Sep 22-06

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2006: September: Sep 22-06
Colorful drive    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Joyce Tormala
Converging water    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Joyce Tormala

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 06:38 am:

If it's been awhile since you've made the drive out to Agate Beach near Toivola, then hop in your car and follow the signs. With the colors changing around the area daily, it's one of the best times to take that road trip. Joyce Tormala, gives a preview of a journey which will delight your senses, as it provides hues of red, yellow, orange and green along the way. Then you'll not only get to enjoy the waters of Lake Superior once you arrive at your destination, but you're likely to find the beach all to yourself this time of year, too. Better get going!

By Smfwixom (Trollperson) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 06:41 am:

Wish I could go UP there now!

By Sunrise Side MI (Ilovelucy2) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 06:57 am:

Great picture. Kinda looks like you are looking out in space when you look into the water. Really neat, Joyce.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 07:34 am:

The 2nd picture reminds me of the Tobacco River near Gay, MI.

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 07:38 am:

Wish I could make it UP to that neck of the woods when we make
our autumn weekend trip two weekends from now but it's a little
too far. I also recommend a visit to the Toivola area. This summer
was a first for me, but I intend to return--the expanses and
varieties of beaches in the area are too good to be missed. With
autumn leaves to boot--what a sight that would be.

By Therese (Therese) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 07:43 am:

I live off Pleasantview Road in Emmet County, and every year that is included on recommended color tours in the downstate papers. Though we lost a lot of old maples in the last few years to storms, old age and the road crews, it is still a lovely drive on a sunny October afternoon. Or in the rain.

By Marsha, Genesee/Aura (Marsha) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 07:59 am:

Kosk: I'll be UP for a weekend in a week or two also. Wouldn't it be cool if all the pastycam contributors could buy the same pastycam t-shirt which would be sold on this site, and then we could wear it when we're UP and all recognize each other! The t-shirt could only be purchased by those who are contributors to pastycam, not to the public in general. I do have a white sweatshirt my husband had made for me, which says "Marsha, Genesee/Aura".

By James Ludos (Homesick) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 08:01 am:

I have been wanting to ask this but just haven't done it but now that this picture has been posted I will. Maybe it's just me, I don't know, I've gotten to the age that I remember things different than they really were sometimes or just don't remember them at all, I think. Anyway, we were in the U.P. a couple weeks ago now and I was looking for Agate beach, or Agate harbor, along Hwy 26, on the way to Copper Harbor. Now I lived in Eagle River for 10 years and drove that hwy. alot and seem to remember a place along the road that you could pull over and walk down to the beach, my wife says, "yea your right". I seem to remember a wooden stairway that you had to go down, she's not sure about that part. Anyway we couldn't find it. We saw Agate harbor on a map we have but it's from the '70, which by the way is when we lived there. Ok now, does anybody remember that or am I just not getting this right? We just could not seem to find out how to get to the area we wanted. I think I might have some pictures of it somewhere, I'll have to look. Help!!!

By Mel, Kansas (Mehollop) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 09:35 am:

James -

Not sure, but I think the place you might be referring to is/was 5-mile Point. There was a pull-off there, and a wooden sign. No steps down to the beach, but there was a sandy path with roots across it that could have been mistaken for steps. Very rocky beach that could be followed northeastish up to the Sand Hills Lighthouse.

Anyhow - the sign was taken down back in '97-98, but the little pull off area was still there. A house (or two) was built across the street, and I believe the area may have become private property. I still visited that stretch of beach regularly while I was going to school (through '03), but it was more difficult to find each time as the trees and underbrush did their best to take over the little parking area.

Hope this helps a bit - I may be thinking an entirely different place though.

By Richard L. Barclay (Notroll) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 09:52 am:

Agate Beach is found north of Toivola but Agate Harbor is along M-26 with Esrey Park being open to the public and facing it. The finger bays would be to your right and included. Stone steps to the top of the ridge at Esrey park and a lovely old gazebo at the top to eat your pasty in! Rocky beach there, though.

By James Ludos (Homesick) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 10:07 am:

Mel & Richard,

I found some old pictures and there was some stairs made of wood going down to a beach/rocky area but I have it marked as Great Sand Bay. And Esrey park didn't look anything at all like it does now back in the '70's. I'm still going through photos and when I find the right ones I'll put them in my gallery.

