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Cruisin’ in the Keweenaw

June 18, 2008
The Daily Mining Gazette
HOUGHTON — Enjoy a sunset cruise with some of your favorite classic country music legends.

Keweenaw Excursion’s Country Oldies Cruise aboard the Keweenaw Star is set for departure this evening.

“Local radio personality Dick Storm will be spinning some of his classic country oldies,” Keweenaw Excursions co-owner Kraig Funkey said of this evening’s event, which is presented by Eagle Radio. Departure from the Dee Stadium in Houghton is set for 7 p.m.

“Come along and dance, visit and enjoy the view,” he said.

Keweenaw Excursions, now in it’s ninth season, offers locals and visitors alike, a variety of scenic tours and specialty cruises along the Portage Lake Shipping Canal.

This year, Funkey said they’re offering a variety of new cruises as well as continuing some of their passenger’s favorites.

New this summer is the Keweenaw Star’s ranger-narrated tour of the historic Torch Lake area. Held in cooperation with Keweenaw National Historical Park, the three and a half hour tour will highlight numerous sites associated with the region’s copper mining boom that are not accessible from shore. These sites include the Quincy Smelter, the former Tamarack and Franklin Stamp mill sites, the Torch Lake cuts that opened the lake to shipping, Quincy’s reclamation dredges, and the remains of the Calumet & Hecla’s stamp mill and smelting works.

“It’s a different perspective to see these sites from the water,” Funkey said.

The historic Torch Lake cruise will board at 9:30 a.m. with a 10 a.m. departure on the following Wednesdays: June 25, July 2, July 9, July 23, July 30, August 6 and August 13. Lunch will be available for purchase.

On July 3, Keweenaw Excursions will return to Torch Lake for the annual Lake Linden fireworks display. The Keweenaw Star will depart at 8 p.m. and return at approximately 12:30 a.m.

Viewing the fireworks from the water, Funkey said is unlike anything you’ve experienced from shore.

“What’s neat about Torch Lake is it has high sides so the sound echoes all around you. It really adds an intense effect,” he said. “Some of the best viewing is from Torch Lake and you don’t have to fight the crowd.”

A variety of musical acts will be accompanying passengers aboard the Keweenaw Star this summer.

Marquette-based Flat Broke Blues Band will return to Houghton for a cruise July 18.

“It’s a fun cruise. They’re a great band,” Funkey said.

On Aug. 8, Keweenaw Excursions will be featuring their Rockin’ Oldies Cruise with Eagle Radio.

“We’ll have classic ‘50s and ‘60s style rock music,” Funkey said. “A lot of people like to listen to that.”

Local classic rock/blues band U.P. Rising will board the Keweenaw Star for a cruise Aug. 15.

For the second year in a row, Keweenaw Excursions will be returning to Marquette for a five-day visit. Locals are invited to join them aboard the Keweenaw Star as it journeys to Marquette. Funkey said they will be leaving Aug. 20 and returning Aug. 24.

“The trip down to Marquette is about six hours and passes six lighthouses,” Funkey said. “It’s a great opportunity if you’ve never seen the south shore of Lake Superior.”

While in Marquette, Keweenaw Excursions will be offering tours out of Marquette’s Lower Harbor Park.

Funkey said the tours are held in conjunction with the Marquette Maritime Museum.

“We did this last year and it went really well,” he added. “This year, it just so happens that it falls on the weekend of Marquette’s Seafood Fest.”

Sunset and sightseeing cruises along the Portage Canal to Lake Superior offers a relaxing, two and a half hour journey for locals and visitors. The Keweenaw Star features a scenic upper deck and an air conditioned cabin with a full-service bar for cocktails indoors or outdoors.

The Keweenaw Star is also available for private parties, Funkey said, and dates are still available for reservations. Whether it’s a wedding party or family reunion, Keweenaw Excursions can accommodate.

The fall color season is a beautiful time of year to enjoy a cruise aboard the Keweenaw Star.

The Keweenaw Fall Color Lighthouse Tour is scheduled for Sept. 20. During the 10-hour tour, passengers will see a total of 10 lighthouses.

Funkey, who operates Keweenaw Excursions with his brother, Jason, and father, Fred, said they enjoy offering such unique entertainment for locals and visitors. And with the rise in gas prices, he said, sometimes it’s more affordable for locals to enjoy an evening on the water with them verses filling up their own gas tanks.

“It’s still cheaper to go for a boat ride with us than to really go out on your own boat for a night,” he said. “Come out and relax aboard the Keweenaw Star.”

For more information, call Keweenaw Excursions at 482-0884 or visit

Editor’s note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by Keweenaw Excursions of Houghton. Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.

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