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Soo Locks (aka Soo Long) Boat Tour

Mom’s Take / Daughter’s Take

Day Two

Maybe it was all the fresh air yesterday, or maybe it was the lack of definitive plans, I am not sure what it was. All I know is that we ALL slept in. I don’t think we actually left the hotel room that day until 11:00 am. For someone who likes to see everything and not waste a day of vacation, this was unusual for me, but probably a welcome surprise for my kids.

We decided to push our Mackinac island trip off until day three, due to the rain, so we didn’t have much planned for today and all decided to take a slow morning. We slept in a bit, which was nice because usually when we vacation, my mom opens the windows and gets us up at the crack of dawn.

Our hotel room had a patio off the bedroom that overlooked the lake, so my husband and I took full advantage of it and drank coffee out there while the kids slept -- so nice! (Tip: We are squarely in the middle-class income range, and we could afford a suite with a view of the lake in St. Ignace -- Highly Recommend!)

We all got up and around and then headed out to the Soo Locks. We decided to ride out through them on a boat, and we got tickets for a 90-minute ride. Let me just say, our ride was definitely longer than 90 minutes.

We signed up for a 90-minute boat tour of the Locks. Oh my goodness -- let me tell you -- 90 minutes is too long for this! You take off in a double-decker boat that is the slowest ride imaginable and head straight for the Locks -- which you can see from where you take off.

The whole activity was pretty cool but pretty slow. Going into the locks on the boat and watching the water rise and fall to let us in one side and out the other was super interesting. There were lots of people watching from land, but I think they were missing out by not riding on the boat. My only complaint was that it definitely took too long. They opened up a snack bar below deck about halfway through the trip, but the snack supply was pretty small. I would recommend packing your own snacks.

The boat had to wait about ½ hour -- just sitting there mind you -- for the Lock to be ready to receive us. The filling up of the Lock, which raised the water and boat, was pretty interesting, actually. But, there is a viewing deck on land to watch this process. I felt like the people watching our boat in the Lock were thinking, “Man, we made the right choice,” and they were right. There is really no need to be in the boat.

Unfortunately, since the COVID pandemic hit, Canada is not letting people across the border. The bridge to Canada was desolate, as well as the surrounding town. It was like we stepped into a dystopian teen novel. So, there was not much to see. After you get out of the Lock, there are piles of rock and dirt on the shore and that was about it. Nearly everyone went down below deck to get a snack which was basically vending machine items and popcorn that you pay for, this really should be included with the price of the ticket. Bring your own snacks! Going back through the Lock, you watch the boat lower, which was more entertaining than the raising of the water. But, this boat ride was so boring! They could have played music or had a trivia contest or something to keep us entertained. I just don’t know how the parents with young children made it through -- probably smartphone games.

After we got off the boat, we went searching for a place to eat. We found this little Greek restaurant called Zorba’s, and it was amazing! It was probably my favorite meal of the whole trip. The only downside to the place was that it was FREEZING in there. We were all wearing weather-appropriate clothing for summer, but it felt like winter in the restaurant! Our waitress was wearing a tank top and shorts, while we had five people stuffed into the same corner of the booth, trying to conserve our body heat. Three of us even ordered hot tea! It got better when the warm food showed up, and it was definitely worth it.

The highlight of the day was whenever we ate food. We had a great lunch at Zorba’s, a Greek restaurant in Sault Ste. Marie with amazing pita bread bites, a good dinner at Mackinac Grille in St. Ignace, and dessert at a cute stationery, a double-decker tour bus that was turned into an ice cream place. Because of food allergies, we didn’t trust anything for Samantha there. So, the two of us waited at the top of the bus for the rest of the family to get their dessert. It was quite unique with a view of the lighthouse, and I was told that the ice cream was very good.

We got dinner at Mackinac Grille, which was fine. We also went to this cute little red bus that was serving ice cream. I was too full to get any ice cream, and it probably would have been sketchy with my food allergies, so my mom and I went up to the top of the bus where there was a cute little seating area.

It was a good call to postpone the Mackinaw Island day, and we needed to rest up for all the walking we had ahead of us on the Island. Looking forward to a much faster boat ride tomorrow.

We headed back to the hotel. It had been dreary all day and was sprinkling on and off, so we took advantage of a relatively dry hour and got in the outdoor hot tub. It was a pretty chill day, but a fun one.

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