Tag: Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island

Travel

My June 2022 visit to Mackinac Island (pronounced Mack-i-naw) is an experience to treasure even if it is not repeated. However, I believe many make the idyllic island a travel destination over and over. If I lived closer, I would too.

Travelers can reach Mackinac Island by sea (lake) or air. Ferries cross from both the Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula of Maine. The ferries from St. Ignace, Michigan on the Upper Peninsula are easier to catch than those leaving from Mackinaw City. (Same pronunciation, different spelling.) So, it might be worth it to pay the toll and cross the Mackinac Bridge if you are travelling during the height of tourist season.

Air travel onto Mackinac Island is limited to private and charter planes. Horse drawn taxis are available to take arrivals from the airport to their destination. Once the lake freezes and ferries can no longer serve the island, the airport becomes the central location for arrivals and departures. Naturally, weather can shut the airport down in the winter. Sometimes for days.

Key Locations on Mackinac Island

The ferries land right on Main Street. Shop after shop sell everything form tourist trinkets to clothing to fudge. Lots of fudge. Slabs of fudge. Somehow, we managed to get off the island without a purchase of this delicious treat. But purchases were made.

At the Island Bookstore I purchased two books. You can read the review of Braking for Bodies by clicking here. The Lilac Girls still remains on my TBR list. We also spent time at Nephew’s on Mackinac. The window display drew us in. This clothing store is one of the nicest stores I have shopped in. The customer service was fantastic and so was the selection of both men’s and women’s clothing. So, money was spent here as well.

If I ever go back to Mackinac Island, I will want to stay at The Grand Hotel. This resort is awe inspiring. And that is just from the size! This hotel was built in the late 1800s. One can only imagine it was a favorite of the Robber Barons. A commanding view of Lake Huron from the longest porch I have ever been on transports one back to an earlier time.

A ten-dollar admission fee will allow you to stroll through the grounds. Or if your pockets are flusher, The Grand Hotel is still open for business. Since we were on a budget we opted for a stroll on the grounds and a delicious meal outdoors at The Jockey Club at the Grand Stand. A perfect place to relax and watch the horse taxis deliver baggage to the hotel.

 

Fort Mackinac History

For visitors staying more than a half day, a visit should include Fort Mackinac. Plan to spend a couple of hours at the fort. Good walking shoes are essential as the fort sits atop a bluff. Both British and American forces have quartered on the island.

The British built the fort in the 1700s and kept control for a number of years after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War. Then the British reclaimed the island and fort during the War of 1812. A museum at the site provides much background.

Overall Impressions of Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island is primarily a tourist destination. Indeed, I did not see any other industry, although one may exist. The allure of going back to a past without automobiles may play a part in the attraction. My impression of Mackinac Island along with much of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was one of natural beauty. Clean air, lots of trees, few people and an expanse of water.

I truly enjoyed my time in this part of the world. If you like travel and have not been to this part of the world, Upper Michigan as well as Mackinac Island deserve a visit.

Bridge support structureBottom of Mackinac Bridge shot from ferry June 2022Mackinac Bridge June 2022 from ferryAlong the Mackinac Island Quay-a sloopLanding at Mackinac IslandBlooming lilacsFort Mackinac in the distanceStore front of Nephew's of MackinacHorse carriageTulips in a garden bedThe Grand Hotel at Mackinac Island

June 2022 Wrap-Up

Travel

June 2022 was a month of travel and closure for me. Kentucky and Michigan were two destinations. The former was work related and the main purpose for the latter was for the interment of my dear friend Beverly. Both trips involved air travel as well as car rentals. Furthermore, inflationary prices had no impact on the number of travelers.

Perhaps others threw expense to the wind seeking relief from two years of pandemic. Or maybe they were combining tourism with task as I did. Regardless of reason, travel in early June indicated inflation had yet to slow demand.

Kentucky June 2022

My Kentucky trips usually revolve around horses. I have a stake in a partnership. Money is pooled and then divided between acquisition of yearlings and purchasing horses through the claiming box. A Louisville based trainer is in charge.

I don’t expect to get rich from this partnership that I have a very small stake in. Horse racing can be a very draining pursuit for the pocketbook. But I love horses and this set-up is perfect for me. The most I can lose is my initial investment. And I could lose it all. But I consider this as my discretionary entertainment expense.

Horses train early in the morning. Very early! The first sets usually gallop under lights as the sun has not yet made an appearance. By nine in the morning the works are complete, and the barns await the afternoon races.

From time to time an owner is able to see a horse win in the afternoon. This is enjoyable, but I love watching the morning works the best. Backside at the track is a beehive of activity. The love and hard work of the stable from grooms to hotwalkers to exercise riders and trainers’ shames those who do not understand the industry. Owners enable the business model to operate.

Michigan June 2022

Freighter in the Soo Locks June 2022A quick turnaround between Kentucky and Michigan was a great indicator that I am not meant to be a jetsetter. Less than 24 hours at home made me appreciate the slower paced life I usually lead. However, the trip to Michigan gave me closure, much needed closure.

