June 22 2017

A Walk Through Central Park – First Impressions in New York City

a walk through central park

We’re pretty sure that a walk through Central Park is mandatory for anyone visiting New York City for the first time. Located in the heart of Manhattan, you actually can’t believe just how huge the park is without actually seeing it in person. (We got a great view of it from the Top of the Rock which we visited just moments before). It width spans from 5th Ave to 8th Ave and its length runs from 59th street to 110th street (843 acres) and it is almost 160 years old. The park is made up of hundreds of trails that criss-cross and curve in every direction. We could probably spend days, if not weeks, exploring every trail in Central Park… but since we had a destination to reach, we only got a small taste of what Central Park had to offer.

 

 

a walk through central park

Our journey began at the southeastern corner of the park off of 5th Ave. We walked along 59th street where we were mobbed by hundreds of people with signs for carriage rides, bike rides, tours… you name it. It’s very difficult to plot a course through Central Park if you’ve never been there so we opted to stick with the main roads whenever possible.  We entered the park at Center Drive and followed the street around for the first leg of our journey.

 

a walk through central park

It was pretty amazing how busy the park was… and it was still pretty early in the day (around 10am on a Saturday in May). Runners everywhere, bikes whizzing by, group yoga or other types of boot camps… basically as hectic as the rest of New York only with more nature lol.

 

a walk through central park

We used obvious landmarks to navigate such as the Olmsted Flower Bed which let us know we needed to turn and go up the path to The Mall. We took this path until it ended at the Bethesda Fountain. This was a rather beautiful stop which overlooked the lake to the Loeb Boathouse. For whatever reason, the fountain wasn’t on while we were there… (maybe too early in the year??) but the view was still stunning none the less.

 

a walk through central park

From there we crossed the Bow Bridge and followed the paths along the lake until we finally reached (what we thought was) the 79th Street Transverse. We had planned on making a stop at Belvedere Castle but since we were running behind on our travel schedule we opted to skip that and continue on towards the American Natural History Museum.

 

a walk through central park

We continued walking down this path for about 10 minutes or so before we realized that we actually were walking down West drive and was pretty much heading back the direction that we came lol. With a quick course adjustment (thanks to Google maps) we were back on track and wound up ending our Central Park excursion at W 77th St.

In the end we only walked about a third of the length of the park… and of that we barely scratched the surface of all of the sights available within that area. Still… it was a beautiful experience and we had a lovely time walking through Central Park!

 

a walk through central park

 

Final Thoughts:

Betsy –  After going to the Top of the Rock and walking past giant buildings it almost felt like we had stepped into a different world in Central Park. For me it was the best of both worlds as I have a great love for nature and I also enjoy big cities. And as newlyweds what could be more romantic than a walk through central park? Nothing, that’s what.

 

Chris – To me, Central Park was pretty surreal. The landscaping is definitely not “natural” although it seems they were trying to mimic a natural setting. I really loved the views with the large buildings in the background though… that’s definitely a sight you can’t get anywhere else!

Category: New York, Sight Seeing | Comments Off on A Walk Through Central Park – First Impressions in New York City
June 20 2017

Top of the Rock – A Visit to Rockefeller Center – New York

 

top of the rock nyc review

 

The first stop on our ambitious 24 Hours in New York City trip took us to the Top of the Rock observation deck at Rockefeller Center. The Top of the Rock is highly rated on most of the travel websites that we use… even beating out the iconic Empire State Building observation deck on TripAdvisor. While the cost to get to the top is $34 if purchased separately, there are many discount passes that include admission to this historic landmark including: CityPASS, Smart Destinations, and the New York Pass. For this particular trip we used the New York Pass, however, we have used the other 2 companies on our other adventures and were very pleased with them.

