Tag Archives: U.P.

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.

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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!

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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!

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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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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.

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

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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….

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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

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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.

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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…..

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

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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.)

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

Enter Sault Ste. Marie contest and win cash!

Gone are the days whvideo contest photo 2013en videotaping your favorite summer vacation involved a heavy camera of questionable quality and actual tapes. The word “videotaping” hardly even applies anymore. Instead, many of us have a digital video camera – either as a feature on a smart phone or as part of our digital camera.

What is the best part of the evolution of video? We think it is YOUR ability to enter contests, like this one that will focus on capturing your best day or favorite activity in Sault Ste. Marie.

Levideo via cell phonet’s face it – the advent of the Internet has illustrated how fun, kooky, and downright creative everyday people can be. Who needs a millionaire producer or a carefully-honed script? When people are having fun in a beautiful destination like Sault Ste. Marie – compelling video is only the press of a button away.

The Sault Area Convention & Visitors Bureau wants you to be involved at several levels. Not only can you submit up to 5 videos for the contest, but you also get to help in the voting process by lending your “like” to entries of your choosing on the “I Love Sault Ste. Marie” facebook page. Contest entries will be uploaded by the participant to their own YouTube or Facebook account and then linked to the “I Love Sault Ste. Marie” Facebook page to be eligible for any of the prizes.

Let’s talk about prizes – specifically $750 for first place, $250 for three 2nd place finishers, and $100 for two 3rd place winners. It’s like having someone pay for your camera and your fun!

The hardest part of this video contest? Figuring out which of these great activities you’ll focus on for your video. But don’t forget – video content must focus on those activities within the Sault Ste. Marie city limits. Remember – you can submit up to 5, so try your hand (or your camera) on several!

Be sure to read the rules for entry and then immerse yourself in Sault Ste. Marie. We can’t wait to see you on video!