Wednesday, June 25, 2014

California to Chicago and Michigan by Rail - Mackinac Island Day 2

This is our only full day on Mackinac Island.  The first order of business was to take a trip around the island on one of the horse drawn trolleys.  A guide narrates the points of interest as you travel around the Island and stop at various spots where you can get on and off as you please.   

Our ride for the morning.

Everything is hauled by horse drawn carts, even the trash.
This is a larger three horse trolley that is used after the first stop.
Our first stop was a butterfly conservatory where you could enter a habitat and wander among the butterflies.  This is not something unique to Mackinac Island, but we decided to get off and take a look.  It was pretty interesting and we got some interesting close-up pictures.  There was also a carriage museum and stables there which we walked through and then we got back on a different trolley and were on our way again.  When we started our tour we were on a trolley drawn by two horses, but here you change over to a larger trolley drawn by three horses.  

Janis has a new friend.

We continued around the Island getting off several times and learning about the history and the local flora and fauna.   

A water stop for the horses.
Arch Rock was one of the stops.

Traffic was getting heavy.

The last stop was Fort Mackinac which was a British fort built during the war of 1812.  We wandered around the fort for awhile and watched a demonstration of firing a musket.  There were people dressed up as various characters of the era including a large contingent of British Redcoat soldiers.  We were getting hungry so Val and I and my brother’s family and made the easy walk from the fort down into town through Marquette Park for lunch.  Judy decided to spend more time at the fort and said she would eat later.

Judy being respectful of his rank. 
This was a British Fort so I guess you can expects some Redcoats.
Getting ready to fire their muskets.
A view of the bay from the parade grounds.
Beautiful day in Marquette Park in front of the fort.

Looking back up at the fort.

After lunch, Val and I strolled through town looking through shops that looked interesting, particularly the fudge shops.  Mackinac Island is famous for its fudge and there were numerous shops to choose from.  We wanted to get some fudge to take home for gifts and for ourselves so of course we had to try as many samples as possible to makes sure we found the best.  We finally decided on Joann’s Fudge and had some shipped home and bought some to enjoy during our stay in Michigan.

My brother’s family decided to rent bicycles and ride around the island while Val, Judy and I decided to go over to the Grand Hotel.  We caught one of the horse drawn taxis to get over to the hotel.  The hotel is indeed grand!  We looked around the public areas and ended up in The Cupola at the top of the Hotel, which overlooks the hotel grounds with the lake in the background. While we were in the Cupola we had a drink and relaxed for a bit.  I decided to walk back to the hotel so I could take some pictures and Val and Judy decided to take the taxi back.  While I was walking back I heard someone calling me and it turned out to be Doug, Becky and Mandy (my brother and his daughters) beginning their bicycle tour. 

Val and Judy in front of the hotel.
The Grand Hotel guest shuttle.

Our taxi to the Grand Hotel.
The Grand Hotel ahead.

Inside the hotel.

The Grand Veranda.
Judy and I in the Cupola Bar.

The Cupola Bar.

A view of the hotel grounds.
Val and Judy leave in their taxi back to town.
I ran into Doug as I walked back

and Becky and Mandy

By the time we all arrived back at the hotel it was getting late in the afternoon so we decided to relax a bit until dinner.  Val and I decided to sit out on our balcony and it was beautiful.  The sun was out, the water was blue, and the temperature was perfect, a perfect way to relax.

Later we all met and decided to eat at Goodfellows Italian Chop House.  It was a pretty good meal, nothing special, but it tasted good after a long day.  After dinner we all walked back to the hotel stopping at shops along the way before calling it a night.  Tomorrow morning we would be catching the ferry back to the mainland and begin the next leg of our trip.

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