Monday, August 8, 2016

The Straits of Mackinac

Usually our trips to Michigan end when we reach family in Grand Rapids. After 13 hours of driving, we are happy to stay put. 

But, after hearing me say again and again how pretty northern Michigan is and how many unique things there are to do, Grady was convinced it was time to do more than just visit family during our visit. 

This summer we opted for a three day getaway to explore some of the vacation destinations I enjoyed as a kid. Together with my parents and my nephew, we explored the Straits of Mackinac, where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron connect. We had two perfect weather days to explore Fort Michilimackinac and Mackinac Island.

Follow along and enjoy some sun-squinted pictures of our time in Mackinac...
The boys attempted some baaga'adowe (modern day lacrosse) and found the soldiers bathhouse quite comical.
Jax, never a fan of loud noises, didn't enjoy listening to the rifle firing, but did enjoy touching the gun later.
With no haze or clouds, we were able to take in the sight and size and scope of the Mackinac Bridge. This bridge connects Michigan's Lower peninsula with the Upper peninsula and is the longest suspension bridge in the Western hemisphere. It's impressive!
Plenty to see and do, but plenty of time to just relax: skipping stones in the lake, watching gulls and ducks and geese dive in the water, playing on the playground, and swimming at the hotel.
We spent a morning climbing Castle Rock and taking in the panoramic views of Lake Huron. Micah and I counted the steps on our way down... and all for nothing because now we can't remember how many!
Thankfully we didn't inflict any injury to body or limb, and my boys obeyed orders to not treat this walk as a ninja obstacle course.

The water and sky that day - crystal clear!
After Castle Rock, we boarded a ferry to take us to Mackinac Island. My memories of visiting here as a kid were limited, but still accurate: LOTS of fudge shops, beautiful summer homes, and only bikes and horses to get around.

Annalyse couldn't wait to see all the horses, all the boys couldn't wait to rent bikes and tour the island, and my parents were just along for the ride and easy to please.
First up after stopping for lunch: family bike ride! The perimeter of the island is about eight miles and very flat. We had so much fun leisurely biking and taking several stops to enjoy sights along the way!
Such clear, calm water with a steady, gentle breeze. A far cry from Caribbean and tropical, but a beautiful island vacation nonetheless.
Goodness, I love all these people! So thankful for a full week with them doing new things together.
Because Grady wanted new pictures for his office computers, we gave it our best attempt...
These three amigos led the way, and we all quickly learned that Micah needed plenty of space to ride. Stopping randomly, turning and swerving simply because he wanted to, changing lanes just because... the boy was a danger to anyone in close proximity!
After biking the island we toured Fort Mackinac. Halfway through our ascent up the hill to the fort entrance, I decided I was going to prorate our two educational fort tours as school days. Sometime this fall when we're not having a productive school day, I'll remember our lessons learned in Mackinac and smile.
Jaxton especially enjoyed Fort Mackinac and napped the entire time, and I secretly think a couple others wished they were napping too. Our morning climb and afternoon bike ride were catching up on us. 
That evening we ferried back to the Upper Peninsula, enjoyed a pizza dinner and some swimming, before calling it a night. Whew!

Although we more than filled our day on the island, there was so much more that we didn't see or do. Next time...?
After two days in the Mackinac area, we spent our third day at the Sleeping Bear Dunes along Lake Michigan's shoreline. More on that soon...

1 comment: