A winter visit to Mackinac Island, MI

Happy new year everyone!

Wishing you all a wonderful 2023 and hope you saw in the new year enjoying yourselves. Mine was spent eating too many ferrero rochers and drinking tea. Not particularly exciting but I’ll be making up for it this year (watch this space!)

Crossing the Mackinac Bridge
A rainy view of Mackinac Bridge, the world’s 4th largest suspension bridge

Although this island may be small, its reputation is anything but. Well known for it’s horse and carts, fudge, bicycles caramel corn and salt water taffy, its a perfect place for people of all ages. So of course, we decided to go in the winter when everything is shut, there are no sweet treats and the island is almost deserted… It was wonderful.

We left our current home in Corunna, at 6:30am and crossed the boarder almost half an hour later. When we got to boarder control, we handed over our passports, were asked the usual questions, gave the usual answers and then unusually, we were sent to secondary. Anxiety set in as we wracked our brains what had gone wrong and then we realised… my stamp had expired. Doh!

A small problem which was quickly sorted and we were on our way again. Of course, our first stop was to get some breakfast and much needed coffee.

Once caffinated and fed, we continued on our long drive to our motel for the night. It took us almost 5 hours to get to the Bear Cove Inn at Saint Ignace and we were more than pleasantly surprised with our stay.

Shower curtain
Selfie with Mr Bear

I adore the odd and the unusual… Probably because I am odd and unusual, so I was very happy to spend the night with the bears in the forest.

We settled in and bought our ferry tickets for the next day. Then we freshened up and then headed to the casino. We don’t usually go to casinos but with vouchers for $10 each, we couldn’t not go. It was lucky we did, as we walked out $100 richer!

The next day we set off early, eager to find some breakfast and make sure we had plenty of time for the ferry. It was a bit of an odd choice for breakfast but as not many places were open, we stopped at Lethos pasty shop for two chicken pasties.

Since 1901 with the exception of emergency vehicles, cars have been banned on the island. When we stepped off the ferry, we saw three horse and carts awaiting their passengers. Along with cycling, this is the main method of transport. It really feels like stepping back in back in time and is nice to be away from the buzz of motors for the day.

Vacant parking spot

We were fortunate to have light snow whilst we were on the island. It was so beautiful to see it falling amoungst the pine trees. It was the perfect setting for a film.

That film being Somewhere in Time starring Richard Collier and Elise McKenna. I’ve never seen the film but this is the spot where they meet and he asks the infamous question, “Is it you?”

My hood stayed up the whole day, brrrr!

Of course, one of the main places I wanted to see was the cemetery.

One of the oldest headstones in the cemetery belongs to Mary Biddle. She was only eight years old when she fell through the ice and unfortunately died in 1833.

If you’re thinking this looks like a nice final resting place, unfortunately you have to of been a resident of the island for at least 15 years to be eligible for burial here. Sorry to disappoint!

Just behind the cemetery you can find Skull Cave. Not named for its shape but actually for the ancient burials found in the cave, which were exhumed and moved to the cemetery.

This cave also served as a hiding place for fur trader, Alexander Henry during Pontiac’s rebellion in 1763. Although you can see a path leading up to the cave, it is prohibited to pass the fence guarding it.

A blurry one of me walking up the many steps

After walking up a lot of steps, we finally arrived at Fort Mackinac.

The fort was originally built by the French in approximately 1715. After the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the British occupied the fort throughout the American Revolutionary War. Despite the terms of the Treaty, the British did not officially relinquish the fort to the United States until 1796.

Mitch peaking in

After that quick history lesson, we descended down the hill and towards the coast, arriving at the infamous arch.

This was my favourite part of the island, it reminded me of Durdle Door back in England. Although the water may look invitingly blue through the frame of the arch, let me remind you it was absolutely freezing that day!

The Spring

After stopping at the spring, we headed back to the ferry for the 3pm shuttle and before we knew it we were in our Jetta and sadly heading home.

As always thank you for reading!

13 Comments

  1. Mackinac Island has been on my bucket list ever since I saw “Somewhere in Time”. (I saw the Christopher Reeves/Jane Seymour version) My dad used to tell stories of the bridge swaying so badly in the wind that it was closed for hours, leaving him waiting in line. Your post has rekindled my urge to visit, the lack of motorized vehicles being one of the primary attractions.

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    1. I love your blog and all the pictures, I almost feel like I went with you. Somewhere in Time is one of my favorite movies of all times. I have seen it at least 20 times and I absolutely know that scene that you mentioned in your post. Hopefully one day I’ll get to visit, it is so far from California!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoy the blog. How exciting that you know the film set, its now on my list to watch so I can match the scene to the place 🙂

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    2. Lucky it was still when we crossed, very misty though! If we’re still in Ontario we’re going to visit again when it’s warmer and when everything’s open he he.
      Glad you enjoyed!

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  2. Loved all your photos. Brought back memories of our visit there a few years back. We took bikes across on the ferry and spent a wonderful day pedaling and hiking this quaint island. You definitely need to watch the movie, “Somewhere In Time”. It’s one of my favorite time travel movies.

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  3. I love Mackinaw Island, but I didn’t know you could even go there in the winter. Does the ferry stop running if the lake ices up? Also, the Bear Cove Inn at Saint Ignace looks charming although sleeping there would probably give me bear nightmares. They are one of my recurring dream types.

    Liked by 1 person

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