Trolls, Yoopers & Fudgies: 24 Hours in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Trolls, Yoopers & Fudgies: 24 Hours in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Okay guys, get ready for the worlds longest post.

Since we’re officially moving to D.C. in August, we’ve been trying to check off as many Michigan activities on our to-do list as possible. Ivan hadn’t been to the U.P. and I’ve only been a few times, so we knew it was a must.

I left work early on friday and we made the 3 hour drive up to Mackinaw City for dinner. Mackinaw City is the northernmost city in the lower peninsula (not Mackinac Island, that is something different). It’s a classic Northern Michigan tourist town – which means lots of fish restaurants and fudge shops. I’m not sure what Northern Michigan’s obsession with fudge is about, but every tourist town Up North has at least 3 fudge shops. Downtown Mackinac City has about 7. Which is absurd, because downtown Mackinac is one street.Anyways, we had dinner at a Fish & Chips place called Scalawag’s. I’m not a huge fan of fish, but I knew Ivan would love it. I had a chicken sandwich for dinner but I did try Ivan’s white fish. I have to say, it was pretty spectacular. And I don’t even like fish.

After dinner, we decided to embrace being “fudgies”. Kilwins, one of the many local fudge shops was located right in front of the restaurant. So of course we had to pop in. Sidenote – locals call all of the tourists who go crazy for the fudge, “fudgies”.  

Kilwin’s fudge is topnotch. I’ve had many, many pieces of fudge in my lifetime, but it was Ivan’s first experience. I decided to go with a tried and true flavor, Chocolate with Sea Salt Caramel.

Ivan went a bit rogue and got some maple flavored stuff. I don’t know. All I know is that mine was better. If you ever find yourself in a northern Michigan fudge shop, I highly recommend sea salt caramel. Or if they’ve got it, oreo. It’s pretty bomb.

After we had properly stuffed ourselves on fudge, we headed across the famous, 5 mile Mackinac Bridge. Our hotel for the night was located in St. Ignace, which is the town you cross into once you enter the UP.

I dropped Ivan off at the hotel and then I headed down to the Bridge View Park to get some bridge pictures.

The next morning we grabbed some breakfast at a local place, Bentley’s Diner. I had corned beef hash and eggs – plenty of protein to fuel our busy day.

They also had a ice cream counter at the diner. Isn’t this the best name for an ice cream flavor ever? All my Michiganders will understand.

After breakfast we made the hour long drive up to Tahquamenon (rhymes with phenonemon, say it with me) Falls State Park. We had planned to hike between the two falls, but there was a rain forecast for the entire morning.

It’s an 8 mile hike roundtrip and we weren’t properly dressed for a rainy day hike. Normally you can catch a shuttle between the two (after 4 miles) but it wasn’t running yet. We decided that it was a better idea to just drive to the two separate falls instead. I wish we would have gotten to do the hike, but I wasn’t willing to get stuck in a storm.

We still spend about an hour and a half at the Park and we were pretty hungry by the time we got back into St. Ignace. I decided Ivan had to try Pasties, because… it’s what the Yoopers eat. You see, a “yooper” is a person from the UP and a “troll” is someone who lives below the bridge.

The falls are famous for their Copper colored water and large amounts of generated foam. There is a technical explanation you can find on here, but I don’t really want to get all scientific on you. Just look at the pretty photos.

Anyways, pasties are basically the official food of the yooper. At least that’s what we trolls believe. They are basically meat pies you cover with gravy. I’ve had them before, but it’s been years. Ivan hadn’t even heard of them.

We tried our pasties at Bessie’s, a local favorite. The waitress informed us that beef pasties are the traditional choice, so that’s what we went with. Guys, they were pretty amazing. Not the healthiest thing ever, but a fantastic, stick-to-your-ribs meal nonetheless.

After we finished lunch we started on the 3 hour drive home. Ivan had lots of work to catch up on for his Bar Prep course and we both missed Kidd. We were separated from him for about 27 hours you know.

Anyways, that’s how we spent our 24 hours in the Upper Peninsula. Sorry for the horribly long post. But not really.


Today I am linking up with:
Erin at Her Heartland Soul for Weekend Snapshots
Bianca at B Loved Boston for Weekending

  • Darcy

    These pictures look incredible! I think it’s great youre trying to check so much off the list! Now or never, right?!

    • exactly. I HOPE that we’ll be back in Michigan eventually, but you never know. So now is the time :)

  • mmmm pasties. yum. i have only ever had fudge once and it wasn’t very good so clearly i need to go be a fudgie and try that chocolate and caramel one. it looks AMAZING.

    • its so good. I don’t even know what to tell you. Ivan ended up eating the majority of both of our pieces… which I have no idea how. It’s so rich, eating that much fudge would make me sick. He’s a machine lol

  • I moved to Michigan about 5 years ago and still haven’t made it to the UP! My hubs keeps telling me how amazing it is, and it surely looks that way from your post. I need to get on up there!

    Ashley @ A Cute Angle

  • We’re heading up north next month and I can’t wait! Your pictures are awesome!

  • Woo hoo for checking things off your list!! I love all of the pictures, too! So, so pretty!!

  • Lovely pictures! Sounds like you had a blast!


    Tamra –

  • The name of that ice cream is too funny! And I love anything chocolate, so it sounds delicious…

    • Yeah, I really wish I could have tried it, but we were at the restaurant for breakfast, not lunch :( I’m sure it was delicious though!

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