Saturday, July 19, 2014

Photo tour of Mackinac Island

My bike makeover was in preparation for our trip to Mackinac Island earlier this week, and I have to say that a cruiser bike with fenders and a basket is the perfect vehicle for visiting the island.

Fenders are just a cute accessory here on the mainland, but my husband rode a bike with no fenders on a wet day on an island that uses horse-drawn carriages for everything from passenger transport to trash pickup. He ended up with the famous Mackinac Island Fudge Stripe on his back.

Because the first day was so wet, we did as many indoor activities as we could. The $10 Grand Hotel tour was our big activity for the day:

We needed a rest so we stopped in the Cupola Bar and each had a drink -- I chose coffee because I was chilled, and my husband had a Big Porch Ale. Neither of us opted for the $127 anniversary cocktail.

The Grand was not in our budget, so we opted to stay at the Inn at Stonecliffe, which was a pretty strenuous bike ride from downtown.  My bike basket and my tote from Bicyclette were very useful in transporting the things we needed for each day after we left the hotel. 

The first night, we chose to have a less-expensive dinner at a downtown restaurant, which didn't save us much money when we figured in cab rides there and back. Still, it gave us a chance to see the downtown area at night.  Tip:  It's a good idea to give the inexperienced (and often drunk) cyclists plenty of room when crossing the street. 

Luckily, we had better weather on our second day on the island, so we spent most of our day touring. Fort Mackinac, besides all the history and re-enactments, offers stunning views of the island and the water.

Our $12 tickets also included entry to a bunch of smaller museums, including a blacksmith shop.

We also toured The Grand Hotel Stables, which had historical carriages on display. 

And we took a long stair climb up to Arch Rock, which was well worth the walk, although we found at the top that we could have just accessed it from the road at the top of the cliff.

For dinner on our second night, we walked to The Woods, a restaurant operated by The Grand Hotel, which was right next door to where we were staying.

After dinner, we watched the sun go down from the back patio of our hotel. I wanted to wait to see the stars when it got dark, but by 11:00, we were both too tired from our long day to stay up any later.

The next morning we packed up, sent our luggage to the ferry, and did a little shopping and sightseeing. It's interesting to see the consequences of the "no cars" decision.  Almost everyone on the island bikes to work.

Horses transport most things, but we also saw a bike trailer loaded up with furniture and quite a few people pulling hand carts for smaller items (and to clean the streets of the consequences of all the horses). A lot of people have to work very hard to make it possible for vacationers like us and people with summer homes to enjoy a car-free retreat.

We rested for a while near this pretty house, then bought a little fudge, some souvenirs, and got on the ferry for home, a little worse for wear.  

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