Long before the term ‘bucket list’ became popular, stretching way back to the days of my childhood, I dreamed of seeing and doing things that I never in a million years really thought I would do. Looking back over my life so far, I realize that there are actually several of those things that I can cross off my unintentional bucket list; seeing the Bolshoi Ballet, hearing and seeing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing in Salt Lake City, visiting Niagara Falls and, more recently, taking a trip to Mackinac Island.
My desire to visit the island began when I first came to the USA. Living in the hustle and bustle of a city like Chicago, the idea of a place where motor vehicles were forbidden was rather appealing. In reality, you still have to watch your step when crossing the roads as there is a constant stream of bike riders zipping about and horse-drawn wagons, though going at a more sedate pace, are still a hazard.
In fact, almost as soon as you step off the ferry, you notice the definite whiff of horse but that is certainly preferable to the more obnoxious odor of petrol fumes. As attractive as a carriage ride seemed, however, we opted to get about on foot, which gave us the ability to stop whenever we wanted and take side roads and diversions at will.
We climbed up the hill to historic Fort Mackinac which was established by the British during the American Revolutionary War. From there we had a wonderful view of the harbor and surrounding area. The British didn’t give up the fort until 15 years after American independence but apparently there was still one soldier who had been left behind and the canon is only fired now for demonstration purposes.
Naturally, being a major tourist attraction, most things on the island are very picturesque (the entire island is listed as a National Historic Landmark) and churches, houses and hotels cried out to be photographed.
On the subject of hotels, strictly speaking, my original fantasy of visiting Mackinac Island had centered around staying at the Grand Hotel but when I tell you that they wanted $10 per person just to walk inside (if your weren’t registered there) you will probably understand why we opted to stay on the mainland. I was quite happy to look at it from the outside. Alright! I’ll admit to a smidgeon of envy as I watched guests strolling around the gardens and pulling up to the forecourt in horse-drawn carriages.
But I still got to see the flowers and the beautiful scenery on the way back to the harbor. Once again, we were very lucky with gorgeous weather and we were able to sit and enjoy the view out over the lake.
The ride back to Mackinac City on the Star Line hydro-jet ferry was exhilarating and we managed to get a closer shot of both lighthouses as well as the Mackinac Bridge on the way in.
Of course, there is a lot more to the island than what you see here, but as usual we were on a limited time schedule and I was just thankful that I’d been able to visit and cross one more item off my unintentional bucket list.