I had been told that northern Michigan was beautiful by several people. They weren’t kidding. While the drive from Niles to Traverse City was perfectly agreeable, the drive from Traverse City to Petoskey was on another level. Spent most of the time driving alongside Traverse Bay, which is interspersed with apple farms and other adorable roadside attractions. The leaves are just just just starting to change color – maybe 3%? I love these one-lane highways that just meander along… I have become one of those people who always drive the speed limit (sometimes I even go a bit slower). Because I am no longer in a hurry. So I take my time and know that I’ll get wherever I am going eventually.
I spent two nights at Magnus Park in Petoskey which is right on Little Traverse Bay. It was pouring rain on Monday afternoon (what else is new?) but still managed a stroll around the downtown and a little shopping at B May.
Side note one: Most towns in northern MI have a weird “No Parking” ordinance between 3-6am on all city streets so I had no choice but to do the RV park thing the last few nights.
Side note two: I called the Petoskey Motorcoach Resort and their prices started at $63/night. Magnus Park was a much better location and at $28/night, a no-brainer. Once again I’ve proved my point about public vs private parks.
Side note three: Many of these quaint towns are starting to blend together… Traverse City, Charlevoix, Petoskey – all full of cute shops with logo t-shirts, ice cream parlors and cafes. Same can be said about Galena, Red Lodge, Medora and the list goes on. Not that I have a problem with any of this. Just sayin’ that I’ve had a LOT of milkshakes…
So the good news is the rain stopped by Monday evening and I awoke to a picture perfect day on Tuesday. Since this was the day to head to Makinac Island, I was thrilled. Juno and I took the 11am ferry and since the weather was so perfect, we took a detour under the Mackinaw Bridge and then arrived at Mackinac Island promptly at 11:30am.
For those of you unaware (as I was), Mackinaw/Mackinac are both pronounced the same way. The reason for the two spellings: one is the Indian spelling and the other is the French spelling (the “c” is silent). Also, it was for ease of use for the postal service before zip codes were put into place. They would see Mackinaw – it would go to city, Mackinac – it would go to the island. And now you know!
The next series of pictures was taken throughout the day – it was ridiculous how every picture was postcard-perfect. Arch Rock was a particular favorite, the crystal clear water and the shot of the kites.
Mackinac Island is car-free. Everyone gets around on foot, by bike or by horse-drawn carriage. As much as I would have liked to take a horse taxi, Juno was a little overwhelmed by the number of horses and so we opted to tour the island on foot.
I stopped at Murdick’s Fudge and purchased a slice of the Traverse Cherry and Chocolate Coconut varieties at which point I became a “fudgie.” For the record, fudgie is a real term. But it’s hard not to be a fudgie – there are no less than 10 fudge shops in two blocks. Not exaggerating.
The next two pix are my fave from our time on Mackinac – one detailing how equine professionals (aka horse drivers) aren’t responsible for the death of an individual if a horse kills that individual. Nice. And the other is self-explanatory. Such a happy boy!
After taking the ferry back to Mackinaw City, we immediately drove over the Mackinaw Bridge. A brisk three mile drive and ta dum, we were officially in the UP !!
FYI – it costs $4 each way to cross the Mackinaw Bridge. My dad and I were talking the other day and he was wondering why the UP belonged to Michigan and not Wisconsin. I didn’t know either so I looked it up. Here’s the answer for those of you who didn’t know:
Back across the bridge and then on to Petoskey. The clouds started rolling in and the sky was amazing. Juno was very tired – he didn’t notice.
My last comment for this post has to do with how nice people are in the Midwest. I know I’ve detailed many instances of kindnesses I’ve received over the past few weeks. Today’s experience happened while driving from Petoskey to Grand Rapids. A man in a truck passed me and then inexplicably veered into my lane. I gave a polite honk and he gave me the “Sorry!” wave. I waved back. A minute later, we were both stopped at a traffic signal. He waved at me again, his girlfriend rolled down the window and then he proceeded to apologize profusely to me. I told him all was well and we both went merrily on our way. I love being in places where road rage simply doesn’t exist. Just one more reason why I this trip has been so great. My oh MI!