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Give the Gift of Sault Ste. Marie

 

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

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Lucky guys know that planning a surprise vacation to play in the snow will be a Christmas 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!

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Or maybe a new pair of cross-country skis will find their way under the Christmas tree? 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!

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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?

 

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You can also plan your winter escape around the granddaddy of all snowmobile races – the International 500 – held on the first Saturday in February. Enjoy your choice of outdoor activities during the same trip where you watch speed demons make a run for prize money and bragging rights.

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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 just generally playing in the snow.

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This year, make Santa proud and bypass the ugly ties, the ho-hum slippers and give the perfect gift – a winter getaway to Sault Ste. Marie! It’s the perfect start to your New Year!

 

Santa & Smiling Baby at Iroquois

Christmas is festive at Point Iroquois Lighthouse

With the holidays fast approaching, it’s time to think about the annual traditions we celebrate with friends and family. This year, we invite you to add a new tradition to you holiday:

Christmas at Point Iroquois

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While weather conditions and other circumstances determine whether you’ll see lights on the lighthouse like those pictured here, there is one important reason to visit that you can count on…

Santa & Smiling Baby at Iroquois

That’s right – set your calendar and come see Santa Clause at Point Iroquois on Saturdays and Sundays between Nov. 29 – Dec. 14. This is a great opportunity for the kids to visit with St. Nick before the big day. He might even be able to tell them if they are on the naughty or nice list.

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Be sure to say “hello” to Mrs. Claus when you visit and ask her about the Holiday Tea she’s been planning. Or you can call 906-643-7900 for more information about both events.

If you’ve never visited Point Iroquois, you’ll be particularly pleased to explore this spectacular light on the shore of Whitefish Bay.

This is a chance to capture great family pictures in a very unique holiday setting. Bring your camera and get ready to tell Santa what you’re dreaming of this Christmas! (Maybe some ice skates, skis, snowboard, or other winter items for a great time in Sault Ste. Marie this winter?!)

See you at Point Iroquois!

Fall in Love with The Soo

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Fall in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is like no other. Pull up a seat and enjoy the view or take a drive out to a stunning lighthouse just off the scenic path less traveled.

You don’t HAVE to drive far to find great color; downtown Sault Ste. Marie is bustling with shops, restaurants, freighters, and fall.Portage Fall 2013 Mikel Classen Keep Calm

If you do leave town a gorgeous drive west along the Curly Lewis Highway and then north to Paradise (literally) will take you to the Tahquamenon Falls State Park.

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There’s lots to do in the Soo as the colors begin to change. Sault International Marathon runs rightDSC_1167 into the heart of Oktoberfest in downtown September 27.  Family friendly activities, craft market, barrel tossing and spirits are just a handful things to find at Oktoberfest. There are live bands throughout the day including a traditional Polka Band.Oktoberfest FallJoin us in the Sault for a picture perfect fall. Peak color starts approximately the last week of September first week of October. At this time (9/11/2014) color saturation is less than 10%.

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A great catch on the St. Marys

Fishing for a good time in Sault Ste. Marie

Autumn may be a great time for color tours and pumpkin patches, but in Sault Ste. Marie, fall means great fishing! And you can see, some people take their fishing very seriously!

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This weekend marks the start of a couple of fishing-related events, but you don’t have to be a participant to enjoy the event.

The St. Marys Small Jaw Slam Tournament takes place this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 6th and 7th at Aune Osborn Park. Drop in for weigh-ins starting at 3pm each day.

Get a peak at the boats and pick up your own tricks and tips from folks who love to talk about fishing!

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Later this month, the St. Marys Walleye Cup takes over the river, Sept. 20-21, 2014. The top 5 finishers will take home prize money, and so will a “mystery boat” and that should be enough to get you and your boat in the water! Register today and you could take home part of the $8,500 in prize money.

Sometimes, though, it’s fun just to throw out a line from the dock or hop into the boat with a good friend.

A great catch on the St. Marys

So whether you choose to cast a line or join us for tournament weigh-in – make sure to enjoy some fall fishing in Sault Ste. Marie!

And don’t forget the best part…..

