2012 Great Lakes Water Levels Drop – Marina’s Scramble

Sailboats Out on the Hard on Saginaw Bay

Five years ago the entire Great Lakes was witness to low water levels not seen since 1964. Marina’s were dredging, boats were being damaged on shallow reefs not seen a generation and lake shipping was facing hard times.  

Michigan Lighthouses of The Upper Thumb

There are 124 Michigan lighthouses across the state.  They are unique, functional and draw many visitors to explore their grounds or climb the towers.  Of the four lighthouses in the Upper Thumb, only one is accessible directly from the land. All the others need a boat to access. Port Austin Reef Lighthouse The light was first … Read more

Saginaw Bay Pollution – Definitively Contaminated For Over 30 Years

Beach on Saginaw Bay During Low Water in 2016

The EPA and the State of Michigan designated the entire region as a potential environmental disaster. The deterioration and pollution were so bad that the label of “Area of Concern” was slapped on the Saginaw Bay in 1987 and has not been lifted for 30 years. We examine what has happened in that time.

A Movie Filmed In Michigan At Turnip Rock


Our favorite kayak paddling spot near Port Austin was the set of a 2014 movie.  Jinn was one of the 2014 movies filmed in Michigan. Written as an action-horror-thriller film. Jinn is a mythical race of creatures that existed for eons before humans and existed for countless centuries. Similar to humans in many ways, the Jinn live invisibly among humans and are encountered only in the most unusual circumstances.

Jinn at Turnip Rock

Michigan Made Move Jinn - Filmed  in Michigan
Turnip Rock from Movie Trailer

Turnip Rock can be seen in the horror movies trailer. A dynamic fly-in to the tip of Pointe Aux Barques and the iconic rock formation. 2014 was when the Great Lakes hit a historic low water level. Thus the caves at Pointe Aux Barques were used in the film.

Jinn was filmed in many Michigan locations, including Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Novi, Monroe, Commerce Township, Warren, Highland Park, and Port Austin. The trailer offers a neat perspective of the famous rock formation.

Turnip Rock – Movie Trailer

Jinn Official TRAILER (2014) HD
Jinn Trailer

Despite some dynamic cinematography, the film was brutally panned by critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 10% approval while the Hollywood Report and Boston Globe dismissed the film. Filmed in Michigan, Jinn can be found from time to time on some streaming services.

Watch Jinn

Caseville Beach Kayaks
Caseville Beach Kayaks

Paddle Turnip Rock – Five Things to Know – One of the most amazing sites in the Upper Thumb is Turnip Rock. Carved over time by the force of constant wave action the soft limestone has been shaped to its namesake and separated from the mainland over thousands of years. CNN called it one of the Most Amazing Rock Formations in America and Pure Michigan featured it on its 2016 magazine cover. International travelers coming into Detroit Metropolitan Airport see Turnip Rock as their first view of Michigan’s wonder scenes coming into customs.

Chasing Jimmy

Chasing Jimmy – Local Movie About Crazy Caseville Cheeseburger Festival – A sold-out crowd at the Bay Theater got their first glimpse of the locally produced movie “Chasing Jimmy”. The documentary film was written produced and directed by Bob Brown a resident of Sand Point and executive producer and managing partner at Charity Island Pictures, LLC. This film chronicles the writer’s effort to invite tropical folk singer Jimmy Buffet to make an appearance at the annual Cheeseburger in Paradise festival held in Caseville in August.

Turnip Rock Kayak

14 of the Best Attractions in Michigan Thumb – With over 90 miles of shoreline, Michigan’s Thumb offers plenty of attractions. Some of it is out on the big lake while some is finding fun inland. There is always something to do or see near the tip of the Thumb. Most are free, the fun is finding and exploring things to do in Michigan’s Upper Thumb.

Cheeseburger in Caseville
Sailing into Caseville Harbor

Caseville Cheeseburger Parade of Tropical Fools – The Caseville Cheeseburger Parade-goers started to line up chairs in their favorite spots along Main street starting at midnight. As of 9 am all the prime spots are usually taken. This year is expected to see some of the largest floats among the 100 of others and hundreds of marchers and dancers. The event typically lasts about two hours. Children make the best participants of the parade as candy and beads are typical items tossed from the floats.

Ora Labora dot Org

Scott Hocking – The Strange Allure of His Emergency Ark In The Middle Of A Cornfield


You may not even notice it at first. You’re driving along a country road enjoying the sites of grazing animals, crops emerging and fields broken by windbreaks provided by trees planted long ago. Then you spot it. The Ark of Scott Hocking’s larger-than-life creation.

