Monday, July 19, 2010

Road Trip Day 4; Fayette State Park, UP, Michigan.

We had planned on staying at the JW Wells State Park camground along the peninsula near the Wisconsin border.  Fortunately, we had the foresight to call the campground, something we never do, and found out it was closed until July 11th, 2010, due to flooding.  This put a wrench in our plans and we decided at the last minute to drive to Fayette State Park, it was 20 miles out of our way along a peninsula past the tiny town of Garden, Michigan.  
We had checked out Indian Lake State Park Campground on our way which was very crowded; and we chose Fayette SP on a whim; boy we were glad we did!  The State Park is located next to an old iron smelting town of Fayette which is now deserted.  The Michigan Parks System cleaned up the area in 2006 and now it is part of the historic state park and campground.  The huge buildings next to Lake Michigan near the cliffs are a photographers dream and I snapped numerous shots which still didn’t capture its true beauty.
Getting There;  Fayette State Park is located between Escanaba and Manistique, off US 2.  Take Delta County Road 183 from US-2 for 16 miles to Fayette.  Fayette State Park is on Lake Michigan.  
The entrance fee for the park is $8 and then costs an additional $16 for camping per night.  The sites all had electricity hook ups, but the sites were small and close together compared to other campgrounds along our trip.   Inside the park there is lots to do, 5 miles of hiking/cross country skiing trails, a swimming beach, boat launch, historic town of Fayette, fishing, and scuba diving in the harbor.  
The Journey;  After driving just an hour from the Brevort Lake Campground we stopped for some fresh fish at the local bar and grill in Manistique.  The perch dinner with salad and fries was just $10 and we shared it while drinking a beer.  What a perfect lunch!  I had to have fresh fish if I am visiting the UP, right?

Next we drove west in US 2 to highway 183, which takes you south to the park and campground.    It’s situated away from the historic town of Fayette on a bluff next to Lake Michigan.  There are just a couple of sites which view the lake in between the trees including site numbers 11, 12.  We were fortunate enough to grab the small site #11 and no other campers were very nearby.   From our site we were able to walk down to the rocky lakeshore through the trees to watch the sunset.  The park does offer a beach for swimming and 5 miles of hiking trails, which include the walk from the campground to the historic town of Fayette and through the buildings.  Be sure to read the history provided on this beautiful town which was probably horrible to live in during the 1800s.  We spent the evening walking around the town and walking through the historic buildings that are alongside the water on the picturesque shores with the pine trees and white cliffs that end in Lake Michigan.  
After walking through Fayette we walked back to our campsite and had a light dinner of cheese, crackers and cherries and walked to the beach to watch the sunset.  The seagulls at the campground were very aggressive and ate all of our cherries while we walked just a short distance away to the water, so beware!  They also ate all of the dogfood left in the bowl, lesson learned; don’t leave any food out for the seagulls. 
We left the rain fly off the tent and were able to view the stars all night long without any clouds, and woke early enough for a morning swim at the deserted beach before hitting the road again to the Mississippi River near the Wisconsin/Minnesota border.    The cold Lake Michigan water was crystal clear and picturesque in the early morning hours as we swam and enjoyed the last swim before we left it for good to head back west.  We made it out of the site by 11am and drove 8 hours toward La Crosse Wisconsin and crossed the Mississippi River to camp in Minnesota at the Great River Bluffs State Park.

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