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Sault Ste. Marie Photo Montage: Looking Back at July

Summer can be shy in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Some years 4th of July is our kickoff to the summer season and we are more than ready for sun and fun. July 4 1 July 4 2 Mother nature can be temperamental in our picturesque part of the world. It can be 80 degrees today and mid 60’s tomorrow. Pack one of everything is good advice for visiting the Sault. 7-14-2014 The early morning fog can bring shipping in the Soo Locks to a standstill and without a moment’s notice the sun is shining and we carry on. July 5

July 8

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During July we take full advantage of the sun and the great outdoors in Sault Ste. Marie with festivals and great family events:

  • 4th of July Parade & Fireworks
  • Wednesday Music in the Park
  • Wednesday Farmers Market
  • Sault Tribe Powwow & Summer Gathering
  • Weekly Concerts at John Johnston Historic Home
  • Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament
  • Connor Gorsuch Kids Fishing Day
  • Rendezvous in the Sault last full weekend in July

july 15July 7 3     Boats in the St. Marys River are always a summer draw. Whether it’s the Sugar Island Ferry navigating the treacherous current or the thousand foot freighters quietly gliding up and down the river the boats are mesmerizing.  Take a Soo Locks Boat Tour and you might get to sail with the freighters.

The sun has set on July but here in the Upper Peninsula we are comforted by the knowledge that these amazing sunsets are ours year round.
For more great photos please visit I Love Sault Ste. Marie Facebook page.July 20

Soo Locks open March 25

The calendar tells us that spring has sprung, but if you live in the eastern half of the country, you know we’ve been living through something of a Modern Ice Age. In the coming weeks, an annual rite of passage (literally!) will take place and Sault Ste. Marie is offering ring-side seats. Come see a spectacular battle as Great Lakes cargo ships and ice breakers take on the forces of nature on the St. Marys River. 

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Photo Credit: US Army Corps of Engineers

On March 25, 2014 the Soo Locks will open for the season, connecting Lake Superior to the rest of the Great Lakes. That, however, will require vessels to conquer a barricade in the form of a 45-mile river system that is covered in a continuous sheet of ice.  Beyond the river, most Lake Superior ports are still packed with ice.  Duluth, Minnesota has experienced one of its top 4 worst winters in history.

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Photo Credit: US Army Corps of Engineers

If you’ve never seen an ice breaker at work; or have never seen a snow-encrusted freighter; or have always wanted to join the celebration of welcoming the first ship through the Locks – this is your year. From 9am – 3pm on March 25, the Soo Locks Visitors Center will be open with hot coffee and a chance to see the Soo Locks in rare form. Traditionally, this is the day we will welcome the first ship through the Locks, but the exact day and time of arrival is always unknown until a day or so before. Monitor our Facebook page for updates on the exact time of arrival.

Let’s be honest – you’ve had enough of shoveling and ice and freezing temperatures. Come help us cheer on the icebreakers and send old man winter packing!

Thank you “Macker Backers” for a great event!

Ask almost anyone who has visited the Upper Peninsula and you’ll hear stories of friendly, down-to-earth people who are warm and welcoming. It’s only when you live in one of those communities that you understand that generosity is also part of the genetic make-up. Case in point: the Gus Macker event held in July. From big dollar donors to in-kind vendors, an entire community caught “Macker fever” and the result was a great event with 108 participating teams and $3,300 raised for worthwhile charities.

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We take this opportunity to thank these major sponsors for their contributions. They are as follows:

  • Sault Downtown Development Authority (Gold Level)
  • Sault Convention and Visitors Bureau (Gold Level)
  • Kewadin Casino & Conventions Center (Gold Level)
  • Subway (Gold Level)
  • Wal Mart (Silver Level)
  • McDonalds (Bronze Level)
  • Smith & Company Realty (Bronze Level)
  • The Soo Corner Store (Bronze Level)
  • Soo Motors (Bronze Level)
  • War Memorial Hospital (Bronze Level)
  • Sault Men’s Basketball (Copper Level)
  • Applebee’s Restaurant (Copper Level)
  • Arfstrom’s Pharmacies (Copper Level)
  • Cloverland Electric (Copper Level)
  • Cooper Dental Services (Copper Level)
  • Harmony Health Foods (Copper Level)
  • Kinross Lions Club (Copper Level)
  • Old Mission Bank (Copper Level)
  • Rodenroth Motors (Copper Level)
  • Soo Co-Op Credit Union (Copper Level)
  • West Pier Apartments (Copper Level)
  • MBank (Copper Level)
  • Allure Dance Company (Copper Level)
  • Super Valu (Copper Level)

Cash donations were also received from: Antler’s Restaurant, Best Western, Bordertown Chiropractic, Buffalo Wild Wings, Checkered Flag Party Store, Chippewa Motors Inc., Edward Jones (Weber/Osterhout), Elks Youth Committee, Federal Employees Credit Union, Frank’s Place, Fudge du Locke, H & R Block, Holiday Inn Express, Island Books & Crafts, Judge Elizabeth Church, Little Caesar’s Pizza, Lockview Restaurant, Marchetti Distributing, Moloney’s Alley, Palace Saloon, Pampered Chef (DuVall), Parker’s Ace Hardware, Precision Edge, Rotary Club of Sault Ste. Marie, Siesel Eye Care, and Soo Locks Lodge & Suites.

