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Whitefish Point Sand
Whitefish Point extends high into Lake Superior at the eastern end of the U.P., 70 miles north the Mackinac Bridge, 10 miles north of the Village of Paradise, accessible and just far enough from I-75.
Building parcels are available up and down the coast, but this is the one I like. You can find some that are cheaper, but not better. It is 9/10 of a mile off the road, west of the Point, where the sounds are the sounds of surf, water birds, and the big ore freighters.
It is large and private with a surveyed 10 acres and 236 feet of Superior frontage, zoned for Residential. The white sand beaches are … well, you know how nice they can be.
This parcel has the 100% view of the magic, sparkling lights of ore freighters coming around the Point. I grew up listening to those big distant diesels and freighter foghorns across the water. Any writer will tell you a good story involves a journey, physical or mental, and those great ore boats in the night took me daydreaming on ocean voyages to romantic, distant places.
Beaches here are sandy and wide, covered with driftwood and, if you are lucky, pieces of sailing ships, schooners and longboats that dared the fury of this Great Lake. Build your beach fire, watch the Northern Lights, and bring on the “S'mores” (marshmallows toasted over the coals, on a Hershey bar, between graham crackers.)
Most of the time Superior is deceptively calm and peaceful, but watch out in November! The freighter immortalized by Canadian folksinger Gordon Lightfoot's 1976 ballad, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, went down in a fierce November gale just 17 miles from the Point and safety.
People ask me how big a boat they need to be safe on Superior in a storm, and I tell them the Fitzgerald was 729 feet long. That wasn’t quite big enough! Fresh water is less dense than salt water, and forms bigger waves. That day the waves went to 30 feet with a following sea.
Appropriately the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, just a mile east down the beach from this parcel, now occupies the restored buildings of the Whitefish Point USCG Station. Originally built in 1861 on the orders of Abe Lincoln, its light is the oldest active light on Lake Superior. There is lots of history here, well preserved and well presented for your enjoyment. You and your guests will enjoy it. (Money Magazine: “One of the best small museums in America.” Midwest Living: “Most compelling Michigan maritime and lighthouse museum.”)
This is also a phenomenal concentration point for migrating birds, and if you get involved in bird watching, as I have been, you’ll be hooked. Land and water features at the Point create a natural corridor, funneling thousands of migrating birds past the Observatory in spring and fall. The Whitefish Point Bird Observatory is dedicated to the study and conservation of migratory birds and the environment. Leave them a contribution.
Here’s an admission: I had never stopped to see Tahquamenon Falls, thinking that it would be “touristy,” commercial, and probably not all that impressive. I was wrong. The Upper Falls of the Tahquamenon are worth the trip! Did you know that second only to Niagara, this is the largest waterfall east of the Mississippi? There’s a restaurant, brewery and picnic area and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how good they are.
The day I stopped there in early May, 50,000 gallons of water per second were cascading over that ancient ledge of sandstone. I’m going back to spend more time, explore the woods, and see the Lower Falls.
The path to the falls meanders through one of the largest old growth hardwood stands in Michigan. Only in the Porcupine Mountains State Park, the Sylvania Wilderness Tract, and here can you walk through such a magnificent hardwood forest that still looks as it did before the arrival of the white man.
All this is to say that you should come see this interesting area. Make a day of it. When you fall in love with the beach and want a great building parcel come to this one. It's easy to find.
Drive 10.5 miles north of Paradise up the shore on Whitefish Road. The road leading to this parcel is on the left just before you reach the Point. There’s a green road sign with “North Shore Road,” and 9/10 of a mile in, where the road takes a hard left to go around this land; you’ll see my sign.
A path leads through the pines and juniper to a building site in the saddle between dunes. DEQ confirms that this property is NOT covered by the Critical Dunes Act.
The owners bought this great parcel 20 years ago, when they had their pick. It has waited for you. If you want a guided tour, just call to let me know.
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