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Mackinac Island MI

May 18, 2018 continued

In my blog world it is now May 12…the day started with a yummy inexpensive breakfast at The Pancake Chef.  I don’t care for pancakes but this place has a pretty substantial breakfast buffet and you can order off the menu also.  I had the breakfast skillet which had sausage and veggies cooked then hash browns added on top of that and then two eggs over medium on top of that…you can have your eggs cooked anyway you want…this is not a large skillet but more than I needed for breakfast…Miranda was my server…if you go, say hi to Miranda for me!!  Next I moved onto the off location day parking spot for Shepler’s Ferry…only passenger on the shuttle…Sweet!  Perfect timing because I got there 2 minutes before the 10:30 AM ferry was heading out.  Just enough time for them to scan my ticket (e-ticket that I purchased before I left home…it is open ended for the whole season, purchased round trip as a combo with the Carriage Tours) and find a seat inside…it was a chilly morning and the day on the island remained somewhat chilly but perfect for walking around but I wanted to be inside the ferry…a lot of people that choose the upper deck of the ferry quickly came inside within minutes of heading out! Once on the island you need to walk a few blocks down to check in at the Carriage Tour office, they assign you to a 2 horse wagon/buggy and off you go.  We went on one buggy to a certain point, tour some of that area and then moved on into the state park on a 3 horse buggy to a certain point and then I opted to walk back into town…got to get those steps in for the day!  Walked around town for a bit, had a little lunch at the Seabiscuit Cafe – Grog*Food*Spirits…had one of the specials of the day…an amazing quiche in a puff pastry and a small side salad and met John…I believe he was the manager but also a former concierge who worked at many hotels around the country from VT to FL to CA and everywhere in between.  John recommended a few places for me to check out on the travels including the Landmark Inn (which I did stay at), the Chandler restaurant (I did not go because I felt I did not have the appropriate attire to go there), he recommended some stops along the way and some people for me to touch base with…a very informative man!  I also heard some great stories about his children and what they have accomplished as adults!  I am not generally a social person but every now and then I engage with certain people and I love the conversations!  Oh…delicious lunch and without tip…only $20 which included a glass of wine! Now, back to the ferry to head back to Mackinaw City.  

So…that is a summary of my day on the island.  Now here are pictures of that day. We start with leaving Mackinaw City harbor…the green and white striped tent is where luggage is stored for people going to/from the Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island, the blue/white tent is for all other guests staying at hotel’s on the island…things are better at the Grand Hotel!  The birds…I think they are birds though I initially thought they were flying fish…are blurry but I kept them because they intrigued me…because I am still not sure they weren’t flying fish because they stayed so close to the surface of the water the whole time.  Hmmm…

On the way there the Captain of the ferry zig zagged under the Mackinac Bridge so we could enjoy it from beneath because boat is the only way you can do that…later I drove over the bridge which was under some repairs…we drove about 10 mph in the right lane before we had to move to the left lane and drove a bit faster…emotionally a coin toss before I did not want to be in the left lane with the open grates looking down at the water but driver faster to get over the bridge so I didn’t have to be in the left lane was a plus!  More to come on that but it does look cool when you are under the bridge!  The last 3 images are coming into the harbor at Mackinac Island. When I posted some images on KMG Photography on Facebook my friend who grew up in the area said she always keeps two hands on the wheel when crossing this 5 mile bridge!  Good idea!!  I get nervous crossing the Bourne Bridge going to/from the Cape and that isn’t nearly as long as this baby!  

    We get off the ferry and walk into town…the first thing we see are the transportation to the Grand Hotel, all other hotels, transport for luggage, “taxi” service and delivery service…the islands version of FedEx/UPS delivery of packages and goods…remember, no vehicles allowed! There is the option of joining a tour, such as Carriage Tours but also the option of renting your own horse and buggy and venturing out on your own with a map of the island, renting a horse to tour on your own with a map or renting a bike and venturing out on your own! Sorry…lots of images of the horses but though I am allergic to horses I love them so I deleted few of the images and I share all!    

