Another weekend away in Michigan, this time kid free and with our friends Seth & Emily. Seth and Emily just had their four year wedding anniversary, something to really value and celebrate, so why not get away?! As usual this trip was a last minute decision. With the weekend off and a recent anniversary the Britts and Bakers were at it again. Emily had her heart set on Mackinac Island and I quickly agreed that be the perfect weekend away. We had actually both been there before for a girls trip and have always talked about wanting to take our husbands and someday our kids. Mackinac Island is one of a kind. You can usually categorize the places you visit- "city" "beach" "mountains".. they most likely will all have the same kind of things to do with their own personal touches but Mackinac is truly unique.
Mackinac Island is located between Michigan's lower mainland and upper peninsula. From Columbus it takes about 7 hours to get to Mackinaw City, where you park your car and take a ferry over (roughly about 30 mins). There are NO cars on the island. Everything is by foot, bike or horse. This alone helps set the tone of how peaceful and relaxed the town is. We used each method of transportation and enjoyed them all. This time we stayed at the Murray Hotel(great location) downtown across from the ferry dock. Last time we stayed at Mission Point (located out of downtown but also a nice stay). The big attraction is to stay at the Grand Hotel. Usually the ferry service will take your luggage to all the lodging so you don't have to lug it around to check in.
Day One. We arrived around noon. Lunched at The Pink Pony. I was underwhelmed with the food but enjoyed their decor and drinks (pony up bloody mary and rosemary-ginger sparkler). Then we set out on foot and took a tour of Fort Mackinac. Last time we didn't get to see inside the grounds and with a history buff/military husband this was worth taking the time/money to do. After walking through the grounds and visiting most of the buildings we took a coffee break inside the Fort at The Tea Room Restaurant. We sat outside and had the best views of the island from up high. We then headed back to our rooms to rest/clean up and get ready for dinner. This was a repeat event for me and Emily but we really wanted the guys to enjoy the same experience. We had our hotel call and schedule us a pick up by horse carriage to take us to The Woods. This horse drawn carriage ride takes about 30 mins but you get great site seeing and usually the drivers or other passengers have fun facts to share. This time our driver was Paul, from Transylvania, his horses were Betty and Sam (one lost a shoe on the way). The Woods is a restaurant you MUST experience. Its high end, mens hunter club aesthetics fit perfectly to the middle of the island location. We didn't think to call ahead and make a reservation early enough, so we dined in the bar room, still totally worth it. (Defiantly try to call ahead if you are visiting). There is a single lane old school style bowling ally and popcorn to help hold you over for any wait. The horse carriage ride home is just as fun, everyone on board is usually cheerful and chatty.... you learn about the people around you and all gather under horse blankets to keep warm. The dark quiet ride is spooky and feels like you've gone back in time.
Day Two we walked to get coffee and breakfast. We landed the best breakfast sandwich (Good Morning Egg Sandwich) at Good Day Cafe. Next up were the bike rides around the island. This was and still is the best experience on the island to date. You rent bikes and take off on the path around the perimeter of the island. One side is always water front and the other is either nature or beautiful homes you can only dream of staying in. It takes a couple hours to get around the whole thing, with stops. We stopped at the Arch Rock and walked up 207 steps to see the rock formation and look out off the cliffs. The water is so calm, clear and beautiful. Memory to not forget- Ryans bicycle chain falling off :)
Once around the perimeter we went up above downtown and headed toward the Grand Hotel. This place is seriously massive, beautiful and unique. SOMEDAY we will plan ahead enough to actually stay. The hotel is the setting for the old classic movie "Somewhere in Time", which is extra cool because I fell in love with that movie at Emilys house in our childhood. Last time visiting with girlfriends, we did afternoon tea inside the hotel and that was a fun experience, I'd recommend for anyone visiting. We did bike over to the Grands horse stables and walked through seeing all the different style of carriages over the years and saw some of the beautiful horses and their equipment. (also highly recommended). Once done site seeing, we headed back and jumped on the next ferry out.
You could easily spend more days there doing new things and repeating some of it over and over. Its a great get away as a family, couples and friends. There isn't another place like it and I can't wait to go back with Hattie and Hazel when they are older.