Three Things to Do When Visiting Mackinac Island . . .

1, Watch Where You Walk.

2. Don’t Step In Yellow Puddles.

3. Bring Plenty of Money.

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After one of the muffins we got at Tim Horton’s yesterday, Jan and I headed about 50 miles south to St. Ignace, MI to catch the ferry over to Mackinac Island. To allow plenty of time to catch the 10:00 run, we left about 8:15. But making good time we got there about 9:15, just in time to catch the 9:30 trip.

Heading across the lake we found a lot of people already out there ahead of us.

Mackinac Island Parasail

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One of the reasons we wanted to make the 9:30 or 10am ferry, is that these two make a quick detour over by, and under the Mackinac Bridge.

Mackinac Island Bridge 1

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The two towers are 550 feet tall, and the suspended roadway between them is over 8600 feet long, making it the longest suspension bridge in the US, and the third longest in the world.

Mackinac Island Bridge 2

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The supporting cables are 24-1/2 inches in diameter and made up of over 12,000 smaller cables woven together. And even though the roadway is open grillwork to let the wind blow through, the bridge can still sway up to 15 feet during high winds. Hopefully not this Saturday.

Mackinac Island Bridge 3

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Finally approaching the island, the first thing you can really see is the world-famous Grand Hotel, site of two movies, including 1979’s “Somewhere In Time” with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.

Mackinac Island Grand Hotel

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Pretty much everywhere you look is a postcard view.

Mackinac Island Harbor 1

Mackinac Island Harbor 2

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Getting our feet back on dry land, we spent some time walking the streets and checking out the scenery.

Mackinac Island Street View

Mackinac Island Yellow House

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There are flowers everywhere you look.

Mackinac Island Flowers

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Except for two police vans and three fire trucks, no motorized vehicles are allowed on the island. So this wagon is the UPS delivery van. There is a driver for the wagon, but a real UPS guy in his brown shorts actually delivers the packages.

Mackinac Island UPS Truck

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And this is why you need to watch where you walk when you’re on the island. I also think it’s why the flowers are so bright and the grass is so green. They’ve got to do something with all that ‘fertilizer’.

Mackinac Island Horse Poop

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Taking the Carriage Tour, we drove past the Grand Hotel, the only hotel I’ve ever seen that charges you $10 just to walk into the place. Needless to say, we didn’t visit.

Mackinac Island Grand Hotel 2

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Our next stop along the tour was Arch Rock that looks down on the beach way below.

Mackinac Island Arch Rock

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Finally leaving the carriage tour at Fort Mackinac, we decided to have lunch at the Tea Room there that overlooks the harbor.

Mackinac Island Fort 1

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One of the other ferry companies uses jet boat ferries, giving them this distinctive “rooster tail”.

Mackinac Island Fort 2

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There’s even this beautiful two-masted schooner tooling around the harbor

Mackinac Island Fort 3

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Sometimes there are so many ferries coming into the harbor it’s almost a traffic jam.

Mackinac Island Fort 4

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Looking down from our restaurant perch, seeing all the neat, colorful houses, manicured lawns, and brilliant flower gardens, I almost expected to see a large white ball named Rover go bouncing by.

Mackinac Island Fort 5

Mackinac Island Fort 6

Walking back down the hill from the Fort, we once again walked along the quaint streets, checking out the many shops, even stopping to buy some of the famous Mackinac fudge from Murdicks.

Later we spent an hour or so sitting in the rockers on the big front porch of the Lakeview Hotel, just people watching. Very nice.

A little later we caught the 4pm ferry back to St. Ignace on the mainland, giving us this great view of the Mackinac Bridge, a bridge that we’ll be crossing in our rig this coming Saturday as we head for Elkhart.

Mackinac Island Bridge 4

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Before getting back on I-75N we stopped for gas, giving Jan a thrill and ending her day on a very moose note.

Mackinac Island Star Spangled Moose

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Taking our exit off I-75 into Sault Ste. Marie, we drove through a nearby Holiday gas station to check out rig access to tank up with diesel when we leave here on Saturday.

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Thought for the Day:

We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.~Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

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6 Responses

  1. The only thing more ridiculous than the $10 entrance fee to the Grand Hotel is that some people pay it.

  2. We were there today too, but with all those people I’m sure our paths never crossed… We took the long carriage tour but were about an hour behind you as we came from Mackinaw City… We are headed up the highway the day you are headed South so our paths might cross, so a proverbial wave out the window is in order…. LOL

  3. Terry loves the movie Somewhere in Time, and years ago we visited the island and I took there for lunch. We were dismayed to see how run down it was up close. In several places the carpet was torn and held together with duct tape and pain was peeling. Oh, and the price for lunch was so high that we decided to pas and have a full dinner back on the mainland for the same amount.

  4. My husband and I grew up in Bay City, Michigan and started visiting Mackinac Island before George Romney was governor. I saw several weddings down in the “valley” in front of the Grand Hotel and walked the grounds numerous times. I’m not pleased with the $10 charge now in effect for just walking the porch, but I understand. Over the years, and especially after the release of the movie “Somewhere in Time”, so many people would crowd the porch and lobby of the Grand Hotel that guests who were paying a premium price to stay there couldn’t get around. My husband stayed in the hotel as a child and it is on my “bucket list”. I recommend the carriage tour of the island when you first arrive, and then visit specific places you’ve seen. For the hearty, bike rides are fun!

  5. Rod,

    Sorry we missed you.

    We had a great time on the island. In fact we had a good time all over the UP.

  6. We stayed two nights at the Grand Hotel a few years ago and it was wonderful and was very well maintained. We rented bikes and rode them around the perimeter of the island. It was a once-in-a-lifetime treat. I think the fee they charge is to keep traffic down.

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