Since Michigan barely registered in my states visited count, I was excited to spend more time there. Furthermore, it is unlikely I will return. The Upper Peninsula in particular is out of sync with my normal travel patterns. But I am so thankful for the experience.

A flight into the small airport on the United States side of Sault Ste. Marie was the starting point. The Upper Peninsula reminds me much of the Great Plains with respect to population and lack of traffic. Similarly, the small-town vibe of our starting point as told in this Classic Cars post welcomed me from the start.

However, there are great differences. Primarily water. The Great Lakes are truly magnificent. My only contact prior has been the Western side of Lake Michigan along the populated shores of Illinois and Wisconsin. So, visiting the Soo Locks was fascinating. Luckily the visit coincided with a large vessel using the canal to travel from the lower Lake Huron into Lake Superior.

Mackinac Island

Maintaining Sault Ste. Marie as a base gave us easy and affordable access to upscale Mackinac Island. Visitors to this historic island can either arrive via ferry or small aircraft. Horses and bicycles are key modes of transportation. But we chose to walk. Good shoes are a must if you take this route.

One can spend days on the island, but we enjoyed our partial day. Enough time to soak in the atmosphere and leave the visitor wanting a return trip. A future post will focus on the experience. There is simply too much to include in this wrap-up.

South of the Bridge

The Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge I have ever driven over. But my first view was from below. Some of the ferry departures detour underneath on the way to Mackinac Island. We were lucky to be on such a trip. The engineering and architecture are exquisite reminders of what great feats man is capable of.

Once on the mitten side of the bridge, population and tourist numbers pick up. June 2022 marked the interment of my friend Beverly at her Michigan birthplace. And driving through this part of the country she visited yearly brought me peace.

I tasted whitefish, her favorite, for the first time and liked it almost as much as halibut. A quick meal at the Cherry Hut brought back memories of the jam she would bring back from her trips. But best of all was the time spent at her lake.

We were very fortunate to have hosts Deb and Les put us up for three nights around the graveside service. Their lake house was just a few doors down from Bev’s cabin. Running along the lake, eating breakfast on the porch overlooking the water and watching the sunrise reflect below all brought knowledge of what she enjoyed on her annual visits. Crystal Lake is one of the prettiest lakes I have ever seen. Beverly was treasured in both locales.

Mackinac Bridge view from water June 2022
Mackinac Bridge June 2022 from ferry
Viewing South on Mackinac Bridge June 2022
Lighthouse lamp

June 2022 on the Plains

Returning from my June 2022 travels, I was pleased to find the cold dry air replaced with warm summer rains. The garden is finally planted. Lettuces and green onions are gracing the table and harvesting of the cherries has finally begun. The unusual spring has thrown off the normal harvest dates on the wheat as well as in my yard. But combines are now running and garden plants are starting to bloom. Summer is finally here.

Braking For Bodies Book Review

Cozy Mystery

Braking for Bodies by Duffy Brown is the second release of the cycle path mysteries. This cozy murder mystery series takes place on Mackinac Island. For those lucky enough to experience the lilac festival on this motor vehicle-less, history-laden island, Braking For Bodies will bring back scent-filled memories.

Protagonist

Evie Bloomfield, formerly of Chicago, has survived her first winter on Mackinac Island and is gearing up for the swell of visitors to the island for the lilac festival. Her artistic flair adds interest to the bikes rented from Ruby’s Bikes. And her ‘Black Cloud” has her braking smack into the dead body of a blackmailer.

Since the accident occurs at The Grand Hotel during one of the peak tourist weeks, Evie easily convinces the locals to stage the murder as a planned event. Thus, the Peepster’s death creates the basis of a murder mystery whodunit for vacationers. Hope is this will not scare people off the island. Because ‘like’ all tourist destinations, tourism is the bread and butter for Mackinac Island.

Romance Abounds

A side plot in Braking For Bodies is the wedding of island residents Rudy and Irma. Rudy was the prime suspect in the first of the cycle path mysteries and Irma is the mom of Police Chief Sutter. Not surprising, Nate Sutter is Evie’s love interest. But will they ever connect?

Evie’s Black Cloud follows the wedding pair as well as the murder. And Evie herself.

Publisher Criticism re: Braking For Bodies

The biggest criticism for Braking for Bodies belongs to the publisher, Penguin Random House, more than the author. The paperback purchased at The Island Bookstore (on Mackinac Island) has a synopsis that is erroneous. Completely wrong. The blurb on the back has the heroine hailing from Los Angeles. But really the victim as well as several suspects originate from the City of Angels. Do publishing houses even pay attention to their product? Perhaps the author should share in the responsibility as well.

Back Cover of Braking For Bodies with erroneous info.

Braking For Bodies

I enjoyed Braking For Bodies. The backdrop of Mackinac Island is accurate and brings the island resort to life.  However, I think this is a series best read from the beginning. So, I suggest finding a copy of Geared For The Grave before reading Braking For Bodies. And I plan to look for the next in the series, Tandem Demise on my next trip to the library. This cozy mystery is a fun easy read just perfect for a stressful summer.