Sunday, September 1, 2019

Another Week gone, Mackinac Island

If blogging were my job, I would probably be fired! Good thing this blog is only a personal record of our RV travels. I am committed to keeping it up, but I can do it at my own pace.

On August 23rd we drove all of 40 miles from Cedarville to St. Ignace, which is the small community on the north side of the Mackinac Straits. We could see Lake Huron from our front window.

St. Ignace sunrise from the Alfa door

I am sometimes awake at sunrise, but I rarely actually get up until later. On this morning, I woke to a room that seemed to glow with golden light. I peeked between the blinds and saw a glorious sunrise. Needless to say, I got up and went out to get some pictures. I confess, I did go back to bed for a while when I came in.

On our second day there, we took the 9:30 Shepler's Ferry over to Mackinac Island. It was very convenient because they sent a shuttle to our RV park to pick us up, and we didn't have to fuss with parking. Also that particular run goes out under the Mackinac Bridge before going to the island. It was a gloriously clear and sunny day.

No cars are allowed on the Island so we decided to purchase the Ferry and Carriage Tour package. We boarded our carriage a short distance from the Ferry dock and we off for a tour of the island.

We drove up several streets with historic homes and buildings. No one actually "lives" in this part of town, since they are all either businesses, Hotels, or B&Bs. This little building is the Post Office, but there has never been a letter delivered on the island. If you get mail, you have to pick it up. With no cars, people either walk, bicycle, or take horse-drawn taxies and carriages. You can also rent a horse and buggy, or just a riding horse.

After traveling through town, our tour went past the Grand Hotel, through some state forest and dropped us off at Surrey Hill, where there was a gift shope, a blacksmith demonstration, a Butterfly House,

and the Grand Hotel barn which houses the Surrey Hills Carriage Museum. 

We enjoyed looking at all the beautifully restored carriages and reading about the famous families that had owned them for use on the island. Many very rich people had, and still have, summer homes here.

The next leg of our tour was in a carriage pulled by a team of three large horses. Our driver said we could pet them if we wanted to. I think this one looks like he enjoyed the attention.

I have to post this, our mandatory picture of Arch Rock. It was one of the stops.              

The color of the Lake Huron water was dramatic. Almost turquoise in the shallows and a deep royal blue in the distance.

The tour also stops at the fort overlooking the village and harbor.

If you want to go into the fort, which we did, there is an extra small fee. I had packed a small picnic lunch and we enjoyed the above view while we ate lunch on a veranda. There is also a restaurant.

I loved these buckets so perfectly lined up outside one of the guardhouses. When the fort was active, these were kept full of water to fight fires. I doubt they were  all as new and shiny then.

After our History lesson, we boarded another carriage and were let off a few blocks away from the Grand Hotel.

This picture was taken from our inbound Ferry. The Grand Hotel is so big it is hard to get it in one image from land!

By the time we had walked there from where the Carriage Tour had let us off, we were ready for an Ice Cream break. We had been told that everything was quite expensive on the island, but we found the ice cream about the same as in any tourist town.

The Hotel on the other hand was no Motel Six. A room can cost as much as $1000 per night for a single, or as little as $400 per person for double occupancy in a shared room.  

There is a $10 per person charge to just walk around the Lobby, porch and gardens if you do not hae a room.

The drinks we had up in the 5th-floor Cupola Bar were pricey at $32 for one glass of Chardonnay and one Irish Coffee. But then, no tipping is allowed at the hotel. 

We walked through the Hotel Gardens and back to town past many other beautifully maintained Victorian homes. We spotted a number of huge mansions overlooking the water from our outbound ferry. There is a separate little village, which we did not see, away from the tourist town area, where a few hundred people live year round, but most only stay in the summer months and the island pretty much shuts down for the winter.

The next day we took the Jeep over the bridge to Mackinaw City. The bridge reminded us of the Golden Gate in San Francisco. We have been there before, so did not go to Ft. Michilimacinac.

Instead we went on a Fudge Sampling walk.

There were about eight fudge shops on a three block strip, and they each gave samples. It was hard, but we did choose just one and bought several flavors.

For us, sometimes it is all about the food! We like to try local specialities if we can. 

We had some delicious smoked whitefish, beef pasties, and in keeping with what is trending now, tried the Impossible Wopper at Burger King.

Earlier on this part of our travels I had changed some of our plans, which is why we ended up returning to Sault Ste. Marie for a few days. Being Labor Day weekend, I could not easily find a different reservation, or change our reservation without penalty. 

So, we had a couple more days of relaxing and watching the big lake ships glide by in Sault Ste. Marie.  Life is so hard!

Saturday evening there was a really nice sunset.

Campers gather at the river's edge and either stand or lounge in their lawn chairs, waiting for the ships to go by. 

These two look as if they were going to crash into each other as they moved in opposite directions.

But of course that was just an illusion, and they each went their own way.

I am writing this on Sunday. We might find something to do tomorrow, or we might just hang out at home in the Alfa, at the Aune Osborn Campground, on the St. Marys river in Sault Ste. Marie Michigan.

Full Time RV Life is good!


  1. Take your car to the rock cut. Locals can tell you where it is. When a ship passes you you have about hour and twenty minutes to drive down to Barbeau and to the rock cut. The ships are very close there.

    1. Thanks for the tip. We went down there Monday, found the turn in for the US locked gate,(we walked around it) and in less than five minutes there was a big ship going by! They blew the horn for us and we waved back and forth. We yelled up at one guy: "Why are you working on Labor Day?" and he responded: "I need the money." It was a nice warmish, sunny day.

  2. Glad you are still Enjoying your northern adventure.
    Just getting caught up after a big change in our lives.
    Be Safe!

    It's about time.

  3. Glad you got to tour the island we enjoyed it back in the 90's and watching the ships cru9se on by as well, nice to relax a bit then carry on after the long weekend.

  4. I like your lead:) I think a lot of us good not hold a job as a blogger:)) The island is a great place to spend time and the hotel lunch is really good!


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