We have found that it’s always great to share a bit of our journey with friends when possible. It’s even better if we’re still friends afterwards (so far, so good). That being said, we invited our friends, Grant and Alison to join us in Mackinaw City just in time to scoot over to Mackinaw Island for a couple of nights. They flew in from CA late on a Monday night and prepared to become honorary Loopers.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting Mackinaw Island, you already know it’s historic charm. For those who haven’t, pay attention.
Just to hit some highlights, Mackinaw Island is a lovely place that dates back to the 1800s with beautiful Victorian homes, storefronts, resorts, restaurants, a fort and natural rock formations. No motorized vehicles are allowed so the island is filled with bikes and horse drawn carriages. Everything from food and mail delivery to trash pickup is handled by people on wagons pulled by horses. This has been the standard for years and it really works here.
We spent a day walking the water front and up the hill to the Grand Hotel. It is very classically fancy and dinner attire is strictly enforced. Jacket, tie and button up shirt are required for the men, dresses and skirts for the ladies. Now, before you get all offended, just know this—lunch is sort of a free for all and you can wear almost anything but a swimsuit. This standard is for the main dining room only and there are a few other dining options on site, so there is something for everyone.
Our alternative to the formal dinner was lunch in the main dining room with Grant and Alison (and about 300 other tourists), which turned out to be a buffet of deliciousness. Afterwards, we took a nice stroll down hill passing by the Old Stone Church, ducking in and out of stores and finding fudge (although fudge is EVERYWHERE).
One gorgeous day was spent traveling by horse and carriage around the island. We stopped at the natural arch for a selfie, continued up to the top of the island to tour Fort Holmes replica and to eat some lunch, then onto a cemetery to leave one of my rocks on the oldest grave in there.
Our trip from Mackinaw Island to Charlevoix turned out to be pretty choppy but our passengers handled the trip like troopers! We pulled into Charlevoix and docked in beautiful Round Lake at the base of the city park and within a half block of town.
Round lake has a passage in from Lake Michigan and a passage at the opposite end into beautiful Lake Charlevoix. The lake and surrounding scenery continues to astound us.
Alison and I took a walk and found a stony beach along Lake Michigan. There we were on the search for Petoskey stones and Charlevoix stones. Ever heard of them? Me neither but they are fossil-esque and display super cool patterns when wet.
We spent two nights in Charlevoix and were able to meet Alison’s cousin Dorothy who lives in the area. She joined us for dinner at The Gray Gables and lead us in lively conversation. Fun fact: Dorothy’s mom was Babe Ruth’s housekeeper! You never know who you’ll meet on America’s Great Loop!
Up next: Traverse City and more wonderful Michigan shenanigans!