PTP_5211

Give the Gift of Sault Ste. Marie

 

Struggling to find just the right gift for someone you love this winter? A trip to Sault Ste. Marie is a hit with both the guys and the gals. Let us show you how.

DSC_7871

Lucky guys know that planning a surprise vacation to play in the snow will be a home run. Make all the arrangements and wrap the details up in a box with cute hats, mittens and other winter accessories she’ll love!

I500 (147)

Or maybe a new pair of cross-country skis are more her style? With the beautifully-groomed trails of Algonquin Ski Trails, enjoy the beautiful north woods together while getting some fresh air and exercise worthy of your New Year’s resolution!

DSC_3555

Ladies can plan a winter escape, too. Maybe your guy is looking for a place to try out his new snowboard at Sault Seal Recreation Area?

 

DSC_2640

 

Sault Ste. Marie isn’t just for couples. Families find plenty to do during a winter trip to Sault Ste. Marie, including tubing at Sault Seal Recreation Area, hockey action at LSSU, ice skating at local rinks, and no winter trip is complete without an excursion to Tahquamenon Falls State Park.

Hockey (105)DSC_3942 DSCN0344-03 edit snapseed 50%PTP_5178

A winter adventure to Sault Ste. Marie is a fun and affordable getaway for everyone!

 

2011 I-500 Green Flag resized

48th Annual International 500 Snowmobile Race in Sault Ste. Marie, MI

Are you up for an adventure? 500 miles of thrills, spills, and chills are waiting for you at the 48th International 500 Endurance Snowmobile Race. The I-500, as locals call it, is February’s answer to cabin fever for over 10,000 spectators. For $20 dollars admission you can watch 38 teams race over 100mph through the straightaway for a prize purse worth tens of thousands of dollars.

I-500 Logo-WhiteGreat Getaways I-500 Start 2 - Edit - Copy

Did I mention that they race on a one mile ice oval track? Yes, ice. It takes three weeks, 1,800,000 gallons of water, and freezing temperatures to create the track.

You’ve never been, you say?!? What’s to do, you ask?!? Between laps watching the snowmobiles careen around the ice track you might wander through the Top of the Lake Vintage Snowmobile Show. Sleds representing nearly every decade since the dawn of the snow machine are present. Admission is included with the purchase of a button.

I-500 2004 004I-500 2004 006

The I-500 race has a tailgate atmosphere filled with festive social spectators. Bring your cooler or purchase food and beverage from the local vendors that line the infield. Join the fun to chase away your winter blues, but remember to dress really warm. You never know what the weather has in store for the Eastern Upper Peninsula during early February.

I500 (147)I500 (123)

Truth be told, you can turn your Saturday I-500 Race adventure into a weeklong excursion.

One week before the race join Sault Ste. Marie for the Downtown Winter Ice Festival. Saturday, January 30th, watch as ice carvers go head-to-head to chip, chisel, and saw ice creations before your very eyes. Monday night bring your ice skates and join in for skating on the smooth one mile oval track. Tuesday through Thursday afternoons watch as teams practice and jockey for position in time trials. Ramp up Thursday night with the 20 lap Woody’s Challenge Pro-Am Race, followed by the Downtown Pub Crawl.

Ice War carverScreenshot 2016-01-05 11.55.26

Friday night cast your vote for the 2016 Miss I-500 with your pocketbook; all funds donated to the Pink Ribbon Riders Breast Cancer patient assistance fund. Admission is free. Stick around after the crowning to watch the kids tear up the track in the Mini-5 Race. Enjoy the crackling bon-fire as Friday night wines down and you prepare for the fun of Saturday morning.

So pack up the vehicle (and/or sleds) and make your way to Sault Ste. Marie for a day (or week) filled with fun and excitement.

 

edison light up resize

Lights, Contests, Gifts – It’s December in Sault Ste. Marie

Okay. I’ll admit it. When I heard the words Light Up the Soo for the first time a few years ago, a bevy of marijuana-related jokes came to mind. Immature? Yes. But here’s the thing – the joke’s on me because there is nothing more beautiful than twinkling holiday lights in Sault Ste. Marie.

light up soo resize

It’s true that plenty of communities show their Christmas spirit with fantastic light displays. What makes the Soo unique can be summed up in three words: Tower Of History.

