Pure Michigan: St. Ignace

20150805-DSC_0005We have been on the road for two weeks doing the circle tour of Lake Superior. Internet service is weak to non-existent in state and provincial parks so I have had to sit on my photos and stories. Photography and blogging has made travel so much fun as I attempt to capture the personality of the places we visit.

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We had made reservations at the Straits State Park for a week of camping with our daughter, her husband and our three granddaughters. At the last minute they had to cancel because of trailer problems – what a disappointment. We decided to decrease our stay to three nights and then head for Canada.

I was looking forward to staying at this campground because it is on the Mackinaw Straits that connect Lake Michigan with Lake Huron, on the Upper Peninsula side. I walked just a few yards from my campsite to the beach for beautiful views of the bridge.

One of the first things we want to do when we reach the U.P. is to have a pastie. I was in St. Ignace a year ago with a friend and she took me to a little restaurant that had really good ones. I wanted to take JB there – hoping they would live up to the hype I was giving them.

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While we were waiting for our order I wandered around the small dining room looking at photos on the wall. I noticed the staff was making a table full of pasties in the kitchen so I grabbed my camera. When they saw me they invited me in and posed.

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The family has been selling pasties in St. Ignace for over 50 years. Before the bridge was built connecting the Lower & Upper Peninsulas of Michigan, the state ran ferryboats and “Pee Wee” Phelps worked as a cook for many years on these boats. His wife, Bessie, was a good cook in her own right and would go to the docks to sell hot dogs, sandwiches and such to people sitting in their autos waiting for the next ferry to depart. When Pee Wee retired they decided to open their own business selling pasties – and the rest is history. JB and I have eaten a lot of pasties across the U.P. and none compare.

We are back in St. Ignace after two weeks of driving and camping in the way “up north.” Tomorrow we will cross that beautiful bridge and in the freezer of our travel trailer will be some Bessie’s Pasties. We are taking some of the personality of the U.P. home with us.

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8 Comments »

  1. We camped in a tent there many years ago. It was in July, and all we had were summer clothes. The temperature dropped down into the 30s, and we packed up the camping gear and found a motel. LOL Great place, though, and very beautiful. My husband just mentioned today that he wold like to drive back up there.

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    • Funny. I had been following the temperatures in the UP and northern shore of Lake Superior so I packed very little warm weather clothes for me. Although we had very cool breezes, we had hot sun and humidity so I ran out of shorts. I guess when we go north we have to pack a lot of everything. 😀

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    • The ones have had before I found Bessie’s weren’t anything to write home about. We ate them just to say we had a pastie when we in the UP. I’m not surprised you didn’t like them – maybe it is an indication you have good taste. 🙂

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