“E” is for Embarkation Day-A Guide for Cruisers

Embarkation Day on a cruise is an exciting and busy day.  Below are a  the steps to help you get the most from the process.   If an item is highlighted, look for additional links about the topic.

1) Check in.  This process has become simplified over the years.  Often many of the steps have already been completed online.  The procedures vary between cruise lines, but checking in usually involves re-checking paperwork (passports, tickets etc.) Once you are checked in, you are free to come and go off the ship until the “all aboard time”.

2) Just past the check in you will be greeted by the ships photographers. This is your “Welcome Aboard” photo.    Usually there is some prop to commemorate the start of your cruise.  If you do not want a photo, feel free to continue past the photographers.

3) The moment the ship leaves port, your phone will begin roaming.  Unexpected phone calls, background activity and more can incur unexpected fees.   If you have selected a wifi package on the ship, put the phone in airplane mode and then you will be able to connect to the ships wi fi. If you turn on wi fi calling you will still be able to receive calls and texts.

While You Wait For Your Room-It is not uncommon to have to wait an hour or two to get into your room.  Here are a few things you can do while you wait:

4) Make reservations for the sanctuary, spa treatments, ship tours and specialty restaurants as soon as you are on board. These things often fill up and sell out fast.

5) Explore the ship (often you won’t be able to enter your room for an hour or two). Use this waiting time to locate the fun stuff.  Its a great time to take pictures of the venues before they are teaming with passengers.

6) Get something to eat.  There is food almost everywhere on board.  Stop by the buffet, the grill or the pizzaria for a quick bite,  or enjoy a leisurely sit down meal in the dining room.  Food is a large part of your cruise fees, you may as well enjoy your meals.

7) Enjoy a glass of champagne or cocktail. Many times long time cruisers will have a signature drink.   Even if you don’t see it on a menu, many bar tenders will be able to make drinks based on your description, they are masters of their craft!

Want something unique to drink?  On our ship, the Explorer’s Lounge features themed drinks from exotic destinations, specialty liqueurs and spirits  which are offered nowhere else on board.

Once You Can Get in Your Room

8) Make a note of landmarks and orient yourself

Where is the nearest bank of elevators? Which way do you turn as you exit this elevator bank?  Is

your room on the right or left, starboard or port? *It helps to remember there are 4 letters in both

the words left and port).  Is your room forward (front), midship or aft (back)? Are there photos or statues

which can help you remember the correct deck and side which your cabin is on?

Which way is the front of the ship and which way is the back?  Sometimes there are

little clues such as waves curling toward the front, or fish lining the halls which all swim facing

toward the front  *Believe me, when you have had a few drinks you will appreciate having the

landmarks.  Now orient the other major features of your ship.  Are the restaurants forward or aft of your room?  Is

the laundry forward or aft of your room?  Are the elevators forward or aft?  What about the pool?

9) Take a picture of the room (before it gets messed up!)-It will never look like this again!

10) Do a cabin “check”

  • Make sure beds are set up correctly.
  • Check pillows (you can request feather pillows or additional pillows if needed).
  • Check the bed for firmness/softness (mattress toppers or boards can be brought in to adjust)
  • Examine the outlet locations-do you have correct adapters?  Are all the outlets working?
  • Check the ac-is it noisy?  Is it working correctly?  *If it is set high and not cool in the room, it may not be working.
  • Turn the tv on to make sure it is working.
  • Check the safe.  Is it working correctly?
  • Flush the toilet and run the water in the bathroom-are both flowing correctly?

11) Meet your cabin steward

This is a great time to request any additional items you may need:

  • Bed arrangements (beds are pushed together to make a queen or separated to make two twin beds).
  • Extra hangers
  • Extra towels
  • Extra blankets
  • Extra pillows
  • Do you want your ice bucket filled morning and evening?
  • If ac/safe/toilet/outlets/tv are not working, this should also be addressed at this time.

12)  Check Your Mail

A newsletter is usually provided daily.  It will be list all the activities occurring around the ship.

  • Decide what you will do for lunch/dinner.
  • Decide which activities you will enjoy today.
  • Look for special offers.
  • See when formal nights are, this may help decide when you will make reservations at other restaurants.

