To the Island
The original plan was to stay in Mackinac City and go over to the island for the day. But so many friends, whose knowledge and opinions we respect, said “you’ve got to stay at the Grand Hotel!” So plans were changed, my Hero had a small moment working it all out and another one this morning, putting it all into practice.
It wasn’t easy. I’ll explain more in my next post, but for now, just believe me.
When we saw the weather this morning, we were glad to be doing something. On a dreary day, there’s nothing worse than just mooching about, is there?
We aimed for the 9.30am ferry, negotiating the arrangements for our overnight bags (which they take straight to the hotel) and for the car, which had to remain here overnight. The heavy rain made all this more difficult than usual, for running about from one place to another, avoiding puddles and trying not to get completely soaked to the skin wasn’t easy. But we did it.
In true Hero-style, we did it all so efficiently that we caught the 9.00am departure
It reminded me a lot of my days on the Isle of Wight, when catching the hydrofoil across the Solent was all part of the fun.
Shhhhh! We had two stowaways in our bag as well!
These small, fast ferries are like big jetskis!
I was glad I’d taken pictures of the bridge yesterday afternoon, though, because it wasn’t such a great view today.
And though I know it’s there, you’ll probably struggle to see the Grand Hotel, which is that white splodge in the dark strip of land over there.
Oh well. At least the weather meant there weren’t too many visitors, and my photo of the lighthouse at the entrance to the harbour looks rather atmospheric!
We had been warned that any luggage might take a couple of hours to reach the hotel, but as the trolley only appeared to have our three small carryons, I guess it went straight there. We made our way straight to the town centre, to take a look around and get our bearings.
With just one main street, it didn’t take long. There are no powered vehicles on the island, so except for bicycles, everything is horse-drawn (which is why we couldn’t bring the car over).
We took a look in a few cute shops and admired the local colour before warming up in Starbucks with hot drinks.
Next, we planned a round-island tour in a horse-drawn carriage.
Kylie was our driver, Rolls and Royce the two dapple grey horses.
We climbed on board and settled in for the ride. Kylie gave a great commentary, filled with puns and interesting information. We soon learned that there are 400 horses working for the carriage company, plus another 200 horses in use by private companies running taxis and delivery buggies. So, I’ll leave you to imagine the aroma in town on a wet Monday morning!
First building we passed? Moomers ice cream! The queue for hot drinks was longer than the ice cream queue this morning, though.
The island is pretty and the residential streets were really attractive with flower-filled gardens. Lilac grows well here and the colour palette seems to work well with that.
The Governor of Michigan’s Summer Residence was pointed out to us. Lucky chap.
But of course, we didn’t need this building to be identified. Hopefully our bags were already there; we’d be joining them later.
With 600 horses on the island, someone’s got to sweep up, don’t they?
We were assured of the horses’ welfare – the island has three permanent vets on duty (and only one medical doctor, so Kylie’s recommendation was to whinny if we fell ill). The horses wear special shoes made of some composite material which cushions their tread. “Equine Nike Airs” she said.
We changed carriages along the way, moving to a larger vehicle to ride through the State Park. This one was pulled by three horses, Jenny and the Jets!
It was a pretty drive, though there were few landmarks. Just this one – the Rifle Range – and the Archway, where we had ten minutes to look around and take photos.
This was where the horses had a break too.
I’m glad someone found it funny!
The rain had eased off as we’d been riding, but returned with a vengeance around this point. Some folks had got off to visit the Fort, leaving just a few of us on board.
We had to switch to a final, smaller carriage again for the last section from the upper station to the hotel. Woe betide reckless riders, eh?
And so, though we were a bit wet, rather windswept and somewhat chilly we arrived at the hotel in style, in our horse-drawn carriage.
The rest of the story is worthy of a post of its own!