Last summer when we were in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, we ran out of time to visit Mackinac Island, so that is todays priority.
We had a nice breakfast at the hotel and then walked the short distance to the ferry dock. There are several ferry companies that shuttle passengers between the Island and the Mainland. We chose Shepler’s Ferry. There was a lineup, but we did not have to wait long and soon we were aboard.
As we headed across the channel to Mackinac Island we passed the lake freighter “Edgar B Speer” and the “Round Island Lighthouse”.
Here are a couple of shots of Mackinac Island as we approach the dock.
Cars are not allowed on the Island, you get around by walking, bicycle or horse and buggy. The driver from the Grand Hotel is waiting near the dock for hotel guests.
The streets near the dock are very busy and we walk along taking in the sights (and the smells) You really have to pay attention to your surroundings or you will get run over or step in something you don’t want to step in.
We have tickets for the Carriage Tour, so we went to their location to hand in our tickets and to get into the carriage.
This is a great way to see the Island. Our driver is also a tour guide and he talks about the history of the Island and points out different things and places as the tour winds its way through the streets.
If you want, you can rent your own horse and do a self guided tour.
Probably the most popular sight on the Island is the Grand Hotel. Here we are on our tour passing by the hotel. We will get off here later in the day and tour the hotel.
We got off our tour carriage at the Surrey Hills Carriage Museum. We looked at the carriages on display and had a light lunch before resuming our tour of the island.
We transferred onto a larger carriage at this point and continued on with the tour of the island. This carriage is pulled by 3 horses instead of 2.
From here we went to the far side of the island through heavily wooded riding trails.
We stopped at Arch Rock to give the team of horses a rest break and to allow us to see Arch Rock and the view.
We had the opportunity to visit Fort Mackinac, but we passed since it was another added expense and we have seen similar Forts on past vacations. A Fort is a Fort, basically on the highest ground, surrounded by walls, with barracks and other buildings inside the walls, with cannons spread around to fire upon the enemy.
We went past the Grand Hotel Horse Stables, a fine structure and it is air conditioned. Those horses live in luxury. It was cool enough today that the doors were open.
At this point along the tour we got off to visit the Grand Hotel. So you might think after me poo pooing the fort, because a fort is a fort, that we would bypass the hotel, because a hotel is a hotel. Well let me tell you that this is not just any hotel. Rooms start at $1000.00 per night and if you are not a guest, there is a $10.00 admission charge per person to even get onto the property. The hotel was fully booked, not a room to be had.
In keeping with us seeking out the weird and whacky, the largest and the tallest, this hotel has one feature that entitles it to be among that elite group. It boasts the “World’s Largest” front porch. The porch measures in at 660 feet long.
There is a lovely refreshing breeze here on the porch and the scenery and the property is beautiful.
We can see another lake freighter passing under the Mackinac Bridge.
Inside the hotel.
Horse and buggies pick up and deliver hotel guests and their luggage to the front entrance.
The view from the bar on the top floor of the hotel.
It truly is a Grand Hotel. There is even a dress code.
Some parting shots of the hotel.
It is time to head back to the ferry so we walk the short distance from the hotel to the ferry dock.
It was a choppy ride back to the mainland, we were smart and stayed inside where it was dry, but anyone on the top deck got soaked by the wind driven spray. This guy on his “Sunfish” was enjoying an afternoon of sailing.
We enjoyed our visit to Mackinac Island. Do we need to go back, perhaps not, but if we are in the area again I wouldn't rule it out, maybe we could go back and rent a couple of horses for ourselves.
To see all of our photos from today, click on the link to our FLICKR site.
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