|Leaving the "mitten" we drove across the Straits of Mackinac into the Upper Peninsula and our first stop in St Ignace.|
|Our first view of the bridge was on a very foggy day. Heading north across the bridge, Lake Michigan is on the left and Lake Huron is on the right.|
|Built in 1957, the architecture is impressive and so is the bridge.|
|The Mackinac Bridge, spanning the Straits of Mackinac, is the third longest suspension bridge span in the United States and the 16th longest suspension span worldwide.|
|Later in the week we were able to get better pictures to show the span of the bridge.|
|The fog would roll in and out during the day so taking a picture could be difficult.|
|On this beautiful day we took a ferry ride to Mackinac Island and were able to capture a splendid view.|
So which is it, Mackinac or Mackinaw? The first Europeans to the area were the French and they interpreted the American Indian name for the area as Mackinac with an "ac" but pronounced it as "aw". When the British arrived they heard it pronounced "aw" so they spelled it that way. So we have the Mackinac Bridge, Mackinac Island, and the Mackinac Straits alongside the City of Mackinaw. Whichever way it is spelled, it is always pronounced "aw".
|We stayed outside the town of St Ignace where you can catch the ferry to go over to Mackinac Island.|
|I thought we had humidity in South Carolina!|
|St Ignace is a tourist town and it wasn't very busy. The cooler weather has really affected many of the businesses.|
|Tour boats sitting in drydock alongside the harbor in St Ignace.|
|Not much is left of the old piers or the town of St Ignace today.|
The main attraction in the area now is Mackinac Island and the day we went over the weather was splendid. Our ride on the ferry included the pups.
|They were nervous at first but adjusted during the 30 minute ride.|
|You could also take a jet boat over to the island if you wanted to get there more quickly.|
|Lighthouses were visible along the way.|
|Another magnificent sight you see from the ferry is the Grand Hotel.|
|There are also many impressive homes nestled in the hills above the town.|
|Horses are everywhere on Mackinac Island.|
|That's because the only types of transportation allowed on the island are horses and bikes. No cars or trucks are allowed, not even commercial. We got there in mid-morning so it wasn't as crowded as later in the day.|
In 1670 a Jesuit priest, Fr. Claude Dablon, wintered here. In 1781, the British made it a center of their military and fur-trade activity. The island was occupied by the Americans in 1796 and it was held by the British during the War of 1812. From 1817 until the 1830's it was the hub of John Astor's fur empire and later became a popular resort area.
|The homes along Market Street are still stately and beautifully landscaped.|
|Many are inns where a tourist can spend the night.|
|Leaded glass windows are visible and the views from the front porches show the bridge and the straits.|
|Walking on the island you'll find wooded areas that are covered with beautiful old cedar trees.|
|Higher up on the island there are many beautiful homes found in an area called the West Bluff. Tourists can take carriage rides to view the area.|
|In 1875, Congress named Mackinac Island our second national park, three years after Yellowstone became the first. Soon tourism became the main economic strength.|
|The homes are beautiful and look like small estates. Surprisingly, most are only used as summer homes.|
|One of the most popular attractions is the Grand Hotel.|
|Some of the gardens and the swimming pool at the Grand Hotel.|
|A sign reflecting the dress code for the hotel.|
|The Little Stone Church on Mackinac Island was built in 1904 of Mackinac Island stones.|
|It is still being used today.|
|The island post office. Very quaint.|
|St Anne Church. Built in St Ignace it was abandoned in 1706. British troops relocated it to Mackinac Island in the winter of 1780 moving the entire church in sections across the ice to its current location.|
|The harbor on Mackinac Island.|
|The island even has its own newspaper aptly named.|
For lunch we stopped at the Bistro on the Green. The restaurant features outdoor seating with views of the Round House Island, Lake Huron, and passing ships. Dogs are allowed and soon we were joined by other furry friends.
|Our lunch was quite tasty and the pups enjoyed some french fires, too.|
|The view from our table was splendid.....disregard the tourist on the left.|
|Para-sailing was also being enjoyed on this sunny day on the island.|
Besides visiting Mackinaw Island we also drove to a town called Petoskey on the southeast shore of the Little Traverse Bay at the mouth of the Bear River. It is a very nice town with many shops, bike trails, and fun things to do.
|In 1965, the Petoskey Stone was named the state stone of Michigan. There were several jewelry stores in town where local artists had designed lovely jewelry using the stone, and since this was a fact finding excursion, I had to bring back a few pieces to remember the area :) The Captain is always good about those things!|
Mackinac Island is a great place to visit. Although the weather in the Upper Peninsula has been overcast and cool, we were blessed with a beautiful sunny day which made our ferry trip to the island even more enjoyable. We didn't have time to explore the fort on Mackinac Island but there's always next time......... If I had to voice one negative about the island it would be the smell from the horses. As the afternoon sun heated up Market Street, the area became quite odorous from all the animal waste and I was glad to get back on the boat and head over to the mainland. That evening we still had clear enough skies to allow the Captain to take these great pictures of the sun setting over the Great Lakes. Peace!