mackinac island 2014

I love Mackinac Island. This was my third visit and I love it more every time. It’s so peaceful there with only the sound of horses hooves on the roads and trails. No cars allowed on the island, so you just have to watch for carriages and bicycles when crossing the street. Oh, and the little piles the horses leave behind. ;)

We arrived on the island by about 9:30am. It was a little chilly (in the 40’s) but the sun was shining and there was 0% chance of rain. Yes! We stopped by Starbucks for coffee and hot cocoa to warm us up for our 10am carriage ride around the island and were on our way. I’ve been on the carriage tour every time I’ve visited the island. It’s fun to go with people who have never been before. This was Zach and Chloe’s first time to the island. Our little belated birthday mini vacation for Zach.

The carriage takes you through the state park, which was so lovely. Mackinac Island in the fall … gorgeous! The ride through the shady woods was quite chilly, but we covered up with the provided blankets to stay as warm as we could.

Our carriage driver, Tessa, was very entertaining. She shared lots of stories of the island’s history as well as many bad jokes. At one point, she stopped the carriage to rest the horses and asked us all to be very quiet for a minute. It was SO quiet and still out there in the middle of the woods. No sounds but the wind through the trees. She encouraged us to live in the moment and appreciate it and the people in our life. I loved that.

We took a five minute break at Arch Rock for pictures, then loaded back into the carriage for the rest of the tour. On the last stretch, we came across a girl with a large camera rig on her head walking the state park roads. It was Google Maps street view cameras out there capturing the island. So funny. I saw a Google street view car once, but never a person walking with a camera on their head. :)

After our tour, we ate lunch at the Yankee Rebel Tavern. Very good food there and the waitress was super nice as well. She even climbed up on a chair and took a picture of all of us. :)

Then, we walked the very steep hill up to Fort Mackinac and the even steeper hill up to the entrance to the fort. The view was gorgeous from up there.

We arrived in time to see a shooting demonstration, then walked around and looked in all the old buildings at what life in the fort was like.

We ended up by the big cannon, which they were about to fire off. They asked for volunteers and Chloe’s hand shot up faster than they could’ve shot off that cannon. She got to help by putting a little glove on her thumb and holding it over the hole in the top of the cannon while one of the soldiers cleaned it out to prepare to reload and fire. She did a great job. That girl has no fear, I tell ya. When I was her age, there was no way I ever would have volunteered for such a thing. I was super shy at 11. She is the complete opposite.

The fort was so pretty with all the fall colors.

We walked through some of the other buildings and found an area for kids. Lots of fun in there taking pictures. The kids tried on little uniforms and played with some of the toys they had from that time.

After our time at the fort, we let the kids run around the lawn at the park by the big statue of Father Marquette while Mom and Mom + Dad O took a little break. Many photos were taken.

It was souvenir shopping after the park and this is where the day went downhill fast. Lest you think every trip we take is wonderful and picture perfect, I’m here to tell you that it is not. The kids were told a certain amount they were allowed to spend and I encouraged them to buy something that would remind them of the island, not just junk that would break in two minutes. Chloe’s indecision over what shirt to buy turned into total drama and a lot of complaining over what else she wanted that I would never buy for her and the fact that I wouldn’t get her ice cream. Zach chose pretty wisely, but toward the end complained that I wouldn’t let him buy something (cheap, junky, would’ve broken). By the time we reached the end of the main street of shops, I was the worst mother ever and had ruined their entire trip. I try not to take that stuff personally. They are kids after all and were acting like kids do. But I hate shopping with them. It’s never fun.

What I really wanted to do to end our day on the island was walk along the boardwalk. The morning before we left for Mackinaw City, while looking up stuff online, I found out that if you walk to the end of the boardwalk and keep going just a little further down the road, there is a tree, where Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour stood to film a scene from the movie “Somewhere In Time”. A rock with a plaque on it stands beside the tree to commemorate the spot and the beloved movie. I really wanted to see that. I never even knew it existed until then.

I was really ticked that the kids were misbehaving and blaming me for the ruination of their day. The rest of our group had separated by that point and decided to take the earlier ferry back to Mackinaw City. I hated that the day was going to end like this. So I just started walking and told them if they wanted to join me they could. If not, I was going by myself. Chloe stomped down the boardwalk behind me and Mom, giving me dirty looks. We left Jake and Zach in our dust.

But I found it. Mom and I took a bunch of pictures of it. The kids were like, “That’s it? We walked all the way down here for that.” Grrrrr. I didn’t care what they said. I was happy to have seen it. Chloe then started to cry and hugged me and told me she was sorry. That girl. So defiant at times, but such a soft heart. We held hands for a bit while we walked back.

We had a little time to kill until the 6:30pm ferry, so we got Chloe her beloved ice cream and the boys went into this big Lego exhibit.

The sunset was so beautiful during our quiet ferry ride home. We were all pretty much exhausted – physically and emotionally. We got back to the mainland, hopped in the car, and just left. Not exactly the perfect end to our day, but it was a good day with family.

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