 After getting down to the Carriage Tours office and checking in I hopped onto my assigned buggy and we soon headed out. Our first official stop was at the Grand Hotel along with a little history…the best story being that it was completed in 93 days.  93 because the workers heard rumors that the contractor was going to receive a bonus if it was done in 90 days and when he was asked about that he admitted it was true but he was not going to share it with them…so-they torn down a part of the hotel and it took them 3 days to rebuild!  No bonus given to anyone!  Of course these days you would be fired but the job was done with all the workers keeping their job.  You can go in and do a self-tour of the hotel for a nominal fee of $10 per person but if you enjoy a meal there we were told the fee gets applied to your bill for that meal.  I do have images for the hotel but they are included in another folder and will be posted later.  If I remember correctly our next stop was the Grand Hotel Stables…free tour with some wonderful carriages from days gone by…we could see a few of the horses but we could not actually enter where the horses were kept…understandably.  I got a few images of two of the horses through the bars of their stalls but both of them were busy eating and did not care that I wanted to get their picture!  🙂

Next I moved onto the Wings of Mackinac a butterfly garden…I was on the fence about going in (I payed $9 extra to go in though that was not the deciding factor) but I love butterflies and I got to catch an image of the blue one (not sure what the names of all are) which I had never been able to do at any other butterfly house I had gone to and got images of 2 I had never seen before…good deal!!  

When it was time to leave here we boarded the bigger wagon being pulled by the 3 horse team to head into the State Park…I don’t remember all their names but the one on the far left was named Kevin…he was the only male horse and he was very shy.  I don’t remember if I got an image of him in this group but I know I did when we stopped at the Arch Rock…our first stops were at the Post Cemetery and Skull CavePost Cemetery has the remains of soldiers from the fort but legend has it that British soldiers area buried here also.  This is one of only 4 cemeteries in the country where the flag is perpetually flown at half mast because many of those buried here are unknown as the names have been worn off over the years.  I am including a link here for anyone that would like to know more of this interesting history!  http://www.mightymac.org/fortmackinacemetery.htm

Skull Cave also has an interesting history…the first picture is the one I took.  The tour guide said that it became dangerous over the years and explosives were used in recent years to keep it from collapsing on people who wanted to enter.  It is called Skull Cave because of the many bones that were discovered in the cave.  It is believed to have been the hiding place for English fur trader Alexander Henry during Pontiac’s Rebellion in 1763, Skull Cave is a small and shallow cave on the central heights of Mackinac Island. Skull Cave was once a burial ground but is now part of the Mackinac Island state park. The second image of the cave I took from Google images to show what it used to look like though I couldn’t find anything to verify the story we were told about the explosives so perhaps it just collapsed due to time and conditions?  

I believe our next destination was the Arch Rock…beautiful spot! Ok…no images of Kevin and his ladies here so they must be in one of the other folders…you’ll get to meet Kevin and his girls!  

Next stop was at the Governor’s Summer Home (that is in another folder) and then we moved onto the Mackinac Island Fort…everyone on the buggy opted not to go in the fort (at least while we were on the wagon) but there was a young man who came out to meet us with a “squeezebox” in his hands and he was prompted to play it…he did a great job with it! 

We went a little further down the road where the option was to wait for another buggy to go back into town or walk into town…I opted to walk into town. So now I share some images of Mackinac Island and some of the architecture and buildings before moving onto the ferry ride back to Mackinaw City…I don’t think I mentioned and I am not sure if you are curious but though spelled different both are pronounced the same…Mac-kin-gnaw.  My friend gave an explanation to me but this includes a few other things if you want to check it out…http://walkinthewords.blogspot.com/2009/05/mackinaw-vs-mackinac-spelling-and.html 

 

Most of the above are self-explanatory but I hope you recognize the beautiful Grand Hotel…I love the windows at the Trinity Church…usually with churches I go for the steeples but on this trip the windows keep getting my attention!  Did you note the “taxi” company and the people waiting on the benches for a “taxi” to come by?  No vehicles allowed so they are waiting for a horse and buggy/taxi to come by…locals can call for one if needed!  So next I am posting images of the miscellaneous images around the island that caught my attention…I was hoping Kevin and his girls would be here…not sure what happened to those pictures!!  

