Friday, June 27, 2014

California to Chicago and Michigan by Rail - Mackinac Island to Traverse City

Today we are leaving Mackinac Island and driving to Traverse City.  Our ferry to the mainland left at 9:30 so just before 9:00 we called the front desk and had our luggage picked up to be delivered to the ferry dock.  We checked out and as we walked to the ferry dock we saw the bellman from our hotel drive by on a bicycle with all our luggage strapped to it in every imaginable way.  The ferry left promptly at 9:30 and we were on our way.  It was cloudy and cooler today so the outside deck of the ferry was relatively empty, but most of us still opted to sit outside.  After arriving at the mainland we loaded our luggage into our cars and hit the road.

Leaving Mackinac Island.
Doug and Becky joined us on the top deck.
The original plan was to drive up to Sault Ste. Marie and observe the Soo locks in action, but since there wasn't a boat scheduled to go through the locks until the afternoon, and considering the cloudy weather we decided to skip it.  We drove back across the Mackinac Bridge and stopped at the visitors center under the bridge and also Michilmackinac State Park, which is the site of Fort Mackinac.  We skipped the fort, but we wandered around the park getting some pictures of the bridge before getting back on the road.  

Driving across the Mackinac Bridge.

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
We had decided to stay off the main roads and follow some roads that hug the Lake Michigan coast.  Despite the overcast and occasional rain sprinkles, it was a beautiful drive.  Our next stop was Cross Village where we ate lunch at the Legs Inn.  My cousin Jim had told us we should stop there and we were glad we did.  It is a restaurant featuring Polish food which was very good.  It was right on Lake Michigan and the grounds were beautifully landscaped.  Cross Village is very tiny so it was surprising to find such a unique place there.

Entering Cross Village.
The lilacs were in bloom as we drove through Michigan

The back of the Legs Inn.

When we arrived it was just before opening and there were quite a few people waiting.

South out of Cross Village is the start of the Tunnel of Trees which is a long stretch of road with dense trees growing right up to both sides with occasional views of Lake Michigan through the trees, it really did feel like a you were in a tunnel.  It was a little disappointing as we were surprised to find that there were some houses along the way which broke the effect, but a beautiful drive nonetheless.  We continued our drive around the Little Traverse Bay and then on to Grand Traverse Bay to Traverse City where we would spend the night.

Traverse City is a relatively large city for Northern Michigan and is a tourist and wine producing area.  Val had found a large three bedroom/three bath suite at a place called the Tamarack Lodge which turned out to be very nice.  It was a time share, but they also rent out the apartments so we decided to make it our base of operations for the next two days. It had a large living room and fireplace so it was a good size for all of us to be together, and have our own space.  We had a nice deck overlooking Lake Michigan and Traverse Bay, and a kitchen so we were really set.  The weather had turned to rain so we spent the evening inside.  Val, Judy and I went to a grocery store to get things for dinner and breakfasts and then after dinner spent the evening relaxing. Doug's family decided to go out to dinner, but they joined us later before it was time to call it a day.

No comments:

Post a Comment