From 200 feet above Portage Avenue and tucked safely into an enclosed observation platform, bring friends and family to view the lights of the city, as well as the one-of-a-kind glow of freighters on the St. Marys River and the sparkle of our sister city – Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

edison light up resize city hall lights resize

It took only one visit and it quickly became obvious that Light Up The Soo is the newest holiday tradition in my household. Visit the Tower of History Dec. 18-31 from 5-9pm to start your own. An entire family can visit the Tower for just $10 or pay $4 per adult and $2 for kids 6-18.

With such an inexpensive family outing, you’ll have more money for Christmas shopping. Sault Ste. Marie isn’t the place to visit for huge box stores or massive shopping malls. Instead, it’s the place to find that really special something in one of the many Downtown or Business Spur stores.

shopping mole hole resize Barrishs resize

Not sure exactly what to get someone? The Sault Area Chamber of Commerce sells Chamber Bucks that can be used at a wide variety of local stores and establishments. Like a gift certificate that spends at a list of stores and restaurants, Chamber Bucks make a great gift.

And speaking of surprising someone you love with a great gift, wouldn’t you love to share VIP treatment at the upcoming International 500 (I-500) snowmobile race with someone special?

Truthfully, just attending the I-500, with its “NASCAR on Ice” reputation and its high-speed excitement is something you don’t want to miss. Thousands attend annually and, on Feb. 6, you can be a part of history for the 48th annual race.

2011 I-500 Green Flag resized I-500 horizontal resized

Can you imagine how exciting VIP treatment would be? This year one lucky winner of the I-500 VIP contest won’t have to worry about arranging lodging, finding a place to watch the race or having a good time because it’s all included in the grand prize!

Spend two nights at the Soo Locks Lodge & Suites and watch the race from the enclosed, comfortable VIP area with a friend. It’s truly a great way to enjoy a winter tradition.

Enter the contest now and we’ll look for you at the top of the Tower, in the shops of Sault Ste. Marie, and, if you’re lucky, in the I-500 VIP suite!

Horse Drawn Sleigh Ride Downtown Open House winter (2)

Christmas (and Santa!) comes to Sault Ste. Marie

In your fast-paced, technology-heavy life, don’t you find some of the most endearing moments are the simplest ones? If you’re like me, you are at your holiday happiest when doing something reminiscent of a childhood Christmas moment. Singing carols. Sipping hot cocoa. Searching for that perfect gift and, of course, stealing glimpses of Santa in the days and weeks before he made his big ride on Christmas Eve.

Starting on Friday, Nov. 27, stand on the sidewalk in Downtown Sault Ste. Marie, take a deep breath, and be transported back to one of those childhood memories. That’s the evening of the Parker Ace Hardware Christmas Parade of Lights. Sparkling lights, singing voices, and plenty of grins and giggles make this a beautiful family outing. The parade begins at 7pm.

is25-1413206105-08321

This annual staple has been part of Sault Ste. Marie’s holiday celebration for decades, but it’s taken a huge leap forward this year with a major sponsor (Parker Ace Hardware) and a float contest that will gift a cash prize to one lucky entry.

Of course, the entry every youngster waits for needs no extra Christmas cash. Santa Claus always makes his appearance at the Christmas Parade of Lights. At the parade’s conclusion, Santa will say a few words before helping Mayor Anthony Bosbous flip the switch to light the official Christmas Tree at City Hall on Portage Avenue. Remember how the mere sight of Santa used to make your heart beat faster?

And with that….Christmas in Downtown Sault Ste. Marie is off and running, starting with Small Business Saturday on November 28.

Amex-Small-Business-Saturday-e1440798114413

Shop local and show your support to the business owners and shopkeepers who are your neighbors and major contributors to area non-profit organizations, school programs, and so many other activities that require financial or in-kind support.