Your mail may also include perks your membership is offering (such as an invitation to meet the Captain or free drinks)

Often excursion tickets will be delivered with your mail.  Be sure to review them and note the cancellation deadline.

13) Complete any requested paperwork.

14) Clean (optional)

  • Wipe all “touchable” areas with disinfecting wipe (door handles, phones, light switches, remote control, toilet seat, faucet)

15)   Load the Safe

  • Stash your good jewelry, cash, keys, wallet, passport, sensitive documents etc. in your safe.
  • Make sure your safe is working properly.  If not, report it to the cabin steward.


Once Your Luggage Arrives

15) Unpack completely

  • The joy of cruising is that you only have to unpack once.  Do it now so you can start your vacation.
  • See our tips for organizing your cabin here.
  • Store empty luggage under the bed.

When completely unpacked

16) Complete the safety or muster drill.

17) Go PLAY!!!

18) If you haven’t already done so, make reservations for specialty restaurants and spa.

19) Enjoy Your Sail Away Party!

20) Congratulations, you are now “on vacation”!

“A” is for Arranging an ABC Adventure

The ABC Adventure is meant to encourage you to explore deeper and is intended to assist you with documenting your journey,  You are using your camera and language skills to document a story while adding some creativity to both.

An ABC Adventure is part personal guidebook, part word game, part photography challenge and part Scavenger Hunt.  It is all  fun.

“Rules” of the Game

  1. The first rule is that there really are no rules!  There are however a few missions.  The purpose of the ABC game is to live more deeply and to document the journey, but mostly to have fun along the way.
  2. The game is similar to a Scavenger Hunt.  It may be played by yourself, with a group, or in teams. You will take one photograph representing a word or phrase (that you choose) for each letter of the alphabet. You do not need to complete the alphabet in order. There is no time limit to the game (unless you choose to set one).
  3. Begin by choosing an anchoring theme for your game.   Put your anchoring theme at the top of the page.  This offers a little confinement to your mission.  ABC games are not limited to travel. Here are a few themes we have used:
  • Art in an Airport
  • Birthday Celebrations
  • Date Nights
  • Exploration By Country
  • Exploration By the City

You could also do an ABC food tour, an ABC cruise ship tour, an ABC art in the airport tour, your ABC Adventures are only as limited as your creativity.

  1. Write out the alphabet leaving blank space next to each letter.  Each letter will represent a single word or phrase. Once you assign the word or phrase, you will take a photo to represent it (or you can take a photo first and then assign it to a word). There are no limits to how creative your photography  or word choices may be.  In fact, the more creative, the more interesting the game becomes.

The choice of creating a guide before you begin a game is entirely up to you.   You can follow our process below, or jump straight to the Scavenger Hunt section.


Creating a Guide  (Wordplay and Personal Guide)

