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Spy a random pile of freshly snipped pine needles and bark on your winter walk? Look up. It’s likely there’s a porcupine in the tree above. The thorny rodents are sloppy eaters, dropping twigs and branches as they chew. Their telltale scraps are easiest to spot in winter, when they contrast with the white blanket over the forest floor.
Come see what’s so oddly addictive about this ancient Scottish ice sport. 989-786-3888.
When you’ve tired of the tomes, hit Tu Kaluthia Caffenia in the basement of Marquette’s Peter White Public Library. This funky coffee shop serves wild blackberry muffins, homemade spelt chocolate chip cookies, baklava or, on lucky days, double-chocolate espresso cake with buttercream frosting. 217 N. Front, Marquette, 906-226-4326.
Rally with a Northern neighbor. Every Wednesday is Ping-Pong night in Glen Arbor. 6394 W. Western Ave. (M-22), Glen Arbor.
Once a month, Chef Leo’s family ristorante is Ludington’s little island of warmth, lavish courses and wonderful wines. 103 W. Ludington Ave., Ludington, 231-843-2244.
Create a pioneer treat with maple syrup and a fresh snowfall.
Traverse editor Jeff Smith started this tradition with his homies to eke the most use (and BTUs) out of the holiday tree. Wait till it’s dry, invite over a bunch of people (and their dead Douglas firs) and have a winter bonfire bash.
The state only allows five venerable sturgeon to be taken from Black Lake each winter, but there’s plenty of muskie, pike and walleye for all. Pull up a bucket in shantytown, or better yet, Black Lakeside Resort owner Gary Roberts will hook you up with locals who rent shanties. Rooms or condos at the resort are $60–$250/night. 231-420-0011.
The uphill snowshoe hike at Pyramid Point on the Lake Michigan coast leaves you energized and loose to take in over-the-top views of the big drink on a clear day. Maps at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore’s Phillip A. Hart Visitor Center, 9922 Front St., Empire, 231-326-5134.
Keep the ingredients on hand for a stormy night; if you can’t get out, you may as well eat cheese.