Story And Photography By Julie M. Covert

Dear Betsy,

I’m really looking forward to your visit. At the most eastern point of the Upper Peninsula, you’ll take the car ferry from DeTour Village for the quick trip to our piece of paradise. Drummond Island is where time stops and ultimate relaxation begins. Considering how you love nature, I know you’ll have a terrific time. Be sure to bring your binoculars, hiking boots and sense of adventure; we’ve got 87,000 acres to explore here on Drummond.

We’ll head to one of my favorite places, the Maxton Plains alvar. An alvar is a rare ecosystem, found in only a few places in the world, and we’re lucky to have one here. There’s a huge assortment of plants, some of which grow only in the alkaline soil of an alvar. My favorite is the wispy pink Prairie Smoke flower that blooms in June. And the white and green contrast of the aspen groves is stunning. The tall and gawky sandhill cranes also love it there. If we’re lucky we’ll see some four-footed wildlife—coyote, deer, wolf or maybe even a black bear! We’ve got to go to Bald

Knobs, the highest spot on Drummond, for a nice scenic view and to look for sharp tail grouse. I know you’ll find lots to sketch; I’ll have my camera (I never leave home without it).

Depending upon when you come we might catch the spring bird migration—it’s really exciting to see how many different species we can identify—and we get a huge variety of warblers. I love the flashes of yellow, orange and red flitting in the trees. But Drummond is also home to dozens of water and songbirds, and other feathered residents including bald eagles, ravens, osprey and the beautifully large pileated woodpeckers.

While we’re out hiking, Dan and the kids will probably want to go fishing. There are some top-notch perch spots, or they might want to try to land pike, walleye, cisco and bass. They can rent a boat or just fish right at the town park and off the marina docks. For a real adventure, they can book a charter—farther out into Lake Huron there’s good salmon and lake trout fishing near the DeTour Reef Lighthouse (we need to make reservations ASAP for a tour to the light—getting there is half the fun). Anyway, if your gang doesn’t catch anything and you want fresh fish for supper, head to a local restaurant for whitefish. It’s delicious!

Is Jamie still curious about rocks? We’ll have to show him puddingstone—the unofficial stone of Drummond Island. It’s a conglomerate of jasper in a quartzite matrix. You’ll see puddingstone jewelry, coasters, bookends, chess sets, puzzles and more at the gift shops.

Life on Drummond is pretty low-key. No need for fancy dress. Our evening entertainment is watching a stunning sunset, hanging out around the fire pit and staying up late to view the Milky Way, shooting stars and even the aurora borealis. No city lights to cloud our midnight sky!

One of the things I love best about Drummond Island is there’s never a dull day. All you have to do is be open to the possibilities. Relax and listen to the waves lapping the shoreline, catch up on reading with a book from the library (there’s Wi-Fi if you need it). Find a spot to kick back and watch the freighters pass by on the St. Mary’s River. The next day thrill at the miles of two-track to explore by bike or off-road vehicle (which we can rent), or we can go in my Jeep.

This is a big island but a small community, so we’ll have our pick of homey activities and dinners—you’ll have a great time with fabulous folks and food.

With the rich emerald green plants and dazzling blues of the water, you’ll see why Drummond is called the Gem of the Huron. When you fall under the charm of the island, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to visit.

See you soon,


P.S. Check out the Drummond Island Tourism Association’s website ( for more ideas and tips on what we have to offer, or you can call them at (800) 737-8666.

This article originally appeared in the 2017 spring/summer issue of Experience Michigan magazine. The contents of this article were checked for accuracy when it was published; however, it’s possible some of the information has changed. We recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the destinations, attractions or restaurants mentioned in this article.

No portion of this article or magazine may be reproduced without prior written permission by the publisher.


Julie Covert lives off the grid on Drummond Island, where she is a photographer and a massage therapist, and publishes the local newspaper the Drummond Island Digest. She and her husband Capt. Hugh Covert own the Drummond Island Tall Ship Company and are looking forward to launching their newly-built Tall Ship, the Schooner Huron Jewel, on charter sailing trips in local waters this summer.

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