My dad did not have a college diploma, but he was one of the smartest people I have ever know. He thirsted for knowledge, reading voraciously and talking to anyone about anything. He was also that friendly curious guy who made friends anyplace our family ventured.
It was a family in-joke that my dad never passed by a historical marker without stopping.
So in the days of my youth, visiting historic and interesting spots was a summertime fact of life. Sometimes these historic places were far from home, like Monticello, Plymouth Rock and Arlington National Cemetery but sometimes they were a bit closer to home like the Soo Locks, Fort Wilkins and Copper Peak.
A lemur perches on a zookeeper at the DeYoung Zoo. (Journal photo by Renee Prusi)
My dad - and my mom, too- wanted us to know about the Upper Peninsula, the state of Michigan and the United States of America.
Sept. 1, I visited two spots in the U.P. for the first time and couldn't help but think my dad and mom would have enjoyed both.
My friend Mary Beth and I made a 400-mile road trip that day, first stop being the 13th annual Art on the Lake Art and Music Festival in Curtis.
What a glorious event in a beautiful place. The festival took place on the grounds of the Erickson Center for the Arts and it was fabulous.
Great vendors, fantastic music and a superb setting made for a wonderful start for the road trip. I recommend to anyone who has not ventured to Curtis to put a trip on the agenda, if not this year for color season, then next year for the arts festival.
It's a small place with a lot going on and the people could not have been nicer.
The other road trip stop was many miles away in Wallace: The DeYoung Family Zoo. It took a few hours of drive time to get there, but the weather was glorious and the company grand, so time flew.
The zoo was quite busy, even late in the afternoon. It was only the second zoo I'd ever been to, the other being the Honolulu (Hawaii) Zoo decades ago.
The DeYoung Zoo impressed me with its variety of animals and the overall friendliness of everyone who worked there.
I even made friends with a baby lemur as he sat on one of the zookeepers shoulder. So sweet. So fun.
To find out more about either of these U.P. treasures, visit their websites: ericksoncenter.org and thedeyoungfamilyzoo.com. And take a day trip somewhere a bit close to home when you get the chance.
The U.P. has some great places to visit, for sure.
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is rprusi@miningjournal. net.