Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island

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We were 3 hours away from the hotel and still had a program.
Csibi said there is also a ferry from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island on this side of the bridge. The island is closer from there, so we decided to board the ferry there.
Csibi checked earlier that the ferry leaves at 17:00 and 17:30, and you can get back relatively late in the evening.
At first, it looked like we would make the 17:30 ferry comfortably.
But we arrived a few minutes before 5pm, so I said it would be good if we could make it.

Ferry Terminal - St. Ignace, MI

While Csibi was buying the ticket (round trip: 31 USD/person), I ran to the restroom. Then we could get on the ferry immediately. If you buy the ticket online, it's a little cheaper, but if we wanted to get to the ferry, it was faster at the ticket office. So it's a few dollars more expensive, but that's the solution we went for now.

We got there very comfortably; there were not many people on the ferry at all.
We sat down at the top, and the ride took 20-25 minutes.
Even from the ferry, it was obvious that this would be a great place!

Mackinac Island, MI

Mackinac Island has an area of 4.35 square miles (11.3 km2). Before European colonization (French, British) in the 17th century, this fish-rich island was home to the local Indians. It was the strategic center of the fur trade around the Great Lakes. It was the scene of two battles during the War of 1812 (British-American War) before the northern border was established and the United States acquired the island.
On the night of July 17, 1812, the American soldiers stationed here were asleep when 300 British soldiers and their Canadian Indian allies landed on the island. The cannon was pointed at the fort. The poor American soldiers realized that there were nearly 10 more enemies for each of them, so they surrendered. But two years later, when the British lost the war, the fort (and the island) returned to American hands.

More than 80% of the island is part of Mackinac Island State Park. Because of its historical significance, it is a National Historic Landmark.
In 2022, Travel+Leisure magazine named it the best island in the continental U.S.!

The island still lives in the past. You can only travel by horse/carriage, bicycle, or foot! Legend has it that someone once bought a car, but the horses were afraid of it, so cars were banned from the island.

Mackinac Island, MI

There are many sights on the island. Historic houses, the fort, the small Round Island lighthouse, etc.
You find yourself in a Victorian setting when you get off the ferry. Another fantastic trip back in time.
The houses, the beautiful colorful flowers everywhere. We immediately and irrevocably fell in love with this place.

Mackinac Island, MI

The main attraction for us, why we really wanted to come here, is the Grand Hotel.

We walked all over the island. The road to the hotel was like "wow" and "look at that" because of the houses, the promenade by the lake, and the flowers. Everything is wonderful.
But the Grand Hotel… The Grand Hotel is a Victorian-style building high above the Straits that opened in 1887. At that time, rates ranged from $3-$5 per night. (These days, $200-$600 depending on room type. But there are more expensive ones…) It's been packed every summer since it opened!

Grand Hotel - Mackinac Island, MI

Back then, Mark Twain gave lectures to hotel guests for a dollar.
In 1980, the classic movie Somewhere In Time was filmed here.
The hotel is also remarkable because it has a 200-meter-long terrace, the longest in the world.
This is where all the inhabitants of the island used to gather.

When we arrived here, it was about 5:54pm. This is important because we came across a sign in front of the hotel stating that there is a dress code from 6pm, and in the hotel and the surrounding area, men should wear ties and women dresses.

Grand Hotel - Mackinac Island, MI

Well, we weren't dressed like that, and ties were obviously nowhere to be found at Csibi… 😄 And I didn't spend the day in a cocktail dress, either.
So we said, let's at least run up to the terrace quickly and take some photos before they kick us out… 😄 When we went upstairs, one of the hotel staff looked at his watch, but luckily he didn't say anything.
By the way, one of the servers kindly stopped to take a photo of us, as did one of the guests sitting there! So we were not kicked out. After that, we left the terrace.
Anyway, the whole thing looks pretty darn good; there are rows of white rocking chairs, everyone sitting there elegantly dressed up and drinking. We couldn't photograph the entire length of the terrace because there was a wedding on one side, and the other side was also closed due to a later event.

Grand Hotel - Mackinac Island, MI

Afterward, we walked around in front of and around the hotel (and no one turned us away either). We were obviously not the only ones not dressed according to the dress code.

Although tearing ourselves away from the building and the view was challenging, we made our way back. We admired more houses, gardens, flowers, cute birds, and squirrels along the way.

Mackinac Island, MI

We could have spent much time here too, but we knew we were still two hours away from the accommodation, so we had to return. We chose the ferry leaving at 7:00pm, although we strongly considered the 7:30pm as well.
Seating was limited, we stood at the end of the line to get us and maybe two other people in, and then the others had to wait for the next ferry.

We could sit down; this time, there was only room at the bottom, and we could sit in the 2nd row from the front. The door was open at the front of the ferry, so it was pretty drafty, but luckily I had long pants to put on.

Then suddenly we saw that the ferry was not going where we wanted to go.
It looked like one was going to the other port. We started to panic that it was okay, but how do we get back from there to the other city? We have to wait for a new ferry, how much time will it take.

Then it turned out that sometimes there are extra routes. For example, you can go close to the bridge and look at it. And it is really a phenomenal experience to see the bridge so close! Fantastic!

Mackinac Bridge, MI

So 20-25 minutes of driving has now turned into an hour…

We ran to the restroom at the port, so we didn't have to stop anywhere until we got back to the hotel. So it ended up being 10pm again by the time we got home.

We had another fantastic day full of experiences!

Additional Photos

Map - Mackinac Island, MI