By Peter J. Makousky (Peterj) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 10:09 am:

Very nice picture near Agate Beach. Also wish we could visit there. So much to do and see. We will be visiting from Minnesota tomorrow but need to get to Toni's Pasties in Laurium before they close and Toivola will be surely missed. We will be staying at the Sandhills Lighthouse B & B. What an awesome place! There are a lot of nice places to check out around there. I really like 7 mile point which is part of the North Woods Conservancy. Their website is Also can't wait to see the fall colors along 41 and also to enjoy the smells of the Jampot. I hear the weather is going to be sort of rainy. What is the best day for hiking around Copper Harbor. Anyone have a guess?


By Michael Poe (Mpoe) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 10:20 am:

Therese, is the Bliss store still there? We stayed there a week in 1988 on w. bliss rd at a friends cottage. Fished Wycamp lake and swam in a very warm Lake Michigan (1988 had a heat wave) Beautiful area!

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 10:23 am:

Peterj, We've always wanted to stay there. Do tell how great it is.

By Peter J. Makousky (Peterj) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 10:43 am:

Deb, Sandhills Lighthouse B & B will ruin most B & B experiences. Last year my wife and I went there and after our stay we spent a very rainy evening in a nice B & B in Wisconsin, but we were very homesick for the warmth of Mary & Bill's great place. They will make you feel like you are part of their family. The food is the best I have ever had. Large assortment of made from scratch dishes. Mary has many stories to tell and plays a mean piano (not professional but exquisite). You will be blessed by her music during breakfast and at an evening desert which is also made from scratch. The bed we had last year was not the most comfortable but that is the only thing I could possibly complain about and that takes some work to even remember that. The views from the top of the lighthouse are awesome being the lighthouse faces pretty much due North. You get the sunrise and sunsets over Superior if you happen to get a clear day. Not so sure if we will during our 3 day stay.
I would be glad to tell more if you want. Their website is

By Liz B (Lizidaho) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 10:46 am:

The Great Sand Bay had a set of wooden stairs down to the beach when I was a child/teen. That would have been the 50's and part of 60's. I heard, but don't know, that a private party bought that section of beach and the stairs were removed. It is a public area again. At least, I was wandering it this past summer with lots of other folks.

By JAD, Oscar, MI (Jandalq) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 11:30 am:

2nd picture looks like the mouth of the Misery River at Misery Bay. I miss the old "Tis vay Agate Peach" sign. Sorry that was removed.

By maija in Commerce Township (Maija) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 11:31 am:

One end of Great Sand Bay is rocky and agates can be found, so I bet that's what you're thinking of, James.

By Kathy P. (Katiaire) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 12:40 pm:

Marsha, love your T-shirt idea!!!!

By Marsha, Genesee/Aura (Marsha) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 12:48 pm:

Here's an old shot from my gallery of Esrey Park from a postcard--no date.

By JH (Thumbgardener) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 01:25 pm:

I also love the T-shirt idea, Marsha.
Agate Beach and the areas near there are just some of the places we didn't get to see when we were up there last week. But we did get to see alot and really had great weather. We also ate at a few places I heard about here on the pastycam.

By Joe Pio (Joepio2) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 01:55 pm:

Can anyone estimate the % of color in the copper country right now? I am coming up the 1st week of October, think it will be 100% by then?

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 02:27 pm:

Marsha: I love the idea of the t-shirt. Amazing how many of us
are willing to drive for hours and hours to spend an evening and
a day in the UP. It may be crazy, but I can hardly wait!

By Glenn Hendrickson (Geeroy) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 02:51 pm:

Joepio2: You should hit it perfect, and that's when it's suppose to peak. I was out today (rainy, dreary) and colors are only about 40%-50% I'd say from Houghton to Eagle River, don't know about north of there but I've heard a little more. Even now there is some beautiful color in places, but alot of trees have to turn yet. Good luck, I think your timing will be great that week and I have to leave then!, won't be back till the 7th and hope it holds for me....

By Therese (Therese) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 03:46 pm:

Michael Poe: yes the Bliss store is still there in Greater Downtown Bliss -- actually it is the only store there. There are a few more houses but otherwise the area hasnt changed much since 1988; still quiet and beautiful. I believe it was at the Bliss precinct that the people totaling the vote in 2000 or so couldn't deliver it on time as a large bear was camped out on their porch.

By Ray Laakaniemi (Rlaakan) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 04:56 pm:

JAD, "Tis vay Agate Peach" is priceless and only a 'dourpuss' government servant could have the gall to take it down, eh?

