What we're up to this month

Follow the fun on instagram @mmvalade @dylanvalade


Based in Petoskey MI

We Are Up North

Meghann and Dylan have been dating for three years, splitting time between Petoskey and Grand Rapids. Together, they camp, hike, bike, kayak, ski, snowshoe and enjoy music festivals across the country but always find themselves coming home to northern Michigan.

Thrill seeking is half of their lives and the second half is taking time to truly relax in places with great atmosphere, delicious food, quiet beaches and nature preserves. By simply living our lives, we found that we were uncovering unknown Up North gems that people just like us would love to explore. We began journaling our adventures in 2010 from Telluride in Colorado to Isle Royale in Lake Superior.  We continue finding the very best of northern Michigan every week so we can share it with our friends.

The Problem

Traditional visitor bureaus and chambers of commerce have an obligation to promote every member business in their area. We do not believe all Up North businesses and experiences are created equal, especially when they are rated by adventurous Michigan explorers.

The Solution

WeAreUpNorth.com is a new website releasing a weekly Up North experience every Thursday morning. An Up North experience includes lodging, an exciting activity, at least one locally owned restaurant and a place of natural beauty or historical significance. Every experience can be completed in one day so explorers from Detroit, Grand Rapids, Ohio and Chicago have time to plan their weekend based on the destination unveiled every Thursday.

Geocache and Photo Hunts

To sweeten the deal, we hide a gift certificate or hold a photo hunt for one part of the weekly experience for the fastest explorer to find. Explorers receive the latitude and longitude of the gift certificate, a hobby known as geocaching, which allows them to find the bright yellow box containing the cash by orienteering, handheld GPS or smart phone. When you find the geocache, it is customary to take the treasure inside it and leave something different for the next explorer.

Existing weareupnorth.com members get an entire day head start looking for the cash. Geocache locations or photo hunt rules are emailed every Thursday to all newsletter subscribers before public release at weareupnorth.com on Friday.

Getting Started

We wanted to launch the first experience in our hometown on Memorial Weekend. The inaugural experience is "Perry's American Whitewater Adventure!" Stay at the historic Perry Hotel in downtown Petoskey. Grab a healthy and delicious breakfast or lunch from American Spoon's Gelato Cafe. Rent a kayak from The Bahnof and shoot the roaring whitewater rapids on the Bear River! Finish your day with a relaxing sunset in a hammock on the Inn at Bay Harbor veranda.

A $25 gift certificate for American Spoon was being placed in the woods along the Bear River. The location was released to our early access newsletter subscribers and publically on the website.  It took a month before someone found the geocache and we were thrilled about it!

The Future

Our members will be able to vote on destinations they want us to explore. We began our search in September of 2010 and have been visiting new places, meeting new people and trying out everything the locals recommend to provide our members with four seasons of Up North love.

Upcoming summer destinations include Traverse City, Blissfest, Leelanua Peninsula, Pictured Rocks and Mackinac Island.

What Do You Think about Based in Petoskey MI?

Locals Tip

Do not ever pay full price for outdoors gear! Look for last year's model or any used equipment available online or from friends. Chances are, used stuff was used once at Christmas or Fourth of July of last year and was never touched again.

Look in the attic, shed or old barn for canoes, water skis or old tandem bicycles. You can have a great time with vintage or old gear and it doesn't cost anything!

up north michigan poster


"Smile, it makes you feel better!" Meghann
"Michigan is the best state in the union and my favorite place on Earth." Dylan