Last Wednesday morning, my mom and I started the drive to Mackinac Island.
We were planning on staying in the UP (Upper Peninsula) so once we got to Mackinaw City, we took the bridge over to St. Ignace. The Mackinac Bridge is 5 miles long with amazing views but it is a little freaky to look over the water when you’re in the middle.
We wanted to head over to Mackinac Island for lunch so instead of checking into our hotel, we hopped on the ferry right away. The ferry ride only took 30 minutes so before we knew it, we were eating lunch on a balcony overlooking downtown Mackinac.
Mackinac Island is completely car-free which means there are a ton of bikes, horse drawn carriages, and people walking everywhere. I love it. The island is also relatively small (8 miles around) so lots of people rent bikes and ride around the island.
We decided to go for a short walk and then visit Fort Mackinac one of my favorite, nerdy spots on the island. The fort was built in the 1700′s by the British and used to control the Straights of Mackinac. After the Revolutionary War it was given to the Americans and was used as an American military outpost.
The British captured the fort in the War of 1812, the Americans tried to recapture it in the Battle of Mackinac Island (1814), and then eventually the fort was ceded to America in 1815. Lots of history on this small island. Many of the fort’s original buildings still stand and have been refurbished and the fort now serves as a museum.
My love of the fort is actually a long running joke in my family. It is not quite my mom’s thing so at one point she instituted a “visit the fort every other year” rule. Considering we skipped visiting Mackinac Island for quite a few years, I got to visit the fort this time .
One thing my mom can’t deny is the view from the fort. Beautiful.
We spent quite a bit of time at the fort and ended up going straight to dinner afterwards. One of the best and freshest things to eat up north is planked whitefish and that is exactly what I had.
Along with a $2.75 Oberon because when in Rome…
We rounded out the day with some shopping including a visit to our favorite island bookstore and trips to the fudge shops.
On Thursday morning, my mom and I woke up early and caught the 7:30 ferry to the island. My mom rented a bike and rode along as I completed my weekly tempo run (more on this tomorrow). Afterwards, I took a quick baby wipe shower (it was in the 50′s so I didn’t get too sweaty) and we grabbed breakfast at The Pink Pony overlooking the harbor.
I had my usual vacation breakfast – oatmeal with a side of sausage. Hit the spot.
After breakfast, we did some more walking around and then rented bikes to ride through the island. We headed up to the cliffs above Grand Hotel and I found my future house…
We explored quite a bit. We stopped at Arch Rock, Fort Holmes, and the battlefield. It was a beautiful day for a bike ride and so much fun to explore for a few hours.
After biking 10+ miles, we were wiped. We did a little more exploring by foot but ended up taking an earlyish ferry back to St. Ignace and grabbing an early dinner.
More whitefish for me… although this time it was of the broil variety.
As much as we wanted to go straight to the hotel, no trip to St. Ignace is complete without a stop in Indian Village, the best worst gift shop ever. I found some classic souvenirs…
And ended up purchasing a classy mug for myself.
Overall, our time in St. Ignace and Mackinac was great and it was so much fun to go back to the island and visit it again!