By Guest Author, Belinda Brewer
Cross over the Mackinac Island Bridge to another place in time. Remember the movie from 1980 entitled “Somewhere in Time”? The movie was filmed on Mackinac Island. The island still remains as it was in the early 1900s, before televisions, computers, or cell phones — when life was simple, without the interruptions we have today. Read about the top things to do on Mackinac Island.
Mackinac Island, an unforgettable trip
A few years ago, I went with three girlfriends on a road trip to remember. One of the favorite places we visited was Mackinac Island, (pronounced
Travel to an island captured in times gone by
After discovering Mackinac island from the movie, I vowed one day to visit. The whole idea that a place like that existed today fascinated me. So when the opportunity for a girlfriend trip arose, I was anxious
Take the Star-Line Ferry to the Island
After traveling north through Michigan, we crossed over the Mackinac Bridge. The suspension bridge is over the Straits of Mackinac connecting the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. Excitement and anticipation came over us as we boarded the passenger Star-Line Ferry to the island.
Stay at Murray Hotel on Main Street
Upon arrival at the Murray Hotel on Main Street, we entered the door and immediately smelled the freshly-cooked fudge displayed under glass.
The atmosphere in the hotel transported us back in time. There were floral wallpapers from bygone days, wooden staircases with photographs from the hotel’s early years, a working grandfather clock, and narrow hallways leading to the rooms decorated with antique furnishings.
Take a stroll or bike ride down Main Street
After check-in, we walked down Main Street, lined with shops where floral baskets were hanging from each street light leading through this enchanted small town.
There were horse-drawn carriages and bikes everywhere since these were their only means of transportation on the island. It was easy to imagine you were in the early 1900s. Automobiles, motorcycles, and buses are not allowed.
Picket fences make the perfect backdrop
The charming picket fences around town made the perfect backdrop for our trip. As we walked through town, we saw small, wood-framed homes shaded by huge oak trees and lush shrubbery. The lawns were vibrant bright shades of green and the flower gardens popped with color. Picket fences were very popular in this era. Stone-clad churches lined our paths.
The island’s footprint is only 3.8 square miles
We were impressed by the friendliness of everyone we met, and we were just amazed at the sheer beauty of this tiny island. Mackinac’s total size is only 3.8 square miles with eight miles of shoreline. Most of the buildings and homes were painted in white and pastels, which created a truly captivating background.
The Grand Hotel
One of our first stops was the Grand Hotel on the hill, overlooking the downtown area. We toured this hotel that was built in 1887. To see things exactly as they would have been in that era was very impressive: a fresh flower stand, a Coca-cola box sitting atop a pedal bike offering cold colas in glass bottles, and bellhops dressed in colorful uniforms. An attendant
The drivers of the hotel’s horse-drawn carriages wore black top hats with suits and ties.
The Cupola Bar
We had lunch and drinks in the Cupola Bar of the Grand Hotel, overlooking the island. We enjoyed our lunch while sitting at the highest point of the hotel in a room full of windows. The view of Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Mackinac Bridge, and the island left me with memories to last a lifetime. We later toured the grounds of the hotel, finding some of the movie backdrops and special locations used for memorable scenes.
Rent bikes for an easy ride around the island
Fort Mackinac still looks as though it is guarding the island
That evening after dinner, we walked through the park and marina, taking photos and soaking in the memory of the day. Fort Mackinac, with loads of history, sat atop the hill above. In the park, people were sitting on the grass lawn talking, walking dogs, and laughing. Like us, they seemed to be letting the
Horse-drawn carriage rides are a must
The next day we enjoyed a horse-drawn carriage ride, winding through wooded paths lined plentiful with wild ferns, military cemeteries, and official town buildings that had been there since the town was founded.
Butterfly Conservatory and Antique Carriage Museum are entertaining
We visited the butterfly conservatory, filled with hundreds of beautifully colored butterflies. We toured the antique carriage museum, which displays carriages used before the invention of the automobile. A working blacksmith shop is on site.
Stop and listen to the silence
I remember noticing the absence of noise. You could hear the birds singing, the wind moving through the trees, and the horses’ hooves pounding on the road.
A mix of aromas
Don’t pass up a chance to visit Mackinac Island
If you ever get the
Michigan, the “Blue State,” is full of beauty
The State of Michigan is known as the “Blue State” because of so much natural beauty in the parks, and plentiful lakes and rivers. Whether you are on a girlfriend trip or on a romantic getaway, take the time to go and enjoy this island and what life was like over 100 years ago.