Copper Harbor shops
Here are some noteworthy Copper Harbor shops, arranged from east (toward Fort Wilkins) to west, first along Gratiot (the main street), then donw by the harbor.
• GAS LITE GENERAL STORE . Open daily, year-round. IIn end-of-the-road places like Copper Harbor, 37 miles from a supermarket, the general store assumes an unusual responsibility for stocking most all the necessities of everyday life, including things like sewing kits and alarm clocks. Jeff and Kelly Coltas go way beyond offering a good selection of beers, wines, and packaged liquor. They sell a pretty complete line of groceries, fresh produce (more plentiful in summer), fresh meats, ice cream, cold pop, ice. There's practical clothing, camping and fishing supplies, maps, fishing and hunting licenses, and an ATM. (906) 289-4652. Open year round from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. in peak summer, from 10 to 7 in off-summer months, as well as until 9 Fri and Sat.
|Laurel Rook in front of her colorfully eclectic shop including many nature-related gifts, comical and serious, at all price levels, including jewelry, T shirts, animal-design pottery, and local preserves.|
• LAUGHING LOON: Crafts of the North is run by Laurel Rooks. Laurel's shop carries many nature-related gifts, comical and serious, at all price levels, including jewelry, T shirts, animal-design pottery, and local preserves.
Be sure to see the regional handcrafts including Ojibwa basketry, quill boxes, and jewelry; prints of Bill Hamilton's watercolors of Upper Peninsula scenes, as well as work by other U.P. artists.
Laurel's Patch Words regional book and map shop is under the same roof. So is the year-round stock of cold-weather clothing—fleece, hats, and gloves—important for Isle Royale outings. On First at Bernard a block north of U.S. 41 at the east end of town. (906) 289-4813. Open year-round, 10 a.m. 'til dark. Handicap access: three stairs, tight quarters.
|A piece made by potter Dennis Sotala.|
• TRAPROCK POTTERY is the name of the tiny shop (it looks more like a porch) where retired park ranger Dennis Sotala makes and sells his colorful, functional stoneware. It can be seen online at www.traprockpottery.com. There's also thel work from other potters, like his wife Leslie Sotala's botanical tiles and small birds and animals. She presses pine needles, cedar boughs, and molds of the animals into clay, and fires them in the raku process. Some are tiles; most are decorative rather than functional.
Dennis's self-sufficient lifestyle and his interest in handcrafts were inspired by his hard-working Finnish grandparents, from this area. Once he lived off the grid one mile from a road. Now he and Leslie live simply, but on a paved country road in the stovewood house he built, and he heats with wood. His kilns are now electrically fired. On Gratiot/U.S. 41 across from the Pines. (906) 289-4636. Off-season phone: (906) 337-6879. Open daily from the end of June thru color season, usually from noon to 5, often later. Wheelchair access: for the yard portion of display space.
• THUNDERBIRD GIFT CENTER & MUSEUM is a rambling, old-fashioned tourist shop opened in 1938 with all the classic souvenirs, plus new and used books, clothing, coins, locally made copper pieces, minerals, knives, and antiques. One specialty is green stones, the state gem. Minitoca clothing, locally made copper. Judy sells prints of her attractive drawings of local landmarks. The fun, old-timey museum features 400 antique dolls and Native American artifacts. There are also toys, a coin and knife section, local rocks, nautical, mining, and railroad items. , and more. Admission (hours 9-6) is $2 for ages 12 and up. Located n a white frame building connected to Minnetonka Resort on U.S. 41 in the center of Copper Harbor. (906) 289-4449. Open daily May 15 thru Oct., usually opens 9 and closes at 9 p.m. or later.
• GRANDPA'S BARN is the history-filled bookstore created by Lloyd and Clyde Wescoat in the hay barn moved to this site by Clyde's grandfather. Lloyd is well known to summer visitors as the proprietor of the Skytop Inn gift shop at the top of Brockway Mountain. In this bookshop she has space to offer an intelligent selection of vacation reading, nature guides, and regional fare. As a teacher. Lloyd's children's book selection reflects her longstanding interests in children's literature and natural history.
The rockers on the long front porch of the remodeled barn invite customers to browse and look out onto a wildflower meadow.
The fascinating collection of Keweenaw memorabilia was mainly assembled by Clyde's grandparents, pioneers of Copper Country tourism. They owned and operated the Pontiac Resort (now the Mariner North), the Isle Royale seaplane, and the rustic log gift shop atop Brockway Mountain, the original Skytop Inn. Just before the Depression, Clyde's grandfather, the first Clyde Harold Wescoat, sold his auto dealership in Detroit, came to the Upper Peninsula, and started its first airport. On South Fourth St. behind Copper Harbor's one-room school. Turn south at the school's west end. (906) 289-4377. Currently open from mid May to mid-Oct, weekends at least. Open daily at 10 a.m. from Mem. to Labor Day. In July & August open until 8 or 9. Handicap access: one step.
