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Posts Tagged ‘Sault Ste Marie’

If you know me, you know that I hate summer. It’s my least favorite season of all. I don’t like being hot, and I hate being chased by inquisitive, brave insects (especially those doggone wasps!). Don’t get me wrong, I love having longer periods of light, but I really just hate the hot, sticky days of summer and all those mosquitoes just waiting to bite my poor body.

Instead of grumping the whole time through summer, I try to see the positives. Summer is the time when I can hang out with my friends in a local park while my husband plays onstage with the town’s municipal band. It’s great dress-wearing weather, and I have more ability to walk outside, especially once the sun starts going down (and not freeze, that is).

Music is a super important facet of my life. Oftentimes, songs will evoke certain imagery in my head (and I try to draw them out) or the reverse will happen – an event that occurred while that song or band was playing will imprint itself on the song, and it will always have an association with that song. That’s happened quite a bit, even in the summer.

With that, here are the best 25 summertime songs for me (arranged alphabetically by title):

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PresqueIsleStateParkSo on my lunch break I decided to muse about since I forgot a book and my DS (I’m currently addicted to Plants vs. Zombies). I started looking up things to do in northern Michigan/the Upper Peninsula, and I always wondered about Marquette, MI. Last summer, my husband and I drove through the entire state of Michigan, stopping at Traverse City, St. Ignace, Sault Ste. Marie, Tahquamenon Falls, and Munising, I believe. We had to go to the other side of the U.P. to get through Wisconsin, though, and so we didn’t have enough time to explore the western side of the U.P.

I stumbled upon reviews from tripadvisor.com and saw everyone clamoring about Presque Island State Park north of Marquette. After reading so many positive reviews, I decided to Google it for images.

Um, yeah. I’m totally going there next time. Do you SEE all that gorgeous water? I adore Lake Superior and want to be super close to it, so I think this is a must-see place!

What do you think? Also, if you have any other suggestions about where my husband and I should go in Michigan, both the U.P. and the Lower Peninsula, I will be happy to take suggestions, even for places we’ve already visited! 🙂

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On my way to work the other day, I decided to put in one of my favorite discs, Greetings From Michigan, The Great Lakes State! by Sufjan Stevens. It’s one of those discs that when played, especially in nice weather, it takes me back to that wonderful place in time in which my husband and I visited the beautiful state of Michigan. One song particularly took me back to two of my favorite locations in Michigan – “Sleeping Bear, Sault Ste. Marie.”

I really feel as if Sufjan does a fantastic job capturing these two fantastic locations, places that I can never forget for many reasons. Since listening to the song, I long to stand on the warm, soft sands of Sleeping Bear, west of Traverse City. I desire to stand on one of those beautiful sand dunes to see the glorious Lake Michigan below me. I’d give about anything to slip silently into the lake once more and allow it to gently jostle and move me around in its undulating waves.

I’m sad that I didn’t get to spend as much time as I wanted to in either location. I would’ve scoured the western beaches of Michigan and stolen a few hours away to swim and lounge by the lake. I would’ve dug a bit deeper into the very old history of Sault Ste. Marie, and I definitely would have gotten my passport and traveled for some time into Canada, visiting the “other” Sault Ste. Marie. I would have taken more time to take in all of the smells, the hues of the sky and the lakes, and the feel of the wind blowing my hair in the breezy, mild July weather. I would give anything to go back.

But until I do get the opportunity to journey northward, I must allow myself to bask in the happy memories that I shared with my husband. I will look at the bottles of Lake Superior sand on my desk with great fondness. I will gaze longingly at the photos I took of the beautiful state. And I will listen to this disc again and again and again, especially to this song.

Take a listen to this tune and see what you think!

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Empire, MichiganExcuse me while I daydream about the Great Lakes State for a bit!

Sometimes when I’m driving to or from work (which is an hour-long commute one way), I pretend like I’m taking the back roads and Interstates of Michigan on the way to something more fun, somewhere like Traverse City, St. Ignace, Sault Ste. Marie, or somewhere by one of the beautiful Great Lakes. *sigh* One day I’ll go back. 🙂

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Isle RoyaleThere are a lot of places I honestly would love to see. I’d like to travel around the entire United States to see it all. I’d like to check out Tierra del Fuego in Argentina or maybe even Antarctica or France. But only 7 places top my “must-see” list.

Here are my top 7 must-see places that I have to visit before I exit this life and enter the next!

