I am a small town girl by heart.. grew up in SSM. It is a small, semi isolated town. Growing up, I was not a huge fanof the small town. Mainly because there was not a whole lot to do. With a population of 75,000 people, the closest major city was 3.5 hours away… Sudbury… which was not much bigger. After university, I opted to move to the Detroit area, which was 4 hours away. As a new nurse, I wanted a little more excitement and experience. Now…25 some years later, I come to realize and appreciate the beautiful, picturesque, tranquility and peacefulness of a small town. I travel here with my 5 children to visit my father-in-law, who will never leave this town.
It is a painful 7 hour drive from the GTA with 5 children aged 7,7,8,10, and 15. We make stops in the surrounding smaller towns. Depending on the mood of the children, the number of potty breaks, lunch, snacks, gas, etc., we try to stop in various new locations. We usually make one stop at the midway point Sudbury and visit Science North, but that got expensive pretty fast.
It is about at the 2 to 3 hour mark where the children start getting antsy. We have stopped in beautiful Parry Sound to visit the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame as my son is a huge hockey fan. It is a small museum that has everything a Bobby Orr fan could appreciate.
We have also stopped in Blind River a few times. This is a small town on the north channel of Lake Huron. There is a small park area where I let the children sit, relax, and have a bite to eat at the water front.
I always am looking for new things to do on our way to Sault Ste. Marie to explore and get the best adventure to our long car ride. I am going to make a point to stop at a new location each time.
The thing I certainly do appreciate, is the loving, truly caring mentality of the people in the Sault. What still makes me shiver to this day, is that when there is a funeral procession- everyone stops. Everyone stops what they are doing, whether they are mowing the lawn, or washing their car.. they stop, take their hats off, and pause their moment to show you their respect. Truly…truly amazing. When you are in the procession and you see this from the inside… the small gesture really shows you that people care.Totally different in a big city. Everyone is in a hurry, you get honked at, flipped off…people are annoyed.. you just never know.Anyway… the point of this post was to share the fun and truly beautiful moments of SSM… with kids… who find everything…. every. thing. BORING. My job as a parent is to let them discover and appreciate the natural beauty of the world. And sometimes you have to go looking for it.
1. Hiawatha Falls. This is located at 780 Landslide Road. You take a short walk up the wooded board walk, and you will discover an oasis of a cascading waterfall. Bring mosquito spray!You can sit there for hours just listening to falls or you can hike the trails. It is a fairly easy hike to the top of the falls, stroller friendly for half the falls… but little kids need help going to the top.We did not make the trip this time, however we usually go. These photos are from 2018.
It is truly an oasis of paradise.
I am not sure why I am so crazy about waterfalls. It is just so peaceful for me to hear the cascading water hit the rocks. The adventure of “getting there”, and of course the experience of “discovering” for the kids!
A nice long boarded walk to the falls. The rest is a climb by foot.
Definitely suitable for little legs, but help is always nice because rocks are sharp!
Love the “fake” smiles… I call them bribery smiles…. “come on… last picture…”
Bring lots of bug spray! Sault Ste. Marie black flies are the worst!
2. Gros Cap
It is just a small tip to the edge of Whitefish point, Lake Superior. Huge painted boulders take up this beautiful shore overlooking the huge body of water. You can sit and watch the massive cargo ships and just inhale the natural, fresh air.
Sometimes taking a moment to “reflect” is needed. Is he reflecting, or is he thinking about his next game of “Forte Night” However you spell that!
We spent about an hour here before moving on. We collected some perfectly formed rocks and drift wood.
Apparently there are also trails along the side, which we did not know, nor were we prepared to take that hike. But if you take a peak at www.superiorhiking.com you can get all that information there.
Next stop, Pointe De Chenes, because it was about 10 minutes nearby.
3. Pointe Des Chenes
This is a beautiful beach I use to spend a lot of my teen days there. Now, it seems that there are very few humans there. Maybe it was the weekday, but there was only 2 to 3 other people there.Lots of rocks, beautiful soft sand, quiet, just absolute tranquility.
