YOU MIGHT NOT think so, but it is true that sometimes a person can have a great outdoor adventure while barely setting one foot out the door.

I had one of those great outdoor adventures last weekend, in one of my favorite places, the land to the north of us known as the land of “Da Yoopers” otherwise known as the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (U.P.).

I was the designated driver for my lovely wife who was on a working assignment at a synod council meeting in Gladstone, Mich. I whiled away the hours Friday evening and Saturday morning by watching Bay de Noc ice fishermen in plain view of my motel window and daydreaming about some of the many real outdoor adventures I’ve been a part of in the U.P.

Over the years, my wife and I have camped in all but two or three of the U.P.’s state parks as well as the vast majority of national and state forest campgrounds. We’ve camped, fished, hiked, waterfall watched and explored the U.P. from one end to the other.

One area of the U.P. I have not explored much is that of the southern reaches, including the area from Iron Mountain, Mich., all the way over to the Mackinack Bridge. There are some state parks and other campgrounds along the Highway 2 corridor that I have yet to check out.

They would include Indian Lake State Park east of Manistique, Mich., the historical Fayette Historic State Park near Garden, Mich., J.W. Wells State Park near Cedar River, Mich., and Muskallonge Lake State Park near Newberry, Mich. All have something unique to offer whether for fishing, viewing waterfalls, hiking or history surfing.

There are still some state and national forest campgrounds I need to get to, something I hope to do before my camping days come to an end. They are usually my favorite places to camp, fish and explore, mainly because there are far fewer people to share them with. They also have rich wild treasures to find all around them.

Then, there are some outdoor adventures that aren’t really in the outdoors, but nonetheless give you a window to the past and the way life was in the great U.P. I spent a little time in such a place last weekend, hanging out in the Terrace Bay Hotel part of the time my wife was off at her meetings.

Talk about rich in history, the Terrace Bay defines the description. Originally built in 1922, with a ballroom of 4,000 square feet that would accommodate 750 partygoers and dancers, the building burned down in 1932. It was rebuilt in 1933, burned down  in 1947, and today, occupies the same stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline it did nearly 100 years ago.

Shortly after the motel was rebuilt in 1933, the brothers who owned it were found one morning shot to death in the ballroom. Kind of makes you wonder if they ticked off a Chicago, Ill., mobster to whom they owed favors or not. Obviously though, they ticked someone off.

The motel was leased by the Coast Guard for four years during World War II then, after burning down in 1947, was rebuilt and opened for a third time in 1949.

Located on Little Bay de Noc, a piece of Lake Michigan renowned for its world-class walleye and smallmouth bass fishing, the hotel is a landmark of the Gladstone area. Fishermen’s shacks dotted the bay everywhere I looked from my motel window. Saturday morning, there was even an airplane with skis that roared past the hotel while taking off from the lake surface.

It is an old hotel and has the smell of an old hotel. By that I don’t mean a disagreeable odor, but rather a smell of history, much like the Gateway Lodge in Land O’ Lakes and some of the other old, noteworthy hotels and motels of north Wisconsin still in existence.

It is a labyrinth of hallways, stairways, nooks and crannies as you work your way from the reception area to the guest rooms at the lower end of the hotel. Perhaps the neatest part of the entire hotel is a long hallway just 4 or 5 feet wide, along which are hung glass-enclosed flyers from long ago, each advertising another big event at the motel.

Long-yellowed paper proclaims upcoming events like a dance held to celebrate the first U.P. State Fair held in Escanaba, Mich., in 1935. Harold Menning and His Orchestra were the featured performers. Admittance was 35 cents for gents, 25 cents for women.

Another banner featured the 16th annual celebration of the Nov. 11 Armistice Day signing. Music for that event was provided by Eddie Thiesen and his broadcasting orchestra. It featured “10 — Radio Stars — 10” and included broadcasts from WOMT in Manitowoc, KTIZ in Fond du Lac and WHBL in Sheboygan.

I’ll bet you didn’t know that the first Miss Escanaba Beauty Contest was held March 2, 1935, at Terrace Bay. It featured “26 — Beauties — 26” contestants. Seems the designer fancied an emphasis on bracketed numbers and grand descriptions of participants for the playbills. By the way, providing the music for the pageant were the Hi-Hatters of Appleton.

One other flyer proclaimed that Johnny Davis and His Brilliant NBC Orchestra, featuring Jerri Harris — Sweetheart of the Airlanes — direct from six months at the Eagles Million Dollar Ballroom of Milwaukee and WTMJ would be performing in the ballroom.

Most events featured a Saturday dance with entrance for gents always higher than that for the ladies. Maybe it was dependent on the orchestra fee, but admission usually ranged from 25 cents to 75 cents for gents and 20 cents to 50 cents for ladies. For 20 to 50 cents more you could be seated at a table or for the astronomical price of a dollar you could snag a booth.

It was indeed a grand time of the past. The ballroom, I’m guessing, offered hard-working folks of the U.P., most of whom barely had an extra nickel, a chance to get away from what some would call the drudgery of their lives, a time for them to dance away a night of cares, work and even hardship.

It was all a part of living, working and playing in the vast forestland that is the U.P. Perhaps there should be more of that today.