So, it ended up being rainy and cold for all 3 days. That said, the trip was still awesome and beautiful. We had a lot of fun eating lots of food, seeing lots of cool sights, experiencing new stuff.
Day one we just hung out in Mackinaw City, not really a ton to see there considering the rain. You can get some views of the Bridge and several of the islands along the Straits. There are a lot of shops. Some selling standard tourist town stuff, but others sell Native American crafts, Michigan or "up north" themed stuff, and then there are probably 8 t-shirt shops. There are probably the same amount of fudge shops. The city is a pretty small place, so that's a lot of t-shirts and fudge. I heard from one shopkeep that the same guy owns most of the shirt shops. One thing I noticed about all the people in this place is that they are really nice. If you ever find yourself in the city and want some breakfast, for example, The Pancake Chef on the main drag is a great family place to go. Say hi to Ed. You'll know him by his shaky hands but he's the nicest guy ever. Later in the day we ate at are Audie's (for dinner) and Dixie Saloon (for a drink and dessert). Audie's is great comfort food and has reasonable prices. If you go there, be sure not to accidentally walk into The Chippewa Room (in the same building,) which is upscale and expensive. We did that and after looking at the menu, left. (Oops!) Dixie Saloon is a cool place, but the food in this and past experience is meh. It's not bad, but it's not great. The service is equally meh.
On day two we got up too late to eat breakfast at the hotel so that's when we ended up going to the Pancake Chef. Their breakfast buffet is great. I'll be honest, I glanced at the ferry (to the Island) schedule, but I never stopped to actually plan out the day. We got off to a rough start. I also never booked a hotel for our second night and we hadn't decided if we would stay on the island or not. Kurt says everything on the island is expensive, so when we finally made it to the 2:00 ferry departure we just left everything in the car but a backpack with water, snacks, the camera, an umbrella, and some brochures. My new camera actually shoots really good video, so I decided to do something I've never done before and make a video log.
The ferry ride was actually awesome. Kurt and I went topside and were tossed around by the force of the waves against the boat. We got to see a full panorama view of the Bridge and some of the different islands. When we finally approached the island we saw Fort Mackinac, The Grand Hotel, lots of big beautiful houses and inns scattered amongst the green hillside, and the lighthouse. When we landed ashore you could hear the clip-clop of horses all along the main street, lots of people milling about despite the rain, and you could smell fudge, caramel corn and other tasty noms. One minute you'd smell the fudge, the next minute you'd smell a very different soft, brown stuff. Namely, the horses. There are no cars on the Island, so the only way to get around is by horse or bike.
We stopped at a number of different shops along the main strip and admired the architecture. We had lunch at the Mustang Lounge, apparently one of the oldest still-operating taverns in Michigan. Mackinac is a very history-centric place, I believe it was one of the first parts of the state that were settled by new world explorers. The service was not good but the food was tasty and reasonably priced. After going up and down the bustling downtown area it was getting kinda late in the day, and we were trying to figure out if we should get on the last ferry of the day at 7 or try to find a modestly priced hotel for the night. We didn't get to see anywhere near as much of Mackinac as we wanted to, so we opted to stay despite a lack of clothes and necessities. After a few calls I found a room for not-too-much, right on the drag. Plymouth Inn. Not a bad place, but could definitely do with some soundproofing. The drag provides many a place for people to get drunk in.
On day 3 we regrettably went straight to Starbuck's for breakfast. By this point in the trip we were trying to conserve money. I feel bad for giving my money to a corporate giant while on a trip to a place like this, when I could have spent it locally. I felt like every white-girl tourist ever. After that we got on a horse-carriage tour and rolled around downtown and past The Grand, then into the state park (trees. yay.) and then to Arch Rock. That was actually pretty cool. Behind it was a breathtaking view of the lake and the shore far down below. This day was even colder, around 40 degrees, and even rainier than the first two days. By this point I was getting sick of being cold and wet. We warmed up in the Seabiscuit Cafe and had our last meal of the trip. Slightly less to choose from and slightly more pricy, but not by much. The food was, again, good, and so was the service. The best place about the Seabiscuit Cafe is the decor. It's fantastic! Then for the fall they put webs and lights and leaves everywhere. After that we checked out Fort Mackinac. I found this pretty boring, actually. The only interesting part of it was the cannon firing and rifle shooting. I'm not much of a history buff, but I can appreciate that this was one of the oldest things in Michigan built by colonists and at one point pretty awesome. Another cool thing about the Fort is, due to it's high elevation, a spectacular view of Lake Huron, Round Island, and the Mackinac Bridge.
We were a little early on the colors unfortunately. According to our tour guide, the colors would have normally been more in force by this point, but the cold weather we've had this year has put a delay on the show. Despite this and the grey, gloomy weather, I did manage to get a few interesting shots in. Some of these will start popping up in my gallery soon. I may even put together the shots from our video log and post that online, but it's probably pretty lame and boring so I don't know. I also saw a lot of very pretty jewelry which has given me lots of inspiration. Despite my trepidation for doing more of the craft shows I still want to create.
So there it is, I hope you enjoyed reading about my first trip to Mackinaw Island. Do you have any fun stories to share about going there, or any suggestions for next time?
Listening to: Opeth - Pale Communion