 

top of the rock nyc review

 

Our Experience:

We visited “The Rock” on a Saturday morning in May and the weather was absolutely beautiful. The entrance wasn’t difficult to find: it’s on 50th Street, right across from the Radio City Music Hall, and says quite plainly “Observation Deck” right above the doors. Inside you make your way through a beautiful lobby to get to the ticketing area. There is security screening prior to entering so be prepared to put your bags, keys, camera, and phone through the scanner. We found this to be a very smooth operation at this time of day as the crowds were light so we were to the elevator and on our way up to the top in no time.

 

top of the rock nyc review

Once at the top you find yourself in a lobby-type area which it seemed most people mistook for the observation deck. They were crowding the windows taking pictures when just a few steps away was the real attraction. Outside the doors you were immediately treated to a clean, unobstructed view of the city around you. There are multiple levels, each with a better view than the level before, ending finally at a small deck at the top of some stairs where (at the time) very few tourists had gathered.

 

top of the rock nyc review

We took dozens of photos of the surrounding city and pointed out the various stops we were going to make during the day. There was a gift shop at the top, however it was pretty small and crowded… we had noticed that there was another gift shop near the exit on the way out so we skipped over this one. In total we spent maybe a half hour on the observation deck… sure you could relax up there and take in the view for hours but when you have other things to do you need to keep moving.

 

top of the rock nyc review

On the way out we stopped in the gift shop which had a decent selection of souvenirs and picked up a little something to remember our stop. From there we must have made wrong turn because instead of an exit we found ourselves in a shopping mall. We wandered down a few hallways looking for a way out which we eventually found… on the opposite side of the building. This was actually convenient for us because it let us out right in the Prometheus statue which is something we wanted to check out while we were here. Also, as luck would have it, there was a special exhibit called the “Seated Ballerina” which was a 45 foot tall inflatable ballerina located just above the statue plaza. This was quite an amazing sight and the perfect ending to our Rockefeller Center visit.

 

top of the rock nyc review

Final Thoughts:

Betsy – This was the perfect way to start the day. No crowds, great view and great company. It is a must see when you are in NYC.

 

Chris – There’s just something about city views that I absolutely love! Actually I know what that something is… the photos!! I love the kind of photo you can only get from high up in a major city. Yes, I love the view and exploring the city from up above …plus you can’t argue that it’s pretty romantic to take in the scenery with your significant other 🙂

October 8 2014

Making The Most Of A Day In Chicago – Travel

chicago

Recently we packed up and took a weekend trip to Illinois. We like to think of Chicago as our home away from home so we made sure to set aside a day to visit the city. There is so much to do and see in this great big city it can be overwhelming for a first time visitor. We wanted to show how much is possible to do in just a single day so get your walking shoes on because we are going to cover a LOT of territory!

chicago skyline

Places To Stay: There are no shortage of hotels in Chicago! On a previous trip we stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel which was right in the heart of everything. This was convenient for us because we were spending several days in the city so it eliminated all commute time. However, hotel rooms in the city go for a premium and since the rest of our trip was elsewhere we chose to stay outside of town where the room rates are more reasonable.

Parking: Now that you have a place to stay let’s talk about parking. If you have never been to Chicago before you may not know that parking can be a HUGE challenge in the city. Much like hotel rooms, parking rates can fluctuate quite severely. If you’re not careful you could wind up paying more to park than it costs you to sleep. I would highly recommend reserving you parking ahead of time with an online service. We prefer “Spot Hero” although there are others to choose from. With Spot Hero we chose which attraction we wanted to be closest to and then had it search out the best deal. This trip, for example, cost us $12 for the day at a garage a little under a mile from where we wanted to go. As we ventured around the city we saw signs for as much as $25 per day so it definitely pays off to use this service. *NOTE* Most parking garages do NOT have “in-out” privileges so once you park you can not leave and return without paying again.

