Thursday, August 14, 2014

Is It Mackinac or Mackinaw?

From the Mackinac Island Visitor Center:


I guess that means we are the Gypsy Mackinacs! Winking smile

On Wednesday, we hopped on the Star Line Ferry to Mackinac Island to spend the day. As no motor vehicles are allowed on the island, we struggled with whether or not to take our bikes to explore the island. After vacillating back and forth, we finally chose to leave the bikes home, take a carriage tour and do some exploring on foot.

Of interesting note: Mackinac Island was our nation’s second National Park after Yellowstone. It remained a National Park from 1875-1895 when it was taken over by the state of Michigan and became Michigan’s first state park. Over 80% of the island is state park property and remains in a natural state for all to enjoy.

Once we debarked the ferry, we were both very glad we choose foot power and not pedal power to get around. The downtown area was wall to wall people with even more bikes than people! There are several bike rental places along the main drag and they were doing a brisk business.

Bicycles on Mackinac Island

In fact, the amount of bicycle traffic downtown made even walking difficult!

We found our way to the Carriage Ride ticket booth and purchased our tickets for a 2 hour escorted tour. The next available tour did not leave for 2½ hours so we had some time to kill. At the risk of being run over by a bicycle, we headed out of the “tourist” area toward the park entrance.


We stopped to admire the architecture of the old homes we passed on the way.

Mackinac Architecture

In case we got tired, there was a whole field of white Adirondack chairs placed facing Lake Huron.


They seemed to be there for anyone to use, but we didn’t check it out any further. It almost looked like a scene from “The Great Gatsby”. I expected to see people dressed in white playing croquet :)


Our Carriage Tour took us through more of the congested downtown area and then transferred us to a larger carriage to tour the state park. This was my favorite part of the tour.

The wedding chapel that is used for 300+ weddings on the island each season. If you think you may want to get married on Mackinac Island, it would be wise to reserve your spot now. There is a 4 year waiting list!


The Governor's summer residence off in the distance. A nice little perk of office!


Arch Rock, a natural limestone formation overlooking the Straits of Mackinac.


Fort Mackinac


We only saw a small portion of the park on our tour, but the beauty of the island was there. Next time, if there is a next time, we will bring our bikes…and we will beat a path away from the crowds and into the park, where there were no crowds. The island is 8 miles around following the shoreline. That would be a beautiful ride.


Our final stop for the day was the infamous Grand Hotel, the world’s largest summer hotel boasting the world’s longest front porch at 660 feet.


Unless you are a guest of the hotel, you are not allowed on the grounds or the porches unless you pay a $10 fee (before 5 PM). After 5 PM, appropriate attire is also required; jacket and tie for men, dresses or skirts for women. It was going on 5 PM when we arrived and even if we had coughed up the $20 for a look-see, we were not appropriately dressed. The grounds from the street were still stunning. I think we saw plenty and saved $20 to put towards dinner :)

Grand Hotel Grounds

We walked back to town from the Grand and enjoyed a very nice dinner at the Rebel Yankee Tavern.


We completed our day with a trip to the Mighty Mac, the Mackinac Bridge and official boundary line between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.


Certain ferry crossings throughout the day detour to the Mighty Mac at no additional change. We just happened to hit on one of those going home. Due to rough seas, I was unable to get any close-up photos. I was too busy hanging on! :)

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle


  1. Loved Mackinac Island. Did the carriage tour as well, with the dogs, can you imagine :-)? Walked all over the place.

  2. Great tour, it has been a long time since we have sat on that huge porch.

  3. What a pretty place!!! Looks like you had beautiful weather and a perfect day:o))

    Gypsy Mackinac... We always knew you were more than just a turtle;o))

  4. Beautiful photos! Love those old homes and that big old hotel. It reminded me just a little bit of the Coronado Hotel in San Diego.

  5. so happy to tour Mackinac again through your pics. . .seems much longer than only three months ago when we were there. . .I shall return to tour the Grand since it was closed to the public due to Governor's Conference the day we were there. . .I want to sit on that porch. . .and see the inside.

    1. Janice, I wasn't too concerned about seeing the Grand. I had been there before, many years ago, when there were no rules or fees. I got to walk on the porch then and look inside. It's very cool but nothing I just had to do again. Rick could have cared less about walking on the porch (lol) so we were good :)

  6. Trying to stay caught up on the blogs. I've seen other bloggers who have been to Macinack, what a great place! It's on our list!

  7. Very interesting about it being the 2nd National Park. We were there years ago and if I learned that, I obviously forgot it. LOL Thanks so much for this primer on what to do and how to do it when we go back. I remember thinking there was no way I was going to pay them to allow me to walk on their porch at the Grand.

  8. So glad we got to tour Mackinac Island through your blog. We've only taken one other carriage tour and that was in Charleston, we would do that again too. :+)

  9. Looked like a beautiful day for your tour. Four-year waiting list for the chapel? I wonder how many brides reserve it before there's a groom in the picture. . . just in case. :-)))

  10. Funny! The waiting list for that wedding chapel is longer than many Hollywood marriages! :cD

  11. Love Mackinaw Island. We did the carriage ride, great way to see the Island. We biked around the Island as well.

  12. We did the carriage ride too, great way to get an island orientation, next time we hope to bring the bikes.

  13. Your photos are lovely! Greetings from Montreal, Canada.


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