Isle Royale and Mackinac Island – As you probably know by now, I’ve been to most of Michigan as of last summer when my husband and I went on an epic road trip throughout the state, both LP and UP. I still want to see many other locations in Michigan for sure, including the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, but I definitely want to set sail and check out the famous Mackinac Island and the hidden gem that is Isle Royal. Who could resist the fudge and fantastic history of Mackinac Island? I also want to wander through Isle Royale in beautiful Lake Superior; I would do pretty much anything to see a wolf, and I would also love to see foxes and moose as well! Maybe one day I’ll convince my husband to take me up there!

Canada – I’ve been relatively close to Canada a few times, but I’ve never been able to cross over into the country since I didn’t have a passport (that needs to be rectified soon). It was so cool to see Sault Ste. Marie, Canada practically a football field away (or so it seems) from where I was standing in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. I want to check out Toronto, Vancouver, and all the fun, off-the-beaten-path places up north. I bet they’re beautiful!

Northern Lights in AlaskaAlaska – Many people I know keep saying, “OMG, I wanna go to Hawaii! Hawaii’s the bomb! YEAH!” I say forget Hawaii; take me to Alaska instead! Let me see the glaciers and the wolves and moose. Allow me to bask in the beauty of the Northern Lights that gleam and dazzle at night. And send me to the very tip-top of Alaska to a little place called Barrow so that I may say that I’ve pretty much been to the top of the world.

Yellowstone – When I visited the wolves in Missouri in December, the other couple that was on the tour with my husband and me told us over and over again that we had to go to Yellowstone to see the Druid Pack run wild throughout the land. Since that encounter, I’ve been giving that more thought and have established that yes, indeed, we need to go there sometime soon. I’d love to see the geysers, walk the trails, check out the mountains and springs, and of course, view the wolves in a wild.

Japan – I had lived in Okinawa for three years when I was a toddler. My dad was in the Marine Corps, so we were stationed at Kinser for three years. I don’t remember too much of Okinawa, Japan. Most of my memories come from photos and videos of the place, but I do remember walking to preschool every day with my dad, playing games on the computer with my big brother, and sleeping in the bottom bunk in my sister’s room. I would love to go back to see if I could remember anything of Okinawa, and I definitely want to visit the mainland, from Hokkaido all the way down to, well, Okinawa. I’d have to bring an extra suitcase with me, though, because I love anime and manga and pretty much all things Japanese. 😉

Ireland – Who doesn’t want to see Ireland? It’s a land of such rich hues of green that doesn’t even exist here in the United States. My sister had visited Ireland once and took lots of pictures; it’s probably one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever seen, and I want to see it for my own eyes. That and well, I’m half-Irish, so I kinda have to go, right? RIGHT?!

Comerica ParkA Tigers Game Somewhere – All right, this is technically not a place, but I’d love to go SOMEWHERE to see a Tigers baseball game. The only time I’ve been to a baseball game was when I had to go with my high school chorus to sing in the 7th inning stretch, and honestly, I was focused way too much on the heights to notice anything. That, and well, I really, really, REALLY don’t like the Cardinals. I’m pretty positive, though, that my husband is going to take us to a Tigers baseball game in Kansas City this summer, either in July or September. Trust me, it’s lots closer to us than Detroit, though I’d really love to go there to see a Tigers game, too. *sigh* 🙂

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Happy Birthday, Michigan!So today is Michigan’s 176th birthday! Dang, Michigan, you’re old!

As many of you probably already know, my husband and I visited this beautiful state for the first time this past July, and it really turned out to be an even more beautiful state than I had imagined. So in honor of Michigan’s birthday today, I want to quickly recount 5 of my favorite Michigan experiences!

1. Climbing the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes Near Traverse City – This was probably the biggest event in my life thus far that really tested my physical (and mental) fortitude. My goal was to climb the giant sand dune, thinking that we’d see Lake Michigan right on the other side. Noooooope. Not even close. I dragged my poor husband up and down 3 more gigantic sand dunes, and I went on down and then up one more mountain-like sand dune by myself to see if the lake would be right there. It wasn’t, unfortunately, but I could see it. I think I was maybe half of a mile away from the shoreline. Instead of pushing onward against the setting sun, I stood still and took in my surroundings, letting the serene silence soak in everything around me. All that could be heard was the gentle breeze tangling through the grass and tree limbs and maybe an occasional buzz of a lazy insect.

Getting back, however, was so much harder. It was a breeze to clumsily trot down the sand dune, but the climb up was perhaps one of the most tiring thing I’ve ever done, especially since all I had in my stomach that day was half of a cheeseburger from McDonald’s and sparse amount of water, and of course, I brought nothing with me. My limbs were so weak and shaky as I crawled up the insanely steep dune, and I wondered for a short while if I would die. Luckily, I was able to make it back to my worried husband, and we trudged our way back to the car in the dying light.

