Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mackinac Island Vacation

My mom and I spent the majority of last week (really? it was only just last week?!?) in Michigan, driving to, spending a couple days on, and returning from Mackinac Island. (It's pronounced Mackinaw, btw.) I find it important to tell you now that I fell in love with the Mackinac Bridge, however, since I took 764,285 photos of it, drove over it, and became more and more fascinated and enamored with it, it will get its own post. You lucky dogs.

Knit Knack and Knitasha's wedding was a definite highlight, and the rest of the week was filled with great new experiences, relaxing, and mom/daughter bonding time.

We had to stop in Mackinac City first (Honest! That's where we caught the ferry!) and go to Cynthia's Fine Yarn & Gifts. It had been recommended by one of my yarn shop's patrons, and a fine recommendation it was, indeed. Cynthia's is filled with beautiful yarns, inventive samples, a rainbow of gifts, and surprises in every corner. Cynthia herself is super friendly and knowledgeable, and even sent me a personal email after I got back home. I'm happy to pass on the recommendation to anyone who might find themselves in the area.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was the ferry ride. We took Shepler's Ferry out of Mackinac City as part of our resort package. They take care of your car and deliver your luggage and provide a chilly, scenic, and extremely invigorating voyage to the island.

Here's a view of the island from our ferry. Wouldn't it be fun to live in one of those houses along that hill? If anyone is made of money and wants to buy me one, I promise to invite you to stay anytime you want to!

Here's the view from our resort entrance. We stayed at Mission Point Resort, and it was pretty nice. It felt a lot like being at camp! The place was huge and featured long, meandering hallways, three different restaurants, a pool and two spas, its own gift shop, a mini golf course, gorgeous gardens with a variety of brightly colored flowers, and lots more.

One of my favorite parts of the resort was the HUGE lawn right next to Lake Huron. Mom and I spent some quality relaxation time in a couple of those adirondack chairs. There were kites flying, kids and dogs chasing seagulls, people drinking wine, and lots of folks just soaking up the sun. The building in this photo is the main building of our resort.

There's a state highway that travels the perimeter of the island. Since there are no automobiles on the island, lots of people rent bikes (I've never seen so many tandem bicycles in one place!) or walk around the island. There's a bike path just off the highway that travels between the front lawn pictured above and the lake. I walked down to see what I could see, and now you get to see it, too.

An alternative to biking or hiking is riding in a horse-drawn carriage! You can rent your own or find a driver to take you where you need to go. This is our favorite driver, who took us from downtown to the resort and back a few different times. And that's Doc and Dolly, the horses! I can't remember which is which; maybe Mom will know.

Another favorite of the trip was the carriage tour of the island. The majority of the almost four-square-mile island is a state park, and we got to see a lot of it thanks to the carriage tour! Our driver for the middle part of the tour was Dave, and he told us a lot about the history and sights of the island, along with a handful of REALLY bad jokes. These were our horses, Dylan, Blaze and Jimmy. Blaze is in the middle, with Dylan (the slacker) on his left, and Jimmy on the right.

On the tour, we stopped to see Arch Rock, which was really cool, but difficult to get a full picture of. I suppose I could have backed up and gotten a gazillion other tourists in the picture, but it's kind of more fun to pretend I was the only one there. Except for, you know, the tiny people up in the corner.

The horses on the last part of the tour got to go to the pony playground, and we got to watch the new team get hitched up. Those guys are super efficient. With all the carriages on the island, I can't even imagine how many times a day they get to do this.

Here we are on the way back to town after our tour. It's so peaceful! We learned some important basics while on the tour, too. There are between 400 and 500 horses on the island during the peak tourist season. We saw a guy collecting road apples, and wondered how many such workers are on the island. We also learned that there are folks who power wash the streets every night. Every night!

Knit Knack and Knitasha enjoyed their time on the island, too. It wasn't all wedding preparations! Mom and I did a little shopping downtown while the turtles rented bikes and explored the island. How fun!

The last night we were on the island was a little chilly, which left the pool and spas empty, just for us! We found a shortcut from our room which took us down this little hill straight to the pool. Too bad we couldn't bring one of the spas home with us as a souvenir.

Thank you, Mom, for buying your own birthday getaway (and, uh, destination wedding...) and for inviting me along. I had such a wonderful, beautiful, peaceful, relaxing time. I can't wait to go back for the Lilac Festival in a couple years!


Kimmie said...

First comment, first comment! I love your pictures - it looks like a fairy tail. The only thing missing was ME! I thought I was supposed to go in your luggage! What happened?

Kara said...

Oh my gosh, when did you get so fancy?! The resort looks like it was carved out of butter- perfection! I can't wait to hear even more about your adventures on August 19! :)

Barbara said...

The darker horse was Doc, and the lighter one was Dolly. We had such a delicious time; and I thoroughly enjoyed the summarized version on your blog! You're a great vacation companion (delightfully and generously permitting me to provide the basics as well as the acoutrements), a terrific wedding planner, an awesome photographer, and an amazing story-teller! Thanks for such a relaxing and fun birthday trip!!!

Anonymous said...

What a great narrative! Sounds like everyone had a wonderful time. That resort is beautiful! How about a knitting retreat on Mackinac? :-) Wouldn't Sock Club be that much cooler, sitting in Adirondack chairs on the lawn, sipping wine? Oh, wait a minute, I might lose my place on the pattern with too much wine.... I'm willing to take the chance! - Dominique

Kim said...

If you love the bridge, you can actually walk it. Labor Day weekend, they close one side to vehicles and let people walk across. Take your parka, though because it can sometimes be very cold that time of year.

I have some incredible photos of Arch Rock somewhere. The sun was shining that day, the water was blue, and there were no people in sight.

Anonymous said...

Doc is the white one dolly is the gray... we always callour horses from left to right as if you were looking at their backside. I worked for carriage tours this past summer and also drove the mission point shuttle at night but sometimes during the day.. Christine and Gene(the one you have a pic of) are the two normal day drivers. Anyways Im glad that you enjoyed your vacation.

horse vacation said...

Oh my gosh, when did you get so fancy?! The resort looks like it was carved out of butter- perfection! I can't wait to hear even more about your adventures on August 19! :) horse vacation