  1. The value in making a list is to see where you are going to be challenged.  Some letters are more difficult than others to represent.   Write out the alphabet leaving blank space next to each letter. We generally create our lists on the computer because the word list can become very long.  By having all the options, you can quickly see where an alternate word or phrase choice might exist.  Mostly the guide is a long series of questions.
  2. Where are you going?  What is the mission of this ABC Adventure? If you are doing a travel themed ABC Adventure, this may be continents, countries, states, cities, towns and/or villages.  If you are limiting your exploration to something like the cruise ship, then you might  write “C” for cruise or “I” for Island Princess (or whatever specific ship you are on).  If you were looking just for art in a museum then you might just record the name of the museum.  In our example below, My theme is ABC’s By State.  We knew we would be visiting several Hawaiian islands but I began with H-Hawaii then added K-Kauai since I knew we would be experiencing at least that much.  My list will eventually expand to include Maui and Oahu as part of an overall Hawaiian Adventure.
  3. Next ask yourself who is going to play the game/travel with you.  In our case, it will just be Alan and I, so I will add and “A”-Alan and “D”-Deb to my list.
  4. How will you get there? (example A-airplane, C-cruise, “R” Rental car etc).  Do you know of any other transportation you would like to experience? *Since much of Kauai  inaccessible by road, it is recommended to see from a sailboat “S” , “C” catamaran and/or “P” plane.  Do you already know if certain tours use a specific kind of transportation? You could use “K” for kayak.
  5. Next, begin to research tours or activities you might be interested in.  This is your “what will we do question”.  I often visit Trip Advisor or Pinterest to find fun things to do.  We knew we wanted to take a flight tour over Kauai so our abc list  began to look like this… A-airplane, F-flight tour  etc.  Always list multiple terms for each word, this is how you will eventually fill the entire alphabet with options.  Move from broad to specific.  You could also begin to get creative here…what about the letter “U” for Up (as in up in the air).  Each guide will be personal to your interests, activities and goals.
  6. Begin to fill in things you will likely see on the tour. For example,  as we researched the flight tour we knew we could use  “N” for Na Pali coast and “W” for Waimea Canyon. These were both included on the tour. As we read about  these places we noted that Waimea Canyon was also referred to as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.  We cross referenced the list with a “G”.      We knew these areas would be “L” -lush.  Our words were beginning to get a little more descriptive.  We knew that we would be seeing “W”-waterfalls and “R” rainforests.  We noted that the Na Pali coast was undulating. We added these words.  Hint, words spark creativity of photos and vice versa.
  7. Stay open to discovering new things to explore.  As we researched our options, we also discovered many other things we might be interested in exploring such as “F” for Fern Grotto and  “R” for Riverboat cruise, if we had time.  My mind raced with the possibilities of how we could spend our time.  What restaurants are recommended?  What sites are top to see?  You likely won’t “do” everything on your list but writing down everything which interests you, means that you will have numerous options  when it comes time to actually going on your personal journey.  If it were raining, you might need to move an activity indoors, you will already know where to go.  This is the personal guide portion of the game.  Think of it as a travel guide.
  8.  Now imagine the culture.  What foods, games, dances, music, language etc do you want to discover.  Your abc list might begin to look like “H”-hula and  “U”-ukelele.  Is there a traditional dress which people wear?  For example, “A” Aloha Shirts.
  9. Begin to add other categories which interest you such as A-architecture, animals, B-boats, beaches C-churches etc.  Continue to move from broad to specific for example you could add A-animals but research showed that we would likely see C-chickens and W-whales on this trip, so they were also listed.
  10. Keep asking questions and adding to your lists.    What foods are eaten?  Example “M” Macadamia nuts, “S”-shave ice.  How do they taste or smell? Sweet, sour, pungent?  What time of year is it? What season are you in? What month is it? Is it dry, arid, wet or humid? Sunny or cloudy?  What do you hear? What colors could you add? What emotions are triggered?  Do you expect to stand in awe?
  11. *The more descriptive terminology you add, the more interesting your writing will become when it comes time to tell your story.  This may also give you some interesting ideas for photography.
  12. Keep building  your alphabet lists with creative exploration of language.  For example “C” could be coffee (which Kawaii is famous for) but perhaps you already have a “C”, you could also use “J” for Java.
  13. Add some colors to your list.  Kawaii is very “G”-green but dig deeper and add interesting words like  “V”-verdent.
  14. Did you know the “Y”-Yellow Hibiscus is the state flower?   Build, build, build on the ABC/word list before you begin playing the game.  The more time you spend here, the more options you have once you begin the game.

Scavenger Hunt

  1. Use your blank alphabet list.  The goal is to try to represent each letter of the alphabet with a word or phrase and a photo.  Hint: take more photos than you think you need.
  2. You are using your camera and language skills to document a story.  Add some creativity to both.  How do you document words like yellow?   Did you know that the  state flower of Hawaii is yellow? Since my theme is ABC’s By State (Hawaii), this would be a great way to document my “Y” for yellow.  This can often be a tough letter to find, so it will be high on my list to get this photo.  if I see the word pineapple, I might choose to photograph a pineapple plantation, a single pineapple growing, or a wonderful pina colada (or all of the above).  I might also try to experience the local pineapple french toast with coconut dressing, all would be wonderful ways to represent the word pineapple.

