Family · Travel · Weekends

The Great Upper Peninsula of Michigan [Part One]

Having lived in Michigan for the past two plus years, we have heard many great things about the world renown “Upper Peninsula”.  Yes, we have been to Traverse City, and it was wonderful.  But little did we know just how much more the U.P. had to offer.

So bear with me as I regale the awesomeness that is 
northern Michigan…the Upper Peninsula.

Mackinaw City/Mackinac Island, Michigan

I first heard about this city and island several months before moving to Michigan.  A good friend of mine who had spent a good bit of her adult life in Michigan told me that we just HAD to visit this place whilst we were in the state.  It took us a while, but we finally decided that it was time to make our trek five hours north, especially since we had InChul’s brother here for a visit…and we were heading up to this general area anyway (more on that tomorrow).

The verdict?  We were definitely not disappointed.  Granted, being bigger city dwellers (trust me, even East Lansing feels like a big city compared to the small towns of the Upper Peninsula), we did find the activities a bit sparse.  But the scenery and the laid back atmosphere truly took us by surprise.  It was UH-MAZE-ING!!

Here are a few snapshots of what we experienced (no filters were used in the taking of these photos – no joke!).

This is a photo of he ferry we took to the island.  There are NO CARS ALLOWED ON MACKINAC ISLAND!  Everyone travels by bicycle or horses/horse drawn carriages.  It made traveling as a pedestrian a lot less nerve wracking, since the worst that could have happened is we accidentally stepped into a pile of horse manure as we were walking across/down the street.

Here is what the island looked like as we approached shore.  The lake (Lake Huron) and the skies could NOT have been more blue or clearer.

Here’s what downtown looked like.  See all the bicycles and the horses in the distance?  It was like stepping into something out of a history book…except for a few motorized wheelchairs here and there, of course.

One of my favorite things about this island were the amazing buildings and houses.  This inn in particular was one of my favorite.  I loved the color scheme and the design of the building.  The flowers along the fence only added to the colorful whimsy of this lovely place.

St. Anne’s Catholic Church was one of the more beautiful buildings on the island, with its stained glass windows and the Gothic Revival design.

One of the key natural formations on the island is Arch Rock.  While we didn’t have time to find our way on top, this view was just as spectacular.  Here are InChul and me being a little silly…

The Grand Hotel is a world renown landmark on Mackinac Island.  While we didn’t get to go inside the hotel (apparently if caught, we would be fined $10 a piece), we did partake in some amazing Hudsonville ice cream in their ice cream parlor (yummy!).

Golf is pretty popular up here in the U.P…at least, when it’s still warm enough to play.

I don’t know about the building itself…but I loved the way the stairwell and the garden kind of wrap themselves around each other, leading up the the main building.

If you happen to visit Mackinac Island, I HIGHLY recommend you dine at the Seabiscuit Cafe.  And if you do dine there, try the Lobster BLT, the Whitefish Reuben, and the Michigan Cherry Cobb Salad.  These were by FAR the best tasting dishes we experienced on our entire trip.

Here are InChul and me as we wait for the last ferry to take us back to the mainland.  After a day taking in such beautiful sights and eating such yummy food, we were left a bit giddy and a definitely a whole lot silly.

So while there may not be much on the island to keep you busy, Mackinac Island is definitely a place everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.  The beautiful waters of Lake Huron, the relaxing atmosphere, and the beautiful landmarks are worth the time and effort.

Next Time: Shanty Creek Resort 
(and a couple other surrounding towns)

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