Last fall when we took our trip (not a vacation) we traveled to Munising, Michigan. It was a happy coincidence because I was in the midst of writing a feature article for American Farmhouse Style Magazine. The interviewee lives in Michigan’s lower peninsula and mentioned one of her favorite collectables: Munising bowls. They were a complete mystery to me, but thanks to Google I quickly learned they were created in the exact town we were planning to visit.
The vintage bowls were made in Munising because of the abundance of trees. Not only Munising Woodenware make bowls, but just about anything for the kitchen. When plastic became the newfangled material, Munising Woodenware had to get a little creative with their marketing. And so they began to hand paint wooden bowl collections. This helped business for a time, but alas by the late 1950s the company eventually went bankrupt.
All was not lost
Fortunately the town has many saviors who are protectors of the original Munising bowls and the story. The Graber family provides information on several websites and Rhondi Olson (who married into a longtime family) bought the bowl’s trademark to protect its reputation from counterfeiters. She sells the bowls at her downtown shop.
Munising is a perfect stopping-off point to see Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore from land or water. Boat tours into Lake Superior leave daily, though the weather might hamper a single-afternoon visit. Hiking along the shoreline is sometimes a better alternative, but the view from the water is most spectacular. (https://thequillheather.net/archives/301)
More than bowls in Munising
While we had a very brief stay in the town and some (literal) rough waters, it was also an unforgettable experience. Under clear skies we got dinner from Main Street Pizza and sat on the beach along the Pictured Rock Lakeshore. There we watched the sunset and when it was dark, my family of four lay on our backs on a picnic table and stared at the thousands of stars in the night sky. I’ve visited an official Dark Sky Park, and while this wasn’t quite as spectacular it was an incredible second. We could see planets, satellites, and detailed constellations, things not even visible in the rural areas of the Midwest.
The next morning we had breakfast at Falling Rock Cafe and Bookstore. The food and drink was delicious, plus we were able to wander through the books and even found several to bring home. One was a vintage National Geographic series and surprisingly others were in French.
Yes, there is more to Munising than bowls. Although I regret not buying one, I’m glad to bring home memories of a night on the beach with billions of stars overhead.