Detours-Sometimes you won’t have an idea for a letter.  This is your chance to become very observant.  Words and opportunities are everywhere.  Detours are what create the adventure, don’t be afraid of them.

  1. Did you see a sign which begins with your needed letter?  Detour.
  2. Could you find a quote which begins with your desired letter and fits the theme of your adventure?  Detour.
  3. Could you rearrange your photos/words to be able to use something somewhere else?  Detour.

Share Your Story

By the time you finish this game, you are sure to have had some grand adventures. It is likely that you took more photos than just those that you selected for the Scavenger Hunt.  It is likely that you imagined more words and phrases than you used (you did save your list didn’t you?).  I know that I will have tried to capture every single word on my list.  I will have let my creativity flow through my photography and word choices.  It is now time to use these to put the words and photos together because a photo without explanation is left to interpretation and words with no pictures means it never happened.  By the time you complete an ABC adventure, your photos and descriptive writing should represent who, what, where, when, why and how of the adventure you set out to enjoy.

We experience the world one letter at a time and discover our world one word at a time, but we write our legacy by one story at a time.


The Overall Kauai ABC List

Here is how our Kauai, Hawaii list eventually shaped up.  (Yours may look different based on personal interests/goals).

  • Allerton Gardens/Aloha shirts/ Aloha/Airplane/Alan/animals/Awe
  • Blow Hole (Spouting Horn)/Beaches/Botanical Gardens/blue
  • Chickens (thousands occupy the island)/coffee (see also java)/coconut/crater/chocolate/cruise
  • Deb
  • Eucalyptus trees (Tunnel of trees on way to Koloa Town and Poipu Beach)
  • Fern Grotto (lava cave overgrown with ferns-about 2 miles up the Wailua River-accessed by kayak or boat trip)/Flowers/Forbidden Island (Ni’Hau)/Flight
  • Grove Farm Sugar Plantation Museum/Grand Canyon of the Pacific (Waimea Canyon Park)/gardens/ green
  • Hanalei (shopping)/Hanalei Bay/Hanakapi’ai Beach/Hawaii/Helicopter tour (Island Helicopter Tours are the only one which land at a waterfall)/Hula Dancers (Sheraton Kauai Resort, Grand Hyatt Kaui and Kilohana Plantation estate)/humid
  • Island Plane Tour
  • January/Jurassic Park Falls/Java (see also coffee)
  • Kalaheo Coffee Co (breakfast/baked goods)/Kawaii/kayak/Kilohana plantation/Koke’e State Park/Kalalau Trail (first half mile)/Koa wooden bowls/Kauai coffee/Kilauea Point/Kilauea Lighthouse/Koa wooden bowls/Kipu Kai/Kalapaki Beach/Kalua (the act of cooking a pig in the ground for hours)/Kauai/Koloa Town
  • Lighthouse (Kilauea Lighthouse)/Luau/leis/Lanai/Larsen’s Beach/lava cave/lush
  • Mountain tube/monk seals/Moreton Bay fig trees/McBride Gardens/Mount Waialeale-(wettest spot on earth)/Mahaulepu Beach (monk seals/beauty/hiking)/Macadamia nuts/ Moloa’a Beach/music/ Mountains/mango/mai tai
  • Na Pali Coast/Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Gardens)/Ni’Hau (Forbidden Island)
  • O
  • Pineapple/Pineapple French toast with coconut dressing (at the Kalaheo Coffee Co)/Passionfruit/Pupu Platter (cross between tapas and bar food)/Poipu Beach (Tunnel of trees and spouting Horn)/Pu’u O Kila Lookout (Kokee’e Park)/pottery/passionfruit/Polihale Beach/palm trees
  • Queen’s Bath (Kalapana)/Poke (Hawaiian sushi)
  • Rainforests/Red Dirt Falls (Grand Canyon of the Pacific-located in Waimea Canyon Park)
  • Shave ice/Spouting Horn/Shop/surfing/seashells/Shipwreck Beach/Smith Family Luau/Sticky rice pudding/Spouting Horn (blow hole)/sunset
  • Tunnel of Trees (see also Euclyptus trees)/Tidepools
  • Ukulele/Undulate
  • Vintage train (Kilohana plantation)/volcano/verdent
  • Waterfalls-Wailua Falls& river/Waimea Canyon/Wailua River/Wai’oli Hui’ia Church (Hanalei)/Whale watching (winter only when Pacific humpbacks migrate to mate and give birth), wasabi mustard, wooden bowls/ Wai-ale-ale Crater/wet/winter
  • X
  • Y yellow
  • Zen/Zipline (Skyline Hawaii)


