We woke up early and caught the ferry to Mackinac Island. It was nice to ride on someone else's boat for a change. The ferries cross under the Mackinac Bridge for photos and then blast over to the Island at 27 knots. Yorksie was unimpressed by the speed of the ferry.
Mackinac Island is one of those simply must see places. In 1895 they outlawed automobiles on the island, so everything is horse drawn except for a few emergency vehicles that are kept hidden, and a few electric scooters for the elderly. Its cute and quaint but it does smell a bit of horse poop.
There's a touristy district with a plethora of fudge shops, ice cream parlors, and souvenir shops along with restaurants and bars, all in Victorian Period style. Outside of the tourist areas are many spectacular homes with beautiful gardens. The Grand Hotel - A National HIstoric Landmark - dates back to 1887 and is a must see if you like Victorian or 30's Art Deco architecture and furnishings.
We signed up for the carriage tour, and were taken around the Island on a two leg horse drawn carriage ride. Yorksie went absolutely crazy over the horses and it was all we could do to keep her quiet for the first hour, everytime a carriage passed in the opposite direction she went nuts.
The first took us through the main part of the town, stopping for a break at a display of old buggies and butterfly conservatory. The butterfly conservatory was absolutely amazing.
Using the Canon XC-15 4K Camcorder I was able to get some amazing footage that will be in an upcoming Youtube episode. Darina was similarly enchanted with the experience and was all smiles as we were surrounded by the beautiful creatures - many who chose to rest on us as we admired them.
The next leg of the tour was a different carriage pulled by a three horse team that takes you through the Mackinac Island State Park. Our carriage driver was from Romania, and she was absolutely charming and entertaining. You slowly clip clop through the forest at what amounts to a walking pace as she regaled us with cute stories about the island, most of which were rather fanciful and embellished but no one cared.
The tour will take you all the way back to the starting point, or you can choose to get off early and walk back. We chose to get off early and walk around the Grand Hotel. They charge you $10 per person for the privilege and it is worth every penny. It is an amazing property that is beautifully furnished.
In addition to the furnishings there is plenty of beautiful artwork, including period prints to admire. As is the case with everywhere on Mackinac Island the people watching is also first rate.
The porch - claimed to be the world's largest has a spectacular view of the straits. Guests arrive via lavish horse drawn carriages, so there is the constant clip clop of the horses. The day we were there the weather was absolutely perfect, and we sat in the rocking chairs admiring the flowers, the view, and each other for at least an hour.
On the way out we stopped at Sadies Ice Cream Parlor for Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream with chunks of Mackinac Island Peanut Butter Fudge in a locally made Chocolate Waffle cone and it was absolutely delicious, the best ice cream/cone experience so far on the loop.
As the original founder of the Grand Hotel bred prize winning Scottish Terriers the entire property is dog friendly - which, by the way, cannot be said for Mackinaw City, where every place we went rudely threw us out when we had Yorksie with us.
We took the Ferry back to the boat around 4pm. The wait to go back to Mackinaw City can be a long one compared to the wait to get to the Island. As we were pooped from the long day, we walked over to the Hook Restaurant for dinner, where we dined on very tasty local fresh caught whitefish cooked in lime and butter, served with sweet potato fries, and fresh green beans and onions accompanied by a glass of Mackinac Winery sweet red Cherry wine.
The view from the Hook is excellent.
Looper Life doesn't get any better than this.
Making our cruising plans for the next week we learned that there were going to be powerboat races in Traverse Bay, so we decided to dawdle a few days in Mackinaw City, and then a few days in Petosky, before heading to Traverse. After we enjoy those gems of Northern Michigan we'll be blasting down the coast as we want to be off the Great Lakes by early September.