Mackinac rocks! More backroads views of Mackinac Island

Arch rock viewed from the top. Notice bikes parked on the left at the road below.

Almost everyone who comes to Mackinac Island manages to get to  Arch Rock, a limestone formation atop one of the highest parts of the island. If you don’t

Even these folks! Amish visitors at Arch Rock.

want to hire a carriage ride, bike or walk up one of the steep hills, or climb an arduous set of stairs from the road below, you can always just stop on the road and look up, up, up. Of course you’ll miss the fantastic views you’d see had you gone up to the top.

Lake Huron shoreline seen from Arch Rock.

But very few visitors get to this rock – Cave of the woods. To get there, first bike up a steep hill to the center of the island, the leave the paved roads behind for a short ride up a gravel road into the woods, then get off your bike to hike a muddy trail about a quarter-mile. You’ll get to see this cave, plus the crack in the island, a fissure in the limestone rock deep enough to stand in. (Unfortunately the fantastic pictures I took at the crack in the island were stolen by vampires.)

Cave of the woods - tall enough to sit inside.

 But the biggest, baddest rock formation at Mackinac Island is Sugar Loaf Rock. Located at the highest part of the island, Sugar Loaf is a dramatic breccia mass rising 75 feet above the ground, and is the island’s largest limestone stack. A bike ride or long walk will get you up the hill to this highest point to see it. But be sure to bring your map – there’s no crowds up there to lead the way.

Sugar Loaf Rock, 75 feet of limestone

Hey Huffygirl, no climbing allowed!

Next: Mackinac Island architecture.

© Huffygirl 2011

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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

Coming up

Coming up this week on Huffygirl’s Blog – a back roads view of  Mackinac Island, Michigan.

Mackinac Island Harbor, viewed from East Bluff (© Huffygirl 2011)


I’m just back from a long weekend at Mackinac Island, Michigan and will be sharing my roads less traveled views later this week.

© Huffygirl 2011

Bee sting. Uh oh. ER.

I’m lying on  gurney shivering under three blankets in the small but efficient Mayberry-like ER? How did normally healthy, robust Huffygirl wind up here? Well, fast-backward about 30 hours to the second day of my vacation. ______________________________________________

It’s a beautiful sunny, Sunday afternoon. I’m walking on the beach with best husband and without any warning or provocation, I get a bee sting on my little toe. I’m pretty sure I’m not allergic, so, no big deal. I soak my foot in the lake for a few minutes to take the edge off the pain and try to walk if off. My toe continued to ache the rest of the night and the next day, but hey, it’s a bee sting – it’s supposed to hurt, right? 

The next morning I got up early for a bike ride. but was feeling a little achy and stiff. Am I getting to old for this? I didn’t even think about the bee sting, which still aches. Best husband and I started out and got the hills over with in the first part of the ride. Finally with 10 flat miles in the home stretch I think  “This should be a cinch. ” But it wasn’t – it was feeling harder than it should for a flat ride. And I’m starting  to ache and ache and ache some more. “I really AM getting to old for this,” I rationalize as I finished the ride. By the time I get the bike gear put away and get into the shower, I’m shaking with chills, aching like the worst case of flu anyone could ever have, and just plain worn out. And it continued – all day. I knew what the problem was  but didn’t want to admit it. Despite the fact that my toe did not look too bad, I knew I was developing cellulitis, an infection of the skin and surrounding soft tissues, from bacteria introduced from the bee sting. The stinger acts just like a needle, bringing infection quickly into even a robust, healthy person like me. You might as well just inject yourself with a syringe-full of germs and save yourself the trouble of going through the sting.

But hey, I’m on vacation. Maybe it’s not cellulitis – maybe just a virus. So, I waited. I dragged myself through the day trying to do family vacation stuff. But I felt worse and worse. By the time we had an afternoon tea party with first granddaughter, I was too tired and aching to even crawl down onto the floor to join her. A long nap while swathed in blankets failed to revive me. Finally, by 9 PM I succumbed and went with best husband to the small town emergency room.

Despite the Mayberry-like atmosphere, the ER staff was professional and efficient. “Hmmm,” the ER doctor said, after greeting me with “How do you do?” a salutation I confess with which I’ve never been addressed by anyone, anywhere. “Fever and chills less than 24 hours after a bee sting? We’d better do…blood cultures!” This sounds serious. By now I’m wishing I hadn’t waited ALL DAY to get here, something that surely would have sparked a lecture from me to any of my own patients who had done such a foolish thing.

Meanwhile, three warm blankets and my husband’s sweatshirt (Michigan of course) are still not keeping away the chills. Best husband settled down with his book while I shivered and waited out the tests.

Well, I dodged the bullet and turned out pretty okay – a localized infection, but not body-wide. So I went off with antibiotics and the stern lecture to come back the INSTANT anything became worse.

Not too old for cycling after all! (© Huffygirl 2011)

Did I recover? Several days later I was completely back to normal and no longer questioning if I was getting to old for cycling. And of course I had a dramatic story with which to regale anyone who was willing to listen, about my vacation trip to ER in Mayberry. 

Remember that old insurance commercial where a disaster has occurred and the commentator says seriously “Don’t let this happen to you!” Well, don’t. If you get a bee sting, a scrape or cut and start to feel signs of infection like fever, chills, body aches, redness, swelling, take it seriously and get health care promptly. I don’t want to lose any of my readers to a bee sting.

© Huffygirl 2011