Up until this moment I have never been to Mackinac Island, despite being born and raised in Michigan. It is located north of the mitten, about a 5 hour drive from where my family live, and accessible only by ferry boat. Since automobiles aren’t allowed on the island, your only mode of transportation is simply by foot, bike or a horse drawn carriage; giving the island an old-world charm. The island itself is relatively small, the circumference being about 8 miles long, taking a little over an hour to leisurely bike the coast.
But what makes the place so picturesque is the architecture. Honestly, in this trip I wasn’t able to capture its beauty well and for that reason the images are few. However, majority of the lodges are dated back to the 19th century as the island became a summer colony. Due to its well maintained historical buildings, the island being listed a National Historic Landmark. The iconic Grand Hotel is a definite must to visit, not only the beautiful grounds but the flamboyantly stunning interiors! Keep in mind that there is a fee to enter the hotel if you are not a guest. But having a degree in interior design, the fee was worth it!
As More that 80 percent of the island is a state park, there is so much to explore. An incredible sight would be Arch Rock, a unique rock formation. There are variously ways to arrive at the arch, either through the natural trail or the flight of stairs – which have 807 steps. We did the former, a much more convenient way as we weren’t left winded by the time we arrived to our destination.
The food scene was good. Had a decent cappuccino at the Watercolor Cafe which seems to be a major favorite among the locals. The food there was better, with their selections of sandwiches and smoothie bowls, it is a great stop for on the go breakfast or lunch. For dinner we enjoyed a lake view at Mary’s Bistro Draught House savoring their delicious Black Bean burger, while our last evening we opted for Jamaican at Kingston Kitchen at the Village Inn where their Mackinac Planked Whitefish took the prize.
(I have to mention, I love food. If a place doesn’t have good eats… I tend not to be as tempted to visit again.) Even though the Island is notorious for its fudge – I personally can’t say that I was blown away. But worth getting if you have a sweet tooth!
Maybe I should also mention dress code. A friend of mine who came with us to the island joked that I will be the most dressed person on the island. To find out that she wasn’t wrong. In general, tourists are dressed more casual: shorts, T-shirt, backpack, etc. And that is perfectly fine. I find dressing up as a form of self expression. I planned for an attire that would be easy to pack, as I only had my vintage Adidas backpack with me, wrinkle-free, and can mix and match with the accessories on hand. When I travel I strive to be as minimal and practical as possible but without sacrificing style and comfort. (Yes! Those two DO go hand in hand!)
I really love my Everlane Jumpsuit. The shade of blue is perfect, something lighter would have been too airy and disproportionate while a darker shade would be too hot for the summer. Both Jumpsuits (Anthropologie) held on great for long walks and bicycle rides through the island while still keeping me cool in the summer heat. The Preloved Weekend Max Mara silk scarf (similar) is such a great summer accessory. I think it is good to have one oversized scarf (this being 42.5inX42.5in) as it is so versatile. On the ferry I wrap it around my head to protect my hair and ears from the rushing wind, and in the evening used it as a shawl for the cool summer nights. I repeat, an oversized silk scarf in your color-scheme is a must!
As other accessories go, I believe that we need to start wearing good quality hats again. This beauty is from my favorite NYC hatter East Village Hats. Found her little atelier by chance in my last trip into the city and haVe been in love with her work ever since! Often times it simply saves the day when your hair simply doesn’t want to cooperate. Whatever style suits you best, don a striking hat, simple specks, a rouge and you are out the door
We stayed overnight at Mission Point Resort, which I very much recommend when visiting. It is possible to enjoy a day-trip, but nothing beats the tranquility that overcomes the island once the last ferry has left port. The island gives that relaxing vibe that you would get at an all inclusive resort – simply disconnected from reality. Sometimes we need that little getaway.
Needless to say, I have been smitten! Even before getting on the ferry to return to the mainland, I decided that an autumnal trip is a must. Think about it, that landscape with the hues of rust and gold? Gorgeous!
Side note: as we are in the midst of the pandemic, social distancing is very much practiced. All forms of lodging, dining, and shopping require that you wear a mask. It was mandatory to wear them on the ferry as well. It could also be said that I had such a great first impression since there weren’t as many tourists as usual. Regardless, I am definitely planning a trip again in the early fall to see the beautiful changing leaves!
What is worth visiting in your part of the world?