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Houghton is in the western end of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and is considered the gateway to the Keweenaw Peninsula (that "crooked finger" in Lake Superior).
The area is known as the "Copper Country", and in its hey-day produced millions of tons of copper ore and thousands of jobs. The county's population peaked in the early 20th Century and then declined as the mines all eventually closed.
Remanants of the by-gone era are still evident and can be toured through the Keweenaw National Historic Park.
Houghton is the home of Michigan Technological University. MTU is the area's largest employer, and so the town does have a bit of college-town flavor. MTU plays NCCA Division 1 hockey, and division 2 in football, basketball and other sports. The campus offers world-class nordic ski trails as well as the Rosza Center for the Performing Arts. MTU also hosts an annual Winter Carnival with giant snow sculptures.
Winters are long in the Copper Country -- where annual snowfalls reach over 20 feet. It's a powdery snow from lake effect, that makes for good skiing. The snow also attracts snowmobilers to many miles of trails.
Hiking, biking, fishing and camping are popular non-winter activities in the Houghton area.