So it seems it is time to leave the island…had lunch at the Seabiscuit Cafe…walked over to the ferry and waited…hop on and enjoy the ride back!  Hope Kevin shows up along the way! Someone was flying a kite as we were getting ready to take off and on the way back someone requested that we go back under the bridge so they could get a few shots…I will always take a few extra shots of a bridge from any angle!   

Never did find those pictures of Kevin…if they show up later I will just pop them in! It is Mother’s Day and I wanted to say Good Morning to all the Mom’s out there…Mom’s of 2 legged children and 4 legged fur babies, birth Mom’s, Mom’s of adopted children, Step-Mom’s, Dad’s that raise their children on their own…etc!  Happy Mother’s Day!! 

Oops…forgot to mention in blog world it is now May 13th!!  Once again, Happy Mother’s Day!! One sun rising image (which I rarely get even when I am awake early enough) and sorry about the images of the gulls flying around but the person in the room next to me was throwing food out to them and I was trying to capture an image of at least one of them snatching some food while flying around…no such luck!  Also…time to move onto my next destination which is Petoskey MI…  

Short and uneventful trip from Mackinaw City and Petoskey…yet one of those that wore me out.  After I checked in I relaxed at my Hampton Inn hotel, I went to get some dinner and just kind of called it a day! The clerk at the desk recommended the Mitchell Street Pub/Cafe as one of her favorite so come dinner time that is where I headed..good food, good atmosphere…love hanging around in a local place and listening to the conversations…makes me feel like home. The first picture goes with the last picture…the church was turned into an art center! 

5 13 18 Petoskey MI (1 of 1)

After getting back to the hotel from dinner I did get a few sunset shots from the balcony…not my best work but I can’t dump a sunset!

Took the day off but went out to catch some sunset in the area…Bayfront Park…best place in town for sunset!!  (Although I was only about a 1/10th of a mile from Sunset Park…I still think Bayfront was amazing!!) Oops…forgot to edit myself so now you get way too many sunset shots…and yet…still not all of them!!  I hope you enjoy!  Sorry I am bad at paying attention all the time when I post and I am not so good at editing myself!  But…I love what I love!  I tried a few things with my camera when shooting the images that I had not tried before and also a few things in editing that I had not tried before…this was a cold night…I went into my car a few times to warm up.  I even did a “selfie”…my version of a selfie!  I don’t share myself with many so the selfie you will see is my reflection in my car window but of course the camera is blocking my face…my sister thought it was funny!  🙂 

Looking through these again there are quite a few I would delete and some appear to be duplicates…not sure how I got duplicates because usually those go into my KMG Photography folder to be shared on Facebook…and I created that folder so there should be no duplicates here.  Sorry…please enjoy anyway…I am hoping you will like/love more than you are frustrated with what I accidentally did! 

