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The Top o' the Lake: Visiting a Few Spots on US-2.

Have you ever wondered what was down that road? Or that one? Or if you were missing something as you were rolling along the freeway? I'm Manny the moose, HSM Magazines' mascot. I'll be exploring off-the-beaten-track historical sites along the byways of Michigan and sharing my discoveries with you. And, hopefully, the next time you are out and about, you'll take a detour to investigate these natural and man-made treasures for yourself. Please contact locations for exact hours of operation and entrance fees. And, if you know of any cool places I should visit, please let me know at manny@hsmichigan.org.

1 Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum. A classic snowmobile museum, this winter attraction is located right off of US-2 in the heart of downtown Naubinway. Explore the museum's large industrial interior space dedicated to housing different historic and modern snowmobiles and learn about the history of the Upper Peninsula with more than 185 displays. Snowmobiles are a prevalent aspect of travel and fun-filled activity in the Upper Peninsula and the museum is proud to celebrate mat rich winter heritage with two annual historic snowmobile shows that are fun for the whole family. snowmobilemuseum.com * (906) 477-6298

2 Top of the Lake Rest Stop. Take a break to stretch your legs and enjoy the views at this historic rest stop. The Michigan Historic Marker on-site explains that this spot is the point on Lake Michigan that, according to the 1805 Territory of Michigan boundary line, is the most northern point of the lake. At that time, Lake Michigan was split in half by a territorial line and all of the Upper Peninsula located west of that line belonged to the Indiana Territory.

3 Cut River Bridge. An iconic U.P. landmark, the Cut River Bridge was built in 1947 to promote tourism along US-2 and the southern lakeshore. One of two cantilever bridges in Michigan, it stands as an impressive engineering feat for the era and is composed of 888 tons of structural steel, measuring 641 feet in length and suspended 147 feet over the floor of the river valley. Today, travelers can admire the bridge from the many trails, viewpoints, and overlooks at this picturesque roadside park. Also available are several picnic tables and small grills for those interested in eating lunch within view of the river's valley.

4 The Midsummer Pole. A tradition carried from the Aland Islands near Finland, this Midsummer Pole represents the traditional Pole Raising Festival that began in Brevort in 1906 by a group of immigrants who emigrated from Finland's Aland Islands to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Discontinued in 1964, the pole was re-instituted in 1980 and continues today. The symbols shown on the pole include six crowns representing the six days of creation, four boats representing the four seasons and the sailing traditions of Finland, a propeller representing the sun, and a figure of man representing humanity.

5 Mystery Spot. One of the most iconic landmarks on US-2, the Mystery Spot has been a U.P. staple since the early 1950s. According to the company's markers, the "Mystery Spot" was born out of a survey expedition conducted by three men who came from California to explore the Upper Peninsula. Once they arrived, they noticed that their geographical equipment began to malfunction over a certain area--the Mystery Spot. Today, visitors can decide for themselves if the rumors are true by testing their senses in a variety of visual and physical illusions. mysteryspotstignace.com * (906) 643-8322

6 Bridge View Scenic Turnout. Located just three miles west of I-75, this scenic turnout features an interesting historical find. Near the stop's beautiful view of the Mackinac Bridge is a sign detailing the history of US-2 and its earliest origins as a Native-American route through the Upper Peninsula. While primary travel for the Annishinabek was by canoe, a trail between Gros Cap and St. Ignace was used as secondary transportation. The route remained an important corridor for Native trade and commerce and later developed into a trail used by the French and British explorers who entered the Upper Peninsula and American settlers who followed in the nineteenth century.

Caption: Lake Michigan is surrounded by four states--Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana.

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Title Annotation:MANNY ON THE MOVE
Publication:Michigan History Magazine
Geographic Code:1U3MI
Date:Mar 1, 2019
Words:714
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