Hopscotch Honeymoon Part XI: Romantic Mackinac Island

Finally, after gallivanting across the country for almost two weeks, we set off for the pinnacle of honeymoon romance: Mackinac Island. A small isle at the joining of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, Mackinac is 8 miles around and utterly beautiful. We absolutely fell in love with this enchanting island, one where no motor vehicles except for airplanes and golf carts* exist. Something about getting picked up in a horse-drawn carriage stole my heart. Not to mention our stay at the luxurious Grand Hotel. Built in 1887 but more familiarly known as the hotel from “Somewhere in Time,” the grounds and common areas harken a different era and a different class than our day-to-day. 

 
One of the two or three golf courses on the island.
After leaving Traverse City, we ventured out over the lake once more, going even further north.
T navigated the weather beautiful. Check out that ugly cloud!
Spotting the Mackinac Airport. I would gather there is an uptick in airplane traffic right after Oshkosh.
Great landing from T despite the monster crosswind.
I love the juxtaposition of eras–modern airplanes met by Larry and Terry, our horse friends.
Upwards of 90% of the island is Michigan state park land.
We spied many cute Victorians on the way to the hotel.
Most were private summer homes or small B & Bs.
First glimpse of the Grand Hotel!
I held in a squeal so as not to frighten the horses. It was really hard.
So my happy dance was quite nutty once we reached the room. We were surprised at how nice the room was considering we had it in our heads that it was window-less accommodations.
Watermelon color scheme.
The most ridiculous splurge of the trip: Room service! The second worst meal of the trip, but still squeal worthy.
I wonder how many people are on the grounds crew. They must be invisible as I don’t think I saw a single person tending to the grounds while we were there.
View from the world’s longest porch.
In 1936, the Grand’s 880-foot long porch was featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not publication.
Jacket and tie are mandatory for menfolk after 6 p.m.
As are dresses for ladies (however, they have recently included “Very nice pantsuits” to women’s decor)
The hotel seriously caters to children. Case in point: This little boy ate from the children’s buffet and he had the best meal EVER. Chicken strips, corn and rice crispy treats on popsicle sticks. I was so tickled, I had to snap a picture and he totally caught me! I laughed when his mom saw his plate and immediately went to get him fruit. Other kid perks include gourmet hot chocolate at breakfast and all sorts of programs designed specifically for youngsters. 
The main parlor.
Art and furniture from various time periods hang out in common areas and hallway nooks.
Drizzly day for a wedding but there were at least 5 or 6 ceremonies on both days we visited.
Want to talk tasty? They provide baskets of fresh pastries every morning, in addition to a full breakfast. (Have I mentioned the 10 pounds we gained??)
For our first breakfast, we were seated in the very end of the 3,400 square foot banquet hall.
Irish oatmeal anyone?
Seats somewhere near 750 people!
After breakfast, we set off to rent bikes and tour the island.
Others chose the hotel taxi.
I kind of liked seeing horses about, although I’m glad it wasn’t my job to clean up after all of them. Ick.
Guests taking a cab to downtown.
Beautiful view.
With the all-inclusive feel and tons of daily activities, this joint reminded me of Kellerman’s from Dirty Dancing. No Johnny running around though. 🙁
Topiary! T knows my fascinating for shapely shrubs, but he won’t let me make them at home because of the dork factor.
So charming, I can’t even stand it.
Luckily the slacks rule for ladies has been amended.
Cute cycler!
This would be in my first bike ride in years and years. Yeah, I was a little chicken, I’ll admit it. At least there were no cars to contend with, just horses and a zillion other cyclists.
Watching ferries come in. That’s how most people get to the island, poor schmucks.
Hustle and bustle.
T tired of me stopping every 500 feet to snap pics. I wasn’t quite that bad but it was close!
St. Anne’s Church, one of many on the island.
We enjoyed perfect weather for our ride–cool breezes and cloud-dappled sunshine.
8 miles around the island with gorgeous lake views.
Seagulls everywhere made me think we were on the ocean.
Looked haunted to me!
Throughout the island are signs depicting strife between the Indians, French, English and Americans throughout different points in history
Mid-bike ride, we stopped by the airport to retrieve items from the plane. I made sure our sign was still there.
Fort Mackinac, formerly Fort Michilimackinac, built by the French in 1714. Michilimackinac means “Land of the great sea turtle” and was named so by the Indians who occupied the island before the French arrived and conquered. Because of the French influence, Mackinac is pronounced “Mack-i-naw.”
We toured a beautiful old cemetery with tombstones dating back to the early 1800s.
After huffing and puffing up a “huge” hill, we reached Arch Rock.
His and hers.
A cemetery panorama.
Due to our delightful ride, I’m thinking we might just buy cruiser bikes one of these days. Too bad C-Heights is less picturesque than Mackinac!
Back toward downtown. The huts under the tree are some type of primitive church.
Downtown Main Street!
Fudge is huge on the island and locals call tourists “Fudgies”
We had a tough time finding parking for the bikes.
Happiness is a room full of fudge I’ve decided.
Even with the cyclists and horses, the town was so quiet without car traffic.
Surprisingly, I saw no horse v. cyclist action.
Back to the Grand.
Our luncheon view.
Primo seating for lunch.
All good meals should include tarts and pie, don’t you think?
Cheesy grins agree!
Long bike ride + tasty desserts + cute husband = happy woman.
Wandering.
Wandering the gardens on the way to the pool.
Big giant hat. Yes, I was channeling headgear of yore, I couldn’t help myself.
View from the pool.
Obligatory self-portrait.
Yes, that would be the complimentary snow cone from the snow cone machine at the pool. Do you see what I mean about the kid-friendly environment??
Lounging by the pool with good books.
Just past the umbrellas, a wedding reception was taking place. Although an idyllic setting, having screaming children pool noise during my wedding would have irritated me I think!
The Esther Williams swimming pool.
Lovely foliage.
I may do some flowers next year. How happy are these things?!
To the left of the path was a labyrinth. We’ll have to come back and see it.
The plants thrive in the mild but moist air.
The Grand Hotel.
Surprising to see the path horse-free.
Lobby parlor.
Cool looking but terribly uncomfortable.
Parlor. The cubbies to the left are telephone booths. Directly back to the left is an art gallery. Back and to the right is a reception hall that holds weddings.
Dinner number two, by the window again!!
For dinner, we sat completely opposite of breakfast and had a stunning view of the entire length of the dining hall.
Another lovely view.
The Grand Pecan Ball, the signature dessert. More than 50,000 of these bad boys are served every season. Vanilla ice cream, coated in pecans in a bath of warm fudge. To die for!
They do not skimp on stationery.
Finally found the portrait! (Somewhere in Time reference!)
The hotel was pretty inclusive, meals included and no tipping anywhere on the grounds. It was bizarre!
Lower level parlor and shops.
Framed posters and news articles and pictures from the movie and other historical references lined the walls downstairs.
Lovely details everywhere.
It rained on leaving day.
The hamburger hat kid was funny. Had quite the tude on him.
When we left the hotel, bound for the airport, it poured. We were rained in at the Mackinac Airport for two and a half hours!
The cab driver said the horses seem to prefer the summer rain as they don’t get overheated.
xoxo,
shawna


* Although they allow golf carts, they must stay on the golf courses. Our “cab” driver said that at least one tourist gets fined every year for driving on the city roads, to the tune of $5,000!


All photos by the Blue Muse 

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