The Houghton, MI area is incredibly rural and beautiful, though not for those shy of winter driving! The locals of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in general are friendly, but it's hard to break into their inside circles unless you have a direct connection. University life is very different from local life, and tends as usual to be much more liberal and open. There are an amazing number of international students and thus international influence here. Every year, there is a parade of nations; this year, over 60 countries were represented within the student population and surrounding community! As far as Houghton itself, there is a lot of Finnish heritage pride here, and one cannot visit without eating a pasty and pannukaku (a Finnish custard-like pancake)! People who live in winter and outdoors thrive well up here; the cross-country and down-hill skiing is excellent because of all the snow, and summer offers ample hiking and mountain biking. Many sail and surf on Lake Superior, and the lake offers opportunities for students to study a large body of fresh water from research boats. Historically a mining area, the future of this town lies in the hands of education and the University. The University is what supports this little town, along with some tourism, so education must march on if Houghton/Hancock are to survive!