Michigan, Where We've Been

Mackinac Island

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Mackinac Island

The lower portion and the upper peninsula of Michigan are connected by a single bridge called Mackinac Bridge. If it wasn’t for its white and green color, it would be hard to distinguish from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA. Just across the bridge is a small town called St. Ignace. We parked the RV at a casino and took a day trip over to Mackinac Island. 

Mackinac Island (pronounced as Mackinaw) is an isolated island town that does not allow any vehicular traffic. The only modes of transportation are by horse, bike and your own two feet. With 500 residents, 350 horses, and an endless amount of tourists, the streets downtown can become quite crowded. Once you’re off the beaten path, however, the peacefulness of the island is apparent. 

Tours around the island are by horse-drawn carriage, so after getting lost and wandering over a half a mile away, up to the stables, we eventually went back downtown and found the ticket office and booked our tickets.

This view of downtown makes the island seem like you’re stepping back in time to the early 1900’s. Tourist shops are busy with excited shoppers weaving from one store to the next. Bicycles line the sides of the roads and horse hooves tromp along the pavement. If I was to guess, the most frequently found shop in the downtown area were the fudge shops. I believe I heard that there were 17 of them each with free samples. The kids liked that!

The governor’s summer mansion sits up on the hill and when the flag is raised, the governor is “home.”

We got on the carriage to start our tour at a downtown location while our tour guide pointed out a few buildings with historical interest. She also told us that the law that states no vehicles were allowed on the island was not entirely true. The fire truck and ambulance are actual motorized vehicles. Can you imagine how long it would take if they were pulled by horse?

We passed the Grand Hotel while she talked about the rooms. Apparently each one of the over 300 rooms is decorated differently. You could stay in a different room every day for a year and have a different experience, but at $800-$3000 per night, you’d need to have a life savings in the bank to do it. Still, I bet it would be worth it. The front of the hotel looks out onto Lake Huron and the Mackinac Bridge.

There’s a butterfly pavilion at the carriage’s first stop. The kids didn’t really want to see the butterflies, so they decided to hang out by the horses and have a “3 o’clock snack” instead which consisted of whatever we brought in our backpack with us. That didn’t stop them from wandering around inside the main building and smelling all the sweet treats.

I told them I’d be back in about 20 minutes and we could continue on our tour. Forty minutes later and a lot of good pictures later, we got in line for the second part of the tour. The butterflies were really fun to photograph.

This arch was on the far east side of Mackinac Island and it was one of the last stops on the carriage ride. Look at all the shades of the water! The arch looks out onto Lake Huron and was surprisingly not that chilly. It is August anyways.

Isn’t that house beautiful!? Not only the color and design, but it’s decorated in so many flowers. Jaden thought it was just, ok.

After all the free fudge samples, the somehow still had room for ice cream. I figured they needed a treat after dragging around the backpack all day.



Kewadin Casino-St. Ignace

I forgot to get pictures of the casino parking lot, but basically there was a row of RV spots that line the east of south sides of a large lot. These have electrical and water hookups for an additional fee. There’s fresh water and a dump available at the dump station.

We have solar panels, so we filled up with water when we arrived and dumped when we left. We were able to sit in the middle of the lot. It was slightly unlevel, but put the Anderson leveler’s under one of the sides and it leveled us out. 

We got 6 down/10 up on Starlink. Only 1 bar on the Verizon phones and 4 bars with the cell antenna. AT&T was 5 bars with the cell antenna.