Downtown businesses are so community minded that during the first two weekends in December, these very same businesses will offer up tasty refreshments, fantastic deals and more during back-to-back Christmas Open House events. Plan to be Downtown from Noon-5pm on Dec. 5 and Dec. 12, when parking, warm smiles, and holiday cheer are free all day during these special events.

Many heartwarming traditions pop up over the course of these two days, including Christmas carols, warm cider, special sales and more. But there are some special perks you may not expect. For instance, have you ever been transported from store to store by horse-drawn wagon? No? Don Bell at Bell Farms is ready to introduce you to this climate-friendly mode of transportation!

Horse Drawn Sleigh Ride Downtown Open House winter (2)

In fact, you may hear the clip-clop of horse’s hooves from more than one source.

tiny horses and santa

In addition to Santa sightings and sleigh rides, be sure to visit Avery Square for their Christmas Tree Forest found inside the Atrium. Dozens of trees are found in all their holiday finery in what is a fun and festive atmosphere that also doubles as the location where kids can get a photo taken with Santa.

santa picture - posed2012 DDA Christmas Open House Avery Center (2)

Local businesses also put out holiday cookies, snacks, and hot drinks, as well as great prices and one-of-a-kind gift items that can only be found at the independent stores. In fact, more than 30 retailers in Downtown Sault Ste. Marie will offer in-store specials, not to mention the chance to register to win a drawing for Downtown Dollars!

shopping mole hole resize Barrishs resize

We hope you will make Downtown Sault Ste. Marie part of your holiday calendar of events and allow yourself to be transported back in time to the traditions and festivities that make the Christmas holidays special.

Ready for a Sault Ste. Marie Peepshow?

Don’t just steal a peek or pretend you don’t know what we’re talking about. You wouldn’t be the first person to head to upper Michigan for the kind of show you can’t experience close to home. But talk is cheap, so here’s a picture of the kind of rack you can hope to see at our Peepshow.

Moose by Esther Mudge resized

Photo Credit: Esther Mudge

I’m not sure what you were expecting to see. It’s leaf peeping season in Sault Ste. Marie and the surrounding area and there’s no better Peepshow than what you’ll find along the roadways and wooded pathways of the Eastern Upper Peninsula. Moose, for instance, are most likely to be seen in the Newberry area. Stay in Sault Ste. Marie and then take a leisurely drive not just to see moose, but maybe a few other autumn attractions. Like….

3D3A9987

Tahquamenon Falls….

fall at Point Iroquois

 

 

 

 

and Point Iroquois Lighthouse….

 

 

 

 

 

 

fall photo -resized

and Mission Point Overlook.

 

 

 

 

There are plenty of scenic routes to explore around the region, where you’ll enjoy changing colors beautifully composed alongside lighthouses, waterfalls, Lake Superior shoreline and so many other stunning backdrops.

Appreciating the colors of fall doesn’t have to involve a road trip, either. You can take to the waters of the St. Marys River and bask in beautiful autumn light while your Soo Locks Boat Tour captain does the driving. Or you can stake out a spot along the shore and haul in a fresh catch for your dinner.

boat tours fall classen

Photo credit: Mikel Classen

Classen fishing

Photo Credit: Mikel Classen

Oh sure – those people in New England think they have a corner on the autumn color tour market. Some say they were the ones to coin the term “leaf peeper” and if you watch the video below, they’ve probably coined a few other words, too? (“Foilage” anyone?)

Funny right? We can appreciate a good giggle and truth be told, we sometimes chuckle when visitors ask us what day they should come to see the leaves turn. But we’ll take Boston Jonny’s video and raise the stakes with one beautiful presentation of fall in Sault Ste. Marie.

There is plenty to see and do during this fall color season and it’s not too late! So book your Sault Ste Marie lodging, pack your bag, and head to Sault Ste. Marie.

And please make sure to tell your relatives you’re on your way to the peepshow. We like to stir up a little trouble now and then.

Keg Toss 1 resized

Beer steins & running shoes: It’s a Sault Ste. Marie Saturday

I have a confession to make. I have never thought of myself as athletic.