We could of spent hours there. However, it was a little chilly with the winds and waves of Lake Superior.
There were nice picnic tables, and plenty of shade, so good idea to pack a lunch!
Even though it was chilly, and we did not prepare.. my ten year old could not resist getting wet… of course… there is always one in the group!
4. Harmony Beach, Goulais River, ON.
Another place I spent a lot of my teenage days… I recall bon fires, lots of girlfriends, and some boyfriends…. but this was way before the days of technology..
It is about a 30 minute drive along the Lake Superior Coast. Beautiful, calm waters of a sandy, shallow shore. You park your car right on the side of the road, hop onto the beautiful sandy beach and enjoy.The beach was not really cared for, as there was a lot of debris, but nothing that would ruin one’s day.
The kids played for hours in the sand, collecting stones, sticks and whatever else they could find. The water was warm yet refreshing, sand was soft clear bottom.There was a trailer park right across the small street, a small restaurant and convenience store. Truly a gem.We definitely want to make out way further north to Lake Superior Provincial park next time.
I loved looking deep into the body of water and seeing an endless, faint mountain background. The one thing I was missing though.. was a beverage.
I was so close to bumming a nice cold Corona from these young lads directly beside me… then.. it would of been perfect.
Aside from the bickering and on and off fighting… my kids love to do that.. they got along for the most part. With a little bit of redirection, they finally got it and did not want to leave. There is something… something inside… I can not quite put my finger on…. but the almost surreal feeling of accomplishment… the feeling of “I did something right” when you see all the children, all playing together, laughing, imagining, and loving each other… It is not always perfect…. but in my heart, it is most of the times perfect.
Next time, I will pack a beverage, more snacks, and maybe next time, I will be able to read a few more pages in my book.
5. Salmon Fishing on the Garden River.
61 Wigwaus St. Garden River, Ontario.
I think this trip to the Sault this year was about “relaxation”. We mainly go to visit my dad, but always have to throw in some exciting events.
We usually go Salmon fishing, but this year we were a little early. Salmon season usually starts the first to second week of August. We visit our good friend Ben (he is the owner of Ben’s Bait and Tackle, on the Garden River reserve. We have fished with him for about four years. He takes the kids and I… well a couple of the kids.. (the twins were not ready when we went a few years ago). He takes us on his chartered boat on the small Garden River and we fish for Salmon. He supplies all of the gear, as you need some heavy duty equipment.. and we troll the river.
Sometimes we spend four hours trolling without a catch, but other times… we are fighting a huge 20 pound salmon! It is quite amazing. Ben’s hospitality and family are always so kind and generous. You must call in advance to book a trip, and during his busy season he is sometimes hard to get a hold of.
But one thing for certain, is that “Salmon Fishing” with the family will always be a fantastic memory. Whether we catch a fish or not, it is always a story… either about the fish that got away, or about that huge struggle…. it brings a huge smile to their face when they share this story with their friends.
And… not to mention, the Salmon is absolutely delish!! Even though none of my kids eat fish! Ben’s Bait and Tackle also has an amazing Salmon Derby that I have yet to participate in! One day!
Next Stop!! ICE CREAM!!
Everywhere we go… EVERY. WHERE. WE. GO….. we are ice cream connoisseurs. We love ice cream! Who doesn’t?? Well… since I have a lactose allergy.. I suffer… but it is worth it!
We have two favorite sweet spots for Ice Cream! The first, our most favorite is Holy Cow’s Ice Cream Parlor at 938 McNabb St. There is a huge selection of flavors, a great picnic area, and lots of IG-able COWS. Lock City Dairies is the dairy supplier. There are so many flavors! We go at least twice!
Our other favorite is The Trading Post, at 1332 Great Northern Road.
Here you will find a little village of small stores and shops for hunters and fisherman/woman. The Frontier Village is quaint and delightful with the Big Moose Ice Cream Parlor, Sweet Tooth Fudge shop, and lots of little food places.
The Big Moose gives generous portions, we have been coming here for years!
I hope you enjoyed our visit to my home town! Living in the big city has its perks, but nothing beats a small town! Join us for our next adventure!