Hi! I’m Rachel, guest blogging for Allison and Terri about my recent trip to the scenic UP, including beautiful Mackinac Island!
My husband and I live 3.5 hours away from the nearest family members, and while that isn’t terribly far, it doesn’t make for frequent (free) babysitting like some of my local friends have. And I was in DIRE need of some time away from my rotten-I mean sweet- adorable little girls. So I was extremely grateful that my mom was willing to watch our girls for days on end while hubby and I went off on a very special trip to celebrate our 5th anniversary.
While I realize this is a blog geared towards family travel, I will try to highlight the family friendly aspects of our little getaway. Here’s how our traveling progressed in order of places we visited and those worth mentioning:
The Mighty Mac is the affectionate name locals call the Mackinac Bridge. Impressively long suspension bridge connecting the upper and lower penninsula, spanning the straights of Mackinac. Pretty view, and an easy way to get from Mackinaw City to St. Ignace! Tolls were $4 each way.The Mystery Spot, where water flows uphill! We saw a billboard for this ‘gravitational anomaly’ as we neared our destination and impulsively decided to stop. I normally despise cheesy, touristy attractions, but this place was loads of fun! $8 per person for a 20 minute tour of the Mystery Spot with an entertaining tour guide ($6 for kids 5-11). We laughed hysterically as we tried to get out of a chair without using our hands to push up, among other fun activities! Located in St. Ignace, Michigan, just 5 miles away from the Mackinac Bridge.Lehto’s Pasties, another place we found on the fly (via tripadvisor.com), and it is just down the road from The Mystery Spot. Great little place to grab a snack, with a scenic overlook nearby as well! There may be only one item on the menu, but don’t miss this little slice of regional deliciousness. The pasty I had in Mackinaw City was nothing like the thick, flavorful one I had at Lehto’s, so this place is definitely worth a stop!Shepler’s Ferry, the ferry we took from Mackinaw City to Mackinac Island (and yes, those are the correct spellings!). My Michigan dwelling cousin told me that Shepler’s is the best ferry around, and I believe she was right. Friendly employees, good luggage service, and free parking if you are willing to walk a few blocks. Buy tickets online beforehand and you’ll save $2 on a roundtrip ticket (normally priced at $25).Our final destination! October is chilly on the Island, winter coat and hat worthy (the wind can be harsh)! It is also the off season, so lodging is less expensive, gift shops run storewide sales, and the island is less populated with those annoying tourists who suddenly stop in the middle of the road to take pictures of the scenery!Mission Point Resort, a nice, clean hotel, only 10 minutes walking distance from town. You can pay $5 for a ‘cab’ (horse and carriage) ride to town, but without short little legs tagging along, hubby and I saved the money and trekked it. We got a king size room in the Main lodge for only $149 a night. For slightly more, you can get a family suite with a separate room for mom and dad! Plus, kids age 12 and under eat free at any of the Mission Point restaurants. They have a “Kid Club” and arcade, but being the off season, it appeared these were not in operation. There’s also a movie theatre and an observation tower you can visit for free.Fort Mackinac, a historic fort founded during the American Revolution. $12 adult admission, $7 for kids. We saw re-enactors do rifle and canon demonstrations and toured the buildings. I found it to be reminescent of places like Greenfield Village or Conner Prairie (historic villages) but on a much smaller scale. Interesting way to pass an hour or two. They have a special “Kids Quarter” that looked like lots of fun! There was even a room where kids could dress up in military uniform and have parents take their picture in front of a cool backdrop.Fort Holmes, a gorgeous view, but doubtful whether it was worth trekking up the steep 182 steps (or at least that’s the rumor how many-we were too focused on not keeling over to count). A free attraction another 1/2 mile+ from Fort Mackinac.Besides those attractions, there was also the places we ate…Millie’s, The Pink Pony, The Yankee Rebel Tavern and the Lucky Bean Cafe (their ‘sugar loaf latte’ was possibly the best coffee I’ve ever had)! I wouldn’t necessarily reccommend The Pink Pony or The Yankee Rebel Tavern for small children, but most restaurants did boast ‘children’s menu’ on their storefronts. Every restaurant had very good food, no complaints!We only spent 2 nights on Mackinac Island, but we felt we had seen and done a lot in those few days. The island is very calming, peaceful, and relaxing. I would definitely recommend it- not just for a couples only trip, but for families as well!~Rachel Osborn, blogging about surviving the Mom life at Don’t Call Me Supermom