Saturday, August 10, 2013


We took an early morning side trip about an hour north of Petoskey to Mackinaw City and enjoyed a 20 minute ferry ride to Mackinac Island.  Is it pronounced Mackinac or Mackinaw? This has always driven us crazy, but the French favor the silent "c" at the end while the early settlers opted for the phonetic "aw" spelling, probably to distinguish their town from Mackinac Island for the postal carriers.  Just remember... No matter how it is spelled, it is always pronounced Mackinaw!
Shepler's Ferry Landing - Mackinaw City, MI

The 5 mile Mackinac Bridge - joins Michigan's 2 peninsulas

View of The Grand Hotel from ferry
Arriving Mackinac Island
Volumes of American history have been written about Mackinac Island.  The American Revolution (1779-1781), the War of 1812 (1812-1815), and then after the war was over John Jacob Astor established the American Fur Company on Mackinac Island.  In the 1820's millions of dollars worth of furs passed through the Island.  In 1875 the federal government created Mackinac Island National Park, the second national park (established 3 years after Yellowstone).
Fort Mackinac - Mackinac Island, MI
If there's one thing you know about Mackinac Island, it is likely to be that automobiles are banned.  Horse drawn carriages, livery carriages, saddle horses and drive yourself carriages are transportation along with hundreds of bicycles - more numerous than you can imagine.  There are somewhere between 550 to 600 horses on the island during the season, and during the winter months they are transported to a warmer climate.  No cars except for 1 ambulance and 1 police vehicle.
Catching our carriage ride downtown Mackinac Island

New horse stables at Mackinac Island
Employee parking lot at The Grand Hotel
Will we ever get over the smell of horse poo and urine?  It took us several days to breathe normal.  The experience was worth it, cough, cough.  After a carriage ride all over the island - through forest area - through the cemeteries - past Arch Rock - the Fort, past the Governor of Michigan's summer residence, we transferred to another carriage to carry us to the Grand Hotel.  
Mackinac Island cemetery
Arch Rock - 146' above water - Mackinac Island, MI
Michigan Governor's Summer Residence - Mackinac Island
Arriving at The Grand Hotel - Mackinac Island
We're not sure if we will ever return to Mackinac Island again, so we treated ourselves to lunch at the famous Grand Hotel.  There are so many tourists wanting to see the hotel they now charge $10 apiece to even enter the hotel.  Our lunch reservations meant we were not charged to enter, and the GRAND buffet also included dessert, beverages and tip.  So along with our discounted tickets that we acquired at Hearthside Grove, we justified our expensive but delicious lunch.   After lunch we explored the hotel as if we were Mr. and Mrs. Astor, and also took time to relax in the rockers on the 660 foot front porch and enjoyed the scenic view of Lake Huron until we almost needed a nap. 
Lobby - The Grand Hotel

Lobby - The Grand Hotel

Lobby - The Grand Hotel

Library and Audobon Wine Bar

Dining Room - The Grand Hotel

The Grand Hotel - Porch
We decided to walk off some of our delicious lunch and made our way back to Shepler's Ferry, the ferry landing in the middle of town.  Thank goodness, because we were not the least bit interested in all those fudge shops (17 stores) we passed along the way!

Where's that bucket list?  Another check.

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