobs where you can travel around the world, but these ones are far-reaching and cover a lot of different lifestyles. They might seem like pipe dreams, but hey, you never know!

Seattle, Washington is a rainy, coffee-fueled, coastal town often referred to as the "Emerald City."

Located against the ecological wonderland of Puget Sound, this cosmopolitan, seaside city is a mishmash of arts, culture, history, nature, and, of course, cloudy weather. Thanks to its proximity to nature, its greenery, and its culturally rich, big-city atmosphere, the city is becoming increasingly popular, both for tourists and those looking for a change of scenery.

The Big Stops: Tourist Seattle

If you only have a few days to visit Seattle, you'll probably want to check out the area's most famous attractions.

For nature lovers and summit-chasers, there's the imposing, wildflower-shrouded Mt. Rainier.


Mt. Rainier

For foodies, there's the popular Pike Place Market, a giant patchwork of food-sellers and friendly chaos where you can purchase everything from giant crabs' legs to bottomless amounts of coffee (more on that later).

Pike Place

And finally, there's the iconic Space Needle and the Sky View Observatory, which will give you extraordinary views of the city.


Seattle Arts and Museums

For arts and culture lovers, Seattle has plenty to cut your teeth on. Don't miss the Chihuly Garden and Glass, a collection of extraordinary blown-glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly.


Chihuly Gardens

For art, there's the giant Seattle Art Museum Downtown. Seattle also offers the Museum of Pop Culture, a nonprofit that features all your favorite icons from history, and plenty of other options.

Museum of Pop

For some history, there's the Klondike Gold Rush Museum, which commemorates Seattle's history as a gold rush hub.

There are plenty of quirky attractions—like the giant Fremont Troll, the 18-foot sculpture in the Fremont neighborhood that cuts an imposing figure.


You could also take in the city from a boat—marine enthusiasts might enjoy visiting to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks to explore the history of this port city.

Seattle, of course, also has a gritty underground side—you may know the city from its time at the heart of the '90s grunge movement.

It also has a long, storied history that has left more than a few scars. You can literally see its underground through one of its underground tours, which will take you on a walk through the "buried city," the remnants left over from before the Great Fire of 1889.

Seattle Undergroundpinterest

Natural Wonders

Seattle is notorious for its natural wonders. For a close-up view, there's the Seattle Aquarium, a marine experience that showcases the best of what Puget Sound has to offer.

For more exposure to the beauty of Seattle's nature, try the Washington Park Arboretum, a 230-acre showcase of Seattle's wetlands and natural wonders.

Washington Park

You might also pay a visit to the Alki Beach for some time with the ocean waves.


Or consider taking a more exhaustive adventure to Discovery Park, a giant and labyrinthine natural park at the edge of Puget Sound.

Discovery Parktrip

Food and Drink

Food tours are also popular options for those who want to get more intimate with the city's cuisine, and Seattle is often ranked as one of the best cities for foodies.

It's also a great place for coffee-heads. You might also pay a visit to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, AKA Ultimate Starbucks, a tasting room that features a coffee library amongst other treats for coffee addicts.

Sarbucks Reserve

Moving to Seattle

If you're planning on moving to Seattle, locals say there's a few things you should know. First off, it is most definitely overcast the majority of the time, though the rain is rather like a mist. That makes the rare sunny day shine even more, though, locals say, in addition to fostering natural abundance.

The city is generally very congested with traffic, which can be noisy, though it offers great public transportation options, from buses to rail—regardless, you'll want to get an Orca Card for that.

Like every city, Seattle has a number of diverse and charismatic neighborhoods. For example, there's the beachy, more laid-back West Seattle.

West SeattleWest Seattle

There's the vibrant Capitol Hill, a hub of arts, culture, tech bros, and nightlife (during non-COVID times).

There's the historic and artsy Pioneer Square, featuring plenty of museums, shops, galleries, and pubs.

Pioneer Square SeattleExpedia

Fremont is a more bohemian area. Belltown is a trendy waterfront neighborhood that's close to everything.

In general, Seattle residents love the city for its proximity to nature, from beaches to glaciers, and its abundance of arts and cultural attractions. As Kimberly Kinrade said, "Seattle is for people who love culture, but refuse to sacrifice their wild nature to attain it." Residents dislike the steep cost of housing and all things that come from rising prices, including the city's large homeless population.

