Posted by: Kath Usitalo | April 7, 2010

Another Indie Java Joint: Falling Rock Cafe

Pull up to the coffee bar on a rustic stool at Falling Rock Cafe, Munising

Part coffee shop, part book haven, part community gathering spot, The Falling Rock Cafe and Bookstore in downtown Munising welcomes browsers looking for WiFi or something to read, and nourishes with good food, beverages, local art and live music.

The Falling Rock’s changing menu features soups and specials, sandwiches, and locally made pasties and smoked whitefish. The house brew is by Great Lakes Coffee Company, and ice cream specialties include the 1896 Sundae, which honors the year the building was constructed.

The mugs behind Paige belong to members of the Falling Rock coffee club

You can’t beat the prices. On a recent mid-morning stop as Paige and I checked our e-mail we shared a huge bagel, toasted, with cream cheese for just $1.50. Thousands of new and used books tempted Paige, but time was short (sigh—the story of our travelin’ lives) and she was too overwhelmed to find something to read.

I haven’t yet met Jeff and Nancy Dwyer, the couple who moved from Florida to renovate the century old building, and in 2003 opened this well-loved spot near the Pictured Rocks on Lake Superior. But more than 300 folks support their efforts as members of The Falling Rock Mug Club; their logo cups hang from hooks all over the cafe side of the space. Other fans have joined the Friends of Falling Rock, a blatant plea for help in keeping the independent bookseller and cafe alive in a tourist area whose peak season lasts just three months.

As the western gateway to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Munising is busiest during the summertime, with tourists on boat trips to view the Lake Superior shoreline, shipwreck tours aboard a glass-bottomed boat, and visits to Grand Island. The area is also dotted with waterfalls and crisscrossed with hiking trails.

Check out The Falling Rock Web site to learn the legend behind its name, and follow the latest schedule of performers and events on Facebook.

As you explore the Lake Superior lakeshore stop at The Falling Rock and buy some coffee and a book, toss your change into the WiFi donations cup, and enjoy the works of local visual and performing artists at this Indie Java Joint. I can’t picture the town without it.

Just a fraction of the new and used books for sale at Falling Rock Cafe

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