The place I grew up visiting summer after summer.
The isolated island where my parents built a cottage and lived once I was in college.
The escape from reality that will always be near and dear to me.
I’m not going to lie. We have bypassed trips to Mackinac Island for the last three years because it is somewhat of a logistical nightmare to get there. After driving four hours from southwest Michigan, you take a ferry to the island with all of your gear and groceries for an entire week, and then pull all of that gear behind bicycles another three miles to the cottage. And when you add in the baby gear factor; pack n’ plays, booster seats, carseats etc., the trek is not always worth the amount of work that goes into it.
But, since we were already up north, and the boys are at pretty good ages where they don’t require as much “stuff”, we figured we better take advantage of a day trip this year. Plus, being blown away on the ferry ride there is half the fun.
The second we came within view of the harbor and Victorian houses that line the bluff, the familiar charm of the island washed over me like I had been there yesterday.
We stayed in these blue apartments on the shore every summer until my parents built their cottage. We woke up to incoming ferry horns every morning.
Mackinac Island is famous for a couple of different things. No motorized vehicles (only bicycles and horse-drawn carriages allowed) and fudge. The main street is always packed with “fudgies” (tourists).
The fudge really is amazing. My favorite has always been chocolate peanut butter.
The island was first established by the British in the 1700’s, and Fort Mackinac still remains a beacon.
Some of the real beauty of the island is only seen when you leave the main street. There is road that goes all the way around that is 8 miles in diameter and takes about an hour on bike.
Once you leave the harbor, there is nothing but miles of shoreline.
Talk about riding in luxury.
The boys were passed out before we got to the first bend.
Once you get half way around the island, the Mackinac Bride comes into view (it connects the lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan).
And eventually, the little school and lighthouses appear in the distance.
We always make a stop at the school playground.
And admire the quaint library and lighthouses on the way back into town.
Of course, for the most stunning views, you must bike up huge cliffs to overlook the different shades of Lake Huron.
I always leave a little piece of myself behind in that place, especially because I don’t know how long it will be until our next visit.