Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Running Munising

Every year I visit Michigan's Upper Peninsula for a work meeting for a couple of days. Last year I ran Houghton, Michigan, and this year we had a much shorter trip to Munising, MI. Munising is about 2½ hours closer than Houghton, and that gives you an idea of how huge the UP actually is. Munising sits on the shore of Lake Superior, and is most famous for its proximity to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Grand Island National Recreation Area.

Pictured rocks. Gorgeous!
We arrived in Munising late Wednesday evening, and first thing on Wednesday I laced up my shoes for a run. Our hotel was perched on top of a hill that didn't seem that steep until I was trying to get back to it. On the first day I headed east toward downtown Munising. Munising is a small town of around 2,000 people, but like many UP towns it has a quaint downtown.

The view of Lake Superior from my hotel balcony (a room I was upgraded to after a hotel mistake. Score!)

Downtown Munising
Unfortunately on my run I didn't get all the way downtown. The UP is frigid in the winter, but generally their spring and summer temps are mild to cool. That was not the case when we visited - it was warm and humid. I love that kind of weather, but it caused me to keep my runs short. 

Munising is an outdoorsman's dream with hiking, boating and basically any outdoor activity you can imagine. Their downtown boasts some charming local shops and restaurants in a short maybe mile stretch of town. 

We were fortunate to take a boat tour of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore while we were there, and wow. I'd heard it was amazing, and it lived up to its reputation. We were out on Lake Superior on a flawless summer day. The sky was cerulean and the scenery was just amazing. I couldn't quite get over how beautiful the water was. It was extremely clear - like something you'd see in the Gulf Coast only somehow prettier. We spent three hours viewing Pictured Rocks, and it was definitely something I'd recommend for everyone.

On my last morning in Munising I decided to run west away from town (and with hopes of a flatter course). The flatter course was not to be, but the scenery was tranquil. It was so quiet - the only thing I could hear was my breathing and feet pounding the pavement interrupted only by the rare early morning passing car. This time of year the trees were brilliantly green. Living in a city it is rarely quiet. I grew up in the country, and it's been a long time since I've heard such quiet. It was comforting and eerie all at the same time.

Munising is a great attraction. People come from all over the world to see Pictured Rocks, and that alone is worth the drive. We didn't eat out in Munising, but our meeting was catered by Sydney's, a local restaurant. The white fish was incredible, and their breakfast of French toast with delicious whipped cream was amazing. 

My family lives south, and generally when we travel we head in that direction. But every time I'm in the UP there's something that hooks me. It reminds me a bit of West Virginia with its small, charming towns, hilly terrain and natural setting. The main difference is we don't have one of the Great Lakes in our backyard in WV. It's really very beautiful, and it seems to me like you've all got a road trip to plan. Pack your running shoes!  


  1. Wow! I had no idea the lake was that stunning! Love the post!

  2. Jennelle come visit! We can go to the UP. :)

  3. Hi Samantha,
    My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about Munising to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you soon!