What does my confession have to do with someone flinging a beer keg? Easy. I have never thought of myself as athletic…until I discovered that on Sept. 26 in Sault Ste. Marie, competitive sports involve running a half marathon, sprinting over a bridge, walking a 5K, holding a beer stein for a lengthy period, pulling a fire truck, and flinging a beer keg. I am confident I can master at least one of these competitions.

On Sept. 26, two great events occur on the same day in our fair city. Sault International Festival of Races dominates the morning hours, while Oktoberfest takes the reigns in the afternoon and evening.

Truth be told, I am in awe of those who have run the Half Marathon and the 6.6 mile Bridge Run over the past five years since the event was launched. It grows each year in popularity which makes perfect sense, considering it has to be the most scenic race in all of Michigan. During your morning run, cross the International Bridge and sneak a bird’s-eye glimpse of the Soo Locks below.

DSC_0860 resizedA DSC_1167 Maybe Plaque 2 resized

And for those who aren’t runners, there’s even a 5K Run/Walk. It doesn’t cross the bridge but it does take a scenic path through Downtown Sault Ste. Marie.

DSC_1204 resized

Since Oktoberfest happenings don’t begin until the afternoon, you over-achievers can participate in all events, including the Keg Toss, Fire Truck Pull, Tug of War, and more.

13 Oktoberfest 9-2014

Keg Toss 2 resized Keg Toss 3 resized

You can even sign up for the Samuel Adams Beer Stein Challenge at the Alpha Bar, where you’ll have to hold a beer stein in front of you in a test of both endurance (how long can you hold it?) and discipline (how long can you go without drinking it?) at this first-time event. Lacking a photo, I invite you to check out the following video from Cincinnati and start conditioning your arm TODAY to get ready for the Soo event.

The Alpha isn’t the only business offering special events during Oktoberfest. And, like any good festival, there are awesomely-autumn vendor booths, tasty fair food and live entertainment – all found in Downtown Sault Ste. Marie.

IMG_7051 resized IMG_7015 resized

2013

Hoisting a beer. Walking a beautiful downtown. Joining in a tug of war. Visiting vendor booths while listing to live music and munching on good eats. These are all on the docket, which is why I’m retracting my confession. I AM athletic and I will give all takers a run for their money in at least one of these events. Can you guess which one?

See you in Sault Ste. Marie!

re July 2014 319

Those Lazy, Crazy, DOWNTOWN DAYS of Summer

Am I giving away my age if can sing alone with Nat King Cole to Those Lazy Crazy Hazy Days of Summer? In truth – I learned it from watching Gilmore Girls. Know what else I love about that show? The small town of Stars Hollow always has some quirky, fun, unique festival going on. The same can be said for Sault Ste. Marie, when Downtown Days roll out on Ashmun Street, August 7-8, 2015.

What’s the secret sauce behind a great festival? First, it has to be kid friendly, right? I’ll go even further – the kids have to be entertained and having fun. I’m talking about petting zoo, bouncy house, hands-on art project fun.

re July 2014 198 re July 2014 233

The Downtown Days “Kid’s Zone” – complete with bouncy houses, dunk tank and more – is open each day from 9am-6pm. The petting zoo is sure to bring a smile each day from 11am-5pm. (And pardon me, but petting small, furry animals isn’t just for kids!)

Another key ingredient to a successful festival is entertainment – particularly local talent. From kids performing dance routines, musicians sharing their art, or martial arts demonstrations – there’s something so authentic about street performances. Don’t you just want to join in?

re July 2014 218

There’s also plenty of shopping – with more than 50 stores and vendors featuring their wares in a “sidewalk sales” fashion as part of Downtown Days. Who doesn’t love a good deal?

re July 2014 187 re July 2014 239

If we’re talking fun for the whole family, then someone is bound to love classic cars and Downtown Days also features the Slashin’ Ashmun Car Show on Saturday, from 10am-3pm.

car show downtown soo (2)

And there’s more – including a pancake breakfast, B.A.S.S. tournament, and a Kids Balloon Drop with prizes for everyone. Yes – there’s so much going on – you will need this schedule.

