Category Archives: Nature

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.

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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….

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Tahquamenon Falls….

fall at Point Iroquois

 

 

 

 

and Point Iroquois Lighthouse….

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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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 25th 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!

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!”