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We hand out honorable “Macker Mention”  for those who went above and beyond:

  • Marchetti Distributing
  • Newberry Bottling
  • Parker Ace Hardware
  • Blue Wizard Entertainment
  • US Air Force
  • 1537th Michigan Nation Guard
  • M & C Water Systems
  • Malette Construction
  • National Office Products
  • Graham Trucking
  • Sault Ste. Marie Parks & Recreation/Water Department
  • Smith Sanitation
  • Grooves Music
  • Spartan Distributors (Toro Tractors)
  • Sault Auxilary Police
  • Coca Cola Bottling Company of MI
  • Sault Printing
  • Eagle Radio
  • Sovereign Communication
  • City Engineering Department

Like all events, there are those people who pitch in and help in ways that can’t adequately be described. We’re calling them “Macker Attackers” and we couldn’t have done it without them.

  • Jack Horka
  • Pam Pomeroy
  • Dewey Baldwin
  • Dean Auger & Staff
  • Pat Godin
  • Glen Bathrick
  • Bob Moraski
  • Laura & Joey Shawhan
  • Deanna Sutton Kreski
  • Mariah Goos
  • Jan Bailey & Medical Mash
  • City Manager Spencer Nebel
  • Dan Harris and the “Madrigal Macker Masters”
  • Mayor Anthony and Margaret Bosbous
  • Bill Anderson
  • County Inmates Work Crews (Charlie & Darryl)
  • Young Professionals
  • WOW (Working on Wellness)
  • Tony Haller – Sault Athletic Department
  • Sault Football Volunteers
  • Sault Girls Basketball Volunteers
  • Rudyard Baseball Volunteers
  • Jr. Firehawks
  • The Gus Macker Committee

Last but absolutely not least, we give a special “shout out” to Dennis Brooks, the committee chairperson and tireless champion for this event. Thanks, Dennis!

Finally, it pleases us to tell you that planning is already underway for the 2014 Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball tourney in Sault Ste. Mare. Mark your calendar to play b-ball in the shadow of freighters July 19-20, 2014. Monitor our events page for details in the coming months.

 

Packing a picnic? Here’s your table with a view.

DSC_0042 (2)What is it about eating outdoors that feels so … liberating? Breathing fresh air and surrounded by nature – maybe it rouses our more primitive side. It’s a slice of Americana – packing the picnic basket and searching for the perfect spot. And everyone’s version of the perfect picnic spot is different. That’s why we’re offering up four fabulous picnic places for your next Eastern Upper Peninsula picnic.

NATURE IS THE STAR

We’re starting west of Sault Ste. Marie at Big Pines Picnic Area in Hiawatha National Forest. Perched on a bluff overlooking Lake Superior, find picnic tables, grills, and plenty of giant red and white pines. The beach below is lovely, sandy stretch perfect for a long walk or an agate search. Big Pines has ample parking, rustic toilets, and an abundance of fresh forest to explore. This area is roughly 30 minutes west of Sault Ste. Marie and, despite its perfect setting, is often underused, which means you can enjoy a serene, beautiful lunch or dinner.

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LANDMARK LOCATION

The area surrounding Point Iroquois Lighthouse is perfect for a picnic. For those dreaming of a beach picnic, this is the perfect place. Spread your blanket in the shadow of the lighthouse and enjoy! If you’d prefer to keep sand out of the equation, take advantage of one of the benches on the boardwalk – a beautiful, winding path that makes its way from the light to the beach. After your appetite is sated, explore the lighthouse, climb the stairs to the top of the tower, and check out the museum that tells the story of the lightkeeper’s life. Operated by the US Forest Service, Point Iroquois has lots of parking and, even better, flush toilets! It is located just west of Brimley.

