As they traveled along the northernmost region of Michigan, travelers Mike and Roxanne visited one of the highlights of the area, Mackinac Island; detailing their tour of the area in their journal, Mike and Roxanne Travel East.
The island north of the tip of the mitten which is Michigan is accessible only by ferry. Because of this limited access, very few vehicles are seen on this island. Instead, people get around the quaint town by bicycle or horse and carriage rides. Bicycles are rented by the thousands, charged at an hourly, daily or weekly rate depending on the visitor’s needs. All varieties of bikes are available; standard, 3 or 7 speed, tandems and more. The horse and carriage rides are extremely popular and very fitting for the charming village; some of the carriages are quite large, holding groups up to 50 people.
One of the highlights of visiting the island is touring Fort Mackinac. Standing here on the island since the late 1700’s, tourists can either take a guided or self-guided tour of the buildings. A reenactment is performed of an actual court martial that proves to be quite interesting and entertaining.
Many shops dot the hilly island; candy merchants are very well attended where visitors can view fudge being made, and sample the many varieties that are available for purchase.
Arch Rock is an interesting sight on the island, as well; towering over the water line at 146 feet, and as wide as 50 feet across. The rock arches due to the effects of thousands of years of wind and water erosion, although Indian legend has it that a young maiden who fell in love with an undesirable brave was tied to the rock by her father. She cried, with her many tears falling upon and washing away the rock before her handsome brave rescued her from the rock and taking her to his home in the sky.
Likely the biggest attraction on Mackinac Island, though, is the Grand Hotel. A rather pricey yet elegant hotel that even has a charge to walk through the lobby or sit on the immense porch, the Grand Hotel has 378 rooms ranging between $366 per night to $650 per night. The hotel is such a beautiful and magnificent landmark that a movie was filmed here: Somewhere in Time, starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. It is also quite massive; it can be seen by those arriving on the ferry before they reach the island.
While most of the people seen milling about the island streets are tourists and visitors, there are some on the island who live their year round. It can be quite cold, and on particularly severe winters, they fashion an “ice road” between Mackinac Island and St. Ignace; detailing it with Christmas trees. The residents then use sleighs to travel across the ice.
When visiting the northern region of Michigan, a trip to Mackinac Island is one that cannot be missed. Historic, quaint and entertaining, both the ferry ride to the island as well as the time spent exploring it will be well worth the trip.
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