Homeowners who live in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula find they enjoy many benefits either year-round or seasonally. This is perhaps especially true for people who enjoy a laid-back lifestyle, have a deep appreciation for nature, and are enthusiastic about outdoor recreation. Whether it’s boating, fishing, hunting, skiing, hiking, biking, or scouting out nature, the UP has it all. Here are four reasons to buy real estate in Baraga County.
Baraga County has a rich history dating back more than 1,000 years. The UP’s modern history, which roughly begins in the 1830s. In 1837, Baraga was a part of what’s now Ontonagon Country. In 1846, Ontonagon County was further divided, creating Houghton County and encompassing Baraga, Keweenaw, and present Houghton Counties. It wasn’t long before L’Anse was created as Baraga County’s county government seat. Eventually, Baraga County was formed as its own entity with five townships – Arvon, Baraga, Covington, L’Anse, and Spurr. All of this sets the parameters for the fantastic area now referred to as “The Copper Country.”
Baraga County is a part of the counties that form “The Copper Country.” This region is known for its native copper, which was heavily mined from 1845 until the late 1960s, with sporadic mining occurring before and after this period of time. It was once the world’s greatest copper producer. Even today, this history is tightly entwined with the area, and people who live or visit the UP can experience a mine tour in Keweenaw or Ontonagon Counties and other surrounding areas.
Father Frederic Baraga left a comfortable lifestyle in Europe and established his first Catholic Mission in the U.S. in 1843. He went on to form several more missions in the Upper Peninsula, including five located along the south shore of Lake Superior. Over the years, Father Baraga became known as “the Snowshoe Priest” as he traveled more than 700 miles throughout Northern Michigan to serve his churches. Today, Bishop Baraga is remembered as one of the Upper Peninsula’s most influential pioneers. The Shrine of Bishop Baraga marks his contributions to the Upper Michigan region in the 19th century. Located on the stretch between L’Anse and Baraga (Route 41), the memorial to Bishop Baraga, befittingly depicted in copper, stands 60 feet high and watches out over Keweenaw Bay.
Canyon Falls, which isn’t quite the Grand Canyon, but is still rather impressive. People love to seek out the waterfalls and tumbling rapids within this spectacular UP area that showcases nature’s handiwork. Some are even brave enough to take the 15-30 foot plunge into the river waters inside the canyon. Always a great experience. Plus, visitors to the canyon won’t have to pay high ticket prices or battle crowds to experience Canyon Falls.
The Historic Alberta Village showcases Henry Ford’s connection to the area. Located just ten minutes outside of L’Anse on US-41, Ford built the village and a sawmill facility shortly after WWI to create lumber for his growing company. Sturgeon River Gorge offers people a way to relax, unwind, and sleep peacefully in its campground. The nature found here is phenomenal—wake up to the sights and scents of fresh forest—it’s a great hiking and outdoor exploring spot.
Other can’t miss Upper Peninsula areas include Mount Arvon (the highest natural point in Michigan), Ottawa National Forest, Craig Lake State Park, Pinery Lakes Cross-Country Ski Trail, and L’Anse Township Park and Campground. Of course, there’s always the ability to explore the amazing coastline areas along Lake Superior and Keweenaw Bay, take a nice drive up near Skanee to visit the Lightfoot Bay Cooperative Coastal Wetlands, or make a weekend trip to Michigamme in Marquette County to commune with nature. There’s also always the Baraga County Fair in Pelkie every August.
Despite all the activity and growth in Baraga County and the rest of the North Country over the past 200 years, the land itself remains largely unspoiled. Living or vacationing in this region is the real deal.
One of the most appealing aspects of buying real estate in the Upper Peninsula is that homebuyers get more bang for their proverbial buck. Not only is it a smart financial investment, but buying Michigan land also comes with an amazing lifestyle. The UP is one of the most desirable locations in the U.S. but is far more affordable than other coastal, waterfront, mountainous, or wooded areas. Buyers looking to invest in UP property won’t have to shell out $1 million or more to get a property on Lake Superior. They will never pay obscene amounts to buy property near a popular ski resort or other desirable destinations like other areas. Waterfront homes and land along Lake Superior are widely available. Buyers can choose from existing homes or plan for new construction. Michigan is currently ranked as the third-most affordable state in the U.S. It also is listed in the top five states for the lowest cost of living per capita income.
Baraga County is a highly desirable area but has a low population. People who live here feel it’s one of the best-kept secrets in the country. The UP offers an incredible lifestyle yet also provides residents with the small-town feel they crave. The region is full of families who are born, raised, and decide to stay in Baraga because of how wonderful the lifestyle is.
One of the largest benefits for families is the fact the school districts are small. Due to this structure, teachers can afford to offer more hands-on attention to students—something people don’t find in larger school districts where students are assigned numbers. In the schools here, people get to know one another, making for a truly enriching learning experience.
The crime rate in Baraga County and the surrounding areas is relatively low, and violent crimes are practically non-existent. Parents don’t have to worry about the risks associated with high traffic as their children walk, bike, and play.
Baraga County and the rest of the UP is truly a place for all seasons. One of the busiest times of year in Northern Michigan is the winter. It’s a popular place where people love to flock to spend their holidays or indulge in skiing and sledding. People also love springtime activities such as wild turkey hunting or hiking to see a beautiful waterfall as the last of the winter melts away. Summer brings incredible boating, jet skiing, swimming, and other water activities. Fall brings more hunting options and gorgeous fall foliage. Of course, there are other year-round activities, such as fishing. Whatever the season, one thing is for certain—the UP is consistently beautiful and always something adventurous to do. With no crowds and great affordability, the UP offers plenty of opportunities to make incredible memories.
The team at Up North Realty all have extensive experience in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Our agents all live, work, and play in our beautiful north country. Up North Realty’s founder, Tracy Kahkonen, is a life-long resident of the UP and brings her knowledge and love of the region to the business. Our service area includes Baraga, Southern Houghton, and West Marquette Counties, including Baraga, L’Anse, Houghton, Chassell, Toivola, Tapiola, Pelkie, Michigamme, Skanee, Big Bay, and Covington.
Up North Realty is committed to helping you with your real estate needs, whether you want to buy an existing home or a beautiful lot of Michigan land. If new to the area, we’ll be sure to highlight everything you want to know to help you find the right property. Contact our L’Anse office today to learn more—we’re always happy to answer any questions or share information.
Written by Tracy Kahkonen on August 29, 2021