The words above words also give me an opportunity to expand my language as I write the descriptions and stories of each experience.   How interesting does a story about cooking a pig in an underground oven (Kalue) become when I use local terminology and/or language?  How much more authentic does the experience become when local culture is infused into the adventure?

The ABC’s give us structure but this is your adventure to design in any way which you choose.  Enjoy the journey!


ABC World Travel-A List of Countries to Explore

We are on a mission to see the world.  This category will link to many topics about individual countries, which we have alphabetized below because that is how we roll.

If a topic is highlighted it means we have visited the location and you can find the stories within the blog.  You may also use the search bar to find our adventures.


General World Tour

A is for Africa, American Samoa, Antigua, Australia and Austria

B is for Bahamas, Barbados, Barbuda, Belgium, Belize and Brazil

C is for Canada, Chili, China, Costa Rica and Cuba

D is for Denmark, Dominica and Dominican Republic

E is for Egypt and England

F is for Fiji, Finland, France and French Polynesia

G is for Germany, Greece, Grenada, Grenadines and Guatemala

H is for Holland and Hungary

I is for Iceland, India, Ireland and Italy

J is for Jamaica and Japan


L is for Laos

M is for Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Monaco and Morocco

N is for  Nevis, New Zealand and Norway

O is for Oman

P is for Panama, Peru,  Philippines, Poland and Portugal

Q is for Qatar

R is for Russia

S is for Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Seychelles, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland

T is for Thailand and Turkey

U is for USA

V is for Vietnam

W is for Wales


Y is for Yemen

Z is for Zambia, Zimbabwe


ABC Adventure-Sault Saint Marie, Michigan-An ABC List to Discover This Town

Every city, town or village can be turned into an ABC adventure!  If visiting for a day, choose one letter, or see if you can complete the whole alphabet.  If you return to this location  you can always choose a new letter or change up the way you choose to see things.  The options are as endless as your imagination.  Here is an example of how we have explored the Sault Saint Marie area over a period of years and decades.  How will you plan your adventure?

A-Agawa Train Tour                                                                                                                                                                        This is a beautiful, scenic journey which should be made at least once in a lifetime.  At 9-10 hours long, it is a full day of adventure.  The train travels along waterways and through the beautiful Agawa canyon.  At the end of the line, passengers may disembark to explore the unspoiled beauty for about 90 minutes before the 4 1/2 hour return journey.   This area is only accessible by train.  We have done this journey a couple of times in different seasons.     https://agawatrain.com/


Other A themed ideas might include getting active (hike, bike, golf, snowboard, ski etc)/ Alpine Chocolate/architecture/Alberta House (art displays)/Alford Park/Ashmun Creek Nature Trail

B-Boat Tour                                                                                                                                               The best way to experience the locks is to sail through them!  Boat tours of the locks have been sailing since 1934.  It was 1994 before we had the chance to experience them in this way.   Our sons were still quite young when we did the tour, but this was a great way to sneak in a little education while having fun.      https://www.originalsoolocktours.com

Other B themed ideas: Bishop Baraga House/ Bridge (International)/Bird’s Eye Outfitters (kayak through the locks)/Blue Heron Charters (fishing)/Bailey Lagerstrom Nature Preserve/BARmuda Triangle (brew pubs)

C-Chippewa County Courthouse                                                                        Built in 1877 for the astronomical sum of $20,000 this building was a huge investment in a thriving community. It was designated as a historic building on the National Registry of Deeds in 1987, making this one of the oldest buildings in the state of Michigan.  The walls are two feet thick!  The memorial stone on the lawn of the Courthouse is in memory of Reverend Abel Bingham, Baptist Missionary to the Indians and forerunner of the First Baptist Church founded in 1855 in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