And like we learned on Gilmore Girls, there can be unexpected benefits from a festival…..

785317_1311711741493_full

….No, No…..not a doggy swami, but making new friends and what’s more festive than that?

re July 2014 319free compliments (2)

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to roll out those lazy, crazy, hazy DOWNTOWN DAYS of summer. I’ll be there Aug. 7-8 — will you??

(P.S. Just like compliments, admission is FREE and the event is hosted by the Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Development Authority.)

re PTP_5644

A “Rendezvous” with History in Sault Ste. Marie

Call it humbling. Or maybe thought-provoking. It may even feel like deja vu if you think you were an explorer or fur trader in a previous life. The feeling differs from person to person but the outcome is the same: it’s just plain awesome to walk the same shores of the St. Marys River settled by Europeans nearly 350 years ago.

You’ve got a date with history on July 25-26, 2015.

Welcome to the 3rd Annual Rendezvous in the Sault

re PTP_5638

Surround yourself with costumed re-enactors from the French Colonial Heritage Society of Port Huron who pride themselves in recreating authentic scenes, activities, and living arrangements from the 17th and 18th centuries. These encampments are truly remarkable in their detail.

There’s music to dance to, wares to be purchased, and hatchets to throw. This isn’t a passive exercise, but rather an immersion into another time. Both children and adults will enjoy listening to the story-teller, playing authentic games, and meeting historic personalities from the era.

re PTP_5737 PTP_5643 resize

There’s butter to be churned, concerts to be performed and cannons to be loaded. Rendezvous in the Sault is a perfect multi-generational activity, so bring the whole family.

re PTP_5659 re PTP_5759

If you appreciate the assistance of a schedule, you can always consult the Rendezvous website, where you’ll find details about events and times.

These are the very grounds where the first European settlement in Michigan was created in 1668. Sault Ste. Marie’s early history gravitated around the river, creating a gathering place for literally centuries of Native Americans and European settlers alike. What better place for a historic rendezvous than on the place where history was first made?

Join us as we make merry and celebrate our shared history on July 25-26, 2015.

 

 

Engineer's Day 2013 pic 8 (2)

Engineer’s Weekend in Sault Ste. Marie

“What was your favorite part of our vacation?”

That question floats easily off the tongue toward anyone with whom I’ve traveled near or far. Secretly – I only ask it so they’ll ask me in return! I’m chomping at the bit to relive every minute and the most memorable vacations….those are the one’s when you cannot decide which part was the best.

Engineer’s Weekend in Sault Ste. Marie is like that.

Starting on the last Friday in June, you find yourself moving from one great event to the next, starting with Engineer’s Day at world-famous Soo Locks. It’s pretty remarkable to stand on a lock gate at the Soo Locks and stare a massive freighter in the nose. To wander the inner sanctum of this engineering wonder is an opportunity that happens only one day a year and worth the wait!

Engineer's Day 2013 admin bldg IMG_140627-a-YU979-7251_300dpi

There are interesting displays and booths inside the park, vendors set up nearby, and great shops and restaurants just across the street. We like to park the car and leave it while we explore. Oh…and we always make time for this!

ice cream cone DSC_6504

But there are more things to see and do and it’s time to move less than a mile up Portage Avenue to tour the Cloverland Hydro-Electric Plant, opened in 1902 and still providing power to part of Sault Ste. Marie today. It’s a stunning beauty from the outside, but simply fascinating inside to see how they turn water into power.

hydroelectric plant 2 (2) Cloverland Open House 2013 (2) PTP_9380 (2)

Can you believe that’s all on Friday alone? Come Saturday, we’ve tied our shoes, charged our camera batteries and are ready to beat feet across the border for the International Bridge Walk. Stretching from Michigan to Canada and passing high over the Soo Locks, the event is fun, picturesque and, in truth, a pretty easy walk.

Bridge Walk 2013 (2)

The whole town is hopping during Engineer’s Weekend. We sampled Upper Peninsula maple syrup, watched the kids bounce to their heart’s content, and bought a few souvenirs at Fridays’ Arts, Crafts, and Family Fun Day. On Saturday, after the bridge walk, we cheered tugboats as they raced up and down the river.

