Trip Report #2 - Northern Michigan
Mackinac Island, Michigan - There are three boat services to the island. We chose Arnold, which runs a fleet high speed catamarans. For a bonus I got to watch a young long-haired blonde who was a most efficient deckhand. She tied up and cast off the boat as well as any man I’ve seen at this task. The run to the island was smooth; the return was not quite. The wind was blowing pretty good and the water was choppy.
Mackinac Island is an island without cars. (Not exactly. No private car but there are about six emergency vehicles, fire trucks, a police jeep, ambulance). Transportation is by horse-drawn carriages or on foot. We determined to walk. The street closest to the shore is nothing but stores, clothing, restaurants, t-shirts, knick-knacks and do-dads. Touristy! Mackinac Island fudge is purported to be the island’s biggest industry. One street away were some wonderful historic homes, some of them now bed-and-breakfasts. One of the first buildings that we saw had been the headquarters of the John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company. It was formed in 1817. Over $3M in furs were traded at this post. We walked on and uphill toward The Grand Hotel. We were told that this hotel is, indeed, grand. Excellent service and excellent dining for which one pays excellent prices. A fellow passenger suggested that everyone should spend a night there. We were able to approach close enough to take photos of the long facade, but to get closer one would have to pay a fee. This hotel was the setting for the novel, Somewhere in Time, as well as the movie, although part of it was shot at a resort on the island. Walking back toward the harbor, we stopped for lunch at the at The French Outpost.
St. Ignace, Michigan. This is truly the U.P., the Upper Peninsula. You travel there via a five-mile suspension bridge, quite a marvel in itself. I would like to have explored the U.P. further but time didn’t allow. We visited the Huron Museum and saw the place where Father DeSmet, the famous Jesuit missionary to the Indians, is buried.