Great Lake Trip – Day 9 – Michigan

2017-05-06 | Travel

Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island

We head out early from Petoskey, Michigan, taking the short drive north to Mackinaw City. On our agenda for the day is to catch the 11 AM ferry from Mackinaw City to the scenic Mackinac Island. We chose the Star Line as our transport. It’s fast, and some of the crossings take you under the Mackinaw Bridge, weather permitting. The 11 o’clock boat took us under the bridge.

Star Line Ferry at Mackinaw City

Our boat was the Marquette II. The crew was very efficient, getting all the cargo on board then the passengers. Everything on the island arrives there by boat or plane.

Star Line Ferry loading at Mackinaw City

The rooster tail on our hydro jet boat.

Star Line Hydro Jet in Lake Huron

Going under the bridge is a little out of the way, but certainly worth doing. We experienced the bridge from below and above. More on that tomorrow.

Star Line ferry headed to the Mackinac Bridge-1

Star Line ferry headed to the Mackinac Bridge-2

This is the view of the shoreline as we approach the dock on Mackinac Island. BTW, Mackinac is pronounced Mackinaw.

Shoreline of Mackinac Island

One of the important lighthouses that helped guide ships through the perilous straits connecting Lake Michigan from Lake Huron.

Lighthouse at Mackinac Island

We decided not to take the somewhat expensive carriage tour of the island. There are no internal combustion vehicles on the island except for emergency vehicles. Most transportation is by horse-drawn carriages or bicycles. There were literally thousands of bicycles to rent. With no danger from traffic, this was a favorite way for a family with young kids to get around.

Carriage tour at Mackinac Island

This is the replica of a Missionary Bark Chapel. These were erected in the late 1600’s among the native Indians of the land and served as chapels for the Jesuits as they attempted to convert the Indians to Christianity. A noted priest who lived here in 1670 and 1671 was Father Claude Dablon from Sault Ste. Marie further to the north.

Exterior of Missionary Bark Chapel at Mackinac Island

This is the interior of the bark chapel.

Interior of Missionary Bark Chapel at Mackinac Island

High above the city streets is Fort Mackinac. It was both a British and an American military outpost. It was originally built by the British during the American Revolutionary War to control shipments going through the Straits of Mackinac. It is now a tourist attraction on the island. There is a small fee to enter.

Fort Mackinac on hill

Below is the entrance to the fort on the upper side, opposite the city.

Entrance to Fort Mackinac

Plaque describing the history of Fort Mackinac

As I said, we opted to walk around the island and see some of its most important features. This is the steep sidewalk that goes to the upper level of the city and the entrance to the fort.

Sidewalk going up the hill at Mackinac Island

There’s plenty of walking trails if you like to hike. We decided to walk to the Arch Rock, high up over the shoreline.

Sign showing paths and distance of various trails on Mackinac Island

This is one of the paths leading to Arch Rock. Some of the flora has identifying signs.

Path through the trees

This is Arch Rock.

Arch Rock on Mackinac Island

We took a long stairway back down to the main highway and headed back to town in search of some lunch. In the pictures below you can see that virtually everything is carried by horse-drawn cars, whether moving furniture or people.

Freight wagon on the island

For some reason, I thought this photo had a rather “Fellini” like feel to it.

Bellhop and man riding on freight carriage

Here’s one of the freight carriages. They have to pick up all the trash and perform other freight services on the island.

Horse drawn freight and drayage cart on the island

A passenger on our ferry recommended Horn’s Bar for lunch. We weren’t disappointed. The food was very good, and the ambiance was authentic. We shared a big plate of nachos. There were seemingly out-of-place decorations hung from the ceiling because it was the day after Cinco de Mayo.

Interior of Horn's Bar on Mackinac Island

Horn's Bar table setting with menu

And now we come to the most well-known location on the island – The Grand Hotel. This hotel was made famous when the movie “Somewhere in Time” was filmed here in 1978 starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Plummer. To go any closer to the hotel, or to go inside, costs $10.

Grand Hotel on the island

From what I read on this sign, I think the hotel is truly lost somewhere in time. No slacks. You’ve got to be kidding.

Signage stating the regulations of the Grand Hotel

Even their shuttle to the hotel is upper class. This is the finest carriage I saw on the island.

Grand Hotel's fancy carriage

Even the coachmen are dressed in the garb of the period. (Though I don’t think they had smart phones then.)

Coachmen of the Grand Hotel looking at their phones

It’s time to head back to the mainland. We are completely worn out from walking. This is a big island. We really enjoyed our time here. The weather was absolutely wonderful, and the experience well worth the time and effort.

We returned on the same boat we came on. Note how clear the water is in the shallows behind the boat. Pristine.

Star Line's Marquette II ready to return to Mackinaw City

The wind was really kicking up on the return trip. We sat on the middle deck, which was open on the sides. A group of children on the boat screamed with delight the whole way back, as they were sprayed with water blowing in. In the background you can see one of the huge freighters that navigate these waters.

Freighter on the Great Lakes seen from the ferry

No trip this far north would be complete without crossing the “Mighty Mac”. Tomorrow we will go across the strait on this incredible bridge. We’ll go up to Sault Ste. Marie and watch as a huge boat goes through the locks, crossing from Lake Superior to Lake Huron.