My husband and I completed the Circle Tour September 7-14, 2013. We started from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan (where we live), and went clockwise around the Lake. (Several years ago we started from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and went counterclockwise as far as Terrace Bay, Ontario, but didn’t have time to go all the way.)
The trip this month was a fulfillment of a years-long desire. We started off in bad weather (drizzle, humid and FOGGY), but had wonderful weather in the Keweenaw Peninsula. The next day we returned to foggy, nasty weather as we entered Bayfield, Wisconsin. We weren’t able to see much of the Apostle Islands because of the fog and rain. The next day we drove into Superior, Wisconsin, and the weather did not enhance that town at all. We ended that day’s drive in Duluth, Minnesota, and were pleasantly surprised by their waterfront. We stayed in the Inn on Lake Superior and had a lovely stay. We woke to a gorgeous day and spent the better part of that day exploring Duluth by foot along their excellent pathways.
We next drove into the “Arrowhead” of Minnesota, stopping at all the points of interest and spent the next night at Grand Superior Lodge near Castle Danger. We were surprised and pleased with the excellent food at their restaurant and wonderful accommodations. The next night we stayed at a tiny hotel near the Superior Hiking Trail and hiked it the next morning for a couple hours. The weather was now fantastic. Then we were on our way to Grand Marais and Grand Portage. LOVED the National Monument at Grand Portage. We would have loved to have had more time to spend there. The scenery in this part of Minnesota is gorgeous and more like what we were expecting (having spent much time in the Lake Superior Provincial Park on Ontario’s eastern shore).
We crossed into Canada and were dismayed to discover that we lost the hour we had gained in the U.S. We thought Eastern time would resume in Canada farther east. There should be a sign at the border. (If there is one, we missed seeing it.)
We explored Thunder Bay quite a bit since we got lost trying to find an Indian restaurant. Once found, we discovered it had closed for lunch only a few minutes before we arrived. Finally found another place to eat then went on our way east. We stopped at the Panorama Amethyst Mine. We got there just before closing so didn’t have a lot of time to explore, but still happy we stopped. We should have chosen Terrace Bay for our overnight, but chose Nipigon instead. The motels were few and not the greatest. The one we picked was the big disappointment of the trip. It was mainly for sportsmen as it turned out and not “special” in the least. But the next day rewarded us with lovely waterfalls, a good hike and a good lunch in Terrace Bay.
The tourists center in White River was closed for repair, so we didn’t get to see all the Winnie-the-Pooh memorabilia as we had hoped. But we had been there 8 years ago so didn’t totally miss out. We spent the next night outside Wawa, Ontario, at the Best Northern Motel. Highly recommended for accommodations and their restaurant. Excellent! We went back into Wawa the next day to explore and walk, then returned to the restaurant for lunch.
We then planned to wend our way south hitting all the Lake Superior Provincial Park sites that we love, BUT discovered as we pulled out to the highway that Highway 17 was closed due to an accident about 7 km down the road. So we sat in our car in the motel parking lot for a bit over 3 hours until it finally opened. Darn. At that point we just headed home with one stop at the Agawa Tourist center.
All in all it was an excellent trip. We would recommend it to anyone and we hope to do it again sometime with more time to spend at areas we missed and ones we enjoyed.
John & Janet Lindren, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan