Ron Rademacher, Around Michigan
Color Tours and Taverns.
These drives are centered around the town of Bruce Crossing at the junction of Routes 28 & 45. To get there from Michigamme go west on 41, continue west on 28 to the junction. About five miles before Bruce Crossing is a park where you can visit Agate Falls.
Before heading north from Bruce Crossing to the next stop, you might want to drive south on Route 45 toward Paulding where you can drive right up to Bond Falls, beautiful any time of year.
Back at Bruce Crossing choose to go west or north. West the drive passes through Ewen of lumbering era fame to the crossroads of Matchbox. There may not be a sign announcing Matchwood, so watch for the road sign for the Norwich Road. Take the Norwich Road north toward Lake Superior. The road is narrow and winding, but it is paved. Drive through the farmlands and hunting camps as the road goes. About halfway to the northern end comes the reward, the Norwich Bluffs. After rolling through farmlands and white birch forests, the bluffs suddenly appear straight ahead. The cliffs tower hundreds of feet in the air surrounded by hardwood forests. It may be the best sight in the whole drive. Continue north to Route 64 on Lake Superior.
Heading west will take you to the Porcupine Mountains and the Lake of the Clouds. A few miles before the mountains is the town of Silver City. Go south on 64 to White Pine and drive around behind the empty shopping mall. There is the Konteka, a motel, bar, and restaurant combination. The bar is huge and there are picture windows all along one side. That is where the wild bears come in for table scraps, except during bear hunting season.
Heading East from the Norwich Road junction takes you to Ontonagon and Stubb’s Bar. The bar is on the main street next to the historical museum. Good food and beer and more rifles and antlers than people! All kinds of Elvis paraphernalia and an amazing collection of taxidermy. There's an old Wurlitzer juke box to boot.
Bruce Crossing North - instead of going west out of Bruce Crossing go north on 45. At the dead end go left to Rockland. Lots of cool stuff. Henry’s Inn is in the center of town. Inside is a spectacular mahogany bar imported from Chicago back in the lumber days. They’re known for a famous pasty recipe. A block away is a red building, the Rockland Depot. This is a small general store. It used to be a bank and the vault is now used as a Spice Vault. Rare and exotic spices are available there. There is a side road out of town that has a sign “Old Victoria”. This road is one of the most beautiful drives in the region. Along the way is the “ghost town” of Victoria, an old mining town. The buildings are closed after Labor Day, but you can wander the grounds before continuing to the turn around at the Victoria Dam.
Go back the way you came into town and head north on 26 to Calumet. This road is going up the Keweenaw Peninsula, beautiful scenery. In Calumet find Shute's Bar
322 6th St. The bar is located next to the Calumet Theatre and hearkens back to the Copper Country's boom-town days, with restored original back bar, main bar, booths and an elaborate stained-glass canopy.
If you have time, drive north out of Calumet a few miles and take the road to Gay, Michigan. The local tavern is known as the “Gay Bar”, great food and friendly folk with some unusual features that I’ll let you discover for yourself.
When you head back home, head for Michigamme east of Bruce Crossing on 41. Just east of town is the Mt. Shasta restaurant. This is an historical site made famous by the Hollywood movie Anatomy of a Murder (1959) starring Jimmy Stewart, Lee Remick, Eve Arden, and
Kathryn Crosby Grant. The restaurant displays a collection of pictures of the stars and scenes in the movie. They specialize in good food and craft beers.