Other C themed ideas:  Cultures (specifically Ojibway and Cherokee)/Church ( Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church)/Charter Fishing

D-Dine & Drink                                                                                           There are many great places to eat in Sault St. Marie.  Here are our top 3 recommendations:

Karl’s Cuisine, Winery and Brewery- “A taste of the good life”.  A great place for fish dishes.  https://www.karlscuisine.com/menus

Lock View Restaurant-Across from the locks. Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with some of the freshest fish in the area! https://www.thelockviewrestaurant.net/menu

Wicked Sister-The Wicked Sister is sort of like a backward mullet: Party in the front, business in in the back. Our mission is to be playful & fun, but we’re always serious about delicious, creative food using fresh ingredients and made from scratch dishes. With such a talented crew (in the front & back), we get to have fun without taking ourselves too seriously.  Lots of interesting food items, but they specialize in burgers.  www.https://www.wickedsistersault.com/menu

Other D themed ideas:

E-Established                                                                                                                                             There are several memorial stones on Courthouse lawn which demonstrate the establishment of the area.  On the steps of the courthouse there is a marker representing the original construction at1877.  A second stone dated 1904 was placed at the site following construction on the building. The “time capsule” inside held bonds dated 1876, pictures, business cards of each elected officer, a bottle of champagne, a 1904 Evening News, a Marquette Mining Journal, a Lake Superior News, a Northern Tribune, the Sault Star, and coins. The original plan was rectangular, the addition turned it into a T shape.  The entire structure was completely renovated and refreshed with new paint,  doors and windows in 1980.  At that time the clock face was also repaired.

F-Find the Freighters     From big to small, the boats and ships must pass through the locks to move between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes.  They bypass the rapids of the St. Lawrence river, where the water falls 21 feet (6.4 m). The locks pass an average of 10,000 ships per year, despite being closed during the winter from January through March, when ice shuts down shipping on the Great Lakes.   Hoping to spot one of the 1,000 foot freighters?  You can track them here.    https://www.saultstemarie.com/things-to-do/finding-freighters/

Other F themed ideas: Fort Brady

G-George Kemp Marina                                                                                                                  Located within walking distance of downtown, this is a great place to dock if you are arriving by boat,  The tidy marina is situated just east of the downtown area and  offers a nice little green space if you just want to do some boat watching.

Other G themed ideas: Great Lakes/Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum (Canadian side)/golf

H-Hydroelectric Plant

The Edison Hydroelectric Plant was once the second largest power generator in the USA!  Operational since 1902, this is one of the oldest hydroelectric plants in the United States. This century (+) plant combines historic architecture with modern technology to successfully generate 25 to 30 MW of electricity when operating at full load.  Now recognized as a historic landmark in Sault Ste. Marie, the beautiful sandstone building was crafted more than a century ago by Italian masons who used the stone from the canal, which they began excavating to build the locks in 1885. At peak operation, the plant discharges approximately 30,000 cfs of water, which is equivalent to about 13.5 million gallons per minute.

Other H themed ideas: Hiawatha National Forest/Historic Homes/Henry Rowe Schoolcraft Office

International  Bridge                                                                                                                   Opened in 1962, the three-arch Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge spans the St. Mary’s River, connecting the twin cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.  The bridge is the only fixed link crossing between the two countries within 1,000 kilometers and it is an important trade route between key American and Canadian markets via Interstate 75 and the Trans-Canada Highway. On average, about 1,900 million vehicles cross the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge every year.

Other I themed ideas:  Ice Cream/ Iva Biggen Charters (Charter fishing)

J-John Johnston House                                                                                      Visitors can tour the home of John Johnston, one of the first European settlers to the area. John Johnston, a native of Ireland, immigrated to Canada in 1785 and made a very successful living in the fur trade.

He was married in 1793 to Ozhahguscodaywayquay, daughter of Waubojeeg, the leader of the Chippewa. The couple moved to Sault Ste. Marie in 1793 where they constructed a home, part of which is currently on display. See Ozhahguscodaywayquay’s statue in her beloved garden beside the Johnston home.

