Monday, August 18, 2014

Somewhere in Time on Mackinac Island

Location: Straits State Park; St. Ignace, Michigan
(click pics to enlarge)

Going to Mackinac Island was a place I have been wanting to go since about 1980. That was when I first saw the movie, "Somewhere in Time", with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve. A large part of the movie was set around the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. I braved the chilly, windy and cloudy weather to go to the island yesterday. There are three ferry company's in St. Ignace that run boats back and forth to the island. I chose the jet boat ferry because the rooster tail behind it looks cool. Logical choice, uh? About every fourth trip, the ferry goes the long way to the island by taking a side trip under the Mackinac Bridge. As I said in the last post, the bridge just sort of dominates everything in this area. Of course I chose the trip that included the bridge side trip. The trip took about 40 minutes. During the winter, after Lake Huron freezes, the permanent residents of the island auger holes in the ice and stick their old Christmas trees in the hole to mark an 'ice road' between the island and St. Ignace.  

Motor vehicles are not allowed on the island so transportation is either walking, riding a bike, riding a horse or riding in a carriage. Well, this old fat man knew better than to try to walk to the places I wanted to see so I bought a ticket for a carriage ride. Besides the Grand Hotel, I wanted to see the Butterfly Conservatory and the Military Cemetery. The butterfly exhibit was a little disappointing because of the lack of a lot of butterflies. There were some very colorful ones, but only a few. The military cemetery is only one of five military cemeteries that are allowed to fly the flag at half staff all the time. The other four are Arlington, Pearl Harbor, Gettysburg and a D-day cemetery in France. The cemetery on the island is a very small one but has a very large number of unknowns, which makes it unique. 

The Grand Hotel was built in 1887 and has had 5 different U.S. Presidents visit. None of the 385 rooms are decorated/designed the same. Seven different first ladies have designed rooms at the hotel. The only ones since 1960 that have not designed one are Pat Nixon, Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. I'm not sure why they didn't design one. The hotel has the longest porch in the world at 660 feet. The ceiling of the porch is painted a light blue so birds think it is the sky and won't build nests in that area. Also, between the posts on the porch is multiple runs of fishing line. They are hard to see and you have to really look for them. The fishing line appears as a solid wall to the radar used by bats to "see" so they stay away from the porch. There was very little about the movie at the hotel.

Overall, I was a little disappointed with several things on the island. I'm glad I went and it was a nice day spent exploring new things. Perhaps my expectations were just too high.

I lost one of my friends yesterday. Greg Wall lost his battle with the cancer he had been fighting for more than a year. We worked together for more than 25 years. He was a good and honorable man who will be missed by many people. He knows all the answers now. You can rest now Greg.

You can see the chilly weather
in the sky and flags

Looking out to Lake Huron from
the ferry dock. Interesting sky
that changed throughout the

The side trip to the bridge. I'm sure
ya'll are getting tired of seeing it.

Downtown Mackinac Island. Typical
tourist city street. The tourist are called
"fudgies" by the locals because
of all the shops/stores selling
fudge. I tried some and it was
pretty good.

Carriage museum

The Butterfly Garden
a small disappointment

The second part of the trip is
by a 3 horse carriage

Two other items in the Carriage
Museum. A fancy coach and a

Military Cemetery

Side view of our carriage ride
through the woods

View of Lake Huron with the
cloudy sky from one of the
stops to rest the horses.

Our horses getting a water break

The stable for some of the horses

The famous porch of the
Grand Hotel.

The front yard of the Grand Hotel.

Looking to the left along the

Looking to the right along the

The lobby area of the Hotel

Looking at the whole porch
from one end

This is the view I had when
I sat down for a rest

Some of the local houses next door
to the Hotel

The front view of the Hotel

The swimming pool of the Hotel
with the lake in the background

Stairs going up the porch. The setting
of one of the scenes from
the movie

Final view as I walked away

This was taken while waiting for the ferry

The last view and picture of the
Mackinac Bridge

The last view of the Grand Hotel

A selfie with the rooster tail of the
ferry in the background.
 Ooops, I forgot to

Tomorrow is moving day. I'll be heading to Brimley State Park which is near Sault St. Marie, Michigan. I'll be there for 4 days to see a couple of things.

Ya'll take care of each other. Cya down the road.


  1. What a beautiful place. A person could get lost n their dreams there. I remember from so long ago how much u loved that movie. So glad u got to relive it!

    1. The island is a little touristy downtown with all the gift shops and such, but once you get away from it, it gets much better. I was surprised they didn't play the movie up more at the hotel. Everyone I talked to had seen the movie and it was one of the reasons for their visit. The hotel charges you $10.00 just to walk around the place.

  2. Mrs. McMillan's classAugust 20, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    1) We thought the bridge was cool! Do you know how long the bridge is?
    2) The whole class wants to stay in that hotel!
    3) Where are you going next?
    4) They hope you have a safe trip to your next location.
    5) Are you still eating healthy? :)

    1. Mrs. Mc's Class,
      I mailed ya'll a book about the bridge and hotel. You should get it this week. I'm in Munising, Michigan in a campground on Lake Superior. I need to eat healthy all the time but it is hard for me. Do you kids have any suggestions on how I can eat healthier?

  3. Mrs. McMillan's classAugust 29, 2014 at 1:20 PM

    We just looked at your recent posts. We all agree the grilled fish is healthy. Broccoli, grapes, strawberries, tomatoes, oranges are some of our suggestions.

    1. Mrs. Mac's Class,
      I like all of your suggestions except for the broccoli. I only like that when I'm eating Chinese food. Thanks for your suggestions.