Getting Around: While there are plenty of taxis throughout the city that can get expensive… and traffic is HORRIBLE! Get stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time and you will be paying someone yet no going anywhere. We prefer to walk it! Almost everything is within walking distance in the downtown area. Make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes though because you will be putting on some miles for the day. On one trip we entertained the thought of taking a shuttle bus down to the Navy Pier but opted to walk it instead… not only did we get there faster, we did everything we came to do and left before the shuttle even made it.

cloud gate chicago

Sightseeing: There are tons of things to do and see in Chicago: Museums, Restaurants, Shopping, Parks, Sculptures, and of course Views from the tops of very high buildings. If you plan on doing alot we highly recommend purchasing a CityPass.
Chicago CityPASS
With the CityPass we were able to see 5 of the city’s most popular attractions for half the price, not to mention all of the extra benefits and discounts that come with it. Since we were tight on time, the “line jumper” option was the best value of all which allowed us to skip the general public lines and walk right in.

So are you ready to hear about our day? Well here it goes:

chicago museums

 

We arrived in Chicago just before 11am. Parking was easy since we had pre-paid and the GPS took us right to it. Our first stop was also our favorite stop (all will be featured in their own posts) at the Shedd Aquarium. The CityPass allowed us to jump the line and get right in. It also gave us access to the special exhibits that cost extra for everyone else (except the animal show which was an additional $2 per-person). Since we had been here before we only spent about 2 hours walking around. From there we went to the Adler Planetarium which is just a short walk away. This was a first for both of us so we didn’t know what to expect. It was nice but more geared towards children so we walked the place and took in one of our included shows before leaving after an hour and a half. Third we hit the Field Museum which was also in the same general area so there wasn’t much walking at all to be done. The exhibits here had changed alot so it was almost like the first time… we visited the special exhibits included with our CityPass but not the shows… again spending about 2 hours inside.

From there we had quite a hike ahead of us to get to the SkyDeck so we hit “Cloud Gate” aka “The Bean” and stopped for dinner at Giordano’s for some famous Chicago-style pizza. At the SkyDeck we skipped the 45 minute wait and got right up to the top… again the passes are awesome! After taking in the view, we had another hike to get to Chicago 360 at the top of the John Hancock building for some stunning night views. After that, we had a quick stop at Ghiradelli for dessert before making the trek back to the car and calling it a day. *phew*

chigagoNot once did we ever feel rushed, even after all of that. Since we had been here already we were mostly just revisiting our favorite sights. Plus with the money we saved on admission we didn’t necessarily have to use all of our tickets. If we ran out of time we would still wind up on top cost wise. Chicago is an awesome city! If we have it our way we will come back and visit every year (very do-able since it’s only a 5 hour drive for us)

If you’re planning a Chicago visit, seriously consider getting a CityPass. We’ve used them in several cities and liked them so much that we became an affiliate because hey …if you’re going to sing praises for a product, you might as well try to make a buck off of it too! Clicking on our banner below does not affect your price in any way shape or form: you get the same great deal we got, they give us a couple bucks (literally) for sending business their way. If you want to learn more about the attractions visited, stay updated with our blog as we write about each in greater detail.

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Category: Chicago, Illinois, Sight Seeing | Comments Off on Making The Most Of A Day In Chicago – Travel
September 17 2014

Art Institute Of Chicago – Travel Guide *BackTrack*

 

 

art institute chicago

This post is part of our “BackTrack” series where we write about places we have visited pre-blog. We are focusing on Chicago in preparation for our upcoming return visit. Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.

art institute chicago

The Art Institute Of Chicago is arguably THE greatest art museum in the United States. If you are a fan of the arts and have the means, we HIGHLY recommend you see this museum at least once in your lifetime. Located in the heart of the city, this unmistakable landmark building is a work of art all in itself. Inside you will find highly recognizable works from just about all of the great masters.

