Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Things to Do in St. Ignace and Mackinaw City, Michigan

This is the first post of a new travel series to Michigan's Upper Peninsula!

I am so happy to finally be able to share our spring vacation!  We took a trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula last May but because of summer gardening chores, I never had the time to write about it till now.  I guess it really doesn't matter if I'm late in sharing it, because if you were planning a trip there next summer, you now have all winter to plan it!

Michigan's Upper Peninsula is only about eight hours from my house, but we've never been to this part of the UP before.  You know how when you plan a vacation it doesn't seem like a REAL vacation unless it's far away?  That's me!  I always felt we had to get in our car and drive for days to see something really beautiful and exciting.  But I'm discovering more and more there are a lot of gems much closer to home, and Michigan's UP is one of them.



St. Ignace Marina

For the first few days of our trip, we stayed in St. Ignace.  We got a great hotel right on Lake Huron.  The name of the hotel is "Best Western Harbor Pointe Lakefront".  I highly recommend it.  The rooms are so spacious and the service was excellent.


We loved being able to walk right off our patio and have the lake only a few feet away.  At night, the hotel has a huge bonfire with s'mores.


Of course we had to walk right down to the beach as soon as we dropped our luggage off.  We were amazed we could see Mackinaw Island in the distance.



The next morning we woke up super early so we could watch the sunrise.  It was so beautiful!  I loved watching the seagulls fly in the sky!




After catching the sunrise, we changed clothes and went out for breakfast.  The hotel offers a really good free breakfast, which we enjoyed the next day, but hubby wanted to check out "The Wild Blueberry Breakfast and Bakery".  It's a small, cute little breakfast nook with food that is out-of-this-world!


We planned to spend the first day exploring Mackinaw City and St. Ignace.  We decided since we were staying in St. Ignace to check out Mackinaw City first.  To get there, we had to cross a very long  bridge.  Mackinaw City bridge is a suspension bridge that connects the upper peninsula to the lower peninsula.  It spans the Straits of Mackinac, a body of water connecting Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.  It is the fifth longest suspension bridge in the world.  It is five miles long, and takes about six minutes to cross it.  I thought I would be terrified crossing this bridge, but it is such a gentle slope upward it wasn't scary at all...even though the towers stand 554 feet above the water!


Once we crossed the bridge, our first stop was right at the foot of the bridge:  "Michilimakinac State Park"




In this park there is a reconstructed fort, a lighthouse, and a lovely trail with views of the Mackinac Bridge.


Both the lighthouse and fort require separate admission tickets.  We didn't go in either and just enjoyed walking around the grounds.  I wasn't that interested in seeing a reconstructed fort, I've seen so many ruins of real forts in my lifetime I enjoyed so much more, and we just went inside Split Rock Lighthouse on Minnesota's North Shore last fall.





This is the most photographed spot in Mackinaw City.  Everyone comes here to have their photo taken with the famous Mackinac Bridge behind them.



Traveling in spring is always nice because you get to see so many baby animals...like these baby geese!  I couldn't believe how many there were!


Next we jumped back in our car and drove six minutes to see "Mill Creek Discovery Park".  This is a great educational park to take kids.  The employees dress in period costume and give demonstrations of how the early settlers lived.


There are a few short trails in the park, but we only took one hike because the mosquitoes were unbearable!  We weren't expecting mosquitoes in May, and all the locals said it was highly unusual.  Thank goodness there was a Dollar General in town where we could stop and pick up some bug spray.


The reconstructed town is situated on a quaint pond called "Mill Pond".


An early settler's home...the millwright's house.



We watched several different demonstrations given by this man...he sure earns his salary!  He demonstrates how they shaved bark off logs and cuts it into boards.  Be sure to watch some of the videos I included at the end of the post.




A water powered sawmill.  You watch the demonstration both from the inside and outside.  You go inside the sawmill first to see the log being cut into a board, then you walk outside across the bridge to view how water is used to fuel the mill.






After watching all the demonstrations, we headed out towards the Mill Pond Trail Loop.  I was ecstatic to see Trilliums in bloom!



We climbed the "Treetop Discovery Tower" to get these views!



Except for the mosquitoes, the trail was very lovely, well maintained, and perfect for families.


