Marquette is a city of just over 20,000 people located on picturesque Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. There's no easy way to get to Marquette other than driving across the UP. I can get to my parents' house in West Virginia in around the same time it takes me to get to Marquette. The UP is known for its particularly snowy and cold winters, and despite my general aversion to winter I was excited for the adventure.
|View of Lake Superior from the 6th floor of the historic Landmark Inn in Downtown Marquette|
Marquette is one of eight Michigan cities who received funding for PlacePlans, a project to help cities plan and design placemaking projects. My focus was to meet with city and legislative leaders to talk about our proactive legislative placemaking agenda, but I also got to help a little with the PlacePlans project as well. I've often said that my favorite part of my job is connecting with our communities and seeing the extraordinary projects they're working on. Seeing the great things already happening in Marquette as well as getting a glimpse into the community's energy regarding the Baraga Street (their PlacePlans project) redesign was the perfect recharge I needed to take on the next legislative battle.
|Walking to meetings. It was cold, but it was beautiful.|
One night we had dinner at Lagniappe, a Cajun place (yes you read that right) downtown. I LOVE Cajun and southern food, and any place where I have my pick of ways to have my catfish prepared is an automatic favorite. The hushpuppies rivaled ones I had in Pensacola, Florida a few years ago - mind blowing. It seems like such an anomaly to have a Cajun restaurant in a city in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, but it's this type of creativity that makes Marquette work.
And then there is the Ore Dock Brewing Company which had been given more hype than the Beatles. I have to say it totally lived up to the expectations. We met with its owners and manager to talk about the PlacePlans redesign project, and of course we had to sample some of their beers to really get a feel for the place. Unfortunately beer and I are not friends because of my Crohn's, but I couldn't let that stop me from having at least part of one. They had just put their new Black Swan Java Stout on tap the day we were there, and it was unprecedented in its deliciousness. I have never cursed my inability to drink beer more than I did that day. I texted my husband from the Ore Dock to inform him that I loved Marquette, and we were moving there. The response I got was, "How drunk ARE you?" And the reality was that I was not drunk. Not even a little bit. Marquette just got under my skin.
I know what you're thinking - I'm kind of a romantic about cities. I fall often, and I fall hard. Marquette, particularly in the winter, was a surprise for me though. I was a bit blindsided by this new city love affair. Strangely San Francisco left me needing more, yet Marquette, Michigan has stolen a piece of my heart. There may be hope left for this winter hating girl yet.