What a fabulous, beautiful, air conditioned sunshine day
to tour Mackinac Island, long awaited and anticipated. . .
we chose Shepler’s only because our RV Park owner
told us that was the one they preferred. . .
a combo Ferry/Mackinac Carriage – $46 PP. . .
our view of the island from the ferry – panoramic style. . .
and of course. . .the show place – Grand Hotel
a pretty view as we pulled into the harbor. . .
our chariot. . .I highly recommend the carriage ride,
as it is a long way to several places you want to see,
and it is very steep in places. . .
there were a lot of people pushing bikes up hills. . .
after each ascent, the carriage was stopped to give the horses a breather. . .
(as cheap as I am, I paid the $10 for this pic. . .how else would I get one? I love it!)
at Surry Hill, we changed carriages,
and went from the 20 seat, drawn by two Belgian Draft Horses,
to this 35 seat, drawn by three Belgian Draft Horses
weighing 2000 lbs each. . .we were in the third row. . .
they were high octane. . .let me tell you (smile!)
our first stop after changing carriages is Arch Rock. . .
which is located inside Mackinac Island State Park. . .
we are allowed seven minutes to see this phenomenon. . .
it is quite lovely. . .
while we are seeing the Arch. . .the horses are taking a break. . .
being watered and offered oats. . .
they are given three coffee cans full of oats per day,
and all the hay they can eat. . .
(Jason’s instructions as we exited, “children. . .
do not play in the puddles. . .it has not rained today. . .LOL!)
our next stop. . .if you wish to exit the carriage,
is the Governor’s Summer Residence. . .
the Governor is in residence today, and a soiree is being held. . .
there are folks everywhere. . .we choose not to exit.
the next stop. . .Fort Mackinac. . .where tours are available for an extra fee.
Everyone exits but us. . .we choose to return to Surrey Hill,
where we can once again change carriages and be taken to the Grand Hotel. . .
at Surrey Hill we were also give the opportunity to tour
the Grand Hotel Stables where these beautiful Hackney Horses reside. . .
the Stables also serve as a show place for several antique carriages. . .
and if you so choose
you may tour the Butterfly Garden for an extra fee. . .
of course the Surrey Hill Tourist shops are available
for your viewing pleasure, and a couple of snack shops
are also available. . .we browse a bit and enjoy the antiques
on display while waiting for our carriage to the Grand. . .
ah. . .here it is. . .the Pièce de résistance. . .
the GRAND HOTEL at Mackinac Island. . .
this is what I have been waiting and planning for. . .
the tour. . .$10 each to be allowed on the porch,
and inside to tour the fabulousness. . .
BUT WAIT!. . .STOP RIGHT THERE. . .
the Governor is in residence on the island. . .
there is a Conference at the hotel. . .
The Grand is CLOSED to TOURS. . .
WHAT? are you kidding me?
as you can imagine. . .I was NOT a happy camper. . .or tourist. . .
WHY. . .oh WHY did they not have a notice posted
at the ferry terminal where we purchased our tickets. . .
we could easily have rescheduled our day. . .
OH WELL. . .nothing to be done about it at this point. . .
so on we trudge back into town. . .
thoroughly disappointed by this turn of events. . .
perhaps some fudge will ease my heartache. . .
we choose Maple Walnut. . .it is fabulous. . .
but not really helping. . .sad. . .sad, sad, sad. . .that’s what I am!
a few more things we really enjoyed. . .
the famed phone booth located on the first nine of the golf course. . .
all the beautiful carriages, Governor’s Residence in the background. . .
one little tidbit we learned about the porches of the Grand. . .
the ceilings are painted sky blue to fool the birds
into thinking it’s the sky. ..
which discourages nest building. . .
is that true? Don’t know. . .but it makes a good story. . .right?
as stated in several articles I read. . .bikes were everywhere. . .
worker wagons. . .stuff has to get places. . .
and no tour would be complete. . .PO for me. . .
Fire Trucks for Dave. . .emergency vehicles are the only motorized vehicles on the island. . .
I thoroughly enjoyed all the art, and the gardens of Mackinac. . .
and even with the disappointment, we really enjoyed our day!
Would we have enjoyed it more, had I been able to tour the Grand. . .
absolutely. . .will I return at some point to make that happen. . .absolutely!
We hope you have enjoyed sharing our tour,
and will be encouraged to visit this beautiful place for yourself. . .
We’ll see you next time at the SOO Locks where we have a boat tour planned. . .
Janice and Dave
A FEW EXTRA THINGS. . .
some winters, an ice bridge forms across
the Straits of Mackinac, allowing you to
walk or snow mobile the five miles to the island. . .
Would I want to do it? NO. . .
Does it seem interesting? YES. . .
Here are some pics and references about it:
Mackinac Ice Bridge Movie
More Blog Posts about Mackinac Island
a very well written blog with great pics inside the fort: