Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Our Time in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan

We have spent the last week in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, known as the Sault (or Soo) by the locals. We are staying at the city operated campground, Aune-Osborn, on the St. Mary’s River. Our views include the ship and barge traffic that come through the the Soo Locks. Not bad :)


We arrived just in time for the annual Downtown Days. Several blocks of downtown were blocked off to traffic and everything from live music to jewelry to food could be found.

Downtown Days in Sault Ste Marie

Notice the Yooper dogs?  We had already eaten or I might have tried one of those :)


They had a great petting zoo for the kiddo’s too.

Petting Zoo

Sault Ste Marie is home to the famous Soo Locks which connects lake traffic between Lake Superior and Lake Huron via the St Mary’s River.


A thick layer of bedrock holds back the waters of Lake Superior where it joins the St Mary’s River. This creates a 21 foot drop. From Wikipedia: “The Soo Locks are a set of parallel locks which enable ships to travel from Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes. They are located on the St. Marys River between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, between the Upper Peninsula of the US state of Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario. They bypass the rapids of the river, where the water falls 21 feet.”

The locks operate 10 months of the year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and complete over 7000 lockages during this time. Over 22 million gallons of water move through the Lock every time a boat is raised or lowered. It takes Freighters about 9 hours to pass through the 63 mile long St Mary’s River.


Across the St. Mary’s River is Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. From our campground, we are about 5 miles from the SSM Ontario Visitor’s Center.


But first, we must pay a $3.50 toll to go over the bridge. Look at the traffic coming back! Glad we are going in the other direction :)


Once we cross the bridge we waited in line (short) for Canadian Customs to check our passports and allow us entry into Canada.


A quick stop at the Visitor’s Center gave us enough info for an afternoon walking the boardwalk and exploring the downtown area on foot.


Coming back, the line was shorter than we had seen earlier. Getting through US Customs went quickly. Then, we paid another $3.50 for coming back on the bridge. They got us coming and they got us going :)

One of the “local and historical delicacies” in the UP is a Pasty (pronounced pass-tee) which is a pastry filled with beef, pork, onions, carrots, potatoes etc. and served with gravy. The easiest way to explain a pasty is a pot pie without the pot.

We chose Franks Place in SSM to sample a Pasty. Well, I had the pasty and Rick had liver and onions :)


It vaguely reminded me of the French Canadian Meat Pie that I have been introduced to by Rick’s family (and have made and eaten many times and love), but it was different, interesting and quite good. Pasties came to the UP from Cornwall, England with the immigrant miners.

Today was our last day in Sault Ste Marie. We enjoyed the beautiful, sunny weather and RIck tried his hand at Michigan fishing. So far, no luck :)


Tomorrow, we move on to St Ignace and Mackinac Island. Stay tuned :)

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle


  1. You are having such a nice summer :-) Pasties are soooo good!

  2. We hope to get to the Sault Ste Marie area and Machinac Island one day. We've never tasted a Pasty, looks pretty good.

  3. We really enjoyed this area and can't wait to get back.

  4. Love that campground! This brings back old times. I use to travel occasionally on some of the lakers, when they transited the locks. A whole different view:) Looks like you have had fun there.

  5. We haven't been to Soo so thanks for the preview and campground recomendation. $7 to go to Canada, not bad. :-)

  6. I remember going to SSM with my parents about 40+ years ago... hope to get back there again! We'll have to try a pasty, it sure looks good.

  7. The locks are amazing!! Looks like you are having amazing weather also:o)) Safe Travels and keep having fun!!

  8. Pot pie without the pot sounds pretty good to me. I'm hungry!


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