By stix (Stixoutwest) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 05:16 pm:

James,I'm glad you brought up the subject of Agate Beach. We use to go there as kids with my mother and father's aunts. Aunt "Bill" was an accomplished artist but she was a rock hound at heart. She got us hooked on using a metal pooper scooper to scoop up the rock and then sift through, which as kids we thought was hillarious. Now that I am older....not having to bend down all the time makes sense!!
It was always a day I would look forward to during the summer. On our way to the beach, we would stop at Toni's and pick up pasties (Stillwaters and their famous pasties didn't exist back then, this is a long time ago...probably late 60's)and then spend the afternoon eating them while digging for agates! What fun memories.
Several years ago, Mom and I tried to find the beach and couldn't! I am sure it's the same one you are talking about, but I don't remember it being by the lighthouse. We called the place Agate Beach also. And we did find agates there!! Fun times.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 06:43 pm:

Never fear Stix!! A company called Estwing makes a scoop just for picking up rock so one doesn't have to bend over. Although I always found it easier to just plank my butt down on the rocks and sift through them with my hands, providing I didn't sit too close to the water!! I managed to collect LOTS of agates this way....

By James Ludos (Homesick) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 06:45 pm:


Sounds like what we did as well. I don't remember it being over there either but sometimes the memory can play tricks after such a long time. I still have my agates that I smoothed out with my own rock tumbler. Don't have it anymore but I use to keep it in the garage as it made a bit of a racket.

By Carole (Carole) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 07:06 pm:

Question.....Above post from Peter M stated he wants to go to Tonis's before they close. I will be up there in a week and was looking forward to their baked goods. Are they closing?

By Ms. Katie (Mskatie) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 07:52 pm:

HEY I'm all for a t-shirt just for us pasty cammers! And I have no idea what beach is which. But this summer when I was there for a short visit, sister and I found a beach to park near and some stairs, no rather a ramp. But beware if you not young and agile!!! At the bottom of the ramp there's a good 12" plus drop to the sand. I did everything but turn inside out trying to step down. I finally sat down and slid under the handrail to get to the ground. It was awful plus dangerous to us mature folks.Hope someone does something safer before my next trip there!! Let me know if the t-shirt idea comes to beieng.

By Ken ja Mimi from da UP (Kenjamimi) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 10:19 pm:

Ms Katie, it sounds like you have described the ramp at the Calumet Waterworks. The last step off the ramp was a doozie. Mimi and I were UP there earlier this year. On the Agate Beach subject, didn't there used to an Agate Beach sign just out of Eagle Harbor going towards the Brockway Mountain Drive? The road was to the left, (of course), but I think it's private now.
That was back in the '50s.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 10:43 pm:

Thanks Marsha, that was great.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 10:46 pm:

Thanks Peterj, Too bad you have to stay there for two nights. We're only going to be there for 4 nights and can't take two of them away from my parents, though I'd love to. Maybe next summer we can spend a couple of nights there. I had seen that website once before but didn't know anybody who had stayed there. So thanks for the rave reviews.

By Peter J. Makousky (Peterj) on Friday, September 22, 2006 - 11:14 pm:


Toni's in Laurium isn't closing. I just meant that we will be arriving from the southern part of the UP and driving right by Toivola. We can't stop and check it out because Toni's closes for the day at 5 eastern time. We will be lucky to make it without any stops along the way.
Hope that clears that up for you. :]

By Robert H. Baker (Rhb) on Monday, September 25, 2006 - 06:48 am:

Everytime I get on the pasty cam web site and start looking at picture's I come acrossed things I haven't seen in 30yrs. Agate Beach is another one of them places. Great pictures and this is a great web site. Get a chance to see alittle of the U.P. living in N.C. but realy looking hard at come back home to michigan.

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Monday, September 25, 2006 - 07:52 pm:

We hear you Rhb!

By Leslie Welsh Flaherty (Taffylegs) on Sunday, October 1, 2006 - 05:45 pm:

The stairway was at Great Sand Bay. I've been vacationing at Copper Harbor and everywhere around there for 45 years. Yup, things have changed. But still the best place on earth. I just arrived home (in MN) today after a 4-day stay. Colors are at peak. Kissed the ground when I left. You never know if there is going to be a "next time". Any of you old-timers out there remember "Devil's Washtub"? The washtub had to do with the formation of rocks at that bend. If you hiked down there, it looked and sounded like a perpetual washtub as the water rushed in. First sharp left turn as you head from Copper Harbor to Eagle Harbor on 26. Someone has put up a huge log home at that corner. Really something to see. Toni's pasties are still there. Keweenaw addict.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Sunday, October 1, 2006 - 06:21 pm:

Leslie, Where are you in MN? We're in MN too. Anyway, we stopped at the washtub and took pictures last year. It was so much fun. What an awesome place. I hadn't stopped there in years but was glad I did. Four more days 'til we leave for UP there.

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