Those dunes showed me that I am much more capable of doing pretty much anything I set my mind to, and I am forever grateful for that, especially since at that time I was suffering from a significant lack of confidence. I will forever love those dunes. 🙂

2. Crossing the Mighty Mac – Did I ever mention how afraid of heights I am? Well, if not, know this – I am TERRIFIED of heights. Even if it’s just a few feet off the ground, I feel really uncomfortable. When I learned that the Mighty Mac was 5 miles long and 199 feet above the straits, I got a bit apprehensive. What if the wind is really bad? What if there’s a traffic jam on the bridge and we’re stuck on it? I get so anxious when I have to sit on bridges over bodies of water, especially if it’s raining and I’m surrounded by semis.

When I first saw the bridge in the distance, I was in awe and fear at the same time. I was hoping maybe to stop in Mackinaw City to get myself ready to tackle the scary bridge, but before I knew it, we were traveling to the U.P. on the bridge, leaving the ground and hovering above the Great Lakes. The special radio station that talked about the bridge played tinkling, easy-listening piano music as the narrator softly talked about the features and history of the bridge. I got the courage to look around me, and what I saw was breath-takingly beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes. The bridge was a little scary, but I’m much, much less afraid than what I used to be and would be happy to cross it again if the opportunity ever arrives. 🙂

3. Staying the Night Right Beside Lake Huron – After crossing the Mighty Mac, we stopped in our next destination – St. Ignace – a place that was named after my patron saint (St. Ignatius of Loyola). Our hotel was located RIGHT on the shore of Lake Huron. Though it was near the end of the day and was a drizzly icky day, the view was gorgeous. The laps against the shoreline made it seem as if we were right next to the ocean. For hours, we were able to keep a window open as we watched the Tigers game and ate Yooper pizza, listening to the gentle Lake Huron lap a stone’s throw away.

4. Checking Out the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie (and Waving Hello to Canada!) – I’ll admit it. I was kinda unconvinced at the time about the Soo Locks. I thought it would be kinda lame to see them. I’ll have to say, though, that it was super cool to see tour boat and a huge ship come through the locks and travel into Lake Superior. My husband said that he really enjoyed seeing how the locks worked and was happy we stopped. It was also really cool to see Canada so close to us. I have never been to Canada before, and I hope to do so sometime! We also watched all of the cars packed on the International Bridge coming in and out of the countries. Before leaving the Soo, we stopped in a store across the street and grabbed a bunch of states magnets, grabbing all the ones we visited. Reluctantly, we left westward through the remaining peninsula, waving hello and then good-bye to neighboring Canada and vowing to be back someday to visit.

5. Finding Out the Detroit Isn’t Nearly as Terrifying as I Thought –Okay… I know I’m very inexperienced about cities, especially Detroit, so please don’t be mad at what I’m about to say. I think Detroit gets such a bad rap. Sure, some things are kind of sketchy there, and yeah, there’s a decent amount of crime, but I believe there are still many good things that happen in that city. When we were getting ready to visit Detroit on our 2nd day of being in the state, I was so apprehensive. I had never been there and didn’t know what to expect, worried that we’d be accosted by someone. Once we got there, though, we went to Comerica Park to just walk around and check out the store, even though it was the park itself was closed that day. It was great to see the giant tiger statue and all the cool baseball stuff. Though we didn’t stay very long in Detroit (let’s face it – we only went to Comerica, drove around downtown for a bit, and that was about it before we almost accidentally went into Canada), I would give it another shot. The city was quiet and clean in the parts we were in, and the people we talked to seemed really pleasant. It seemed a lot like St. Louis, a city that I’m pretty used to, and I would definitely come back. 🙂

Oh, and I definitely want to see a Tigers game in the Motor City.

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The Upper PeninsulaSo yesterday I promised that I would talk about Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula and how much it rocks. I only got to spend one night and one day in the U.P., but in that short amount of time, I had fallen in love with the land. I truly wish I had a few more days to stay and explore the U.P., as the natives call it.

Anyhow, here are my favorite parts about the U.P., or at least the parts I got to see.

View of Lake HuronSt. Ignace, MI – I was already excited to visit St. Ignace since I learned it was named after my patron saint of choice, St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. It’s also the very first place you encounter right after you pass over the Mighty Mac and enter the Upper Peninsula. The road we traveled to our beautiful hotel wound right around Lake Huron, and our 3rd floor room overlooked the Great Lake AND Mackinac Island, and perhaps the most peaceful part of the trip was sitting on the balcony and listening to the laps of the lake meet with the earth.

