Skip to main content

Up North, Looking Back

As mentioned in a previous post (compare and contrast  Ishpeming and Marquette,) we saw many small towns and cities. In Michigan, it is clear the coastal towns have thrown themselves full force into becoming the 21st century version of charming, which means spiffed-up old fashioned motels, bistros that almost compare to city-foodie trendy, boutiques with upscale resort wear and adorable clothes for kiddos run by, I imagine, the wives of men with money who don’t really need to turn much of a profit but like being a shop-keeper in a resort town and especially love going to market to source their wares. It isn’t all about T-shirts and fudge anymore, no siree Bob!


The future of these not-long-ago threadbare towns is apparently in luring retirees with comfortable incomes to move in. Yes, many will winter in the sun, but no matter. They bring money and they don’t need jobs, and following them are numerous health care providers. In one small town, Suttons Bay, official population under 700, there is both a hearing aid center and a medical supplies shop (“oxygen”) on the main street. Curious, we checked the demographics and the median age is 59. Yes, half of all residents are over 59. Let that sink in.


Retire to Boca Del Vista or Palm Springs, sure, but we had not realized that NW Michigan had much the same going on. 


On the other hand, many inland towns seem to be struggling. Copemish was simply very sad and run down and their one school had closed many years ago, it was obvious. Just down the road, though, in Kaleva, a not much bigger town, the grocery store looked busy, the Lutheran church was in fine repair and there was a community arts center that sold the wares the locals made, craft supplies and offered classes. It was all so much tidier. And the library was very large for a town that size. I like to think it is the long-time Finn influence, as the town was settled by Finns and named after the Kalevala, the epic Finnish poem that embodies their mythology. All the streets are taken from the Kalevala, and the main street in town is Osmo, my father’s name. Many years ago, he had his photo taken under that sign. I did likewise.


Could we envision ourselves Up North someday? It is beautiful and feels like home but I guess the answer is yes …and no. At this point, we cannot envision not working.






Popular posts from this blog

Well - this is a fine start.

This is a Google blog. I’ve been posting thru an app on my iPad. The app hasn’t been updated for the new OS so I simply log on. So far so good, but I discover I cannot access my photos. It tells me to get the Google+ app. Then I’m told I have to get Google photo and give them access to all of my pics if I want photos in my blog.
The war between the operating systems steps to a new level. But I’ve no loyalty. Got a Windows laptop and and iPad and I use Google products on both.
All watched over by machines of loving grace.
And now to the actual topic of this blog - travel. In eight hours we will board the 777 and hope to sleep on the way to Heathrow.

Good Cooks, Last Looks

There are always photos that don't seem to fit thematicly into any other post, yet they cry out for further viewing.
We begin with our last meal in Finalnd and end with the only photo of the four of us - me and Mark, sister Sandi and brother in law Richard. 


The apartment we rented in Helsinki appeared to be next to a huge park that led to the water. When we walked over to see it, we discover it was a cemetery, an enormous cemetery. It was well cared for, with beautiful huge trees and some unique tombstones, thus most of this post will be photos.

There is a much copper in Finland. One sees it in roofs and decorative objects, but this is my first copper grave marker. Or polished stainless steel.

Many were somewhat more conventional, but works of art all the same.

A musician lies here.

There were a fair number of rocks.

And sometime in the late 1800s, stones like these began to become popular and then common; chunks of granite with only one polished surface. Whether it was done out of frugality or fashion I cannot say. 

 Seventeen years ago, we remodeled our kitchen and chose for the counter tops a common granite called Baltic Brown. I was in Helsinki for days before I realized my countertops were everywhere. That granite was used for cobblestone…