Recently, I learned of a man who became a Michigan legend back in the 60s. His name? Seaway Tony.

His actual name was Tony Calery. He was a Sault Ste. Marie man who set out to accomplish something no other person had: rowing to NYC in 80 days. And, he succeeded.


This story was posted in the Facebook group Michigan History by Buddy Moorehouse. According to Buddy's post, Tony, at the age of 45, decided that he was going to row the 2,000 miles from Sault Ste. Marie to the World Fair in New York City in nothing but a glorified canoe.

Incredibly, I was able to find old footage from the news coverage during this incredible feat. Keep in mind, this is from 1964:

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Searching Google for more detailed information proved to be unsuccessful which is surprising given the length, speed, and manner of transportation for this trip. However, I did discover that he was a lumberjack, which would explain the abundance of upper body strength required for the journey. He also, apparently, referred to himself as the,

rowin’est man in the land.

And "rowin'est" he sure proved to be.

Hitting about 40 miles a day, Seaway Tony made his way through Lake Huron, through the Detroit River, to Lake Erie, and finally to Cleveland about a month later. Just to give you an idea of how far those two destinations are from each other:

Via/ Google Maps. Edited with Canva
Via/ Google Maps. Edited with Canva
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Remember, his end goal was New York City in less than 80 days.

He continued rowing through Lake Ontario and into New York via the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers. Surprisingly, the only reported major hiccup Tony encountered was during his stay at Albany where someone stole his boat. He was able to find it and continued his journey making it to the World Fair in 75 days. Absolutely incredible.

It's unclear whether or not Tony stopped and stayed at different places along the way. As mentioned above, information on him and this trip were difficult to find. Regardless, I think it's safe to say that Seaway Tony achieved an astounding accomplishment. One that has yet to be done again.


In the original Facebook post, it's claimed that Tony wanted to re-do the trip on horseback instead of by boat. However, there's no evidence to claim that he actually fulfilled that desire.

Speaking of people who created a legendary reputation for themselves, did you know about this town dedicated to John Wayne? It's in the middle of nowhere in Lewiston, MI but, might be worth the trip if you're a fan:

If You Love John Wayne, This Hand-Built Lewiston Town is a Must See

Coopers Ville, a town that's not actually on a map, will have you feeling like you're back in the Old West. It also serves as a shrine to John Wayne.

Don't Call Yourself A Yooper Unless You've Been To These Michigan Upper Peninsula Places

It can almost be looked at as a different state entirely, while encompassing everything beautiful about Michigan. There are some spots that are truly breathtaking, and if you've never planned a trip to the upper peninsula, make sure you're comfortable with long drives.

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