Make Mine a Michigan Thanksgiving: High Bush Cranberry Edition

Highbush Cranberries by Blondieyooper

Cranberries, photo by Blondieyooper

One thing that I love is Thanksgiving dinner, and another is Michigan grown food. Dianna at Promote Michigan brings those together with 15 things that make Thanksgiving Pure Michigan. From starters like Koeze nuts, McClure’s Pickles, Koegel Meats, and Leelanau Cheese to sides like Michigan potatoes & squash to Michigan-raised turkeys and (of course) pumpkin & apple pie and ice cream!

One Thanksgiving staple that Michigan is producing more of are cranberries, and you can get all kinds of information from the US Cranberry Marketing Committee. While it’s too late to get them this year, we have another cranberry that grows in Michigan you might not be aware of. Green Deane’s Eat the Weeds is a great blog, and his page on the High Bush Cranberry says (in part):

The High Bush Cranberry is actually a Viburnum (Viburnum trilobum) and a cousin of the elderberry. Both are in the greater Honeysuckle Family and have a characteristic musky odor. That family by the way straddles the edibility line, with some members edible and others not, some tasty and some not. As one might suspect by the name, the High Bush Cranberry has tart fruit. Bradford Angier, a well-known Canada-based forager along side Euell Gibbons, wrote they require a “conditioned palate” to appreciate.

In North America the High Bush Cranberry is found in Canada and the northern half of the United States plus, oddly, New Mexico. It is not as that friendly to wildlife as one might suspect. The fruit persists into the winter because they are not on the top of birds’ preferred food. Birds like the berries after they soften and ferment. White-Tailed deer also browse on the twigs and leaves. For humans the berries are high in Vitamin C, about 30 milligrams per 100 grams.

Viburnum trilobum has several disputed botanical names and several mistaken common names including Pimbina, Mooseberry, Cranberry Tree, Cranberry Bush, American Cranberry, and Squashberry.

Read on for lots more including identification tips. There’s much more Michigan Thanksgiving to feast on at Michigan in Pictures too!

Blondieyooper says she picked over 8 pounds of these gorgeous highbush cranberries in the UP back in October of 2011. View her photo background bigilicious and see more in her Fall 2011 slideshow.

Autumn Squared: Fall Color at Tahquamenon Falls

Tahquamenon Falls fall 2015

Tahquamenon Falls, Luce County, Michigan, photo by twurdemann

We’ll return to the fall color farewell tour with a photo from Michigan’s largest waterfall, Tahquamenon Falls (pronounced as spelled – tah-qua-me-non). It’s located in Tahquamenon Falls State Park which:

…encompasses close to 50,000 acres stretching over 13 miles. Most of this is undeveloped woodland without roads, buildings or power lines. The centerpiece of the park, and the very reason for its existence, is the Tahquamenon River with its waterfalls. The Upper Falls is one the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. It has a drop of nearly 50 feet and is more than 200 feet across. A maximum flow of more than 50,000 gallons of water per second has been recorded cascading over these falls. Four miles downstream is the Lower Falls, a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island. Although not as dramatic as the Upper Falls, they are equally magnificent. The falls can be viewed from the river bank or from the island, which can be reached by rowboat rented from a park concession. The island walk affords a view of the falls in the south channel.
This is the land of Longfellow’s Hiawatha – “by the rushing Tahquamenaw” Hiawatha built his canoe. Long before the white man set eyes on the river, the abundance of fish in its waters and animals along its shores attracted the Ojibwa Indians, who camped, farmed, fished and trapped along its banks. In the late 1800’s came the lumber barons and the river carried their logs by the millions to the mills. Lumberjacks, who harvested the tall timber, were among the first permanent white settlers in the area.

Rising from springs north of McMillan, the Tahquamenon River drains the watershed of an area of more than 790 square miles. From its source, it meanders 94 miles before emptying into Whitefish Bay. The amber color of the water is caused by tannins leached from the Cedar, Spruce and Hemlock in the swamps drained by the river. The extremely soft water churned by the action of the falls causes the large amounts of foam, which has been the trademark of the Tahquamenon since the days of the voyager.

Read on for more and maps & camping information. I’ll add that November through April are great months to visit Tahquamenon Falls – very few people!

twurdemann shares that this view of the the Upper Tahquamenon Falls was a three second exposure with a B+W ND106 six stop solid neutral density filter on a Fuji XT1 + XF 55-200mm. View it bigger and see more in his Waterfalls slideshow.

Lots more fall color and waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures!

Birds Eye View of the Huron Mountains

Birds Eye View of the Huron Mountains

Birds Eye View of the Huron Mountains, photo by Kristian Saile

Summit Post’s page on the Huron Mountains says:

The Huron Mountains encompass THE most wild and rugged territory in Michigan. It is a region of low, yet surprisingly rugged mountains, swamps, lakes, and high plateaus. It is because this is such a large and diverse region that I decided to devote a page to the entire range in addition to the two prominent peaks already on this site (Arvon & Hogback). The majority of peaks in this area are unnamed and for the most part inaccessible. I have spent many years living near them, spent countless hours and days exploring them and feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. The region has become increasingly popular with climbers in the past few years for its numerous granite cliffs. You’ll need a local to find them though:)

The Huron Mountains are the largest range of mountains in Michigan yet they are not listed on any map. The boundaries of the range are vague but generally include the area north of US-41 between Marquette and L’anse. This is approx. a 1000 sq. mi. chunk of real estate without a single paved road.