The night is done and it is after 9:30 PM…I check TripAdvisor to find out where to go for dinner…head to one spot and it is closed…head to another spot…surprise…it is closed…head to a third spot that TripAdvisor says is open until 11:00 PM because it is now 9:52 PM…I get there and the sign on the door says it closes at 10:00 PM and it is 9:55 PM…I open the door and everyone in the place stops what they are doing to look at who dares to walk in the door 5 minutes before closing (well, that was what was going through my brain!) and I ask if I am too late…the two women closest to the door say no…sit wherever you like!!  I grab a chair and the waitress asks me what I would like to drink…well, of course a glass of wine!  She says find what you want to eat because you need to make a quick choice before we lose our chef…easy decision after a 2 minute review of a lengthy menu…Shrimp & Scallop with Penne and Parmesan cheeseStacey…my waitress…was very pleased with my decision…and once my decision was made no one was in a hurry to get me out or close up (though the door was locked at 10 PM promptly!  This wonderful place with Stacey as my wonderfully friendly and funny waitress was the Side Door Saloon!!  I told her I was going to mention them in my blog (not just for their kindness in not turning me away but also for their really good and inexpensive food options!) and she went to check with the owner to make sure it was okay…thumbs up…it was!!  Thank you Side Door Saloon for your hospitality on a chilly night but also for some really good food!!! Every place should be this kind and gracious with their customers…or potential customers and I greatly appreciate you letting me in the door!! 

   Oh, it is now (in blog world) May 15th…let’s start the day giving a shout out to my youngest grandson Daniel…he turned 13 today!!  I am not posting any pictures of him but I can not let the day end without mentioning him!!  He, I don’t think, follows my blog at this point but some day he might and he needs to know I was thinking of him!  Well, I did contribute to his birthday gift before I left – tickets to a concert with his half brother and uncle for his favorite rapper…and surprise…since I discovered last year that he loves lobster…a surf and turf dinner delivered to the house for his birthday dinner with his Mom, Dad, Uncle Greg, his brother Jimmy and his sister Sophia…though only 5 she has declared herself a vegetarian and only ate the corn…and of course the chocolate cake that was delivered with the dinner!  HAHAHA!  Love all my grandchildren!!  There should have been an extra lobster…hope the grown-ups let Daniel have it since it was his birthday!!  Happy 13th Birthday Daniel!!  

Starting the day…checking out of my hotel to head for Marquette MI…a quick stop for breakfast at Julienne’s Tomato for breakfast…which ends at 11 AM and I got in line at 11:03 AM…all good…still have the option of a Ham, Broccoli and Swiss Quiche…order, pay and head for a seat and someone will bring it to me when it is ready!  Great place and I especially loved the chair dedicated to “Grandma Laura“…<3  Such a cool place!!  

Moving on to where the navigation system leads me…occasionally I will ignore it if I see something that catches my interest…I keep waiting for it to ask me why I use it if I am not going to listen to what it says…someone out there need to develop a GPS system that will talk back (well, occasionally Siri will…I said once she was a dope for sending us in the wrong direction and she said “that’s not very nice”…hahaha!!  The concept makes the trip more interesting!  

I’m not sure I am going to be going in order with the photos going forward.  I usually write things down in my travel journal as they happen so I don’t forget and things stay in order but I did not this day…the above is going over the Mackinac Bridge…as mentioned it is a 5 mile bridge and when getting on traffic was about 10 MPH because there was construction going on in the right lane…I was cool with that…it was when the right lane closed and we had to move to the left lane that I got a little anxious…driving over open grates where you can see down into the water…not my thing!  Was happy that traffic was moving a little quicker (hence no images!!) so I could just get off the bridge…but at the same time…it was over open grates!!  🙂  I survived and I don’t need to go back over it going home!!  It’s all good!!  

Where are we now?? I am fairly sure I am not going in the order of when images were taken but again I was moving along and did not write things down in my journal…:-( 

Regardless…all were a part of the trip!  Scotts Falls is this stop along Lake Superior…I never did find the actual falls…you were supposed to be able to see them from you car as you were pulling into the parking lot, you were supposed to be able to walk behind them…I love waterfalls and would have loved to have caught images of them but Lake Superior…this stop…beautiful! So many areas where the snow was still packed!  The driftwood…that one small piece in my images…why is it laughing at me?  (kidding…I just walked along, saw it and thought…it is laughing!), and don’t think, though I took pictures of the rocks that I ever caught an image of the carving in the rocks??      