art institute chicago

General admission is $23 for non-residents or $33 for a “fast pass” admission which enables you to skip the entrance lines and get expedited access to special exhibits. We, however, purchased a CityPass which granted us all of the “fast pass” privileges PLUS entrance to 4 other major Chicago attractions. Another option is the Smart Destinations  GOChicago Card which we did not use but have purchased from this company in other cities. Both discount options have their strengths and weaknesses which you should weigh when visiting a city that offers a choice. If you plan on visiting multiple attractions these are a MUST HAVE! They save you both time and money and you may just visit something you wouldn’t have otherwise …creating a new and unique experience.

art institute chicago

One of the things we did on our trip to Chicago was take the “Ferris Bueller Tour” (created by Chris) which included a stop to the Art Institute in order to recreate such iconic scenes as the “stained glass window kiss”. Don’t remember it? It’s a thing …seriously …Google it! Anyways it was difficult because we did it selfie style and there were crowds of people so it was slightly awkward at the same time lol.

art institute chicago

The museum itself is HUGE! You could spend days in there studying all of the art. It’s separated into several wings that house different genres, styles, or art medium. You could easily get lost or miss an entire section if you’re not careful. While we enjoy looking at art… we are not ones to sit and study them all. We are more of the “ok seen it move on” types so we were able to knock out the entire place in only a few short hours.

art institute chicago

As much as we would like to visit the museum again on our return trip, we are buying the CityPass again and you must choose between this and the Adler Planetarium. Since neither of us have been to the planetarium we decided it would be worth the sacrifice in order to experience somewhere new. And subsequently be able to write about yet another great Chicago attraction. If you plan on visiting The Windy City, I highly recommend you purchase a CityPass… preferably from our site using one of the links provided as it helps offset our travel costs and it is GREATLY appreciated!
Buy Your Chicago CityPASS Here!

Category: Chicago, Illinois, museum, Sight Seeing | Comments Off on Art Institute Of Chicago – Travel Guide *BackTrack*
August 28 2014

Petoskey, Mi – Travel

petoskey michigan

On our way home from our weekend trip up north we managed to squeeze in one last stop for a bit of sight seeing and some lunch in Petoskey!

petoskey michigan

Petoskey is a very scenic town with several points of interest. The first of which is Bay View. Bay View is a community on the east side of Petoskey that is filled with Victorian homes. It is fun just to drive through to look at all of them as they are quite beautiful. An interesting tidbit about Bay View is that it was founded in 1875 by a group of Methodists who initially used the area as a retreat. The retreat grew into the community it is today and you must actually belong to a Christian based faith in order to have a house there. The community does close up in the Fall and Winter so during that time the houses are boarded up and not in use.

petoskey michigan

After we drove through Bay View we made our way to Petoskey’s Bay Front Park. It is a must stop when you are in Petoskey as it offers great views of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay. In addition to great views, the park has playgrounds, walking paths, baseball fields, volleyball courts, a marina and so much more! From the Bay Front Park you can take the Pedestrian Tunnel to Petoskey’s downtown area called the Gas Light District.

petoskey michigan

 

The Gas Light District is home to many stores and restaurants unlike any that you will find anywhere else as a majority of them are independent and not affiliated with any chain. It is so refreshing to go somewhere and experience something outside of the typical chain stores and restaurants. Not to mention the Gas Light district is very scenic and pedestrian friendly. It really is a great place to spend an afternoon!

petoskey michigan

The Opinions

Betsy: Petoskey was pretty much a second home to me growing up because we would go there to do some shopping and to eat out at restaurants. As I got older I attended a community college in Petoskey and my jobs that I had while in college were in Petoskey as well. I had always been a fan of the Bay Front park and would sometimes stop in if I had extra time between classes or before work. Back then I took those views for granted but now I know just how lucky I was to see all of that beauty on a daily basis.

