Monday, October 15, 2012

Michigan Road Trip: Mackinac Island

Okay friends (aka Keitha who has been complaining about my lack of posting), after an unintentional blog break, I'm back in the swing of things to finish my MRT recap. I'm sorry if you're sick of these photos.... I kinda feel like that great-aunt at the family reunion who wants to show off vacation slides in the warm, musty den after everyone's had lunch. If you feel the same, feel free to ignore my next two posts.

Mackinac Island is one of Michigan's biggest tourist attractions, so Chris and I decided to make our way to the island on day two, to make sure we had plenty of time to explore everything. Honestly? We probably could have covered the whole island in a day or less. I don't know if we over-hyped the island up in our minds, or if friends over-hyped it for us, but we were pretty disappointed in our island experience. Everything was crowded, smelly, and extremely over-priced. We still had a lot of fun together, as usual, but I don't know if we'll be making any return trips to Mackinac.

For our first evening on the island, we walked along the boardwalk, explored Main Street and watched the sunset over the rocky beach. Everything on the island is perfectly picaresque, like a tiny Victorian town. I mean, come on, the public library was mint green! The island officially banned motorized vehicles in 1898, so island transpiration is limited to bicycles and horse-drawn buggies. The only problem with that? The entire island smells like horse poop. We couldn't even get away from it indoors, which made mealtimes unpleasant.


The only way to get to and from the island is by boat; to save a little money, we booked our hotel on the mainland and purchased two-day ferry passes. In the morning, we caught a special bridge-view ferry that took us under the Mackinac Bridge, Michigan's famous five-mile bridge that connects the upper and lower peninsulas. Considering that we accidentally slept in and missed the 7 am ferry we had planned on taking, it was a pretty happy accident.

First thing off the boat, we rented a tandem bike to cruse the island. After a shaky start, we took a beautiful eight mile ride around the shore, stopping at random points to stroll the beach. It was by far our favorite activity. If you ever visit Mackinac, totes rent a bike.

We also toured Fort Mackinac (meh) and hiked around the inner trails of the island. One particularly confusing thing about Mackinac is that a majority of the island is preserved state forest land, and the remaining bits and pieces are private mansions and tourist stops. There were some trails we started to walk down, only to realize the trail was actually someone's driveway.

All in all, Mackinac is a beautiful little island. Over-priced and over-rated, perhaps, but still beautiful. I think if it would have been more state park and less Victorian-themed tourist trap, we would have enjoyed it more, but I'm still glad we visited. 


Keitha said...

Oh Yay! I must confess, I'm not as empathetic as fellow bloggers. But I agree with you about Mackinac (even though I've never been to the island, the waiting line for the Ferry was too long)....but hey, did you try the fudge?

Jenna Secrist said...

beautiful pictures! i loved reading about your trip!

Kate said...

I agree, I love reading about your trip too!! This looks like so much fun, I never thought riding a tandem bike would take some getting used to but it totally makes sense to me now... I want to try it! Haha. You guys are master adventurers!

Carrie said...

I like viewing your great-aunt slides. The views are beautiful. Kind of unfortunate that they haven't solved the smelly-poo issue. It seems like that would be top o' the list since it's a tourist destination.

ps. I really love your haircut!

Katherine Ross said...

Okay, I'm so glad you guys are liking the photos... especially since I still have one more round of them to share :)

@Keitha -- yes, the fudge! It was one of our last stops on the island and we kept it in a cooler for the rest of the trip :) Mighty tasty, although perhaps a little overrated as well? I mean, fudge is fudge. My in-laws sure enjoyed it, though.

Sharon Telschow said...

I love the vaca adventures! Noticed some cool inuksuk in the water. Great White North represent! Kudos to y'all for the tandem biking. Hard work. You're photos make it look pretty picturesque and beautiful.

Ksenia said...

I love all your photos!!!! You guys are too cute together :)


Latrina said...

Aww, sorry to hear the trip had not-so-great moments. :( ...The photos looks great though. I'm excited to see the others!