Happy Monday everyone! This week I’m taking you on an adventure to Mackinac Island in Michigan.
I had a vacation and wanted to have an adventure. And by adventure, I mean “go somewhere other than home,” not traipsing around mountains in Peru (which I did.)
I considered many things, but settled on a trip to Mackinac Island. What really clinched the deal was a great bargain on a stay at Grand Hotel. And if you don’t know what Grand Hotel is, you’re in for a treat.
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Grand Hotel was built in 1886, opened for the first summer season in 1887, and has been in continuous operation for 130 years. It has served as the setting for two movies, and hosted countless celebrities and dignitaries. It has won innumerable awards, including Travel + Leisure’s 500 World’s Best Hotels and the Best Hotel in Michigan, and Condé Nast Traveler’s Top 5 Midwest Resorts.
The Grand is far more than a fancy place to stay. It’s a sprawling resort with a bewildering array of activities. And – perhaps most charming of all – a stay at Grand Hotel is a nod to another time, a walk into the past. There’s nightly dancing, afternoon tea, and you’re required to dress for dinner.
And staying at the resort is usually way out of my price range.
But October 29-30 was the end of the summer season, and the price was reduced just a smidge. It included dinner and breakfast, and several special “closing” events, so I jumped at the chance. I texted my cat-sitting niece, packed my bag, said goodbye to Ivan the cat, and headed out the door.
Mackinac Island is just over a two hour drive from where I live in the center of the lower peninsula of Michigan. The drive starts in flat, farm lands, and goes north into rolling hills. The clouds were spectacular, too.
I stopped at an overlook and snapped a few pictures.
With a view like this, how could I resist attempting a panoramic photo? The morning had started blustery, and the sun was starting to break through the clouds.
I even braved and (more or less) succeeded at not looking ridiculous in a selfie.
Soon enough I pulled into the parking lot at Shelper’s Ferry in Mackinac City. Shepler’s is one of several lines that operate ferrys to Mackinac Island and have been in operation since 1945.
My eBags Convertible Weekender was whisked away and I found a spot on the Miss Margy. She looked about like the Felicity who was built in 1972 and regularly transports 150 people plus luggage back and forth across the Straits of Mackinac to Mackinac Island.
Here’s a peek at Miss Margy. She is named after company founder William Shepler’s wife, Margaret, and is the second Miss Margie to serve in the Shepler’s fleet. She was built in 2015, is 85-feet long, and transports 281 people.
There was a narration during the ride explaining about safety and Mackinac Bridge and Mackinac Island – and the history of the Miss Margy. Like the safety presentations given on airplanes, most everyone wasn’t paying attention…except to the outside views.
There were few clouds in the sky, a light breeze, and the Straights of Mackinac were calm. Without a doubt, it was an absolutely perfect autumn day for the short ride to the island.
And then the five-mile long Mackinac Bridge came into view.
The inside of the cabin was warm, and not too crowded. I snagged a window seat, and am delighted this video turned out so well.
A little later, I saw Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.
After the short sixteen minute ride, my feet were back on Terra Firma – or at least the dock at Mackinac Island.
Meet me tomorrow for another installment of the Mackinac Island and Grand Hotel Getaway. We’ll take a walk around town and explore Fort Mackinac. Later in the week, we’ll walk up to Grand Hotel, check out my room, walk around the gardens, and tour the hotel.