This historic home has been preserved to  offer a glimpse into the lives of the early fur traders and settlers.  Many items were originally from the Johnson family.

Other J themed ideas:

K-Kemp Coal Dock Office                                                                           

The Kemp Coal Dock Office Building was built in 1904 by Sault businessman George Kemp. He owned all of the waterfront property between the Cloverland power house and the Coast Guard Station. In 1917 Kemp turned his coal business over to his sons and the building became the office for Kemp Brothers Coal Company, which operated in the Sault until 1959.

In 1960 the property was given the City of Sault Ste. Marie and developed for a variety of tourist related businesses. In 2007 the Coal Company office building was opened as the Kemp Industrial Museum.

Drawn by the natural resources of the region, access to transformation and energy (from the Cloverland power house) the Union Carbide, Northwestern Leather Company, Soo Woolen Mil and Cadillac-Soo Lumber Company became the major employers of the Sault.

AS Local resources grew scarce and the processing and product demands changed the Sault’s major industries were no longer viable. All had shut down by the early 1960’s. It is these industries that are remembered in the Kemp Industrial Museum.

Other K themed ideas: Kewadin Casino (nearby but not in Sault Ste Marie)



Other L themed ideas:  Lake Superior State University-Cisler Center/Lockside Mini Golf/Lynn Trail System

M-Museum Ship Valley Camp

Other M themed ideas:  Monocle Lake Hiking Path


Other N themed ideas:  Nature’s Kennel Sled Dog Adventures/Nicolet Shores Charter Fishing/North Country Trail/Naomikong Overlook/Northwind Fishing Charters

O-Ojibway Learning Center and Library

P-Point Iroquois Lighthouse                                                                               Just a short drive westward from Sault Ste. Marie. This historic Lake Superior beacon isn’t just a must-stop attraction during the summer, it is also  a great winter attraction.


R-River of History  Museum                                                                                                               This is a small museum dedicated to the history of the Saint Mary’s river.  Development of Sault Saint Marie is covered from the glacial period to the present day.  Information on the French, Native American, fur trading, lumbering and fishing is offered through short videos and hands on exhibits.      531 Ashmun Street, Sault St. Marie, Michigan      (906) 632-1999    http://riverofhistory.org/

Other R themed ideas: Rotary Island Park/Round Island Point Nature Preserve

S-Statues-There are many amazing statues to see scattered throughout the town.   Many represent the history and/or connection to the Native American culture.                                                                                                                    Since we were only there for a short time, we only had the ability to take in two.  These are located in front of the Courthouse.

The Crane of the Sault-The statue depicts the Chippewa Legend of two young brothers who fled their wicked mother, who was pursuing them with the intent to kill them. When they reached the north shore of the St. Marys Rapids they were met by a crane, who, after hearing their story, carried them to the south shore of the rapids. The Crane then met the mother on the north shore and agreed to transport her to the other side. Instead, the crane dropped the mother in the rapids. When she hit the stones below, the mother’s skull cracked open and her brains became the whitefish that inhabit the rapids to this day. The crane adopted the boys and one of them remained in the area, married the daughter of the crane, and founded Bahweting.

The Wolf of Rome

Other S Themed ideas:  Sault Seal Recreation Area/Shopping/Sherman Park/Sault Tribe of Chiippewa Indians Interpretive Center/Soo Fishing Charters/Soo Locks Park/Spirit Stone Trail

T-Tower of History                                                                                                                  This is a great place to get a birds eye view of the area.  Towering 250 feet, the building is a prominent feature of the area.  Originally built in 1968 by the Catholic church, the building was intended to be a shrine to the Missionaries which served here.  Eventually the project was discarded and the tower was turned over to the city in 1980.  Today it serves as a museum for both local and Native history.

Other T themed ideas:  Theater (Soo Theater Project)/Trout Lake Pathway/True North Guide Service (fly fishing)

U-US Weather Bureau

V-Veterans Memorial

Other V themed ideas:  Voyageur Island

W-Water Street Historic Block (Walking Tour)

Other W themed ideas:  Winery


Y-Yooper                                                                                                            A native or resident of the Upper Peninsula

Z-Zak and Mac’s Chocolate Haus                                                                                                                                As you finish your tour, indulge your sweet tooth with a scoop or two of ice cream. There are over 30 flavors to choose from!  If fudge, popcorn or taffy are more to your liking, you can find that here also.  This delightful business has been around since the 1960’s.

