Upper Peninsula: Marquette & Calumet

Michigan's Upper Peninsula (the UP, for short) is packed with once-booming mining towns, most of which are now dwindling in population but full of amazing artifacts, 1940s architecture, antique shops, and authentic charm. Among my favorite cities, Marquette and Calumet reign supreme! The best thing about these places is that every year I visit, it's like arriving in unknown territory because I never run out of things to photograph while exploring.

Favorite signs found around town:

The best acronym fail/win EVER?!:

Even though some of these small UP villages were nearly deserted in past years (and some even considered ghost towns during certain eras), lately there has been an insurgence of artist co-ops, coffee shops, galleries, local food co-ops, and cafès. My favorite story is that of 5th & Elm Coffeehouse - a renovated gas station, originally constructed in 1929. The old station located in Calumet was recently transformed, funded in large part by a state grant. Check out the restoration photos here. With this flood of creative individuals and businesses popping up in these areas, an economic boost seems inevitable. Whatever may happen, weI'll continue visiting these gems for years and years to come.