Our ferry came and we loaded up. We sat on the top deck. I cannot believe I am saying this...but it was really cold while we were going across the lake. I wished I had worn a jacket....but when it got warmer later in the day....I was glad I didn't.
One of the first things we saw before we actually saw the island was the Mackinac Lighthouse.
The island from the water was breathtaking. Sitting high on the ridge to our left was the governor of Maine's Island house and the Grand Hotel. It was amazing and no picture would do it justice. We landed and hopped on up to the horse taxi stand to get our time for our tour. We were lucky. We did not have to wait at all and we were introduced to Kayla, our driver. Our first leg of the ride consisted of a cart pulled by two Belgain draft horses. Kayla's mike did not work...but that was ok...she had a booming voice. She took us around the township of Mackinac Island.
There are only three motorized vehicles on Mackinac Island, two fire trucks and one ambulance. The rest of the town gets around by bike, walking, or by horses. In the winter the horses are ferried across to St. Ignace and work on farms. Only about 10 horses actually winter on the island.
The Grand Hotel drivers wore tuxedoes and drove black fancy carriages. Even the trash is picked up by horse drawn buggies. Halfway through our tour we stopped at a stable, were able to get refreshments, visit the restrooms, and were then loaded up on a three horse taxi for the remainder of our tour. We were then taken into the Mackinac State Park. Our driver for this leg was Gene and he was soooo funny.
Our first stop here was at Arch Rock. It was an amazing view and great photo op. I have a gazillion pictures of this area. It was so pretty.
After we saw Arch Rock and the trails that were there we went by Fort Mackinac. During the summer the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts take turns manning the area. They are the guides for all the museum buildings, fort, the governor's mansion, et al. While we were there it was Girl Scout Week.
At the end of our riding tour we were excited to learn that is was a special Wednesday. It seems that on Wednesday, when the governor is not in residence, her home is opened up for touring from 9:30 - 11:30. There is a huge porch across the lake side of her house and the picture below was made from that porch of the harbor.
After our tour was over we walked back down into the township to begin our fudge experience and eat some lunch. The island is so full of lush vegetation and it was so hard to to photograph every single plant we passed. I thought this Queen Anne's lace was so pretty...and the ants on the top of the flower made it that much more appealing. Yes, we have them in Alabama. I have just never seen a garden of them. Around here they just grow on the side of the road.
The first site we saw coming down the hill was this cute little church. It was sitting right at the base of the drop from the governor's house to the town.
We ate lunch at the Pink Pony Bar and Restaurant. We were hoping to sit out on the deck...but it was full so we ate inside. The food was good and it was abundant....our next stop was fudge tasting. We did not know it but we were about to enter the world of fudgies. We stopped at four of the best known fudge places, talked to them about the process they use to make the fudge, tasted Chocolate at all of them, and then....when we had chosen what we thought was the best....we all bought some.
The Murray Hotel Fudge was the best. Everyone we had talked to in Mackinaw City told us to be sure and go to Ryba's. We were not impressed with hers....but what do we know...we are from the South. After lunch and the fudge sampling, we separated and scoured the island. We agreed to be back on the docks at 2 p.m. so that we could get back to Mackinaw City and forge on to Frankenmuth. Frankenmuth would be our next stop. We got some cute pictures of the shrubs at the Grand Hotel, the bike parking lot, and some of the shopping areas.
Mackinac Island is a wonderful place to visit. If you are thinking about somewhere cool to spend an anniversary, or get married, or honeymoon....this is the place. I want to come back again with Frank. I would have to say that it is the Nantucket of Michigan. A friend of mine, Samantha, got married in the State Park last summer. I can see why.