Mackinac Island – My First Time!

Jul/19/2011 7 Malia Lane
Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan

July 16, 2011

When I first got to my homebase at Straits State Park, I gushed in my post “I’m Going to the Island” that I just couldn’t wait to get to Mackinac Island.  I could justify waiting for my tour of the Grand Hotel because there was something exquisitely delicious in just a little longer delay in order to get all the prerequisite refresher research done – mainly to watch the movie “Somewhere in Time” at least one more time before I stepped foot on that famous porch.

Here I am on board Shepler’s Ferry, anxiously awaiting shoving off!  The only way to get to the island is by boat or small airplane – no bridges can span this trip back in time…

This was my first glimpse of the fabulous lady – the Grand Hotel – across the lake.  All in good time, I’ll be there… Somewhere in Time…

But for this day my intent was to explore the perimeter of the island home of the hotel.  And from the moment I stepped onto the boardwalk, it hit me…

This is as close as I’ll ever get to a trip back in time.  Here is shown all the means of transportation available to you while you’re visiting the island: horse drawn carriage, bicycle or your two feet.  No motorized vehicles of any kind are allowed.

I’m so glad I could bring my bike…but I ended up walking around at first because I just wanted to take it all in even slower than I could by bike.

Some of the stately old “cottages” of the rich folks are now hotels and B&Bs.

I was just enthralled with the Victorian architecture, charming details and gloriously flowering baskets and yards.

When my feet were getting tired enough from walking, I started the 8 mile circle around the island by bike.

It was so strange – just as I was thinking I had not seen water this clear nor scenes this breathtakingly beautiful since I lived on Maui, I started noticing these stacks of stones along the waterfront and then came across this complex design further out that reminded me so much of the “Menehune” stones famous in Hawaii.  I always enjoyed these balancing acts that were supposedly erected by the Menehune – Hawaii’s ‘little people’ – “a race of pygmies who were squat, tremendously strong, powerfully built and very ugly of the face…they would work only one night on a construction and if unable to complete the work, it was left undone.”  I wonder if my undeniable draw to this island relates to the fact that I’ve always felt that Maui was my heart’s home and it’s the closest thing I’ve ever felt to that feeling outside of there…

Other views along the trail include visions of Mighty Mac, that wonderful, miraculous bridge across the straits.

This was yet another scene that reminded me so much of Maui – crystal clear waters, blue skies and sailboats – Paradise found!

But I have to admit the scene that thrilled me the most was when I realized I was at the very spot where Elise and Richard first met.  I placed my hand where hers had been and I could almost hear her wondrous words, “Is it you?”

About half way around there is a historic site marked by a sign that explains:

“Here, during the night of July 16-17, 1812, a small force of British regulars…from St. Joseph Island landed. They occupied a height that overlooks Fort Mackinac and demanded its surrender. Lt. Porter Hanks, commander of the American garrison of 57 soldiers, had not known that war had been declared. Realizing that resistance was hopeless and might provoke an Indian massacre, Hanks capitulated without a fight.”

Strange that I was here on the exact anniversary of this date 199 years ago.  Whatever the history and whoever the captors who have held it, I’m so glad we wound up with this little piece of land!

Nicely refreshed after an ice cream cone and ice cold water, I biked on…

And although I had heard it was rough going sometimes with some steep slopes hard to bike, I did not find that to be the case, at least not on this perimeter road.  I was proud of myself since I hadn’t been on a bike this long in ages, but I guess I was so thrilled with the journey that I was kinda surprised when it was already over.

This is something I’d like to do again, but next time I’m going to come over for the Mackinac Island Carriage Tour.  I want to hear what they relate about the history, I want to stroll among the butterflies at Wings of Mackinac and also tour Fort Mackinac.  There’s just so much to see here – I don’t think I’d ever get tired of touring this island!