Wednesday was mostly devoted to stepping back in time — via a trip to the land of no internal combustion vehicles: Mackinac Island. We haven’t been back here since 2004 and this trip has been way overdue. I’m sure we’ll be back a lot sooner next time around!
Since then the three ferry companies have been reduced to 2, Star and Shepler. There is still a variety of conveyances to get there by boat — quick boats, slow boats, hydrofoils, etc.. We went out on a slow boat and loved it. We came back on a hydrofoil and loved it. In short we loved the entire day; the temps were perfect (mid 70’s early and low 80’s at the heat of the day). There was a lovely breeze, and mostly clear skies. This is what summer in the Upper Midwest is supposed to be like.
I’m not sure that we have ever done the horse drawn carriage tour on the island. We have explored by foot, and we have rented bicycles, but I can’t remember taking life at a quadraped’s pace. It was lovely, even though the company has found more ways of selling you things by breaking up the 1 3/4 hour tour into three parts and making you change carriages twice. After a half hour narrated ride through town you are dropped off for a change of wagons (going from a 2 horse carriage to a 3 horse carriage) and you get another 1 hour of narration and tour. Then you change carriages again (back to 2 horses) for the trip back to downtown. Seems a bit fussy, but there’s “stuff to buy” at the change points and what company can resist the opportunity to let capitalism have it’s full influence on the populace (or customer)! 🙂
There are unchangeables to Mackinac Island. One of them is the presence of horses — and humans who can’t quite get it into their heads that cutting off a horse isn’t a good idea — they are way bigger than people and they don’t stop on a dime. Another is the incredible beauty of gardens and flowers seemingly everwhere. It truly seems to me that the flowers are more brilliant and more intense here than other places further South. I don’t know whether the cooler nights and more gentle heat has any real impact on the plants but I am always amazed by the plants here.
We ended up not eating a meal on the island. Instead we opted to check out the food at a family restaurant in Mackinaw City called Darrows. This place is phenomenal — and I don’t gush over restaurants easily. We’ve eaten at fancy place and plain places all over the country, Europe and Australia and I don’t impress easily. But when you get the freshest of fresh fish (Whitefish and Walleye in our cases), and when you do your best not to ruin the ingredients with too much of anything you end up with perfection. Grilled Whitefish and lightly battered and fried Walleye could not have been any better. Real home made mashed potatoes, fresh veg, and pristine salads keep pushing the bar higher and higher. Add a dozen or more home made pie flavors including my favorite (Egg Custard) and you’re guaranteed to waddle away from the table happy. If you’re in town — don’t mess with any of the others — just stop here.