We are now on the Northern Michigan adventure of the Great Loop. We left Canada to head straight to Mackinac Island. We were able to check back into the states using a video phone at the docks in the marina. It was a simple process for us. We had a Frequent Boater Card and BR Number from our previous trips to the Bahamas. This worked for us on their check in process. We were now in Northern Michigan, more specifically Mackinac Island, a prime tourist destination.
Growing up in Michigan you would have thought that I had been to Mackinac Island, but this was my first time and I was excited. Our stay was close to our 26th Wedding Anniversary so we planned for a special dinner at the Grand Hotel. They can seat over 1,000 people for dinner, but the quality of the food and service is above average. We got to tour the grounds and inside and tried to imagine what it must have been like years ago with people arriving with steamer trunks for the summer. When you are on the Loop you look for these special moments and this was one of them. Also, Mackinac is a special place when you are from Port Huron and I was delighted to see this picture on the wall at the Pink Pony.
However, must of our memories involve fudge and ferries. Anyone who has been to Mackinac knows that fudge is everywhere. We got ours! But, mostly it was the memories of the ferries in conjunction with bad weather and wind. All day long numerous ferry boats arrive with tourists and they dock within the marina. Their wake slams all of the boats against the pilings and the docks. We were constantly adjusting our fenders and our lines and we were not alone. All of the boats were rocking, including one trawler where they actually got seasick from the wave action. We were there three days and it was a relief to be away from that turbulence.
Our first stop in Northern Michigan was Petoskey on Little Traverse Bay. This was a great choice and not all Loopers stop here. We stayed for five days due to some high winds, but there was a lot to do. Check out these winds over the breakwater. What we liked about the town was that it was laid out well and catered to visitors. I loved the bike path that went around the entire bay and linked three cities. I even took the bike to a Jazzercise class!
One day we took Gypsies Palace on a day trip to the resort town of Harbor Springs since we would not be visiting that town on the Bay. Another charming town in Northern Michigan! The store fronts were brightly decorated and there were many restaurants. This one has coffee cups on the exterior. So clever!
Next, we traveled to Charlevoix, a town that everyone loves to visit. There were numerous Loopers in the marina, including some that we had never met! Look at the color of the water! We also walked around to admire the architecture. Here is an example of a “mushroom” house. They were so interesting. The highlight of our stay was that we were invited by the Harbor Host to his house to tour his “boathouse” on the Lake. This was not just any boathouse. This was one of the founders of Four Winns boat company. The boathouse was more of a museum than boathouse. He has over 30 antique wooden boats and a whole collection of hand cranked and antique motors. Everything is in pristine condition. I am including some pictures, but if you are really interested HGTV did a segment on his boathouse. Here is a link to that video.
It was hard to leave Charlevoix, but we had another stop in Northern Michigan – Northport on Grand Traverse Bay. I would have liked to have gone all of the way to Traverse City, but we decided to dip a toe in at Northport. This is a very small cute town, but the one thing we found was that they had a bowling alley. The One Eye Dog crew went with us for a night of bowling, which was something different. Also, Michigan is a haven for breweries. In every town there are numerous brew pubs like this.
Did I mention that it is cold and still August?
“Shores distant shores, There’s where I’m headed for
Got the stars to guide my way
Sail into the light of day
I’m gonna build me a boat”………Jimmy Buffett