The next morning right before we left to travel northbound, we tried so hard to find the Mighty Mac and take pictures of it. We tried entering a park, but it had cost to get in, and sadly, I hadn’t done any research on where to go to see the bridge on the U.P. side. So…. we improvised!

The Mighty Mac from the U.P.Guided by my iPhone’s map, I tried to direct my husband where to drive to see it. Well, we found an opening that allowed us a glimpse of the bridge and the straits. But… well, it was at the end of a graveyard.

Yeah, it was a little awkward walking through a random graveyard, which was wet and slippery from the rain the day before, but it was worth it for the view!

The Soo LocksSault Ste. Marie – Okay, I’ll admit it, there was a weird part of me that was very curious, excited, and terrified to see this place. I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve never been that far north before or if it’s because there’s a possibility of driving into another country (without passports, mind you). That and, well, the unknown is unsettling to me. I didn’t know what to expect! But really, this quiet place was pretty nice. We got to see the famous Soo Locks and see the tour boat go through the canals and into Lake Superior, AND we got to see the Walter J. McCarthy, which was the size of the Empire State Building, go through the canal, too!

Before leaving Sault Ste. Marie, we ran across the street from the Soo Locks and raided a large, K-Mart-like gift store. We decided on a whim to start collecting magnets of the places we’ve visited collectively, so we gathered about 26 or so states. After that, we bade farewell to Sault Ste Marie and the very close by Canada. One day, I’ll visit you, other Sault Ste Marie, haha!

Tahquamenon FallsTahquamenon Falls – For whatever reason, I hadn’t realized that there were two separate falls; I thought Tahquamenon Falls was one big ol’ fall. So you can imagine my disappointment when we found the “smaller” falls at first. I wanted so badly to see the Upper Tahquamenon Falls, and luckily for us, it was right on the way! Both sets of falls were beautiful, and I wish we could’ve done some hiking, but it was getting late. So instead we spent some time awing over the falls and went and bought a Petoskey stone from within one of the gift shops!

Lake Superior – It’s true; I love all of the Great Lakes, but only two lakes really steal away my heart immediately – Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. We actually were able to steal a glimpse of the lake when we traveled through Paradise, Michigan, and it was just such a calming shade of endless blue. We visited Lake Superior for real shortly east of Munistee, MI, which is very close to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. I begged my husband to stop, even though it was about 3:30 in the afternoon and we needed to get to Sheboygan Falls, WI by 8 p.m. or so to reach our next destination – a bed and breakfast. We were only able to spend 20 minutes or so at the first shore of Lake Superior. To the east, I could see a glimpse of the gorgeous Pictured Rocks in hues of red, yellow, orange, and brown. How I wish we could’ve hiked by Miner Falls and Miner Castle! But alas. I made my husband promise to take me back to Michigan so we could do that next time, though!

Running Toward Lake SuperiorAnyway, Lake Superior was very warm that day. I read that it was the warmest that day than it has been in a century. Can you imagine that?! When I ran to the lake, I was greeted with endless sparkling blue water and pristine golden sands. The tall, soft grass bent gently in the wind and I dipped my feet in the Great Lake. It had been a dream of mine to actually get to swim in a Great Lake, let alone dip my feet in one, and here I was doing it for the first time in Lake Superior, perhaps the most mystical and glorious lake of them all. I nearly cried from joy of accomplishing my dream and at the sensation of the cool water pooling around my legs and flowing away, leaving my toes dug awkwardly in the wet sand below.

Lake SuperiorIn fact, I was so touched that I wanted to bring a piece of the lake back with me somehow. A memory I could preserve forever. So my husband, bless him, took an older dried-out water bottle from the trip and filled with the sand surrounding the lake. When we got home, I put the sand in 3 bottles – one for my mom, one for my desk at work, and a heart-shaped bottle for us to display in the living room at home.

I loved my trip to Michigan so much. I can’t wait to really write about all of it; I only hit on 2 days of my journey. Well, 2 and a half, I guess. I want to tell you all about my experience swimming in Lake Michigan in Wisconsin, but I might have to wait for a bit. Tomorrow is my birthday, and I’ll be celebrating with my mom and also with my husband, once he gets done with an extracurricular work duty of his. The next day, I will be visiting some wonderful wolves in a nearby state in an endangered center, so I’ll be busy! I’ll keep you posted on the wolves, and I’ll share my next stories about Lake Michigan and Wisconsin, too!

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my stories! It means a lot to me, and I can’t wait to share more with you! 🙂

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