Sunday, July 2, 2017

A Trip to Mackinac Island

I don't know about where you live, but it is 100 degrees here and I am more than ready to go where its cooler.  And prettier!

While in Northern Indiana visiting family, Dick and I took a little time for the two of us.  Mackinac Island has been on our bucket list to visit ever since our son moved to the Midwest.

It is in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and a 5.5 hour drive from our son's house.
 I will try to not make this a tour guide for you but it will be a photo overload for sure.

Our first stop was Mackinaw City.  Whether spelled "Mackinaw" or "Mackinac" it is always pronounced with a "naw" at the end.

The highlight here was the old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, built in 1890 and closed in 1958.
 The views from the tower were amazing.
There is a very interesting museum on the bottom floor that tells the maritime history of this area.

What we most looked forward to though was crossing the Mackinac Bridge.
 Considered by many to be the "8th wonder of the world," this bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere and the 5th longest suspension bridge in the world.
 It is 7,400 feet of 4-lane roadway suspended over the Straits of Mackinac - Lake Michigan to the west and Lake Huron to the east.
This amazing 5-mile structure unites the lower states to the Upper Peninsula.

Our first night was spent in the quaint little village of St. Ignace where we boarded the ferry the next morning for Mackinac Island.
We chose the early departure time in order to take the tour under the bridge which gave us spectacular views.  It also meant getting to the island early enough to have a whole day to tour.
 The ferry ride was only about fifteen minutes over beautiful Lake Huron.

This was our first view of where we would be spending the next three days and nights. 
 Mission Point Hotel would be our home away from home.
Our hotel was within walking distance, so as our luggage was being delivered, we decided to spend some time just walking the streets and becoming acquainted with the place before checking in.
There are no motorized vehicles allowed on the island, so all transportation is either horse-drawn carriage or bicycle.  We did both.                                     
 I loved the architecture dating back to the Victorian era.
It was the Victorians who made Mackinac Island one of the nation's most favored summer resorts. In the post-Civil War industrial age and before automobiles, vacationers traveled by large lake excursion boats from Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit to the cooler weather of Mackinac Island. To accommodate overnight guests, boat and railroad companies built summer hotels, such as the Grand Hotel in the late 19th century. Victorians, like all travelers, loved to shop for souvenirs, and thus all the Mackinac shops.

The most famous souvenir these days is its famed chocolates.  There are at least seven different chocolate shops on main street.

In the 1890's wealthy Midwestern industrialists who wanted to spend more than a few nights on Mackinac built their own summer cottages on the east and west bluffs. Soon a social life including tennis, hiking, bicycling, examining the local natural wonders happened, and at the turn of the century, a new golf  course brought in even more tourists.
 It happened to be the Lilac Festival the weekend we were there.  I have never seen so many beautiful lilac bushes and trees.
We finally arrived at our hotel, Mission Point.

It is situated at the far point of the island away from the hustle and bustle of the main street.
 We loved every minute spent at this beautiful retreat.

After getting settled in our room, we took a carriage back to Main Street and ate dinner on the veranda of a delightful Italian Restaurant in one of the oldest hotels on the island.
  There was a very private outdoor hot tub on our deck, so guess where we unwound at the end of each day.

Day 2, we took a carriage ride around the interior of the island.  These are a few of the views.
 And our carriage arrives.
All of the island is now owned by the state of Michigan and is a state park.
These are views of Arch Rock.  With natural corrosion, it is predicted this will be gone by 2020.  Sad.
 
Look closely at the road below this cliff, because that is the path we will take the next day on bikes.
 St Ann's Cemetery where local residents have been buried for centuries.
This is only one of five cemeteries in the world where the flag is always flown at half-staff.
Fort Mackinac as seen from below.  We elected to visit from an above approach.
The town and lake below was a spectacular view from this vantage point.
  
Market Street
During the peak of the fur trade this street bustled with activity.  We were told that each July and August Indians, traders, and trappers by the thousands came here with furs from throughout the Northwest.  This was what brought the Europeans to the island.
In 1817 John Jacob Astor's American Fur Co. located its headquarters here.  Records show that furs valued at $3,000,000 went through the Market Street offices in 1822.  After 1834 the trade moved westward.  Shortly thereafter, thousands of Indians were removed from this area.
We were told that there are no postmen on the island.  The post office is a daily gathering place for the residents as there is no home delivery.
The Governor's summer home.
 A selfie showing the many lilac trees on the cliff in front of the Governor's Mansion.
 
 This was our first view of the famed Grand Hotel and it is indeed grand.  We couldn't wait to get a closer look.
This was a wonderful day and we topped it off with a delicious dinner at our hotel overlooking Lake Huron and Round Island.

Day 3 was probably the most fun day of the trip for us.
 In spite of aching knees, we decided to take a four-hour bike ride around the perimeter of the island.  Our bike trail also took into the interior of the island.
 It was amazing!
 These are some of the permanent residences.
 A cyclist's view of the Grand Hotel.
We loved being on the grounds of the Grand Hotel and seeing this amazing building from this vantage point.
 One of the greenhouses
 
Lilac Trees everywhere.The time flew and we were having such a wonderful time, we decided to go back around the point passed our hotel to enjoy the water view and listen to the surf a little more.
Then, to rest our rather tired legs, we spent a while on our veranda enjoying a cup of tea and watching the sights below.
That evening was our final night so we celebrated by going to the Grand Hotel for an elegant dinner.
Everything is truly grand at the Grand!
 We enjoyed listening to this harpist after dinner and touring the art gallery.
The next morning, we very reluctantly boarded our ferry that took us back to reality.
Thank you for taking this very abbreviated trip with us to Mackinac Island.  If it isn't on your bucket list, put it at the top.

I look forward to sharing some of the interesting things my camera lens found here (without dialog) in the near future.

Linking with Amaze Me Monday

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your pictures. My husband checked Mackinac Island off our bucket list a few years ago. It was wonderful seeing it again in your pics. It is a beautiful place. We really enjoyed it except for my gall bladder attack! Ha!

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  2. Oh, Martha and Bill Arrington went to Mackinac Island so many times, it was one of their most favorite places. They told us we HAD to go. So, now with this review, I think we need to definitely put it at the top of our list. Looks like a little piece of heaven!

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  3. I live in Michigan and have visited the island many times. It's so beautiful! I hate hearing about Arch Rock though. Thanks for the beautiful pics!

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  4. How wonderful it be there for the Lilac Festival. I am so happy you shared all of your photos. Mark and I were there for our honeymoon back in 1972. I know I took pictures but today's photos are so much better than 45 years ago. You took me down memory lane....thank you so much.

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