“G” is for Gaylord, Michigan-An ABC List to Discover This Town



This Alpine themed, “Up North” city is central to everything you could want from a  Northern Michigan adventure.  Situated on the 45th parallel, the Bavarian influence is everywhere in this tiny town.  Of course there are plenty of forests and lakes surrounding the area, after all, this unspoiled haven is what most people flock to the north to discover.

The area had first been named Okkaddo, which was later changed to Otsego which means “clear water”.  There are also top-notch galleries, music festivals and unique shops to discover. There is also a large convention center all strategically positioned in the heart of the state.  Design your own adventure as you explore this beautiful location.


Here are a few ideas to help you create your own ABC Adventure:

A-Aspen Park, Alpine Chocolates, Antique Shows, Alpenfest (Festival), Alpine Traveler and Eatery (Eat, Dine), Active (ATV, golf, ski, snowmobile)

B-Beach, Bennethum’s Northern Inn (Eat, Dine), Brewery/Brew Pub, Big bottle (fun photo op)

C-Claude Shannon Park, Call of the Wild Museum

D-Doumas Park, Dine, Downtown, Demonstration Garden

E-Elk Park, Eat, elk herd

F-Farmers Markets, Festivals (see-Alpenfest), Freel Park

G-Gobblers of Gaylord (Eat, Dine), Golf


I-Irontone Spring, Ice skate

J-Joseph N. Hale Park



M-Mary’s Tavern (see also Brewery)


O-Otsego Lake State Park, Otsego Sports Complex

P-Pavilion on Court, Parks



S-Ski, Snowmobile, Shop, Snowbelt Brewery

T-Tavern (see also Brewery), The Rusty Pelican (Shop)







Check back often, I will keep building this list as we discover more fun things to add to it!



ABC Tips-How To Maximize Your Alaskan Flight Seeing Trip

Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Tour Operator:.

  • Is the business a large multi-planed operation, or a one plane, one owner type company?
  • How many years and/or hours of flying experience does the pilot have?
  • Does the pilot regularly fly in this territory? (Many pilots are hired seasonally and come from the lower 48 states).
  • What type of plane will you be flying in? Most flight seeing planes seat 4, 6 or 10 passengers
  • Will all passengers have a window?
  • What are the cancellation policies for: weather, expected turbulence, number of passengers, or generally?
  • What type of tour is this? Some tours are specifically for whale or bear watching, others focus on scenery.
  • How many water landings are included in the tour?
  • Will you be allowed to step onto land, or will you only be exiting onto the pontoon or docks?
  • Will there be communication with the pilots and other passengers or is this a narrated tour?
  • Are tickets purchased through the cruise line, at the Visitor’s Center or directly from a website?
  • Are there additional discounts for early booking, AAA members, military, children or senior citizens?
  • What is the total air time?

Continue reading

Around the Ship-An ABC Cruising List

Cruising is so unique that I thought it deserved an ABC list of its own!  Use this list to discover your ship.  Highlighted items will link to other stories within the blog and/or you may use the search feature.


Art Auction

Art Gallery


At Sea



Beauty Salon

Bridge Tour



Cabin Steward



Centrum (see also atrium)

Champagne Tower

Chocolate Buffet

Cigar Room









Excursion Desk


Fitness Center

Formal Night

Free Dining

Future Cruise Sales

Galley Tour




Guest Services

Hidden decks

Hot tubs

Ice cream

Internet at Sea




Learn Something New






Maitre d



Medical Center

Movies Under the Stars


Muster Drill


Open Ocean

Organizing a Cabin

Passenger Services


Photos/Video Gallery



Room Service

Sail Away Party




Shore Excursion Desk




Splash Pool



Teen Center

Towel Art


Vow Renewal

Walk a Mile

Wine Tasting


eXcursion Desk