Chris: While I don’t feel the same connection that Betsy does to Petoskey, it still holds a special place in my heart. We visited here 2 years ago on our first trip together and we spent the day walking hand-in-hand by the water and searching for the ever elusive Petoskey stone. We took this photo and I’m still as very much in love with her now as I was back then. Every time I see this photo I can still transport back to that very moment in my head and it makes me feel warm inside.

petoskey michigan

 

August 27 2014

The Headlands – International Dark Sky Park – Emmet County, Michigan

dark sky park

Overview:

The Headlands is a park located just a straight shot down Central Ave west of Mackinaw City. The park itself has a number of trails for hiking and such but it also boasts one unique feature: the International Dark Sky Park. So what is a dark sky park exactly? It is a park that has been designed specifically for star-gazing that has met very specific standards of light pollution or “dark sky” if you will. It is open 24 hours a day and visitors are encouraged to stay till all hours of the night. They hold programs and events regularly so check their website for details.

the headlands dark sky park

The Specifics:

We had heard of the Dark Sky Park prior to our trip up north so we figured we would go check it out. If you go after dark it is easy to drive right past it as the entrance is a bit hidden and the sign for it is set back off the road. When we returned in the daylight to grab a few pictures it was much easier to spot. To get to the Sky Park you must drive down an extremely narrow winding road. It is the only way in or out so I would suggest not trying to drive anything over-sized into the park. On several occasions we had to pull over and hug the side of the road to let traffic get by as it is not wide enough for 2 lanes. There is a small parking lot at the end of the road and a small dim-lit path to a great field overlooking the water. The grass seemed soft and well maintained and the view can not be beat!

Unfortunately, we happened to visit the park during a “super moon” which was an extremely bright full moon that overpowered everything and drowned out the stars. There was a man there with a telescope talking to the crowd about various things that would have been visible in the sky (had the moon not been so bright) and encouraged everyone to make use of his telescope to see the moon closer. He seemed to be a worker or a volunteer of some sort and seemed to be very enthusiastic. He was great to listen to!

We didn’t stay long, the moon was interesting but we wanted to see stars. Next time we are up that way we hope that the conditions will be more conducive to star-gazing so we can go back for another visit.

the headlands dark sky park

The Opinions:

Betsy: It was a little creepy driving down the narrow road to the Dark Sky Park when we first went at night because 1) there were wood cut outs of people which made you think that they were real people and 2) the road was very very narrow and difficult to traverse when a car was coming in the opposite direction. We were all a bit disappointed that we were not able to see any stars but it was still  a neat experience overall.

Chris: I like the concept of the Dark Sky Park, however, while trying to find it we wound up in an equally nice scenic spot that we could have had all to ourselves. I will definitely go back again when the conditions are right but to an amateur city-boy like me I’m sure just about any place out in the sticks would suffice lol.

August 22 2014

Pictured Rocks – Munising, Michigan – Travel Guide

munising michigan

Overview:

About a 2 hour drive northwest of the Mackinaw Bridge will bring you to Munising, Michigan: Home of the Pictured Rocks. Actually, Munising is much more than just a beautiful shoreline. In fact, they also have 17 waterfalls, 8 lighthouses (not all open to the public), boat tours, and a nice little downtown area full of restaurants and shopping. On this leg of our trip we were supposed to end the day with a sunset cruise to view the Pictured Rocks from the water. We didn’t, however, think to purchase our tickets in advance and got there only to find out that they had sold out. At a loss on what to do now… we quickly devised a land tour and set off to see what Munising had to offer.

Munising Michigan

Munising Falls:

Our first stop was to Munising Falls, just a short drive from the downtown area. It is free to the public and has a nice little walking trail and 3 different viewing areas. The waterfall itself was somewhat small as far as water goes but the scenery and quiet setting can’t be beat! It was definitely worth the stop.