Next I have farm country on my way to Marquette...now I know I am not going in order but enjoy anyway!! I will say that there are several pictures before and after the Amish woman…that property is for sale…21 acres if you are interested!! The big pile of logs…are they meant to repair that house??  

Next I am moving on the the Sand Dunes, the cottages that have a sign that says “firewood for sale“…because it appears if you want firewood you need to take apart the cottages to get your firewood…haha…though seriously…I would have loved to have spent more time in the area where the Dunes were!!  

Next…well, at least for posting…Marquette MI State Park! A lovely roadside turnout…definitely posting out of order now!  No matter…you still get to enjoy MI!  

A few quick pictures as I pass through Christmas MI…Who wouldn’t want to live in Christmas?!  

A few general images of the journey from Petoskey to Marquette!  

And then we have a check in at the Landmark Inn!! Highly recommended by several…including John at the Seabiscuit Cafe…lovely, I would likely come here again…I highly recommend it…but honestly…it reminded me of my Aunt Anne…my spinster Aunt Anne…who lived in the family home once they came over from Ireland…and though I heard she was engaged at one point in her life…something happened and she stayed at the family home!  My Dad’s only remaining family member (his brother passed away years before…his Mom even before that…) and though he spent a lot of time there and sent my younger brother there to help maintain the property…she gave everything to one of my Uncle’s kids…after all his siblings went there when she was unconscious…and pillaged the house…oh…where did all that bitterness come from!??  See what images can do to you!!! I would recommend a stay here…99.9% of you that read my posts or follow me don’t have my family issues!  🙂  It is lovely and has 3 restaurants! My favorite, which I went to twice, was the Piedmont though I have to say my first server, Kara, was more pleasant that the woman who was my waitress the second night…Kara was very much at ease with what she was doing…very pleasant and social…the waitress the second night…was trying way too hard and just didn’t seem to pull it off…though pleasant enough! The Piedmont has excellent Italian fare!!    

I left the hotel on May 17…until a few hours before I checked out I had no idea what I was doing but because I had to take another down day I decided to stay in the area and the Landmark Inn couldn’t accommodate me for two more nights…back to my old stand by which turned out to be just down the road…the Hampton Inn by Hilton…got a room with a view of the lake and am all set until Saturday the 19th… 

Before checking into the Hampton Inn I had a very busy day but I am once again going to take a break to give my neck a rest and will come back from the break, since I could not go out today, I do believe we will be all caught up to real time on the blog!! Yeah!!  I move onto Houghton MI once I check out tomorrow and I have no plan set for what I want to see/do on the way!  Once I leave Houghton on the 21st I will need to start my journey back home…I want to be there by May 29th to have a down day before my appointment on the 31st…but at the latest I need to be home by the 30th!  I have set up an appointment on May 31, June 1, June 4, attempting to set up an appointment for June 5 and have an appointment for June 7…oops…forgot my nieces first anniversary/housewarming party for their new house on June 3!!  How could I forget that!!  I was photographer for their wedding!! 

I have a couple of appointments in June but hope to set out on an adventure heading for Nova Scotia on the ferry out of Portland ME…always wanted to do that so I will be looking into it…cost of taking me and my car…do I want a one way trip over on the ferry out of Portland and drive back through Maine?  Or round trip?  Oh…forgot, my lease will be up before I go and I will be needing to make a decision about leasing again or buying…I am leaning toward buying a used car with low mileage so I don’t need to worry about mileage I might put on a lease…that and they are so bossy about all their silly little petty rules!!  What to do … What to do…!? But…I get ahead of myself…we still need to get more on this trip!  

                     “Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

I am a tortured soul!!!  HAHAHA…My neck hurts so bad…took 8 Tylenol today so far…you can only take so many!!  I was hoping to get caught up between the real world and blog world…seems that is not going to happen!!  At least not tonight!!  Let’s just agree it is not going to happen tonight!!….see you all in the AM!!  