Barn Art in the Fields of Michigan’s Upper Thumb

The grey timber looks warped and wrapped. The old planks, taken from the virgin forests that once dominated the thumb have been intertwined. What was once a working farm building is now an art form. It sits among debris from decades of agriculture work. A rope is draped along a fieldstone wall.

The artist notes on his work

The Celestial Ship of the North (Emergency Ark), Also known as the Barnboat is a site-specific installation and permanent sculpture in the farmlands of Michigan’s Thumb. Based on ideas of ancient vessels, duality, alchemical symbolism, destruction myths, and deluge stories, and shaped by the site’s history and incredibly consistent winds.

Based on ideas of ancient vessels, duality, alchemical symbolism, destruction myths, and deluge stories, and shaped by the site’s history and incredibly consistent winds, the Barnboat was built over the course of 3 months, and made entirely from the beams and boards of a collapsing 1890s barn that stood in its place. Built on the Goretzki farmland, the Ship will continue to decay, just as the barn it was made from did.” 

Scott Hocking

The work has several titles The Barnboat, The Celestial Ship of the North, and Emergency Ark. The Emergency Ark was completed by sculpturing artist Scott Hocking in 2015. He has transformed an 1800s barn into a large object denoting sanctuary and safety. The Ark can be found about a mile south of Oak Beach on Oak Beach road and Fehner.

Dunes Review of Scott Hocking

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In its 20th year of publication, Dunes Review is northern Michigan’s premier literary journal.

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Turnip Rock On Cover of Pure Michigan Travel Guide

I was at Detroit Metro airport and spied a tourist handout that I couldn’t resist picking up. It was the Upper Thumb’s own Turnip Rock on the cover of the 2016 Pure Michigan Official State Travel Guide. The guide is published twice a year and highlights the best-of-the-best tourist attractions across Michigan. My enthusiasm was short-lived as … Read more

Port Austin Farm Market Saturday Mornings

Cities in the Thumb Of Michigan

Each Saturday morning during the summer, the Port Austin farm market offers local locally grown produce, crafts and flea market items from all over the thumb. The weekly event is not hard to miss as it’s only a block away from the harbor.  You can park just about anywhere in town and figure out where to go.  So bring a bag or wagon and stock up for your weekend or for your week on the beach.

Find Treasure at the Farm Market

As one of the largest outdoor farm markets outside of the Detroit metro area, Port Austin’s Farmer’s market offers a wide variety of items.

  • Fresh Produce
  • Nursery, Potted and Bedding Annuals and Perennials
  • Fish, Meat, Cheese, Eggs, Fresh Herbs
  • Baked Goods, Maple Syrup, Honey, Jam, Seasonings
  • Sauces, Dips, Salsa, Oils, Fudge
  • Art and Handcrafted items
  • Antiques & Collectibles

The market also includes live musical entertainment from the local area and throughout the Great Lakes region at the outdoor stage located at the north end of the farmers market. Bring a lawn chair or blanket, relax and enjoy the music while you take a break from shopping.

  • Great Summer Burgers Start at Walt’s Meats – Summer residents of the greater Thumb Key North area already know where to pick up high-quality choice meat for your grill and deli items to round off your BBQ. We have seen this couple take a former sleepy butcher shop and create a gourmet grocery.
  • History of the Cartwheel Inn – The Fireside Inn near Port Austin, Mi is our go-to place for large groups of people. With its fantastic pizza and large open space, it’s perfect for a family party. A couple of years ago I came across these two black and white shots for the Cartwheel Inn outside of Port Austin
  • Fall Colors in Caseville Harbor – The Fall in Michigan seems incredibly short in recent years. Boats are still in the water as November rolls in. Will we the last one out of the water? It kind of sad an a bit lonely to be one of the last ones out of your slip in the Fall in Caseville harbor.
  • Find Treasure at Port Austin’s Farmers Market – A beautiful Saturday morning at the Port Austin Farmers Market. One of the largest farmers markets outside of Detroit. It’s pure fun. Great produce, unique crafts and artisans, and fun shopping among many vendors. The local music is top notch.
  • Steamy Coffee Spoof Video – Who knew drinking coffee could be so much fun. Found this video stacked up in our YouTube account collecting time alone and no hits. I thought it worthy of a dust-off. This is one college student’s method of making a Michigan coffee.

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