On Monday, July 11, we got to see a little bit of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. After a quick stop at Wawatam Lighthouse in St. Ignace, we headed north to Whitefish Point Lightstation at Lake Superior. This was our worst weather day on this trip, and it started to rain a little just as we got to the lighthouse. I quickly snapped a few pictures, and went to the beach to take some pictures of Lake Superior (never did get my feet wet in it) and then went back to the car to keep the camera dry while I waited for Greg and the girls, and then we drove to Tahquamenon Falls. It started raining heavily at times, and we weren’t sure if we would get to see any waterfalls. It was still raining when we got to the Lower Falls, and we ran from the car to the restrooms, and then hung out at the gift shop until the rain let up a little. We were in there for quite a while, always keeping an eye on the rain, and making a run back to the car as soon as we got a chance. We got a very quick look at the Lower Falls on the way back, but I had left the camera in the car, so there are no pictures. They weren’t very impressive anyway.
We still took a chance with the Upper Falls, but when we arrived, Melissa and I decided to wait in the (huge!) gift shop while Greg and Sara went to look for the waterfall. There were no maps around the parking lot to let you know how far you had to walk. When they finally came back and found us at the gift shop, they were soaking wet from the rain! Their jackets were soaked through, and Sara was shivering from the cold. We had dry clothes in the suitcase, but no way to get to them without getting everything wet. And no other jacket. Greg and Melissa went to the restaurant next door to the gift shop, while Sara and I searched for a new jacket or sweatshirt for her. Thankfully I found one that was fairly reasonably priced (still expensive, but cheaper than most of the other ones they had) and I got it in a bigger size to give her room to grow into. I asked the cashier to cut off the tags, and Sara was able to wear it right away and get warm again. We joined Greg and Melissa at the restaurant for lunch, and by the time we were done, the rain had stopped and the sun was out again. Greg said that the falls were really nice, so I got the camera out of the car, and we all went to the Upper Falls. There were lots of steps up and down, but it was fun, and worth it!
After the falls we made our way south again, across the Mackinac Bridge into the Lower Peninsula, and along Lake Michigan. Our scheduled stop was Petoskey, because supposedly petoskey stones are very common there. On our way through town we stopped at Mackinaw Trail Winery for some wine tasting, and then Magnus Park to look for petoskey stones. We didn’t have any luck at all, but the hotel (another Holiday Inn Express) was really pretty, AND when Greg went inside to ask if they had any rooms, they said we could take their limousine to dinner at no extra charge if we wanted to! We relaxed in our room for a while, chose Bob-In Again for dinner and then went to the lobby to see if the limo was available. As luck would have it, the restaurant was at the very edge the driver was willing to go (something about traffic being really slow further out, because everyone slows down to enjoy the beautiful view of the lake). He dropped us off at the restaurant, gave Greg his card and told him to call when we wanted him to pick us up again. Before he left, he told us that it was really easy to get to the lake from the hotel, and if we wanted to go for a walk after dinner, we can just let him know where we are and he would pick us up. Sounded good to us! We even ordered dessert after dinner, and then walked along the lake before calling the limo driver to come and pick us up.
You can’t go to Mackinaw City without going to Mackinac Island, so that’s exactly what we did on Sunday, July 10.
I went online the previous evening and researched the ferries that go to the island, and it turned out that they all charged the same for tickets, but one of them offered a coupon. Greg went downstairs to the front desk to ask if he could print it out, and they gave him some coupons that they had already printed. The best deal was a free child’s ticket with purchase of two adult tickets, and Sara got to ride the ferry for free. The hotel also had ferry schedules available, and for most of the day there was one leaving every half hour.
On the way to the ferry, we made a quick stop at Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, which had a great view of Mackinac Bridge.
There are no cars allowed in Mackinac Island, but you can rent bicycles, horses, or take a carriage tour. We didn’t do any of these, and saved a lot of money by walking. And we did a lot of walking! After all, we needed to do something to burn off some of those vacation calories! 😉
Of course we had to take a closer look at the Grand Hotel, and just as we got there, it started raining a little. Thankfully it didn’t last long, but I put the camera away in my camera bag, and we went inside into the lobby. We just quickly walked through and then went back out to the porch and sat in the rocking chairs until the rain stopped. On the way back down the hill, we saw a sign saying that the hotel charges $10 per person for those entering the hotel without a reservation! Oops! Well, no one stopped us! The hotel is beautiful, like a step back in time, and if we ever win the lottery, I want to go back to Mackinac Island and spend a whole week at the Grand Hotel.
We made our way back into town for lunch, and then to Arch Rock. We took the bike/hiking trail there, which went through town, up a very steep hill past Fort Mackinac (we didn’t go in) and then through the woods. Can you tell how steep this hill is? I raced Sara to the top and won!
We found some steps leading down to the road and took that back into town, bought some famous Mackinac Island fudge, had some ice-cream, picked up a postcard or two, and walked back to the ferry for the 20 min. ride back to Mackinaw City. We had no other plans for that day, except to cross Mackinac Bridge and relax at the hotel we booked in St. Ignace. We got a room on the top floor, with a balcony and a beautiful view of Lake Huron. That’s Mackinac Island in the distance.