A backroads look at Mackinac Island


The Huffys at the Grand Hotel Tea Garden

Best husband and I are just back from beautiful Mackinac (pronounced  Macinaw) Island, located in Lake Huron, between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. This quaint tourist spot is  home to many historic sites, including Fort Mackinac, where Dr. William Beaumont perfected his experimentation on the human stomach. No motor vehicles are allowed on the island, and visitors must get around on foot, by bicycle or horse-drawn carriage. Our favorite parts of the island are the upper and back roads, where we take our bikes to get away from the crowds, and explore the less traveled (and harder to get to) areas. Here’s some of our favorite spots.

The Grand Hotel

The world-famous Grand Hotel and surrounding gardens. Red geraniums, made voluptuously vibrant by the endless supply of horse manure fertilizer, are the signature theme of the hotel. The gardens and grounds are pristine and manicured. The hotel is formal, requiring dress clothes after 6 PM, and has guards posted at the east drive to prevent those messy-looking cyclists from cluttering up the view in front of the hotel (although those messy horses pulling carriages are allowed.) Always the rebels, we managed to circumvent this by biking up to the west bluff behind the hotel, then coasting down the steep, steep street that runs right into the Grand Hotel drive. They couldn’t catch us and couldn’t stop us, and we had a great ride down.

Notice the “blue sky” of the porch ceiling, repeated on the underside of the porch balconies.

Great view from the porch. Note the geraniums.

This oft-photographed classic phone booth was moved recently from its spot next to the stone church, to make room for a new house constructed there.

A genuine pay phone, for those who’ve never seen one before.

Coming up: Mackinac Island rocks.

© Huffygirl 2011

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19 thoughts on “A backroads look at Mackinac Island

  1. What is this “pay phone” of which you speak?

    That looks like a terrific resort. I never knew it was pronounced “Mack-in-aw.” If you’ve prevented one person from embarrassing himself by asking someone from Michigan about “Mack-in-ack” Island, then it’s all been worth it, and you can deduct the cost of your getaway on your taxes. I think that’s how it works, anyway.

  2. Wow that looks like an amazing place! I can’t wait to get up there. How many arms and legs do I need to save up to afford the Grand Hotel? 🙂

    • I believe the cheapest room would be about $200 a night per person, although it does include breakfast and dinner. We did not stay at the Grand – we stay at the Island house which I’ll post a picture of later and is a lot more reasonable.

  3. Pingback: Mackinac rocks! More backroads views of Mackinac Island | Huffygirl's Blog

  4. I had a feeling The Grand Hotel would be your first post about Mackinac.
    I love the movie Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour which was shot there at the Grand and around Mackinac.

      • A cousin of mine in Michigan told me that she and her mother went there one October weekend which is a special weekend all about that movie.
        She said they had a great time.

      • Sounds like fun. They also have a special “closing the Grand” weekend – end of October I think. The prices are reduced and they use up all the leftover food before closing for the season. I hear it fills up fast, even though the weather could be pretty crummy up there by then. Every now and then I think it would be fun to stay at the Grand sometime – then I think about how I could better spend that money elsewhere, so it will probably never happen.

  5. I loved the photos. We got to the island several times when we lived in Michigan. Having to walk or ride bikes everywhere, along with everyone else on the island, or the horsedrawn carriages, added so much to the fun, relaxation, enjoyment. The hotel is magnificent. Thanks for sharing. Brought back many memories.

    • Thanks Cecelia. I think if you went to the island now you’d be surprised at how much more crowded it is. Despite the crowds we still love it though. Hope you can get back there some day. I think I will have one or two more posts about Mackinac – I’ll have to see how many pictures I have left.

  6. Pingback: Night Riders: Cycling Mackinac Island after dark | Huffygirl's Blog

  7. Pingback: Island vacation: View from the porch | Huffygirl's Blog

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