I'm always a sucker for a pretty bridge!



When we finished our hike we headed back to Mackinaw City to have lunch and do some shopping!

Mackinaw City Marina


This entire area is known for their fudge!  You will see fudge shops everywhere!  We ended up buying so much, we had to freeze it because we couldn't eat it all!  I think we finally finished it by the end of the summer.


Mackinaw Crossing is the cutest reconstructed old village filled with great shopping and lots of good eats!



After a few hours of shopping, we saw there was another lighthouse nearby so we went to check it out.

McGulphin Point Lighthouse


We didn't go inside this lighthouse either, just walked around the grounds.  Then we took the "Chi-Sin Trail" to see the famous rock!



The trail went through a scary forest behind the lighthouse and led right to the shoreline of the Great Lake.



Once there, we couldn't figure out if the rock on the left was "The Big Rock",  but there weren't any other rocks around, so we think this was the famous rock.  😂


By now, it was almost dinner time so we decided to try some of the areas famous whitefish at "Scalawags".


I ordered a fish sandwich and LOVED it.  It was the best fish sandwich I had in my life.  Hubby had the fish dinner and we shared a bowl of Clam Chowder.



By now, we were exhausted.  It was a long day and we knew we had a really big day tomorrow for we were headed to the famous Mackinac Island!  But before we turned in for the night, we walked a small portion of the St. Ignace "Huron Boardwalk" and checked out their lighthouse.  There are lighthouses everywhere in the UP!  Do you understand now why we don't go in every single one of them?😄





 
Be sure to watch these very short videos of the Mill Creek Discovery Park logging demonstrations!
 



Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

26 comments:

  1. On this gray November New England morning, your photos of blue sky and green grace warm my heart, Amy ...

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  2. Beautiful area up north! I've been wanting to visit Mackinaw Island for some years now but somehow we always ended up going somewhere else. Looking forward to more of this travel series!

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    1. I will be sharing about Mackinaw Island in my next post. Thanks so much!

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  3. That sounds like such a fabulous start to your trip. Those sunrise photos are just stunning!!

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  4. One of my very favorite spots in the world! I am a Michigander and I could visit here year after year. :) But the bridge does scare me. LOL

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    1. I can understand why. I'm sure we'll be going back! If you think Mackinac is a scary bridge, don't cross the one into Savannah Georgia. Yikes! That one is scary because it has a very high arch.

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  5. I loved going on this virtual tour with you guys. Your pictures made me add Mackinaw City to our bucket list!

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    1. Great! I'm actually shocked a world traveler like yourself hasn't been there yet.

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  6. How beautiful! This looks like it would be a lovely weekend getaway for us - it's within a reasonable driving distance, and there's so much I'd love to see. Thank you for sharing. Visiting From Sweet Tea & Friends today.

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    1. If it's in a reasonable driving distance, then you definitely should visit the area. It's just stunning.

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  7. A beautiful place and vacation. Thank you for bringing us along. Aloha!

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    1. That is a nice compliment coming from someone who lives in Hawaii! You're welcome.

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  8. Amy, I really appreciate it when you take us on your adventures with you. It looks like you had a fantastic time, and I must say, the pictures were lovely. The food pictures made me hungry though, haha! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us at The Crazy Little Love Birds link party #13.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoy them. I love to write about our adventures.

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  9. Enjoyed seeing your pics, especially the lighthouses! Fudge pouring looked yummy!! Thanks so much for linking up at the #UnlimitedLinkParty 138. Pinned.

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    1. Thank you! I love lighthouses too. They are all so different.

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  10. Amy, thank you for taking me along on your spring trip! It's been far too long since we've visited the UP. And most trips Up North have been to Mackinac Island, and so St Ignace and Mackinaw City got short shrift. Maybe next time!

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    1. You're welcome! Oh, that's funny that you've been to Mackinac several times and never took time to visit its two ferry cities. We just thought while we were up there, we'd check everything out.

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  11. CONGRATS! Your post is FEATURED at the #UnlimitedLinkParty 139!

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  12. What an amazing and beautiful place. Thanks for sharing it with us. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

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  13. Amy, your photos are stunning! It was such a joy to see and hear about your trip.
    Thanks so much for sharing your trip with Sweet Tea & Friends this month sweet friend.

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