Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mackinac Island, Michigan

On Saturday we all boarded a boat and spent the day on Mackinac Island. The last time I was on the island was in 2004 when I took my students there on a field trip for a weekend. It was nice to go back! Our group on the ferry headed for the island. We sat on the upper deck where it was a bit chilly.

The kids snuggling with Grandma while enjoying the ride.

The Mackinac Bridge is about 5 miles long and connects the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. It is the third largest suspension bridge in the world and the largest in the western hemisphere. When you drive across it you can open your car door and look down and see the water. The bridge moves to accommodate changes in wind and weight. It can move up to 35 feet in the center if there are high winds. It is especially beautiful at night.

The great lakes are great in size!

Aubrey with "Aunt Farah"

Here we are on our carriage ride. There are only 9 motor vehicles permitted on the island and they are never seen unless there's an emergency. The 600 residents who live on the island year round and all visitors get around by walking, riding bikes or riding horses. There are about 800-900 horses that live on the island. When you visit you can rent a bike, go on a carriage ride or rent a horse.

There is one small public school on the island that graduated six seniors this year. There is a post office but residents have to pick up their mail at the office. Mail is not delivered to their home.

The island is especially known for the Grand Hotel which has about 300 rooms that are all decorated differently. It's a beautiful hotel where many weddings take place and tours are given.

The island is well known for fudge. One can hardly visit the island and not have fudge!

There is a large home on the island that is used as a vacation home for the governor of Michigan.

There is a lot of history on the island too, which I love. Besides the fact that the 1980s film Somewhere in Time was recorded on the island there many more interesting stories. We toured through a tiny (and I mean tiny) three room home that is believed to be one of the first homes on the island. It couldn't have been more than a few hundred square feet and a man and his wife and their ten children lived there! We even saw the original wallpaper in the home. There are several museums on the island. The Beaumont Museum tells the story of a man who was shot in the stomach leaving a hole where Dr. Beaumont studied the digestive system.

I didn't get a picture of it but there is also a large fort on the island, Fort Mackinac. It was built during the American Revolution and was an important fort during the War of 1812. Today you can tour the fort and even watch reenactments.