Looking for someplace to go that is a little romantic, a little old fashioned and still get some exercise? Have you ever seen “Somewhere in Time”, the movie with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour? Well, that location really does exist and it is called Mackinac Island. It is located in the Straits of Mackinac which is the body of water that connects Lake Michigan with Lake Huron. There are no motor vehicles on the island other than emergency vehicles. You are either going to be walking to get around, riding a bicycle or having a horse drawn taxi or carriage ride. Sounds pretty good to me.
To get to this unique island you could fly Delta to Pellston, Michigan which is the closest airport but in my opinion the most expensive. Another alternative is to fly into Chippewa Airport located in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. From there you could rent a car or take a bus the 33 minutes to the docks in St. Ignace, MI. If you do decide to fly into Pellston, there are two shuttles that are located in the main terminal of the airport that can transport you to the ferries which are about 15 minutes away in Mackinaw City. Finally , you could fly into Detroit and rent a car for the almost 5 hour drive north.
Pellston is a very unique regional airport that is only serviced by Delta Airlines. Sault Ste. Marie does not have the decor that Pellston does.
There are several ferry lines that go over to the island as well as hydrofoils. The ride is fairly short, about 20 minutes when using Shepler’s Ferry service but if you choose to use Arnold, they use a real ferry and it takes about 40 minutes. A couple of times a day, Shepler’s has what they call their Mighty Mac ride which is the same price. This special 5 minute longer trip goes under the Mackinac Bridge with a short narrative. My special travel tip is to go to the Shepler website because they are often a few dollars less expensive and they do have online specials. We got one yesterday that was 3 adults for $62. There is free day parking at Shepler’s as well
When we travel we usually take our bicycles with us or you can rent them on the island. As of yesterday, the price to bring a bike onto the ferry was about $9. You can rent bicycles, tandem bicycles, chariots to hitch to your bike to have your child ride in behind you. If you ride around the lake shore road, which is M- 185, it is about 8 miles long, flat and has no cars. The only highway that has no automobiles!
Fort Mackinac, a fort the British built for the Revolutionary War, is on the island. It was used by the Americans during the War of 1812 to protect the Great Lakes. Two important battles were fought there. You can tour the buildings. on the fort, watch the canon being fired on the hour as well as rifle shooting demonstration. The Governor of Michigan has its summer residence on the island near the fort.
We like to walk along the wooded paved path to the side of the island to view the Natural Arch. Looking through the Arch you can see more of the Straits of Mackinac. We then walk to the right and down the 204 stairs to the lake road and walk back to the downtown along this plesant road. We pass what I think is the most beautiful hotel on the island – Mission Point Resort. It really is a throwback to the older times with Adirondack chairs on the lawn overlooking the water, a putting and shipping green, beautiful hours and just a drop dead gorgeous location.
On Mackinac Island is the Grand Hotel which holds the distinction of having the longest porch in the world – that’s right, the WORLD. Unless you are staying at the hotel you have to pay $10 to gain admission to the porch. This hotel has a style of elegance that is not found in many places and there is a strict dress code.. This is a relaxing way to spend the day.
There are many things to do on the Island and is perfect for the entire family. I hope you get to visit this jewel sometime soon and when you go there, get some fudge. They are known for great fudge! My favorite is Joanne’s Fudge but Ryba’s is very good also.
To see more of the island, watch “Somewhere in Time”