Michigan USA: Upper Peninsula and Lower Peninsula

I extend my heartfelt gratitude to Mohamad for inviting me to be a guest author here on his blog and for allowing me to continue forth with more writings of the two American States (Michigan & California) that have been my home. You are very kind, Mohamad, thank you.

I will continue with the State of Michigan, located in the northern Midwest of America. You can read an introduction to Michigan, here: Michigan USA ~ Welcome, in case you missed it. In that post, I explained how Michigan is actually two states and the only state like it.

solid blue image of the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan USA


Both States have developed their own characteristical traits which set them apart from one another. It is my understanding, there has been ongoing efforts to separate the two, into independent states. That could be a whole different topic unto itself for another day.

There are miles of water that separate the two states of Michigan. In 1957, the Mackinac Bridge (Big Mac for short), a 5-mile long suspension bridge, opened its lanes to connect the two states of Michigan.

night scene of Michigan's Mackinac Bridge lit up with the background of green and orange swirls as if an aurora borealis were being displayed

The two states are referred to as the Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula. The opening of the new bridge, did not bring the two together as one. I am not saying that was the intent of the bridge, just an observation. Each piece of land has its own personality or consciousness which makes them each originals.

Briefly put, the Upper Peninsula is associated with frigid temps and lots of snow, sparse population and “roughing it”. The Lower Peninsula is associated with large cities, universities and professional sports.

Someone from Michigan is called a Michigander or a Michiganian. Even though I have not lived in Michigan for over two years, I am still a Michigander. I will always be a Michiganian. Michigan is one of, if not the most beautiful and unique states in America. Especially in the Upper Peninsula. Let’s start there to show a few of the differences between the two peninsulas.

scenic view of the Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan Upper Peninsula
Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula


Upper Peninsula

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is its own world. Period. I do not know how else to describe it. It has been my personal experience that once you cross Big Mac into the north, everything changes. Life shifts to the rhythms of nature and your heart begins beats to the tune it hears.

No longer are you in the hustle, bustle and noise of the cities from the land below the bridge. You are now in the northern regions of nature, where the land is loved and respected. The people are warm and welcoming. Life is laid back and relaxing. The sounds are soft and earthly. The smells are that of life itself and invigorating to the soul. You look around and see that the land is aglow with colors you had never witnessed before and they are calling to you. The many waterfalls are deafening and entrancing. Even though I have never lived up there, I love, love, love the Upper Peninsula, commonly known as the UP.

The people who are born and raised in the UP are warmly known to us Lower Peninsula folks as the Yooper’s. (Pronounced YOU-pers) There are many characteristics that set the Yooper’s apart from those who live under the bridge, in the Lower Peninsula. Wanna guess what warm and cozy name the Yooper’s have for us? Yep! The Trolls. It’s fitting, right? Trolls tend to live under bridges. Like the Norwegian story, Three Billy Goats Gruff, where a “terrifically terrifying terrible troll called Trevor” lived under the bridge and injoyed eating billy goats. (wait a moment, I’m getting off track….)

three goats playing "King of the mountain" on an old large tree stump

The UP is one of the most beautiful, 4-seasonal places on Earth. There is natural beauty, waterfalls, forests to explore and awesome coastlines. The Autumn colors bring people from around the world. The winters are rough but the summers are worth the wait.

Yoopers are a special breed of survivors because the UP winters are some of the harshest weather in America and yet the Yoopers just thrive in it. Snow storms easily bring a foot (30.48 cm) or more of snow.

Kids no-school snow-days are when a foot (30.48 cm) or more of snow is dropped.

Yoopers have distinct accents with an unmistakable “eh” at the end of sentences/questions. “Say yah to da UP, eh!”

Many of the Yoopers on the west side of the state, associate more with the state of Wisconsin than they do with the Lower Peninsula. Geographically speaking, that makes sense, seeing how the UP is physically part of Wisconsin and not of Michigan.

Inland lakes are often “no-wake lakes” and do not usually have cabins sitting around them.

A Pasty (rhymes with nasty – more on that at a later date) are a common food or meal for Yoopers. It’s a pastry case filled with meat and vegetables. With that yummy thought, let’s now cross Big Mac and head to the Lower Peninsula.

cityscape of Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan


Lower Peninsula

I lived many decades in the Lower Peninsula and I don’t recall it ever being referred to as the LP. I have always known the Lower Peninsula as “Michigan”. It is true there are many large cities (most of the world knows of Detroit), universities and lots of professional sports in the lower half, but there is also much nature to injoy. The Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes is one such major draw, with its beautiful, picturesque dunes facing Lake Michigan.  There are many acres of wooded state land, preserving what once was. And as I mentioned before, those who live below the Big Mac Bridge are known as Trolls.

Trolls are most fortunate when a state map is needed. They can use their hand as a map to show where they live or for giving directions. I did it all the time! solid blue image of the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan USA

See how the Lower Peninsula is shaped like a mitten? I would hold up my right hand, point to the palm with my left hand, to indicate any location.  With a little bit of effort, you can also make the map of the UP with your left hand….pinkie extended high and thumb low.

There are many musicians, actors and the likes that came from the Lower Peninsula. People such as Bob Segar, Ted Nugent, Madonna, Sonny Bono, Tom Selleck, Enimen, Kid Rock, Della Reese, Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder, to name a few.

Troll inland lakes are usually considered “All-Sports” lakes, with weekend cabins and cottages all around them.

Snow storms for Trolls usually consist of 3 to 4 inches (7 to 10 cm). The BIG storms drop 6 inches (15 cm) or more.

No-school snow-days for Troll children is a snowfall of 3 inches (7.62 cm). Six plus inches (15.24 cm) shuts the schools down for two days.

CONCLUSION: Michigan is a unique state which consists of two pieces of land, being connected by one of the world’s largest suspension bridges, “Big Mac”. The Trolls live under that bridge in the Lower Peninsula where city life is very fast paced. The Yoopers live above the bridge in the peaceful serenity of nature.

I thank you kindly for reading,

Branching Out – my personal blog
Hempren – my educational blog


Yoopers and Trolls

Thanks to Pixabay.com for use of the images

18 thoughts on “Michigan USA: Upper Peninsula and Lower Peninsula”

    • Maineiacs of Michigan! How funtastical! I like that I! had no idea that Maine was more like the UP. You must have a very beautiful state there.

      You are welcome and thank you for your wonderful comments.

      • Maine is gorgeous. From the coast to the mountains and everything in between. A lot of rural places, too. I live in Cornville (yes you can laugh) population 1200. I have deer and turkeys in my back yard. We have a second place on a pond…no electricity or plumbing. But we do have moose and every other type of animal you can imagine. Sound kinda like the UP?

      • Yes it does sound like the UP!
        I love the sounds of your other place, on a pond. You are very blessed to have so much nature!

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