In general, the city is known as environmentally conscious, liberal, and dog-loving. The people are often referred to as nice but possibly a bit standoffish and cold (the "Seattle Freeze" is when you make plans to hang out and then bail, which is apparently very common). The rain can certainly get depressing, but the proximity to nature helps.

Remember, if you do happen to move: umbrellas are dead giveaways for tourists.

What's your favorite part about Seattle? What did we leave out? Let us know at @thejourniest on Twitter!


Weed World Candies Exist to Prey on Gullible Tourists

Weed is still illegal in New York, but scamming tourists is not.

You wouldn't know it walking around midtown Manhattan, but marijuana is still illegal in New York.

It does seem strange to think that perhaps the most metropolitan city in the US would be lagging behind so many other parts of the country that have legalized possession, production, and sale of cannabis and THC products, but it's true.

New York's decriminalization of marijuana has led many smokers to be more brazen with their public consumption in recent years, and Governor Cuomo recently announced plans for limited legalization for recreational use at the state level. But for the time being the sale of products containing THC is still very much illegal.

buy happiness You sure about that?

Adding to the confusion is a company that has sprung up to prey on tourist's uncertainty. Weed World trucks have multiplied at a staggering rate since they first started appearing in Midtown and the Village a few years ago. Easily a dozen RVs and vans now line the tourist-dense streets of Manhattan, advertising Girl Scout Cookies and Gorilla Glue, clad in marijuana-leaf decals and occupied by employees who are paid either to be stoned out of their minds, or just to pretend they are.

With eyes nearly in slits and an air of relaxation that suggests that customers are temporary interludes from a permanent nap, they will promise you as much as they can get away with while letting their branding do most of the work. They will sell you four lollipops for $20, which would seem like a great deal if not for the fact that they will not deliver on the strong implication that they'll get you high.

They have a Twitter account where they celebrate the supposed availability of weed and claim to "have New York locked down." They'll even sell you vape cartridges that advise you to "get medicated," and which are packed with potent doses of… flavor?

weed world truck

An employee once assured me that their candies do contain THC—maybe they wouldn't be so brazenly dishonest today—and in a drunken state I coughed up $5 to test that claim. There is a faint weedy taste to their candies, and you may find trace amounts of CBD inside, but that's it. It's a scam. There is no THC. Nothing that will give their customers the experience they're selling.

Worse than the trucks is the Weed World Candies storefront that opened in midtown in 2019. Just walking past you would swear that people were passing a massive blunt inside.

The smell is unmistakable and overpowering, except that it's fake. Whatever chemical fragrance they pumped onto the street, it was not connected to anyone smoking weed. Inside, the psychedelic wall art complemented shelves lined with suggestive candies and boxes emblazoned with pot leaf insignia.

Whatever the venue, they are all too happy to sell you overpriced hemp products and CBD creams and chocolates made to look like nugs. And if you're a tourist, or a moron like me, you might believe the scam long enough to give them money, but nothing they sell will get you high.

weed world store Hiroki Kittaka

The owners of Weed World, Judah Izrael and Bilal Muhammad—who prefers to go by "Dro Man" or "Doctor Dro"—will defend their products by claiming that they serve to promote legalization and decriminalization efforts by normalizing the idea of public sale of marijuana. But at no point in the purchasing process is the illusion that their candies will get you high broken. At no point are their customers offered literature explaining the mission of Weed World.

On their website's FAQs page, there is no mention of THC or its absence from their products, but the first question, "How much should I eat?" is answered, "It's all based on your tolerance but there's no limit." Tolerance for what? Sugar? The company—which originated in Alabama and has spread to cities around the country—mostly seems like a very profitable way to sell candy to gullible adults.

weed world wall art Nicole Mallete

The best thing I can say in their defense is that one of their trucks was recently busted by police in Saraland, Alabama, with products that "tested positive for marijuana." Assuming this isn't a screw up or deliberate frame-job by the police, it's possible that some of the Weed World trucks are using their faux activism as a front for selling actual drugs. If so, that would be the most honest thing about this company. Until that's confirmed, ignore these trucks and maybe just ask a friend for a hookup.