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Monday, July 14, 2014

Adventures in Nature & Food - Marquette, MI (Part 2)

Adventures in Marquette, MI - 
Nature, food, and BEER!  (PART 2)

Sorry this was delayed - MAN has it been a busy week back in town.  I still haven't unpacked my suitcase (well, I took out the dirty clothes, left the clean ones) - Aspen the cat now thinks this glorious pile of clothes is her bed.

Of course we start off with more beer - some of my new favorites to be exact!  Blackrocks Brewery had different beers on the two times I visited - and they now can and distribute some of their beers!  My new favorites are Honey Lavender and Coconut Brown, and Grand Rabbits.  I didn't try the 51K, which is apparently one of their most popular.  But with a small "hanging with friends in a house" feel to the bar and lounge, a great sunny patio (not enough chairs!), corn hole, and that game where you try to swing the metal ring onto the hook, HOW COULD YOU GO WRONG??

I just had to share this because this is what lunch at Mom's house looks like - why is it so much better at her house?  I hardly ever make sandwiches at home!

A trip to Marquette wouldn't be complete without the hike up Sugarloaf Mountain.  It's a large mountain (ok, really really big hill for those of you who have ACTUAL gigantic mountains), with wooden steps all the way to the top, rewarding you with an incredible panoramic view of Lake Superior, and all of the surrounding areas.  But we don't take the steps, oh no .... we SCALE the mountain, finding footholds and jumping from boulder to boulder.  Im not going to lie - I got winded. I had to ask for a break.  The first pic is where Sea was relaxing at the top waiting for me to get there. When I arrived he said "ok let's go!"  I said, "No, I mean I need a break too!"  : )  If I could do that once or twice a week I would be in great shape!  

What trip would be complete without my handstand shots?  I actually couldn't get up to a full handstand because I couldn't find a flat spot, and I was kind of afraid of falling over the other side.  No, not off the cliff, but it was pretty uneven, as you can see.

Going back down the mountain - we decided this was a bit too difficult.  It was a drop straight down. We headed back and around another way.  There were footholds, but there was nothing to hold onto while lowering yourself down.  And to be honest, my legs are a lot shorter than my brother's, so there is a chance I wouldn't reach anyway.

Well deserved beer sampler at the Wooden Nickel.  Yes, more beer.  No, they weren't all good at this one.  And they were just regular beers, not in-house microbrews.  Actually, there was two of those trays, but one was delivered just a minute before the other, and I forgot to get a picture

Lunch at the Pasta Shop.  Another "can't miss" stop in Marquette.  Here you see the before shot of Spaghetti Bread - Local made garlic bread, covered in noodles and sauce, smothered in cheese, and broiled.  Before I devoured it, that is.

AND back to the beer!  The Vierling has one of the best microbrews around - Blueberry Beer.  It's not sweet, and its not super hoppy and strong either.  It's definitely on the top of my list.  Not to mention, the BEST whitefish chowder you will ever taste, with the fish caught only a block away.

Back to Blackrocks Brewery for one more sampling (did I mention the super cool sampler trays?) - this time getting a taste of a watermelon beer, another I hadn't tasted, and the honey lab & coconut brown.   No, I still didn't try the 51k beer.

Last day in town, so we had to hit the Portside Inn for breadsticks.  These are like sticks of wonderfulness.  The cheese is to die for - it's like a cream cheese, white cheddar, and I don't know what else.  They are amazing.  Whaddya know, they had Blackrocks brewery's Grand Rabbits - I highly recommend you all find a 6-pack of this in your town!  Is anyone else hungry after looking at all of these pictures?

And my last stop on my way out of the UP was the Garlyn Zoo.  I have driven to Marquette 1-3 times a year since I left, and never stopped at this roadside attraction.  Granted, many of the times it was too late (last tour at 5:30), both coming in and out of town, but this time I stopped to see what it was all about.  It is SO COOL!  It's like a zoo, but set in a forest, so the sun isn't beating down on you or the animals, and it just feels a lot more natural.  There were animals I have never heard of before, alligators, wild animals, and hand-feeding of some of the animals.  

The deer were so gentle, and the babies so cute and energetic, bouncing around every time someone moved.  

The billy goats gruff had a platform they could run up on, of you could feed them through the fence.  Talk about pigs!  These guys were so greedy!  I kept trying to feed the babies, and they would get head-butted out of the way!  There were tigers!  And the tigers and wolves were all "I could so take you!"  through the fences, of course.  The emu came over to say hi.  And there were animals that I had never seen before!  Like this weird dog / rabbit combination that kind of freaked me out (see pic next to the Emu below).

Mr. Camel was over in his barn, and he saw me coming, and he ran over to me, and was all dropping "heeyyyy" on me.  I wish I had something to feed him, but I think he was just saying hi anyway.  He was a cool dude.  Am I the only one that talks to animals like they're people?

The fox came to say hi too.  And the Llamas (is your momma a llama?) were NOT impressed with the food I had to offer.  No takers!  And just for the record, I TRY to be really non-judgemental, but is the white llama not the FUNNIEST LOOKING Llama you've ever seen?

Just for the record, not everything on this page was one day - It was 2 days!  
The zoo was on the 3rd day.

My last thought is this - I wear a Jawbone wristband fitness tracker.  I rarely hit my 10,000/day goal.  I mean RARELY.  Here are my steps while in Marquette.  Nature is good for your health!

Saturday:  10,694 (ok, this was due to shopping)
Monday: 6140
Tuesday: 9816
Wednesday: 13,039
Thursday:  12,971
Friday:  11,043
Saturday:  14,801

Peace!  Love!  Serene!