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FOOD & FREIGHTERS

Back in Sault Ste. Marie, one local park offers one-of-a-kind entertainment. Rotary Island is a City of Sault Ste. Marie park accessed by causeway. This spot on the St. Marys River affords great views of Sugar Island, the Sugar Island Ferry, and all river traffic – including the mighty freighters that pass by on a regular basis. Launch a kayak from one end of the park or let the kids try their luck at the attached kid’s fishing pond. Park your car nearby and take your picnic to one of the many tables. Use a grill or bring take-out from a local favorite only a stone’s throw away: Clyde’s Drive-In. Rotary Island park also has playground equipment and pit toilets.

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A FAMILY FAVORITE

With a kid-friendly beach, volleyball courts, playground equipment, picnic pavilion, and a basketball court – it’s hard to keep the kids focused on the picnic when you come to Sherman Park. This city property, located on Sault Ste. Marie’s west side, has ample parking, flush toilets, and plenty to keep every member of the family occupied. Also located on the St. Marys River, boat nerds will get a great view. Picnic tables can be found in the sun or in the shade at Sherman Park.

These four fabulous picnic places have one important thing in common: all parks are free of charge. So, in the words of Yogi Bear, “Hey there, Boo Boo. Let’s get us a pic-a-nic basket!”

 

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The Wonders of Wednesday: Markets and Music

If you visit Sault Ste. Marie only on a weekend, you might be missing one of the best days of the week. There’s a special something in the air on Wednesday nights in “the Soo” – especially Downtown.  While the attractions that make the city irresistible – the Soo Locks, a variety of museums, historic churches, boat cruises and more – are still on the menu, two special offerings can be found only on Wednesday evenings.

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It starts with the Farmer’s Market, located at the corner of Portage Avenue and Ashmun Street. From 4-7pm, local farmers share the bounty of their gardens and fields throughout the summer season. From arugula to zucchini, those interested in locally-grown goods will have plenty of options. But it’s more than just vegetables and fruit. Fresh fish, poultry, eggs, baked goodies, canned jams, pickles and more…and the list goes on and on.

There are also non-edibles for sale. For instance, when we mention the word “hoop” – you probably expect to hear about produce grown in a hoop house, but at the Sault Farmer’s Market, you can also find HOOLA HOOPS! (And jewelry, and hand-carved items, and so much more.)

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It’s a good thing the Farmer’s Market closes at 7pm, because that’s when you’ll need to be at the Soo Locks for the weekly “Music in the Park” series. A different act takes the stage each week and the styles of music vary dramatically from week to week. Tomorrow, for instance, the Petoskey Steel Drum Band will perform for what is typically the largest audience of the season. Last week, a trio shared romantic crooner classics and future performances will include Da’ Yoopers, a local rock group, and a banjo band. How’s that for variety?

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Bring a lawn chair, then kick back and listen to the music while watching freighters, Coast Guard vessels, and other watercraft make their way through the Locks nearby. Just when you think a perfect summer evening can’t get any better – did I mention this is free?

Have you caught Wednesday fever? The only known cure is to plan your Sault Ste. Marie visit to include what some call “Hump Day” but we simply refer to it as Wonderful Wednesday! See you Downtown!

History comes to life during performances on Water Street

I don’t know about you, but I’ve sometimes perused museum exhibits or historic homes and felt like I should tip-toe through the location. Don’t make any noise. No sudden moves. It’s probably self-induced, but I feel like I’m in a library and someone might “shush” me at any moment. I’ll go one step further and say sometimes my attention span can be a little, shall we say, limited.

All of this is my not-very-brief way of saying that performances make museums and historic places come alive for me. Every summer, thousands of visitors feel the same when they visit the John Johnston House on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-2pm. That’s when local singer/songwriters Dave Stanaway and Susan Askwith give small, intimate concerts and bring history to life with their voices and their guitars. The performances are included in the price of admission to the historic homes and are offered through July and August.

Susan Askwith & Dave Stanaway

Susan Askwith & Dave Stanaway

Of course, you can have the best of all worlds. You can tour the homes on Historic Water Street at your leisure and combine that with a Tuesday or Thursday concert. These important buildings – John Johnston house, Bishop Baraga house, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft house and the Kemp Coal Office – have distinctly different exhibits and each tells a unique story. The homes are open 7 days per week from Noon-5pm through Labor Day. The price of admission grants you access to the four buildings and is $3 for adults, $2 for children, $8 for a family, and $15 for a season pass. 

 For more information on events and activities visit Sault Ste. Marie.