Can’t find the right place for a summer vacation? Well, I just took a trip in July that may be of interest. I have the perfect destination that intrigues both children and adults. A place that is so historic, it almost feels like your living in the past. This place lets you get away from the loud noises of the city. It’s surrounded by the waters of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. Now you may be thinking, what wonderful summer getaway awaits in Northern Michigan? Well it’s a little place called Mackinac Island (pronounced mak-uh-naw).
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To get to this strangely named island you must travel by ferry. Once you arrive in Mackinac City, Michigan, you can take a ferry to the island or drive over the Mackinac Bridge to St.Ignace, to take the boat across there as well. Once you board the hourly ferry you can sit back and enjoy the 20 minute ride. Just make sure to bring a sweatshirt along, it gets a little chilly on the boat. From the ferry you get a great first impression of the island. You can see beautiful houses, large trees and the legendary Grand Hotel.
As you step off the boat you instantly notice that there are no cars on the island, so there are hundreds of bicycles everywhere! As you continue to walk into the downtown area you can hear horses’ hooves clopping on the road. Those are the only modes of transportation because the use of automobiles was banned from Mackinac Island in 1898.
On Mackinac Island there are many places for families to stay. Oh course, the most popular option is the Grand Hotel. Yes, the price is high, but once you take the “taxi” up the road, coming closer to the hotel, this feeling comes to you. A feeling that you’re going back in time, just as soon as you step onto the bright cherry-red carpet at the main entrance of the hotel. The 660 foot porch is what is visible even from across the lake! There are hundreds of red geraniums lined up in white window boxes that start at one end of the porch, all the way down to the other.
Once you check-in, you are given a key to your room, which is actually a real key, not a card! Depending on how much money you are willing to spend, there are four different room options, category 1, 2, 3 and Lakeview. The prices for a two night stay for two adults and two children start at $785 (Category 1) and increase to $1100 (Lakeview). These prices include the five course dinner, breakfast and lunch buffet.
The thing that makes the Grand Hotel so special is the traditions that they still keep alive. Traditions like the fancy dinner, in which everyone is required to dress up for, afternoon tea in the main lobby and live evening music. This is why over 5,000,000 people have come to visit this hotel.
But of course, Mackinac Island is not just about the Grand Hotel, there are many other wonderful sightseeing places such as Arch Rock and Fort Mackinac. You can also just take a family bike ride around the island. Since the island is only 8 miles in circumference it takes approximately 1 ½ hours to bike, depending on how often you stop to take pictures are try out the small walking trails along the way.
Well, I hope that one summer you will want to travel to Mackinac Island and experience the unique atmosphere and way of life. (Oh and don’t forget to try the fudge!)
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