 

 

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All around Mackinaw City MI

May 18, 2018 

My first full day in Mackinaw City and it was kind of a down day after all that traveling…I find on days when I drive over 4 hours, even with stops along the way, I am going to have to take a down day the next day…often not leaving my room but doing this allows my body to heal and enjoy the rest of my travels!  I have to listen to my body.  But…I did manage to get a few pictures…you know, gulls sunning themselves on the lounge chairs, strutting their stuff, taking a brief swim, chatting with each other, and geese preening.  I took a picture of the fire pit to see if it was actually being used and it was…some time after I feel asleep at 10 PM there had been a fire because when I woke in the morning there was nothing but charred wood and ash.  

In my blog world I am now waking and getting busy for my day and it is May 12th.  I explored quite a bit of the area. I started the day at McGulpin Point Rock…in some areas it felt like I was in the Caribbean…the water was just so crystal blue! Going down the hill to the parking area…use caution and pay attention because if you get distracted you will find yourself in the lake!  Just about every place you go in Mackinaw City you are going to see the Mackinac Bridge and this spot includes the bridge.  It is 5 miles of beauty in engineering skills!   

My next stop was right up the hill to the McGulpin Point Lighthouse…it was not open to go inside and explore but I love lighthouses, even if you can’t go in and I am guessing unlike some of the lighthouses I have seen this one doesn’t have a spiral staircase you could climb to the top, it is a beauty. Oh…I should warn you-I bought a Lensball last year and haven’t had much opportunity to use it but I did this day…there is one whole grouping of images I dedicated to the Lensball!  Only one here though and sad I wasn’t paying attention when I took the shot and got that big oil stain in the image!    

Next stop was the Alexander Henry Park but it was a brief pass through on the way to the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse then on to Michilimackinac State Park.  I took a walk under the bridge to get a few shots because…if you can, you have to! These areas are all close together so I parked near the Alexander Henry Park and walked through all of them and back again…did 3 miles this day and while that may not be much to some it is a lot for me!  The parks were pretty much empty the whole time I was there and then all of a sudden a large group of kids came out of no where and started skipping stones in the water…time to move on!  

I moved onto the Gary R Williams Memorial Park…where there was a mini-iceberg surrounding a metal buoy…never did find an explanation on what that was all about but it was a cool vision and then the WaWatam Park…both of these places were on my bucket list for sunset/blue hour images and they did not disappoint…though that is later today.  🙂  I can’t find my images from WaWatam Park…must have accidentally put them in another folder…oh well, you will see them by sunset later…and of course, both of these places include views of the “Mighty Mac” 

A few images of the Mackinaw City Pier…which includes a Coast Guard Cutter which you can tour…I did not since there was way too much else to see! Found the WaWatam Park images…they were in with the Pier images…last 4 here are WaWatam Park…images of the bridge, a cool rock that looks like a fish was embedded in it and a placque.  

 Next I moved on to Headlands International Dark Sky Park…I read quite a few things that said this would be one of the best spots in the area for sunset shots and I wanted to check it out.  It is a lovely place but way too isolated for my comfort level at night potentially by myself and cell service was minimal when I was there…hence, my two back up spots where there were plenty of people. The images of the characters represented different planets and stars and included 2 stories beside each of them…I have not included the stories in the interest of saving space but you should be able to Google Headlands in order to see more about this. Not sure why but there is grass growing on the roof of the building. The two images with the very colorful pictures are representing Earth.    

 After leaving Headlands I did a quick drive through Heritage Village which represents life in the past, similar to Sturbridge Village or Plymouth Plantation which are around where I live, except here other than a caretaker who stopped by the church while I was taking a picture there were no other people. I loved that the house had the quarantine sign for the small pox…now that hundreds of years have passed and most of us don’t have to worry about that anymore!