Mackinac Island

This is our second summer vacation to one of my favorite locations in Michigan – Mackinac Island (aka Mackinaw Island). The island is located in between the Lower and Upper Peninsula of Michigan with wonderful views of the Mackinac bridge that connects the two together.

The bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the United States – spanning a 3 mile (5 kilometer) distance between the surprisingly dangerous waters of Lake Michigan.

The journey to the island begins on the docks of Mackinaw City. Here you can choose from 3 ferry services (our favorite is the Arnold Line) to travel the 20 minute distance from the mainland pier to the unique island.

What makes the island so unique is that it is practically void of cars and everyone relies on either bikes, horses, or carriages to travel across the 9 mile span of the island.

Check out downtown during a busy day!

Mackinac Island is famous for its fudge and you will inevitably smell it wafting from one of the many fudge shops that line the main strip of downtown. Fudge fanatics are called fudgies and this name that has become synonymous with tourists visiting Northern Michigan. But with all the fudge stores on Mackinac Island, what store has the best fudge? I recommend a sweet sampling to help you discover your favorite!

You might think that all of that fudge would go straight to your hips, but with so many outdoor activities on the island, there are tons of ways to stay healthy while eating your fill. Whether you walk, run, hike, or bike there are plenty of locations to enjoy the exquisite scenery and work off some of those calories.

Where did we stay while on the island you ask? Last year we stayed at the Chippewa Hotel Waterfront located directly outside the ferry docks. We loved this location because it gave us easy access to all of the downtown activities and amenities (including bike rentals, fine dining, late-night Pizza, the local grocery store).

Our room was spacious with a mini-living room overlooking the Lake, the docks, and one of the biggest jacuzzi’s I’ve ever seen. We happily spent each night relaxing in the hot tub after enjoying the sights and sounds of the island.

This year, we had a much different experience staying at the Inn at Stonecliffe, a mansion situation high on the upper west bluff of the Island, nearby the historic Grand Hotel (opened in 1887).

It was a little annoying to have to take a 45 minute carriage ride into town each day (and pay $6.75 per person every time) but it did make us slooooow down in all the right ways. Trotting steadily past The Grand Hotel at sunset with the crisp air causing us to cuddle together for warmth… what more could you ask for during a vacation?

The Inn at Stonecliffe is situated back from the wooded road and just happens to be famous for a ghostly haunting. No, seriously, we bought a book just to prove it! Apparently, a love torn young woman hung herself in the apple orchards behind the mansion and continues to haunt the third floor where she used to reside. If you smell apple blossoms in the air, you know she is near. There are also accounts of her moving furniture and turning off/on lights. Spooky, right?

My mom and I loved the idea of a spirit in the mansion… but Jordon… not so much. He was anxious for the next leg of the trip where he could spend his evenings without fear of a ghostly encounter. After 3 days in the mansion, his wish was granted and we were off to Crystal Mountain Resort!