Letter Re: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as a Retreat Locale

We lived along the northern shore of the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula  (UP),  in the Marquette area.  This was way back in the late 1960s. (We left in 1972.)

We spent the last two years of that living in the middle of a fairly isolated 40 acre tract about half an hour drive (summer travel) from town.
The great lakes, Superior in particular, have an enormous influence on the local climate. Varying by distance and prevailing winds, you tend to have cooler summer temps as well as slightly warmer winters.  The lakes effect precipitation, most noticeably snowfall, but cloud cover and rain as well.

In our experience the climate favored potatoes, rutabagas and the like. Snow peas did very well. We have had frost on the 4th of July and Labor Day. One year we saw snow flurries all through the July 4th parade.
Tomatoes and other tender crops require a greenhouse.

The black flies which lasted all summer (unlike at my family place in Maine) made gardening a blood sport (this was before DEET insect repellent which I’m told is effective.).
I had friends that moved into the hinterboonies and attempted to garden, also with sad results. One couple eventually sold out and the other moved into town and took up storekeeping.

In general, I think that the UP has much in common with coastal Alaska (as opposed to interior) as described in some recent posts. In colonial times the native peoples were said to have come there only in summer and mainly to fish. The deer were very scarce back then too, there being little browse in the uncut terminal forest that then covered the area.  Regards, – D.W.

JWR Replies:  Thank for making those points.Obviously, having a big greenhouse would be a must.

For those who must live in the upper Midwest, I consider the U.P. to be the best compromise retreat locale.   On a recent tour of the region, there were two areas that looked particular appealing to me, and both of them were partially agricultural: First, the area east of the town of Nisula, and Second, the area north of Bruce Crossing.  If someone were to buy a property that is back on “a sideroad of a sideroad there, then the odds are that they could avoid trouble in all but an absolute worst case societal collapse.  I hold that view by virtue of the facts that the U.P. is geographically isolated from major population centers, and that the U.P. has such a notoriously brutal winter climate that it is very unlikely that many urban refugees would heard in that direction.