Munising Michigan

Miners Falls:

Our second stop was to Miners Falls. To get there we traveled down a VERY dusty dirt road that kicked up a cloud. All of the surrounding trees and plant life were just coated in dust. After we parked the car we saw that it was a 0.6 mile hike to the falls. No big deal we can trek that easily. Along the way there were, what we thought were mile markers… but once we got to 6 the trail kept going… and going, and going. After a long day this was a bit too much walking and it was on the same dusty gravel that we had driven in on. The waterfall was pretty impressive but there wasn’t as many viewing options at the Munising falls. I’m not sure if it’s allowed but it seems the local teens come here to climb down to the bottom of the falls and hang out. There was a large group down there already and we passed more coming in on our way out.

munising michigan

Miners Castle 

Our third and last stop on the improvised land tour of Munising and Pictured Rocks was Miners Castle. This area is the standard postcard scene that most people think of when you mention Pictured Rocks. And while it may be that standard postcard scene, seeing it in person can’t be beat. The view is simply breathtakingly beautiful. There are several viewing areas at Miner’s Castle and luckily there isn’t much walking necessary to get you to that great view.

Munising Michigan

While we were at Miners Castle we saw the Pictured Rocks Boat Cruise that we had hoped to be on and it was completely packed with people. It looked like they were packed in there like sardines with no rooms to move about. Turns out that things happen for a reason sometimes as that certainly wasn’t the kind of relaxing sunset cruise that we had in mind.

Munising Michigan

Things to Note

  • If you decide that you would rather see Pictured Rocks from the boat cruise, we recommend that you call ahead and reserve tickets so that you don’t run into the same situation that we did. Perhaps you could even ask which cruise is the less crowded of the day so you can get more elbow room.
  • If you decide to explore Munising and Picture Rocks on foot like we did, you may want to decide which stops are most important to you and take note of the distance you would actually have to walk so you are not caught off guard by the amount of miles you will be undertaking.

 

Munising Michigan

The Opinions

Betsy: I was most excited about this stop of our trip because surprisingly I had never been to the Pictured Rocks. I had really had my heart set on the boat cruise but in the end I was just happy to see the areas that we were able to see (although a bit tired after a full day of sight-seeing). I would say that they are definitely worth the drive and I would go there again and give ourselves more time to explore all the other areas that we didn’t get to see.

Chris: I had been here once before when my kids were very young. The circumstances surrounding that trip were less than ideal and so I didn’t have any fond memories of Munising. When planning this leg of the trip I believe my exact words were “that’s a lot of extra driving to go see a rock”. I had forgotten about the falls and everything else the town had to offer so when we got there, needless to say it was a whole new experience for me! I have to say my second visit has changed my mind and we will definitely be coming back to further explore this beautiful area.

munising michigan

August 21 2014

Tahquamenon Falls – Paradise, Michigan – Travel Guide

tahquamenon falls paradise michigan

The Overview:

The beautiful Tahquamenon Falls are most definitely a place in Paradise! Paradise, Michigan to be exact. Roughly an hour and a half drive from the bridge will bring you to this must-see Michigan attraction. The Tahquamenon Falls State Park is split up into 2 separate areas: the Upper and Lower Falls. A Michigan Recreation Passport is all that is required for entry. If you do not have one they are available for purchase at the Upper Falls for the low price of $11 which grants you entry to all of Michigan’s state parks for the year.

tahquamenon falls paradise michigan

The Upper Falls:

The upper falls are the most grand of all the waterfalls in the area. The second largest waterfall east of the Mississippi so they say. There are several viewing platforms both at the top, and bottom of the falls. Also, there are even hiking trails which travel from the Upper to the Lower falls which are really quite scenic. There is also a really nice gift shop as well as a food stand, and even a pub. The Tahquamenon Falls Brewery and Pub offers fine dining and micro brewed beers. It is located right next to the gift shop and is open year round. We did not, however, eat there as it wasn’t in the schedule for this visit.

tahquamenon falls paradise michigan

The Lower Falls:

The Lower Falls area has several smaller waterfalls to view. The park is much more understated than the Upper since it is not as big of a draw. There is, however, one feature unique to the Lower Falls and it’s that you can take a row-boat across the water to the small island where you can actually go play in the falls themselves! The row boats are available for rental for a small fee (around $7) and it is an incredible experience which we highly recommend!

