Dear Crabby, How far North is “Up North?”

Dear Crabby, How far North is “Up North?”

Sincerely, Angie


Dear Angie,

Ah, a long-standing question for so many. When does “Up North” begin … is it Holly, Flint, or Gaylord, or the Mackinac Bridge? Every region, state, and country has an “Up North,” but the question is, where is the line designating you’ve left the South and are now in the North?

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

Dear Crabby Gives Advice

Well, a long, long time ago, when I was a kid, my parents would pack us up in the car to go “Up North,” to Lake Orion! Yes, back then my parents and many others thought that was far enough to “get away from it all.” There were cabins, cottages, and Sears Homes … and some folks just camped near the lake. It was great fun, we had the lake with fishing and boating, camp fires by the water with marshmallows, and dad would burn some kind of meat on the grill. We went back every summer, to usually the same place. I haven’t thought much about it – I guess my father would rent the place for the week – it was grand old time had by all. Times have changed.

Now, “Up North” means something different; and it’s different for everyone. Some days it means driving into Oakland Township for me. But let’s look at if from a larger picture. If you’re on the other side of the state, it may mean Grand Rapids, but if you live in Grand Rapids you think that’s silly and you go to Traverse City to be “Up North.” Lake Orion and Flint are no longer vacation spots, so we need to go farther to get away from life, say to Gaylord – at least you “feel” that’s close to being “Up North.” Once you cross the bridge, you’re in the Upper Peninsula, so that’s got to be it. But some Yoopers would say no, you need to travel to Marquette, Houghton, or even Copper Harbor to be “Up North.”

Before too long you’re on Isle Royale arguing with fellow hikers that to go “Up North” you need to get to Thunder Bay in Canada, which is in the South of Canada and this whole “Up North” dilemma will start all over. And this may lead to everyone having an heated conversation at the North Pole – until someone looks up to the Moon – where will end?

So, “Up North” is really a state of mind. When you’ve traveled to a point far enough to leave your worries behind and you take the time to relax and enjoy the people you’re with, then you’ve found your “Up North.”

Happy Travels,

Dear Crabby


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About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at


  1. Ronn Jamieson says

    Great article…agree it’s where you get away to relax and leave the rat race behind. For the suburbs of Detroit, don’t forget about the tip of the thumb…Port Austin and Caseville.

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