Because we didn't make it out West to the family reunion this year we decided to take a little family vacation somewhere. We looked around at places that were within driving distance to us, and then heard from some friends about Mackinac Island in the Michigan peninsulas. It looked like a perfect 3-4 day vacation!
We stayed in the city of Mackinac City (pronounced Mack-in-AWE) and took a ferry over to the Island. This Island allows NO motorized vehicles so everything is on foot, bicycle, or horse carriage.
It was chilly in the mornings, but warmed up quite a bit in the day time so we layered up.
We picked the ferry that took us under the Mackinac bridge. We (but mostly Justin) was obsessed with this bridge. It is currently the worlds 5th longest suspension bridge at 5 miles long. When it was built in 1957 it was the worlds longest suspension bridge, and is currently the longest in the western hemisphere. The bridge connects the two peninsulas of Michigan. The bridge also separates the two Great Lakes of lake Huron and Lake Michigan. We were able to be on BOTH great lakes during our vacation.
Here we are approaching the Island. That big white building is called the Grand Hotel and is the worlds largest summer hotel. It is where are the ritzy stay. Rooms are about $300 dollars a night and they have a certain dress code you have to follow. We decided our little family just wouldn't fit in there ;)
The first day we decided to tour a portion of the Island on foot. First stop was Fort Mackinac, an old military base during the American Revolutionary War. The British once attacked at Fort Mackinac in the war of 1812, but the American Troops surrendered due to the fact that they were extremely outnumbered.
Our view from the top of Fort Mackinac. AMAZING!!
They now have people dressed as military people from the 18th century at the museum. They did rifle and cannon demonstration. Jackson HATED that. He is so sensitive to loud noises.
They also had a little Children's area with some fun things the kiddo's enjoyed.
This is the front view of the fort.
We also had a picnic lunch here on this grassy park area... that's until all the seagulls LITERALLY started attacking us for our food. Jonah went to throw his sandwhich into the trash can and missed. One bird was near by and as soon as he went for it about 50 more came after it. The older boys were screaming and crying and Greyson just looked around. haha I really wish we would have gotten a video.
Walking along the streets: There are so many old colonial styled homes. I just LOVED all the architect.
We went to the Butterfly House. They had all sorts of different species of butterflies fluttering around. We saw some really beautiful ones.
Oh and he was there too! :) He seriously was an angel during this trip.
Walking up to the "East Bluffs"
We also had to get some of Mackinac's famous fudge from Joanne's fudge shop. The boys loved watching the process of it being made. Oh it was heavenly!! mmmmmm
And there was lots of skipping and throwing rocks into the water. The boys could do this all day long. I just loved the slow pace and relaxed feel of the Island.
We came back to the mainland and to our hotel to eat dinner. We had bought some sand toys for the kids and they really wanted to go to the beach by our hotel to play. It was pretty cold but they were determined. I put the babies to bed and Justin took them out. I loved the pictures he got.
Today was out bike day. We decided to rent some bikes and bike trailers and bike the Island. We took the ferry to see the bridge again. This time Justin and Jonah decided to ride on top of the ferry where it was open, wet, and FREEZING cold. Justin wanted to get the good views... I chose warmth :)
There is an 8.1 mile loop around the entire Island that we biked.
Jackson and Jonah took turns on the kids bike... but mostly Jackson rode. He did great until about the last mile or so, neither boy wanted to ride. But he made it :)
Greyson wished he could ride...
Our first stop was a little hike up to Arch rock. It was beautiful!
Along the way there were hundreds of these rock towers that bikers make. We pulled over for a break to throw more rocks into the water and to make our own rock tower.
We got to the North side of the Island and had our picnic lunch. (see the bridge in the background)
We were there on the "off season" which made it so nice. The Island wasn't super crowded and there were a lot of older people, so we kind of stood out with our little family. We got many comments and a lot of very nice people complimenting our family, and people offering to take our pictures. Many comments were about how we need to just enjoy these moments cause kids grow up so fast. It was such a nice reminder. We sure love our family and we are so glad we could create memories with them at their ages.
After we #bikeditandlikedit, we walked up to the Grand Hotel and got ice cream at Sadie's Ice Cream Parlor. You couldn't go on the grounds of the Hotel if you were not a guest unless you paid for a tour. We didn't take the tour, but the building and the grounds were incredible.
After coming back the mainland we ate fast food on the beach of the hotel and flew our kites we bought for the boys. They loved that too!
This day was forecasted to be rainy, so we made it our day to hang out on the mainland rather than going onto the Island. First activity was to drive over the famous Mackinac Bridge up to the Upper Michigan Peninsula.
We decided to do one of these little tourist trap spots called the "mystery spot" Reviews were not great, but we thought the boys would like it. It's an optical illusion type house. We should have listened the the reviews and skipped this... it was pretty dumb. Oh well, live and learn right! ;)
Next we found a lighthouse to tour. I can't remember the name, but we were able to climb to the top, and then took a hike onto a little trail over to the Lake Michigan to skip more rocks.
We also spent a couple hours at the indoor water park that our Hotel offered. They had a great area for the kids and they loved it. Especially Greyson :)
Sunday was our day back home. The trip was able to be a complete circle around the great lakes from Michigan to Wisconsin. On the way home we wanted to find a place to stop for sacrament and we realized we were super close to the Canadian border and there was a meeting house just over the border into Canada. We thought it would be cool to go to Canada as well and realized it would only be about an hour detour to do so.
We didn't have any passports with us, as this was so last minute and we didn't know what they would do at customs or if they would let us in... luckily we told the Canadian customs guy what we were doing, he looked at us like we were insane, lectured us about never doing this again, and let us go in!
Crossing over Lake Superior into Canada!
Crossing over Lake Superior into Canada!
I was worried they wouldn't let us back into the US either without proper documentation, but again they gave us a lecture and welcomed us back home :)
We loooooved this trip so much and want to come back again. Being with our little family and creating these memories truly is priceless!