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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

It’s been awhile since I posted, and while I do have a huge backlog of subjects, today’s is a really recent jaunt Sam and I took over to Sault Ste. Marie.

Also known as “the Sault” (or, even just the Soo) to Michiganders, Sault Ste. Marie is a neat old town that feels far from its age (which happens to be hmmm, more than 300, since it was founded in the 1660s. Maybe 350-something years old.) The stunning stretch of history of the town is always there, just behind and beneath the new developments and updates.

We go there once in a while for business, and always look forward to finding new, cool things — because that’s what happens every time we go!

The Soo Locks as seen from the air. The shoreline view is pretty good, too.

It’s a maritime town, centered on the St. Marys River and the Soo Locks that allow Great Lakes freighters to pass between lakes Superior and Huron. (You shouldn’t need three guesses to decipher how the town got it’s name.) It has a Canadian sister city on the other side of the river; Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, which is much bigger.

The locks are a big draw, and there’s no doubt it’s pretty cool to watch the giant ore carriers pass through. There’s a phone number to call for a shipping schedule to maximize your chances of catching the show here. Or, if you have some time to kill, there’s Karl’s Cuisine restaurant overlooking the locks. Although it’s nestled next to a mini golf course and sports tourist-friendly decor, make no mistake; the chef is talented and committed to using local ingredients and foods, and it’s well worth stopping.

In the past, we’ve also enjoyed eating at Antlers, which also is by the river and has come under new ownership in recent years. The wild game lasagna is always a favorite.

But this time, it had to be Clyde’s Drive-In, which, like all great drive-ins, opened in the 1940s. Unlike many, it’s stuck around thanks to a loyal following, and burgers and fries raised to perfection. They hand-make the burger patties, use plenty of malt in their malts, and you won’t ever get a soggy or underdone fry or onion ring at Clyde’s. The small burger shack overlooks the ferry to Sugar Island, a little hamlet on the islands in the middle of the St. Mary’s River, and isn’t the easiest to find, but worth the effort.

Clyde's Drive-In. And yes, there is curbside service if you want it!

Speaking of Sugar Island, we also found an awesome new store on this visit to the Sault. It’s called Island Books and Crafts, just opened in the winter, and it’s named that because owner Les Townsend is a Sugar Islander born and bred. He’s also a fun guy to talk to, and knows quite a bit about the store’s home, a huge building on the corner of East Portage Avenue and Ashmun Street that was formerly the Sault Savings Bank. Some of the original bank marble still graces the entry. You’ll find plenty of books there, alongside the work of dozens of area crafters and artists, from handmade jewelry to pine-needle-and-agate woven baskets to gorgeous hand carved wood furniture.

I look forward to going back to the Sault and finding new things each time — It’s at the least a great day trip for U.P. residents (or for northern L.P. residents), but there’s more to do and see than you can ever do in a day, which is what makes it so much fun to keep coming back.

Where are your favorite stores and restaurants in Sault Ste. Marie? What do you look forward to doing or visiting there?

 

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I’ve mentioned before that we’ve made multiple visits to the Field Museum in Chicago, but that doesn’t stop it from making a good subject; quite the opposite.

I don’t remember the first time I personally went to the Field Museum, but it seems like it was a while ago. Maybe in high school or college. Anyway, in recent years, we’ve made it a regular destination whenever we visit Chicago for any length of time.

That’s because it has the distinction of being the museum that got Shaylyn, a.k.a. The Kid, into Egypt, and history in general. Before that, she would have much rather seen dinosaurs and natural history than archaeology exhibits.

There she is, Sue, the T-rex.

The day was just Sam, Shaylyn and I, although we met up with Jen and Andrea later on. One of the nice things about the Field Museum is that when Sam needed to answer work emails or do a little writing, there’s great Internet connectivity throughout the building, which isn’t always the case in big museums. And, there’s lots of little nooks and quiet areas to sit down in when you need a rest, as you well might.

There’s no shortage of amazing artifacts and information on all of those topics at the Field Museum, which is often known for their Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton, affectionately named Sue (She has her own Twitter, people.)

So, Sue and the ancient Egypt exhibit (thankfully a permanent display) are two of the must-see stops at the Field Museum, but there are certainly others, too.

The massive collections of animals make up whole wings of the museum, and deservedly so. It’s easy to get lost examining all the different birds, reptiles, and animals of every continent.

We spent a good chunk of the day doing just that, and took a break for lunch in the museum café, which is surprisingly well-priced considering they have something of a captive audience.

The Kid took a ton of animal photos at the Field Museum, of which this is one. I would say what they are but I really don't know, other than they appear to be some kind of goat.

Later, we made sure to hit the current special exhibit, about horses, which was packed with people, so a little hard to get through, but worthwhile. It explored the historical bond between horses and people, in a scientific yet heartstring-tugging way, which was not lost on The Kid one bit; she’s been campaigning for a horse since then. Ummm, thanks, Field Museum! Anyway, that’s running through mid-August, so check it out if you get a chance.

The special exhibit Underground Adventure also was pretty cool, especially for kids interested in bugs and plants. We had to rush through it a little in order to have enough time in the gift shop, sadly.

Anyway, the other note I have to make here is that they had a spring break membership discount that actually paid for itself on the day, with shopping discounts and a break on the admission price for our little group.

If they offer similar deals at other times of the year, don’t just assume it’s not worthwhile and walk by—do the math! It was a great value for us, and would be for anyone who visits the museum more than once in a year.

What’s your favorite Chicago museum? We might have to expand our repertoire onward from the Field in the future.

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I’d better start by introducing myself. I’m Kim, and I’m a freelance writer in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It’s that part on the map that looks like it should be part of Wisconsin, if you’re not familiar.

That part up top near Wisconsin is the U.P.!

I live up here with my fiance, Sam, and, some of the time, his daughter, Shaylyn. You can find out more about all of us on the About page, of course.

We do a good bit of traveling, mostly around the Midwest for either work or visiting family. Several times, Sam and I have thought about blogging our travels, but they didn’t fit very well with our main blog, Pen vs. Sword, so they never got written about at all.

There and Back Again will be an outlet for talking about our regular travels, plus all the travel planning we do in between. This summer, there’ll be some massive plans going on, as we get ready for our two-week road trip honeymoon around the borders of the U.S. (Awesome, right?) Maybe I’ll post other travel-related stuff I come across, too. Or not. Either way, I hope it’ll be a fun blog and maybe even useful to others who travel in the areas we do.

I’m really looking forward to the next few weeks, as we have some plans made for Shaylyn’s spring break from school, and a business trip planned after that. I hope you enjoy sharing our travels as much as I will writing about them!

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