• RAGAMUFFINS offers fun, functional clothing for children and for women of all ages. Buyer-owner Elizabeth Kilpela looks for quality clothing that makes a good impression, at a reasonable price. Lots of repeat customers come, especially from shopping-deficient Copper Country. She herself has an art background (she graduated from Detroit's Center for Creative Studies), and she was a serious seamstress and the daughter of a tailor. 765 Gratiot/U.S. 41. (906) 289-4330. Open daily from Mem. Day weekend through color season, 10-7 in summer. Other times hours may vary. Handicap access: 1 step up deck, 1 into shop.
• BROCKWAY INN COOFFEEHOUSE (also known as Boreal Means) in the Brockway Inn motel is a little coffeehouse/gallery (no seating to speak of) where innkeeper/nature photographer/birder/tonwship official Karen Karl and her espresso machine make a whole range of coffee drinks. She sometimes sells packaged high-protein breakfast cookies and offers her own fresh-baked goods such as muffin, cinnamon rolls and turnovers and a range of coffee beans from fair trade coffee roasters of organic beans.
Some of Karen's nature photography of local subjects can be seen online at her outstanding site www.brockwayinn.com. Be sure to check out the seasons and birding section, and the online gallery. At Boreal Beans Karen produces and hands out Copper Harbor birder checklists, and posts current activity and unusual sightings on her Birding Central board. The coffee shop is inside the Brockway Inn where U.S. 41 splits off from M-26 and heads up the hill. Open from June 1 through mid-October, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., usually later on weekends. Closed Monday. Not handicap accessible.
• THE BERRY PATCH serves up an unusual mix of pleasant things: ice cream (including thimbleberry ice cream cones & sundaes), berry products, antiques, and gifts. The owners hand out a free info sheet on the tasty, tart thimbleberry with a jam recipe. Next to the post office on M-26 near Brockway Mountain Dr. Open July 4 thru Labor Day.
• THE ISLE ROYALE FERRY DOCK in town at the end of Fourth Street has several interesting seasonal shops owned and managed by people whose area roots often go way, way back.
HARBORSIDE doubles as the ticket office for the Isle Royale Queen IV ferry. It carries books, gifts, T shirts, and more. Merchandise focuses on Isle Royale, moose, and wolves. Open all day, starting at 7 a.m. from May 15 thru Sept. (906) 289-4437.
• JAMSEN'S FISH MARKET (906-289-4285) sells fresh and smoked fish. Proprietor Christine Jamsen grew up in Copper Harbor. Her father, Wally Jamsen, fished commercially for 60 years and docked his tug here. There's no commercial fishing in the harbor any more, so she gets fish from Peterson's in Hancock and VanLandschoot's in Munising. The fish market connects with Christine's other business,THE FISHERMAN'S DAUGHTER. She retired from teaching autistic children in California, and now spends most of the year here in Copper Harbor, working on her shop's stained glass, fish-print T shirts, and one-of-a-kind jewelry with semi-precious stones. The shop also carries rag rugs; jewelry using greenstone, copper, and other local minerals; handmade soaps; hand-crafted pottery; and unusual clothing, often loose tops for fuller figures. Many items have cat, fish, and mermaid themes. Retired Michigan Tech photography professor Joe Kirkish's photographs of local scenes are sold here. Open from Memorial Day to mid-Oct. Summer hours 9-6:30.
• ELIZABETH'S ON THE WATERFRONT (906-289-4437). Nature is the inspiration for the home accessories, handmade jewelry, and sweatshirts here. Elizabeth Kilpela, the mother of the Kilpela brothers who pilot the Isle Royale ferry, is doing more and more watercolors, also sold here. She also buys for her Ragamuffins clothing shop on the main street. Open daily from Mem. Day weekend thru Oct. 15 from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., sometimes later. (906) 289-4437.
The ferry dock is next to the Copper King motel in the center of Copper Harbor. To reach it from U.S. 41, turn north just east of the Minnetonka Resort. All shops wheelchair-accessible.
Return to Copper Harbor
POINTS OF INTEREST
• The Mariner North restaurant & motel has wi-fi. 245 Gratiot/US-41. Open year round.
• Brockway Inn has wi-fi in summer. 840 Gratiot/US-41. Open Tues-Sun 8-4.
Fort Wilkins State Park and Historic Complex. This outstanding state park centers on a charming old army fort from the 1843 copper rush. Living history and period furnishings show peacetime army life in 1869 . . . ... more
Lighthouse Overlook on Copper Harbor. A spot with a grand view of the lighthouse, especially near sunset, and a trail among cedar and pines. You can sit on the big red rocks by the water and read or sketch. ... more
Copper Harbor Lighthouse. The memorable 1866 lighthouse museum and interpretive trail show the site's importance in geology, Michigan history, and shipwrecks. Part of Fort Wilkins State Park, it's reachable only by boat. ... more
Copper Harbor shops. Some of the U.P.'s most interesting shops for crafts, gifts, minerals, and books are here in Michigan's remote, northernmost village. Jewelry, books, photography, and gifts: stoneware, agates, greenstones, rockhound supplies, bird's eye maple, fleece, and distinctive fashions. Year-round general store and Laughing Loon gifts and books. ... more
Hunter's Point, Agate Beach & Copper Harbor marina. An exceptionally delightful walk takes you out the rocky northern side of Hunter's Point and back along the bay side. ... more