Showing posts with label lake Superior. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lake Superior. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Lakes of Beauty in Munising

My first trip up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was in the wintertime. I took a ride to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and, even in winter, I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. 

I vowed to come back and explore this area more and it seemed like an ideal way to spend my birthday.

I left Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee and drove through Wisconsin to the UP. I had decided that Munising was a base for me to start and it was the right choice.

It was near sunset when I arrived at the Alger Falls Motel. The Munising tourism board had set me up there for two nights. The rooms were large and the location was central.


I was a bit hungry and decided to go for something local. I drove down to Muldoon’s and had my very first Pastie, a local favorite they were known for.

 A pasty is a hand pie looks like a cross between a turnover and a calzone, or for those who have been to the U.K., a meat pie. I decided I was not in a beef mood and got one vegetable, and one apple for dessert.

I took my pasties down to the Munising dock. It was a beautiful scene of boats and glistening water, and the perfect way to end the day.

After a full night’s sleep back at the motel, I was ready for an extremely full day in Michigan. Lake Superior was the center of it all and the turquoise water was waiting for me.


First up was a fairly new attraction, the Munising Pirate Cruise. It was a warm, beautiful day for this family filled cruise.

It was a nice combination of pirate fun for the kids and adult sightseeing. I enjoyed watching and photographing both as we went up Grand Island and back along the cost of Pictured Rocks.


It was even more beautiful than I had imagined. I saw the Grand Island lighthouses, old and new, and rock formations that could only be made by nature.

I grew up near the ocean. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about enjoying life on Long Island, but the idea of these calm, clear, colorful, hurricane and shark-free waters of the great lakes appeals to me much more.


After the boat ride, I had most of the day free until another cruise in the evening. I headed back to the motel for some rest and then out to a late lunch/early dinner.

I decided on a local favorite, Dogpatch, for the salad bar and delicious pulled pork.

Despite rain in the forecast, it was ideal evening weather for the Shipwreck Tours with a glass bottom boat.

The boat was going in the same directions as the morning one, but the itinerary and purpose was different. We were going to see many of the shipwrecks left in these clear waters of this Great Lake.


The windows on the bottom of the ship were large and clear and it was easy to see the wrecks. The boat went in and out of some of the Grand Island caves, even stopping in one for us to get a closer look, as well as selfies.

The formations of these caves were a work of art. I was looking forward to seeing the ones on the other side, at Pictured Rocks, the next day.


I was extremely relaxed on this amazing body of water and had another peaceful night sleep. I was excited that I had more days to explore the wonders of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Friday, June 29, 2018

History, Food and Kayaks in Sault Ste Marie

After a good night’s sleep in our spacious suite at the Superior Place in Sault Ste. Marie, Brittany, Jamie, and I got ready for our morning breakfast meeting.
We were getting together with Linda Hoath, Executive Director of the Sault Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

She had graciously put together this trip for us last minute after one in a nearby area did not work out.

We met Linda at the Lock View Restaurant downtown. It was right across the street from the Soo Locks and you could see both the American and Canadian sides from the building.

Everything on the menu looked great, but our host recommended the pancakes and I went for the chocolate chip ones.

They were as good as she said.

The other ladies had eggs and we were all quite full as we learned more about the area and the plans about other activities on our list.

After we finished eating, we walked around town and looked through some more shops.

Linda pointed out the Michigan Made store and we went inside to pick up some souvenirs. (I bought some Michigan maple syrup and made a note to stop at Cherry Republic later in the week.)

From there, we all went across the street to see the Soo Locks again from the Visitors Center.

The Soo Locks Visitors Center, which is a National Historic Landmark, is overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

It was expanded in 1995 and provides an excellent lesson into the history of this important waterway.

We had gone through the Locks on a boat tour the previous day, but you can see the boats go through from an observation deck (which locks more like a stadium) behind the Visitors Center.

Both the deck and the center are free of entry fees, but be sure to bring your ID because you must show it to get in.

We left the center and drove down the road to the Tower of History. This 210-foot sculpture was finished in 1968.

There is an elevator to the top, where the view is spectacular.

We were lucky to have a clear day and were able to look from various angles – inside and outside on the balcony – at Sault Ste Marie in the U.S. and its namesake in Canada.

Before we got back into our car, we also saw a beautiful rainbow in the middle of the tower.

The River of History Museum was our next stop. This museum pays tribute to the Native Americans, who were the first to live in this land.

Here you can also look at the history of the land and the water, including the glacier from 8,000 years ago that eventually formed the St. Mary’s River.

We had learned a lot about the area’s history, it was then time to have a little fun on it.

Linda took us to Birds Eye Outfitters, a conglomerate of fun under one building that includes a bar, coffee shop, restaurant, and a place to buy and rent bikes and other outdoor equipment.

Our purpose was to get kayak equipment and a guide, but first we indulged at the Superior CafĂ© there. 

The menu was quite varied, and we filled our table with a ham sandwich, pulled pork and shells with cheese and Cheetos, and a quesadilla. There was also smoothies and lattes.

Lake Superior was the major body of water we had visited and talked about while in Sault Ste Marie

Our next one was the St. Mary’s River, where our guides set us up to kayak.

We were an interesting group: Brittany, who had done it a few times before; Jamie, trying it for the first time; and me, who had kayaked quite a few times, but was no longer able to physically do much of it.
The guides were patient with all of us. I didn’t want to hold anyone back, so I decided to just do a short jaunt across the lake to Voyageur Island Park.

The park is a small island which is not a government property. It is funded by donations and taken care of by volunteers.

I found a quiet spot and enjoyed the scenery, peace, and quiet, with the exception of a few colorful birds. I also followed Jamie and Brittany with the camera as they passed around the island.

We headed back to the Superior Place after the kayaking to shower and get changed for dinner at Karl’s Cuisine.

This restaurant has its own beer and wine selection and we all really liked the White Cranberry Pinot Grigio.

I was able to enjoy the Whitefish Dip since I was assured it came directly from the lake, which has no seafood.

In addition to the food, we were able to see a beautiful sunset from the deck of the restaurant.

We finished up and enjoyed the sunset a bit longer as we walked to the car. It would be our last view of the Soo Locks of Lake Superior.

After a few hours more in the area, we’d be heading down from the Upper Peninsula to the Petoskey area the next day.

Photos and videos on this page were taken by Marcia Frost and Brittany Lambright