Monday, August 16, 2010

Mackinac Island

Today was all about boats and bikes. We hopped on our bikes this morning and rode down to the ferry terminal. We arrived just in time to board a ferry and head to Mackinac Island, four-square-mile island that sits between the Straits of Mackinac and Lake Huron. This trip was more than 24 years in the making! Once upon a time, we considered Mackinac Island as a honeymoon destination. We built a new house instead, and vowed that one day we'd make it to the island. Today was the day!

Yesterday's wild wind was mild compared to today. It looked like traffic was being escorted across the Mackinac Bridge. But, we couldn't be sure because the waves were washing over the ferry and making a mess of our view. This photo brings new meaning to the word "watercolor".

After 20 minutes of rocking and rolling, we pulled into the harbor. Despite the wind, today looked like a perfect day to explore the island.

When you step onto the island, you step back in time. Cars are forbidden. The only modes of transportation are horses and bikes. When we first stepped off the boat, though, there were too many of both around. It was a zoo!

Ah! That's more like it. Within minutes we were enjoying the peace and quite of State Highway 185, an 8-mile stretch that circles the island. It was lovely.

There are several spots on the island that are tourist magnets, and there are others where few folks seem to stop. This lovely park on the shore of Lake Huron was very quiet today. We could have spent hours here.

But, we had geocaches to find! We were on a mission to locate 14 caches along the lakeshore around the island. And, they were all very simple. When you see a neat and tidy pile of rocks and driftwood like this one, it's pretty obvious that it's home to a cache.

We climbed a couple of long sets of stairs up to Lakeview Drive in search of one cache and instead found another at the corner of this stately Victorian. The house, gardens and views were gorgeous. And, we found 15 out of 14 caches. That's some kind of record!

Looking at the house next door, this could be a scene from the early 20th century. But, this is modern day Mackinac Island!

Mackinac Island's centerpiece is the Grand Hotel. Built in 1887, it bills itself as America's Summer Hotel and boasts having the world's longest porch. At 660 feet, we won't argue. However, we did decide to pass on the $10 admission fee to enter the property and the $50 lunch buffet.

We enjoyed a peek at the hotel's tea garden and went on our way. In our opinion there's much more to see and do on the island. And, our picnic lunch by the shore was much more comfortable!

With eight miles of riding and 15 caches and limitless views behind us, we had a great day on Mackinac Island. It was a delayed honeymoon visit, but for this happy couple it was well worth the wait.

Before we move on down into the "hand" of Michigan, we wanted to get something straight. Is it Mackinac or Mackinaw? We were very confused. We found the answer.

The bridge and the island are Mackinac. The city is Mackinaw. They're all pronounced "aw". Why? Because the French spelled it one way and said it another. The British spelled it the way they heard it. Apparently, the British named the city.

Mystery solved.


Mary Ellen Alton said...

Glad you had a good time on the island. We always opted to pass on the Hotel admission too.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the delayed honeymoon. Seems it will last a few more years, eh?

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Great place to bike. The $10 admission is new since we were there. Also skipped the lunch and high tea, but both are supposed to be good.