My first year at Albion was a whirlwind of new things — a new town, new friends and despite being from Michigan, eight hours from home. Being a Yooper I’d never spent much time “under the bridge” with the “Trolls” as we refer to them in the Upper Peninsula.
The more time I spent down under, I’d hear my friends talking about their exciting journeys “up north.” Getting excited, I’d ask them where in the U.P. they went. I’d get blank stares and replies such as, “Uh…Traverse City” or “Gaylord.”
Dumbfounded, I started asking around more and more and came to realize that a lot of these people thought “up north” meant just going further up in the mitten. Conferring with my Yooper friends, they were just as shocked as I was to realize that these people thought “up north” was anything other than the U.P. And worse, many of them had never even been to the U.P., couldn’t name one town, or most shocking of all – weren’t even sure what the U.P. was (seriously).
As I finish my last semester here at Albion, I still hear many people refer to “up north” as just moving along up the mitten and never crossing into the U.P. So I thought I’d help set the record straight on what many believe “up north” to actually be.
While moving up the mitten, you are indeed going north, however, truly being able to say you were “up north” is when you cross the magnificent Mackinac Bridge, pay your $4 entrance fee and pass the “Welcome to Michigan’s Upper Penninsula” sign.
As I said before, you can move north in lower Michigan, however, that should be referred to as “Northern Lower Michigan” or “going up north in lower Michigan.’ Simply stating that you are going “up north” refers to the, sometimes neglected, U.P.
The website Yooper Steez attempted to put this matter to rest back in 2008 by finding the latitudinal points in Michigan. After a lot of calculations, which you can read about here, they came up with the following map divided into northern, central and southern Michigan based on their findings.
According to their extensive calculations and the map above, the only county in the Lower Peninsula that could even claim to be “up north” would be Emmet County at the very top of the mitten.
There’s even a Facebook page dedicated to making the meaning of “up north” clear stating, “Up north is the Upper Peninsula! It means crossing THE bridge. So if you want to go up north, be sure to cross the Mighty Mac!”
With tons of reasons to visit Michigan’s true North, like viewing the Northern Lights above Lake Superior, watching the dog sled races in February, going to Pictured Rocks, watching gorgeous sunsets over the lake and more, you should really consider going to the real “up north” of Michigan — the Upper Peninsula.