September 19, 2017- Trip Day 46
Most taxis provide transportation to the Grand Hotel
The reason most folks come to St. Ignace is to catch a ferry to Mackinac Island. We are most folks so this morning we board a Shepler’s Ferry, in this case a high speed double decker passenger boat that may hold as many as 150 passengers. Fair is $26 round trip per person. The wind is blowing and Lake Huron resembles the Pacific Ocean. Four foot seas have been whipped up. It’s a 14 mile round trip. The ferry leaves each port on the half hour this time of year- low season. We get a treat on the way to the island, a side trip to the Straits along with a view of east and west sides of the Mackinac Bridge as we float underneath.
Views of Mackinac Bridge- Left- From Lake Huron, Right- From Lake Michigan
Heading Towards The Bridge/ Coast Guard Vessel
Approaching Mackinac Marina
The ride is remarkably smooth with a following sea to the bridge then directly into the sea as we head toward the island. We are sitting on the bench seat most towards the stern which affords a smoother ride than those that are sitting up near the bow. The boat enters Mackinac Harbor where now the swells are coming in from starboard- the boat rocks side to side as we approach the dock. We brought our Muttzo Megan with. To our knowledge she’s never been on any kind of boat. At first she is very nervous, then settles. Atta girl!
Mackinac Island was a center of fur trade back in the day. As a place of “strategery” Fort Mackinac was built by the British. Two battles were fought here during the War of 1812. Today it’s all about tourism. The Grand Hotel is magnificent. In fact, just to enter the hotel if one is not a guest will cost one 10 bucks.
Beautiful Old Homes Overlooking Bay/ Island House Built Around 1862/ Even The Trash Is Collected By Horse Drawn Wagons
Most of the buildings here are vintage 1800’s. Grand homes dot the island. No motorized vehicles are allowed during the summer months with the exception of electric scooters for the disabled. If you want transportation other than foot power horse drawn taxis are available, bicycles are available for rent or bring your own bike. You can even rent horses and horse drawn buggies! Rules change somewhat in the winter when snowmobiles are allowed.
Post Office/ “Police Only” Bike Rack/ City Hall
Mackinac is liking walking back in time. Beautifully maintained vintage buildings are the norm. We love the clippity clop sound of horses hooves as the taxis pass by. The place is just gorgeous. Even though we are visiting in shoulder season, there are too many people here for our taste.
We spend several hours just strolling along the narrow streets and gawking at the great architecture of years past.
Our ferry ride is a little shorter heading straight back to St. Ignace- no detour to the bridge. We really enjoyed our tour of Mackinac Island. Not to take anything away from Mackinaw City or St. Ignace, who in themselves are a great place to visit, but Mackinac Island is the proverbial icing on the cake.
Livery Sign/ Governor’s “Summer Mansion”/ Windermere Hotel
Tomorrow a new adventure awaits. We are heading to Young State Park in Boyne, MI.