The Hurons can be divided up into three ranges. The Arvon Range includes the highest peaks, Mount Arvon (1980′) and Curwood (1979′), in the state of Michigan. The Arvon Range runs generally north-south in eastern Baraga County. The most rugged section, The Huron Range, runs northwest-southeast to the west of Big Bay in northern Marquette County. The highest peak in this region is Ives Hill at approx. 1400 feet. This part of the mountains has the most rugged relief, the highest waterfalls, and the prettiest lakes. Unfortunately a good chunk of it privately owned by the uber-exclusive Huron Mountain Club and is off-limits to the general public. The third region is the most accessible, the Marquette Iron Range. This region runs from Lake Superior at Marquette west to the Lake Michigamme area. Hogback Mountain (1200′), listed separately, is part of this range but numerous unnamed peaks to the west rise to over 1700 feet.

Read on for more and also check out the post author’s Michigan hikes – a lot of cool ones!

My friend Kristian took this in early October of 2011 while flying with his buddy Jon over the Huron Mountains. Click to view it bigger (if you can’t see it on facebook, try this link).

Another friend, Dick Huey of, researched the location for me – click the pic below to see it bigger.


More aerial photos on Michigan in Pictures.

Fall reflections at Black River Harbor

Fall Reflections at Black River

Fall reflections at Black River Harbor, photo by Michigan Nut Photography

The Ottawa National Forest page on Black River Harbor Recreation Area explains:

Known for its spectacular waterfalls, idyllic beaches, scenic hiking trails and tranquil campground, the Black River Harbor Recreation Area is a popular destination throughout the year. Originating in Wisconsin, the Black River flows through forested areas of large pine, hemlock and hardwood trees. The River has a series of scenic waterfalls as it drops in elevation to meet Lake Superior. Tannin (tannic acids) from hemlock trees is what gives it its unique color.

The Harbor offers one of the area’s few access points to Lake Superior, with boating being a major summer time activity. The boat ramp can accommodate almost any craft trailered in. There is no launching fee. Boat fuel and snacks are available through the concessionaire. Parking for trucks and boat trailers is ample.

Read on more more information including a map.

John took this photo a few days ago. Check it out bigger and definitely follow Michigan Nut Photography on Facebook for more great fall color and lots more of Michigan at its best!

Mission Hill, Spectacle Lake & Fall Color 2015

Mission Hill View Upper Peninsula Michigan

Mission Hill 3, photo by Susan H

Here’s a look-in on the current state of fall color in the northeastern Upper Peninsula. DWHIKE has this to say about the Mission Hill trail, which also affords views of Spectacle Lake & Monocle Lake:

Monocle Lake sits just inland from Lake Superior about a half hours’ drive west of Sault Ste. Marie. Along its south shore is a nice National Forest campground which serves as the trailhead for the days adventure. The Monocle Lake Trail heads east from the swimming area at the south end of the lake for little more than a quarter mile where it splits north and south in to the North Country Trail and the Mission Hill Trail respectively…

Directions to Trailhead: -Take Highway 221 north from M-28 west of Sault Ste. Marie. -Follow Hwy 221 for 2.5 miles, through Brimley, to Lakeshore Drive. -Turn left on Lakeshore Drive, follow it 5 miles to Tower Road on the left. -Follow Tower Road (which changes to dirt as you climb the hill) 1.5 miles to overlook and trailhead on the right.

Click above for a map where you can need both lakes and get more about the Monocle Lake Trail from the DNR.

Susan took this photo on Sunday. View it big as the sky and see more in her UP slideshow.

Lots more Fall wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Heavenly curtain at the Phoenix Church

A special Sunday “I changed the cover of the Michigan in Pictures Facebook” edition of Michigan in Pictures.

God is Light

God is light, photo by Jiqing Fan

The Keweenaw County Historical Society page about their Phoenix Church in Houghton explains:

St. Mary’s Church was built in 1858 to serve the Catholic residents in the nearby mining community of Cliff, scene of the area’s first major copper discovery in 1844. Services continued until 1899 when the church was dismantled and reassembled in Phoenix, where it was renamed The Church of the Assumption. Masses were held until 1957, when the last service marked a century of providing spiritual guidance to mining families and their descendants.

In 1985 the Keweenaw County Historical Society took over the property and began extensive repair and restoration work. The church now appears much as it did when folks from another century knelt in prayer, a fitting memorial to one chapter of Keweenaw’s proud heritage. Although now deconsecrated, the church is still used for weddings and memorial services.

More on Pheonix Church from the Keweenaw County Historical Society.

View his photo bigger on Flickr and see more in his Houghton & UP Mich slideshow.

More northern lights and more churches on Michigan in Pictures.

Caribbean of the North

Carribean of the North

Caribbean of the North, photo by Cory Genovese

A while back I featured this as the cover photo on It’s so great I had to share it here as well! Cory wrote:

A day trip kayak cruise with a couple of friends on Lake Superior resulted in us finding ourselves in the “Caribbean of the North”…albeit with the pool heater unplugged ;)

Indeed! View the photo bigger and see more Lake Superior amazingness from Cory and be sure to follow him at!