tahquamenon falls paradise michigan

Things to Note:

  • Some viewing areas are not wheel chair accessible and require climbing up and down a great deal of steps, but there are plenty of viewing spots that do not require stairs.
  • The best time to go is late fall. The park is almost deserted and you practically have the place to yourself.
  • If you’re into Letterboxing, there are several in the park, however, we could only find one.
  • The pub is open year round but the website suggests calling ahead during the off season to be sure they’re open.
  • There are several hiking trails to choose from ranging from 1 mile to 7.5 miles and are also open to cross-country skiing.

tahquamenon falls michigan

The Opinions:

Betsy: I have been to the Falls many times in my lifetime but they still never cease to amaze me. Thanks to the beautiful scenery and calming atmosphere it is actually one of my favorite places to go. I really love taking the row boats across and exploring that area of the lower Falls. There is just something about actually being able to get into the Falls that makes that aspect extra special. This is a must stop for me while in the UP.

Chris: I visited the falls as a child and it’s one of my fondest memories growing up. We never traveled much when I was younger except for a tour of Northern Michigan so it had a major imprint into my memory. The Falls will always be on top of my list of must see Michigan attractions and we will continue to go back year after year.

tahquamenon falls michigan

 

August 19 2014

The Soo Locks – Sault Ste Marie, Michigan – Travel Guide

 

the soo locks

The Overview:

Just an hour drive straight up I 75 from the Mackinaw Bridge will bring you to Sault Ste Marie, home of the famous Soo Locks. There you will find a quaint little town with a small strip of touristy shops that have sprung up around this iconic site.

the soo locks

They have several restaurants and gift shops all within walking distance of the Locks. A bit further down the road you will find a retired freighter turned museum ship, the “Valley Camp”, an incredible looking hydro-electric plant, and several other museums and attractions to visit. Our visit, however, was strictly to come see the Soo Locks before heading off on the rest of our trip.

the soo locks

The Locks themselves are surrounded by a nice park area which is free to enter and has a viewing area platform as well as a visitor’s center. When there are no boats traveling through the Locks there isn’t much activity going on but you can take in the view and marvel at the engineering splendor of such a giant waterway. When planning a visit it is best to call their ship schedule hotline (906-253-9290) to better gauge an arrival time. You can also check out the visitor center which has a listing of all ships and times for the day as well as some history behind the locks.

the soo locks

Our Experience:

We didn’t do much planning on this leg of the trip other than “show up and look at the Locks”. Originally we were going to take the boat tour but due to time constraints for the day we decided to skip it. When we arrived there were no ships in sight and no activity in the area what-so-ever so we wandered around the grounds for a bit and took in the view. From the visitor’s center we found out that there was a freighter due in roughly an hour so we thought we could squeeze in some lunch to pass the time. We had no idea how long it took a ship to pass through the Locks but assumed it was quite an ordeal and lasted a while. Unfortunately, when we got back to the viewing area only a few minutes late, the crowds were already on their way out and we got to see the ship sailing away in the distance. It’s ok, no one was heart broken. It would have been a cool sight to see but did not detract from our experience. We returned to the car and headed off to our next destination… but that is the topic of another post…

the soo locks

 

The Opinions:

Betsy: This is the first time that I have viewed the Locks from the viewing deck. In the past, I have taken the boat tour which is a very fun experience to actually go through the Locks. Since this was a free activity this was certainly worth the stop despite not getting to see the freighter pass through.

Chris: I had never been to the Locks before and figured it was a Michigan attraction that I’d like to see at least once. The whole reason for this leg of our up north adventure was to knock that one off my bucket list. Because I’ve lived near Lake St Clair my entire life I’ve seen my fair share of freighters so not being able to see one rise up in the water a few feet was not a big deal. I’m not going to lie though, it would have been really cool to see it all happen and to photograph the crap out of it lol. If we ever pass this way again I will be sure to take the boat tour.

the soo locks