Friday, August 26, 2011

Mackinaw 2011

This year instead of Whiskey Creek-atucky we did another extended family trip this time to Mackinaw City. It was Ryan and the boy's first time to Mackinaw, I hadn't been since I was a kid, Lori and Don hadn't been in 8 years and It had been 30+ years since Dave last visited. So in a way it was a refreshing, new trip for everyone.

We camped at Mill Creek. It is a large, family oriented campground about 4 miles east of Mackinaw City. We had waterfront sites (we had 3 together so we kind of make it a family campsite). The view was nice but not a necessity at all for me. I liked the sites for their central location to the beach area, bathrooms and showers, pool, playground and camp store. That was nice (although could have been appeased by any number of sites nearby). The campground also had an old fire truck they drove around each evening and picked up kids (or adults too) and rode them around the campground. That was nice.

Some things we enjoyed:

The Soo Locks:  Ok so this was kind of a once over visit... I don't know that we'll make the hour trip up to Sault St. Marie again anytime soon but it was neat to see the boats (huge 800ft boats!) come into the locks and rise or sink to attain the other lake's water level.  Very neat.

Del Sol:

Antler's Restaurant in Sault St. Marie:
Ok, we've eaten out a LOT but I have to say this place had THE best service!  Our waitress was Ashley and she was so great with everyone and the kids as well.  She was friendly and patient and really interacted well with the kids.  Loved her!  She was the icing on the cake for the whole meal :)  The food was yummy, too!

Shopping in Mackinaw City:  There was so much shopping to do in Mackinaw City.  I wished our campground was closer (it was 4 miles away) because it would have been nice to be able to ride bikes into the city.  I went into town numerous times, sometimes with the whole fam, and one day just Porter and I went and spent the whole afternoon shopping and met up with Lori and her fam for lunch at Mama Mia's pizza.  It is amazing how one on one time with one kid can be so different!

The ferry to Mackinaw Island:  The boys were scared to go on the ferry but ended up really enjoying it.  Our ferry was the only one during the day to go under the Mackinaw Bridge and then over to Mackinac Island.  That was so neat and the bridge is huge up close!

Crossing "The Mighty Mack", (Mackinaw Bridge) the largest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere.  I remember crossing this bridge as a child and being terrified.  I remember I used to try to fall asleep before crossing it because I was so scared.  However, this time I was in awe.  It wasn't scary at all!  It was really neat and so beautiful!

Mackinaw Island: If you're unfamiliar iwth Mackinaw Island, motorized vehicles have been prohibited since 1898.  So, you either walk, bike or ride.  You can rent a carriage (one horse... I'd love to do that!), ride a horse or do a tour.  Originally I had wanted to ride bikes around the island.  We even bought a bike trailer to do so.  However, we decided to go ahead and do a horse drawn carriage tour instead.  It was well worth it!  There was so much on the island I'd never have seen without the tour.  We stopped by Arch Rock, which was beautiful.  Also, on the main "strip" of stores..... not sure how a group of people biking would even make it.  There were so many bikes and so many horses!

Our tour was a couple hours long.  We stopped at the Butterfly House as well.  I think in a few years I would love to go back and take the boys and ride bikes.  Once they're 8/10ish.  The Island is 8 miles in circumference (about 3.5sq miles).  So, it'd be a decent ride, not including all the roads throughout the middle of the island to Arch Rock and The Fort etc.

The Butterfly House: There is a butterfly house on Mackinac Island and it was really neat. There were hundreds of butterflies flying all around. It was amazing! Lori had 4 butterflies land on her while we were in there and Ryan had 2. Porter desperately wanted one to land on his head but had no such luck. The kids were all fascinated! We also got to peek I to the "emergence" room with many different chrysalids. Some were ugly and brown and some were odd shaped and some lime green. It was interesting! Afterwards the kids got their faces painted (to the lovely tune of $5 each!)

Shopping alone with Lori at Mackinac Island:  After lunch on the Island, the boys were melting down terribly.  Ryan had about had it with them and I knew a chance of shopping or sight seeing was close to zilch with the boys.  Lori and I stayed back on the Island and the guys took all the kids back over on the ferry and back to the campground.  It was AWESOME to shop with Lori just the two of us.  She and I are so alike with shopping... we love going into every and any store and just browsing browsing browsing!  I picked up a sweatshirt for me, one for Porter (which he was thoroughly amazed it had a front pocket you could stick your whole arm through!), some fudge, an ornament and some goodies for the boys.  Oh and a t-shirt for Ryan.  That was my first purchase!  Lori and I ended up missing the 7pm ferry and had to wait until 8pm to catch the next one.  Bummer!  HAHA!  We got some ice cream and relaxed on the dock for a bit while waiting to head back to the mainland.  We were exhausted!

 Swimming:  We were very near Lake Huron (it was across the road from our campsite!) and across another road from the swimming pool.  So, pretty much everyday the kids either went to the beach or the pool.  It was a great location!

Campfires:  Of course campfires are a must while camping.  Each night it was so nice to cozy up by the fire.  We roasted marshmallows/smores a few times but mostly just sat and watched the fire and relaxed.  Oddly, I was in bed by 10-11 each night... pretty much shortly after we all got settled around the fire. I had a bad headache for a few of the days so by the end of the day I just wanted to sleep.
Reading: Ahhh this week I was able to finish up a book I started earlier this summer (Best Friends Forever) and also started and finished The Help.  I really got into The Help and can't wait to see the movie!  It was nice to have nothing on the agenda to do and just be able to sit and relax and read!


  1. What fun! It sounds like you had a great combination of family time and girl time and that the boys had a blast (which is, of course, always the most important thing, right?!) I was born and lived in Michigan for 5 years and we used to drive over the Mackinaw Bridge when we would go to visit my grandparents - I wish I had memories of it because the pictures are just awesome! So glad you all had this time before the school year starts!

  2. awesome pictures as usual! i've missed your blogging! :) love reading this as i think mackinaw will probably be one of our first family road trips, maybe next summer or the summer after.

  3. This looks like such a relaxing time! So glad you soaked it up! I too read, The Help in a matter of a couple of days and enjoyed it. It had it all, human interest, a bit of love, history, etc. The movie was good, follows the book pretty well, changes a bit of the plot and leaves out a bit. :)

  4. I need a family camping trip like this! I love that Arch Rock and the butterflies are cool too :)