The International Writers Magazine: USA Vacations
Big blue eyes, short small body, I stood at the dock of the ferry as everyone unloaded. I looked at the beauty I was about to enter. Nature, quiet, and shopping, all in one, I couldn’t believe it, just like anyone when it’s their first time at Mackinac Island.
The island sits in the Straits of Mackinac in view of the Mackinac Bridge. Less than five hundred people occupy the island year-around. With many historic places including a church, hotel, and Fort Mackinac, this is a hot spot for tourists in Michigan. During the summer, there is an estimated 15,000 Mackinac Island visitors per day.
Eighty-percent of the island is preserved as a National Park. Throughout the island, there are several Blue Jays, the resident bird, and Lily Slippers, Mackinac’s protected flower. Even in the rain you are able to capture nature by the butterfly house, filled with a variety of butterflies.
||All of the picture perfect sites can be viewed by taking a bike ride. When I took my bike rides around the perimeter of the island (great exercise), I only then realized how large but quaint Mackinac Island is.
The island is not just a National Park for it’s living but also for the landscape, which is what gives the island character and beauty. The Crack-in-the-Island is one example of the nature of Mackinac Island.
The natural formed crack use to be known as a bottomless pit, but then was filled and is a few feet taller than an average height person. There are also many rock formations in various parts of the island. The Sugar Loaf Mountain is a stunning rock formation. The “rock” has many stories along with it: from scientific facts to what the Native Americans told, even those who don’t look at rocks in their spare time will find the Sugar Loaf Mountain is one interesting piece of history and nature combined. There is also the Arch Rock. This picture perfect rock is surrounded by nature, and as it says in it’s name it is arched. You are able to get at the same level as it or can take a view from the trail down below. Close to the Arch Rock is the Dwight Wood Spring, named after Dwight Hulbert whom sacrificed his life for his brother in 1905. Each of these beauties of natures can be viewed by a carriage tour, long walk, or a bike ride.
||During the warm summer months people bike ride the eight-mile circumference along the shoreline to catch the views. Since there are no motor vehicles located on the island there are tours by horse carriage. Both the bikes and carriages are available for rent, and are at the same rate throughout the island depending on the party size. The tours don’t only take you to view the islands nature, but also the history of the island. With many historical sites, there are many places to visit and explore on Mackinac Island.
|Fort Mackinac transports visitors to the 1800s with realistic reenactments and a firing of cannons daily. The Grand Hotel is an expensive hotel located in the downtown- there is even a cost to stand on the porch! The hotel’s architecture and landscape are the reason people love to visit the place.
Not far from the hotel there are several small shops, which have a little something for everyone. Mackinac Island is known for the delicious fudge, which is sold throughout the United States. The sweet smell of fudge can be found throughout Mackinac Island’s Main Street, which is home to many fudge shops. Murdick’s was the first fudge shop on the island. Other fudge shops, including Joann’s Fudge, May’s Candy Shops, Murray’s Fudge Company, Ryba’s Fudge, and Sander’s Candy, soon followed. Many of these shops allow visitors to watch as fudge is being made while taking in the delicious smell.
Along with fudge shops, there are many small toy, clothing, and souvenir shops. Wonderful restaurants, ranging from the fancy Good Fellow’s Italian Chophouse to the Pink Pony, a low cost restaurant looking over the harbor. No matter what your taste in food, there is an option for everyone: seafood, burgers, hotdogs, soup, and salad - you name it; there is at least one restaurant perfect for what you need.
The most important thing to know is how to get to the island. Most people come and go by ferry, but some choose to travel by plane to the small airport located on the island. The most practical and inexpensive way to travel to Mackinac Island is by ferry. Ferries are available through a few different companies and run throughout the day. Ferry tickets may be purchased in advance or when you arrive. A ferry ride to Mackinac Island is fun and offers a wonderful view of the island.
No matter how big your family or the age, you will find love in this one of a kind island.
© Briana Newcomb Dec 2013
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