Saturday, September 24, 2011

Holidays, Haunts and Hotel Rooms (part 2)

Well! Friday was such a success, that I knew Saturday would be as well. Having decided to slough off the Pictured Rocks in exchange for seeing more than one thing in a day for free, we set out for Paradise (the town. This wasn't some Thelma and Louise adventure, and certainly no one drove off the side of the Grand Canyon), meandering our way through the UP. First, however, we had to make a little pit stop in Calumet (Cal-you-met, apparently), MI. Just a little north and east from Houghton, Calumet looks like it comes straight out of the old mining days. In fact, it looks exactly like old mining towns out west. I was immediately enraptured by this place. Every building seemed to be older than one hundred years old! The church looked like a miniature copy of St. Louis' Cathedral in New Orleans. The gift shops, and even the Curves had fronts that defied modernity. I kept telling C how much I felt I was under dressed. Surely this kind of town warranted costume all year round. I needed to be in a long, probably dusty, dress. Something sort of frilly, but not too expensive.

Every building seemed better than the last, until we walked up to what we had been searching for- The Calumet Theatre. When it opened in 1900, it was said to be the "greatest social event ever known in copperdom's metropolis." Or, so it says on the plaque just outside the building. It is really beautiful- the architecture is very Spanish and very old- arches everywhere, brick and what I assumed to be adobe, or something like it. The inside, or what little we got to see of it (there was an event going on at the time), is still done up like it would have been when it opened- there are ornate moldings everywhere, mostly done in white with red trim. The stadium seating overlooks a small, but big enough stage. The bathrooms look.. well, like bathrooms. Those weren't so impressive. What is impressive, however, is the ghost. All theatres have them, whether they be terrors in the night, or helpful, comforting presences. Thankfully the ghost in the Calumet is one of those comforting ones.

Said to be the ghost of a Polish actress from the period, the strange goings-on here have been witnessed since 1958, when an actress on stage forgot her lines and a feminine voice whispered them in her ear. Calumet claims to be the home of Helena Modjeska, a famous actress who made a living traveling from theatre to theatre around the country. But wait! I'm saying too much! If you want to know more, check out my other blog. The link will be at the bottom. ;)

We didn't stay long in Calumet, since we wouldn't be able to get a decent view of the theatre anyway. I bought an old key from the copper shop, and we were on our way! Having heard of Copper Harbor, and always wanting to be the "only of my friend to ever do _______", we went as far north as we could in Michigan! Copper Harbor is absolutely beautiful, and the drive is easy and just as colourful. Green was everywhere I looked, and I felt a million miles from people- and it was a good thing. Copper Harbor itself is a little town (does it have that status?) with friendly people and a lot of visitors. We ate at a place right by the water, and I regret now that I didn't take a picture of the name so I'd remember it. But pasties and pizza were had, and all was well. Two of my favourite foods, on one plate. Simply amazing. It was a decent pasty, beef with gravy, and some of the best pizza I have ever had. They put so many spices and garlic and everything on it! I miss it already. We hung out at the Thunderbird gift shop across the street for a little while, and I ended up buying a book on all the hauntings of the UP. Typical me. But afterward, we spotted a candy shop and there was no stopping Crysta.

The place was amazing! It had every kind of candy I used to get as a kid, most of what Crysta used to get, and I'll bet my dad would have a great time reminiscing about candy from his youth. They even had those little candy cigarettes you can't get in California anymore because they look too much like cigarettes! Where was this candy shop all throughout my cosplaying days? Alas, up here. 2,000 miles away in the great north. But! We got a haul, anyway, made up mostly of Bubblicious, because it's ridiculous that no one makes actual bubblegum anymore.

After began our long, long drive to Paradise. Well, Paradise, Michigan, anyway. We're not Thelma and Louise, and all we'd be driving off into is a giant lake. But! I did get to stop and take a picture in front of the house where my mentor's husband grew up in Marquette. That was pretty spectacular. I have a thing for people's backgrounds. This was like getting a glimpse into the past, and it was great! However, all that driving (and we were only halfway there) makes one incredibly hungry. After some driving around, and shaking up my UrbanSpoon app (love that thing), we found Jean Kay's Pasties, a little north of Northern Michigan University. Instead of pasties, however, we opted for sandwiches and, I have to tell you, DILL PICKLE CHIPS.

I cannot stress how good these things are. THEY TASTE LIKE PICKLES. IN CHIP FORM. I'm addicted to them, and can't bear to throw away the tiny bit left in the bag on the counter (still). I had no idea chips like this existed! How glorious! How delicious! How.. odd! But they do! And C says there's a place near us that sells them. What joy can be found!

Hmm.. I digress. After devouring my chips and sandwich, we hopped back in the car, with C at the wheel, and resumed our journey to Paradise. Michigan gets really dark at night. Like.. really. Dark. And seriously, there are too many deer up here. And none of them know what cars are, or why they should avoid them. Thankfully we saw no accidents, but I was honestly scared for my life driving in pitch black with occasional eye shines peeking out from the bushes along the side of the road. But finally, fiiinally, we arrived in Paradise, which is.. well.. not much. Our motel looked like this:
Yeah. It looked like my house in the 70's (okay, the 90's, but back off). The lock was.. minimal, and the bath mat said "bath mat" and was made out of paper. But, it was a cheap room to stay in, so who can really complain? The bathroom was clean, hell the room was cleaner than the one we'd stayed in the night before.

So, without knowing much about our surroundings, we watched The Soup and Fashion Police, then drifted off to fitful nights of sleep in a room in which I was sure we were going to be murdered.

Stick around for Day three!

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