LSSUTugParade2223 (2) DSC_0698

We also made time for museum visits, brewery samples, casino action, and dipping our toes in the St. Marys River. It’s no wonder I can never choose the best part of Engineer’s Weekend! I guess we’ll just have to try again this June and see what tops the list.

Can you pick your favorite?

Pullar Outside old cars Hockeyville

Don’t Lose That Pullar Feeling

We’re pleased to share that Saturday April 18, 2015 the Pullar Stadium moved on to Phase II ofHockeytown photo the Kraft Hockeyville USA contest! The Hockeyville prize of $150,000 for the stadium and the chance to host a preseason NHL game on home ice would be an enormous boost for the Sault Ste. Marie community, but the Kraft Hockeyville title would look really good next to our existing title of Hockey Town USA. Please Vote Pullar!

The Kraft Hockeyville USA contest asked individuals to submit a 2,500 character essay that would be judged on passion for hockey, community spirit, and creativity. Over 16,000 essays nominated more than 1,100 hockey arenas in the United States and 1 amongst all that those essays made the Pullar Stadium a top 10 finalist.

With the overwhelming support of the community, Michigan residence, and fantastic people all over the USA the Pullar was voted to a top 4 finalist position after Phase I voting. Be a part of the Phase II excitement and vote April 21-22, 2015 to help secure a top 2 position for the Pullar Stadium in Phase III voting April 27-29. We know! SO MUCH VOTING, but so worth it and your support is truly appreciated and does make a difference! Please vote here.

Local business owner Ron Maleport poured his hockey heart and soul into his winning essay, which you can read below.

PULLAR STADIUM – AN ICE RINK RICH IN HISTORY GIVING THAT “PULLAR FEELING”

by Ronald Maleport

Pullar Stadium in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan was constructed in 1939 and is one of the oldest artificial ice rinks in the U.S. still in operation. The Pullar has always been known for having excellent hard and fast ice. 2014 was the 75th Anniversary of the rink and the community of Sault Ste. Marie has begun a Building Renovation Project to preserve what I call, the “Pullar Feeling” for decades to come. The “Pullar Feeling” to me is that when I walk into the ice rink it feels as familiar as home.

Over the years, the Pullar Stadium has always been the community hub for hockey, figure Photo Shop SKMBT_C22015041307490 1skating, dances, public skating, fishing tournament banquets, the place to see the Circus when it came to town, and much more. It is currently the home ice for the Sault Area High School Blue Devils Hockey Team and the Soo Eagles Jr. “A” Hockey Team. In the past, it has been the home ice of Lake Superior State University’s (Division 1) Laker Hockey Team, the Soo Indians Jr. “B” Hockey Team, and the Detroit Red Wings training camp ice from 1948-1958. Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan is the original “Hockey Town USA”. I remember the Pullar Stadium being adorned with “Hockey Town USA” banners in the 1960’s.

Photo shop SKMBT_C22015041307490 1_edited-1Many a hockey player or figure skater has spent their formative years learning on the ice of the Pullar Stadium. I myself starting playing hockey at the Pullar in the 1960’s and continue to play in a Men’s Hockey League there to this day. I got to meet Gordie Howe and get his autograph sometime in the 1960’s when the Red Wings came to the Sault (pronounced “Sue”) Pullar Stadium. I have many fond memories watching my son practice and play hockey along with my daughter learning to figure skate at the Pullar.

The rink is a great asset to our community and families. It holds great memories for so many SKMBT_C22015041307470community members who watched their children/grandchildren skate for the first time, score their first goal, or adorn a special costume and take to the ice for the Annual Hiawatha Skating Club Figure Skating Revue. The Pullar Stadium has made many people proud of their accomplishments or the accomplishments of their loved ones. The Pullar Stadium has always been a place for people to gather and enjoy a good hockey game. These are the reasons why the Pullar Stadium is loved by the community and community members are giving to preserve that “Pullar Feeling” for a stadium rich in community history. What better ice stadium to have a preseason NHL game in other than the Pullar Stadium?