Day 76 – Mackinac Island

We had the perfect day to explore Mackinac Island!  We arrived at the ferry for the 10am lift to the island.  This particular time on the cruise schedule takes you under the Mackinac Bridge and we wanted to experience that.  The ferry started out and threw up a magnificent rooster tail as we sped along the Straits of Mackinac.

The Mackinac Bridge connects the upper peninsula of Michigan with the lower mitten of Michigan across the Straits of Mackinac.  The Straits of Mackinac connect two of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.  The bridge itself is 26,372 feet long, or 5 miles, and has been there since 1957.  It’s a beautiful suspension bridge as seen from the road, but even more so by water!

A bit of trivia:  The Yoopers call the lower Michiganders trolls (below the bridge, get it?)…so Michigan consists of Yoopers and Trolls!??

I remember driving across the bridge and/or going to Mackinac Island as a kid.  I guess I have always loved to write, too, because I remember keeping a travel journal as a young girl.  I specifically remember an entry of when my grandparents were taking me to Mackinaw City and we ran out of gas 50 miles out.  I don’t remember actually running out of gas, or how we got gas, just the entry in the journal.  It’s funny the places and events in time you remember.  Some of these times are so insignificant, yet ingrained in our memories.

We passed by Wawatam Lighthouse while on the ferry.  This lighthouse has quite a past.  It was originally built as a welcome center in Monroe, MI!  After restructering the center, the lighthouse was no longer needed and was sold in 2004 to the town of St. Ignace.  It was shipped in 5 pieces and reassembled in 2006.  It was certified by the U.S. Coastguard and officially began it’s new life as a true lighthouse in August of that same year.  Today, the lifesaving beacon can be seen from 13 miles out on Lake Huron.  A real-life Cinder-lighthouse story.

Mackinac Island is just as charming as I recall.  The homes and businesses carry you to a place only found in dreams.  Because motorized vehicles are not allowed on the island, our only traffic for the day were humans, bicycles, and horse carriages.  There were plenty of all of them, but it sure beats whizzing cars and trucks!

Our first adventure of the day?…Biking, of course.  We rode the 8 mile shoreline loop around the island.  As usual, I drove Tom and Ken crazy because I wanted to stop and read the historical information along the way.  With those two, one is never fast enough…even on Mackinac Island!!  Good thing I am a fast reader!  I was able to find out that the island played a large role in fur trading.  It was originally home to the Odawa (Ottawa) Indians before Britain took it over and built Fort Mackinac in an effort to control the Straits of Mackinac, and ensure profitable fur trading endeavors.  There were even two battles fought there in the War of 1812.  I also found out that the island is considered a sacred place by the Odawa and became a burial site for many tribal chiefs.

I like to ride Honey Badger and look around as I pedal.  That is how we were able to see the sandhill cranes, the eagles, the deer, the moose, and most everything I have written about!  On the island, the guys would have rode right on past the Arch Rock, along with the historical markers.  I myself, do not recall ever seeing this arch, so I was pleasantly surprised when I spied it…and so were the guys.  The Arch Rock is 146 feet above the water of Lake Huron and is 50 feet wide.  I even think Tom stopped long enough to take a picture!!

After the ride, we hung out in the park as we waited for a table to open for lunch.  There was a gazebo, with a pretty garden, that was being prepared for a wedding.  Talk about a fairytale wedding…getting married on Mackinac Island would certainly qualify!  Later, we did see the bride and groom ride through the streets of the island in a horse drawn carriage.  If I did not have my face in a slurpy ice cream cone, I would have been able to snap a picture of the wedding couple.

Speaking of ice cream cones…don’t expect that just because I haven’t written about them lately, that we have given them up!  No chance.  As a matter of fact, in Sault Ste. Marie we found this delicious ice cream parlor!  For two nights we were able to nosh on the delectable treats, and Tom even joined into the obsession.  But, by the time we got to St. Ignace and to Mackinac Island, he jumped off the bandwagon!  An ice cream aficionado he is not.

Needing to get back to camp to get Tom ready for tomorrows departure back to Sault Ste. Marie, we got back on the ferry…essentially waking up from the dream.  As a kid, my island enthusiasm was always about the horses.  Today, I would like to learn more about its’ history.  I still have not seen all there is to see on Mackinac Island, and would be willing to go back again, and again, and again.

The Rooster Tail

Wawatam Lighthouse

View Of The Bridge From The Ferry

The Old Round Island Point Lighthouse

The Old Round Island Point Lighthouse

Mackinac Island Lighthouse

The Mackinac Island Harbor

Grand Hotel On Mackinac Island

The Streets Of Mackinac Island on Labor Day Weekend

The View Of Big Mac From Mackinac Island

Rock House Town

Tom Off His Bike!

The Boys Waiting For Me To Move Onward

The Rock Arch

The Park – A Sailboat Race Was Going On That Day

Gazebo And Garden

Even The Seagulls Were Enjoying The Park

A Horse Drawn Carriage

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