Friday, July 13, 2018

Sault Ste Marie to Bay Harbor

I had really enjoyed my time in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, with Brittany and Jamie. We had seen a lot and learned quite a bit about this important basin that borders the U.S. and Canada.

We packed up our things at Superior Place and got ready to head south a bit to our next Michigan stop, but first we had one more Sault Ste Marie restaurant to try.

Antlers Restaurant gets its current name from the taxidermy display on the countertops and walls. It was previously known as the Bucket-of-Blood Saloon, a favorite in this area during Prohibition.

The original restaurant goes back four generations and we could see why it was so popular.

The Poutine (a French dish of fries in gravy) is very popular here.

Brittany and Jamie agreed it was one of the best they ever had since it had Wisconsin cheddar cheese curds mixed in.

For their main courses, they chose the Whitefish Po’boy and the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, both of which were very good.

I wasn’t quite as hungry, so I nibbled on the fries with a cup of tasty cream of chicken soup and saved my appetite for dessert.

I had their famous apple strudel, with a side of ice cream, while they shared the Moose Track Sundae.

Before leaving Sault Ste Marie, we went downtown once more to pick up some souvenirs.

The trip across the Mackinaw Bridge and down to Petoskey didn’t take very long.

I dropped Brittany and Jamie off to visit relatives and I headed to my retreat for the next few days, the Inn at Bay Harbor, just a couple miles from Petoskey.

The Inn at Bay Harbor is part of the same resort family as Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain, both of which I visited during ski seasons.

This resort is very different than the two others were. 
First, it’s overlooking a beautiful beach instead of a mountain.

Then, it’s in the middle of a great complex, that includes restaurants and a theater.

One thing it does have in common with the Boyne properties is that it’s a resort for all seasons.  

Whether you want to enjoy the beach and pool, and local activities (like borrowing a bike to the nearby town) or take a drive and use the winter sports facilities at their sister hotels, the Inn at Bay Harbor is ready for you.

This resort also has a big assortment of accommodations so it’s especially friendly to families, even extended ones. 

All of the rooms, suites, apartments have been recently remodeled too.

I was given one of the Master Suites, which had a living room with a cozy fireplace and pull-out couch, a kitchen and dining area, and a separate bedroom.

There were two bathrooms, with a jacuzzi in the master one.

I also had a balcony overlooking the front of the resort. I sat out there and enjoyed the breeze, while nibbling on the Kilwin’s chocolates and cheese and charcuterie plate that was waiting for me.

While that was a special gift from the management, all guests at the Inn at Bay Harbor do receive a special nightly treat. On this evening it was a box of chocolates and a small bottle of Kahlua.

I took a walk around the property before heading back to my room. After the (fun, but) hectic few days in the Upper Peninsula, I decided I would take the night to just stay in and relax. My biggest appointment on the next day’s schedule was at the spa.

Friday, July 6, 2018

A Day at Tahquamenon State Park and Whitefish Point

It was our third day in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, and we were taking a day trip.

When I decided to make the trip to Sault Ste Marie, one of the main attractions I was interested in was Tahquamenon State Park, just about an hour from there. 

The park is nearly 50,000 acres and home to wildlife and birds (including bald eagles, which we did see). It’s second to only Niagara as the biggest falls east of the Mississippi River.

Since I have physical limitations, we decided the best way to enjoy Tahquamenon State Park was to take the Toonerville Trolley RiverboatTour.

The tour is divided into two parts. The first is on land, on the ‘trolley.” It runs along a railroad track for five and a half miles.

While there is an opportunity to see many animals, we just saw a few deer and some birds.

The trolley then stops along the river, where you pick up a boat for a narrated cruise, 21 miles to the rapids of the Upper Tahquamenon Falls.

The falls themselves were not accessible enough for me to walk to. I waited on the boat for the hour it was stopped and enjoyed the tranquility of the river while Jamie and Brittany hiked up there.

Brittany took some great pictures, though they didn’t have time before the boat left to capture all of the beauty of the park.

The boat ride back to the trolley, and then our cars, was equally relaxing, but we then had to hustle to make it the half hour to Michigan's Whitefish Point with enough time to explore.

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is actually a complex dedicated to the boats passing through Lake Superior since the 19th century. It is on the National Registry of Historic Places and definitely a must-see when in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Among the ships who are paid homage to here are the Samuel Mather, which went down in Marquette in 1891; the S.R. Kirby, that sank near Eagle Harbor 1916; and the Edmond Fitzgerald, lost with the entire crew just 17 miles from Whitefish Point.

While Brittany and Jamie climbed the lighthouse, I went through the crews’ quarters.

Inside was set up to depict exactly how the family of a crew member housed at Whitefish Point would live.

The house has been restored by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society with support from the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Michigan Council for the Arts & Cultural Affairs. You can even stay here overnight here.

The lighthouse is the oldest on Lake Superior. We didn’t have long enough before closing time to go through the Museum Store or the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory. We did walk along the peaceful Lake Superior beach.

Before we left Paradise, Michigan, we decided to stop at a local restaurant for dinner. The Inn Gastropub & Smokehouse was a good choice for delicious barbecue.

We were back at Superior Place in Sault Ste Marie in time to crash for the night. We still had one more day to enjoy some time in the city before heading south to the lower peninsula of Michigan.