Sunny, Summer Day on Mackinac Island

Bill's Blog

Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island 6 29 19 by Marie Steffen

It was a sunny, summer Saturday and my daughter #2, my wife and friend Lorraine (from Australia) headed north to Mackinac Island. Here’s a few of the pictures Marie took on Saturday.

Mackinac Bridge seen from Mackinac Island

This is the Mackinac Bridge seen from the island. The bridge is roughly 5.7 miles away from where the picture was taken. The bridge is roughly 5 miles long and connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. The two towers rise 552 feet above the water and the road rises to 199 feet above the water. The bridge contains 42,000 miles (yes, miles!) of cable and over 4.85 million rivets. The bridge weights over 1 million tons. Under the bridge the maximum depth of the water is 295 feet (deep!). During construction 3,500 men worked at the site, including 350 engineers.

Mackinac Bridge seen from Mackinac Island nearly 6 miles away – pic. by Marie Steffen

This is the Mackinac Bridge at night. You can still see a little twilight past 10:30 pm at this time of year. There is an effort to bring snazzy LED lightning to the Mackinac Bridge. Here’s what that looks like on other bridges around the world.

Main Street Mackinac Island by Marie Steffen on 6 29 19

Main Street on Mackinac Island actually has a Michigan route number, it’s 185 and it runs close to the water around the island. Since motor vehicles are prohibited on the island, transportation is by horse drown buggies and trollies and by bicycles.

Main St. at night on Mackinac Island – pic. by Marie Steffen

This is Main St. at night. Activity diminishes greatly after 11 pm.

This is the Little Stone Church on Mackinac Island (pic. by Marie Steffen)

The Little Stone Church is a Congregation Church that offers services from mid-May to early-October. There are about 100 mostly summer members of the church plus tourists. Here’s a 360-degree panorama of the interior of the church. This is a popular summer wedding venue. Tourists can also attend St. Anne’s Catholic Church and the Mackinac Island Bible Church, which runs a Bible Fellowship through the winter. There’s also the Mission Church, which is open to the public daily in summer and Trinity Episcopal Church, which has a Sunday service all year long.

Grand Hotel 6 29 19 Mackinac Island by Marie Steffen

This is the famous Grand Hotel. It boasts the longest porch in the world. At 660 feet it’s 60 feet longer than the length of two football fields. The hotel hosts 150,000 guests per year. Major movies were shot here in 1947 and 1980. They serve up to 4,000 meals per day and go through over 42,500 pounds of strawberries in a season. Each fall they plant 18,000 tulips and each spring they plant 2,500 geraniums.

Grand Hotel Stables – pic. by Marie Steffen

This is the Grand Hotel Stables. It’s both a working stable and a museum filled with antique carriages and sleighs. It’s free to the public and if you have kids – they’ll probably love seeing the horses up close. There are more than 500 horses on Mackinac Island.

Looking out from Mackinac Island toward the Mackinac Bridge (pic. by Marie Steffen)

Mackinac Island is surrounded by the cool waters of Lake Huron. The water temperature of the water around the island is at its warmest in August (61°) and the water is generally warmer in September than in July. July is the warmest month on the island with an average high temperature of 77°. On average, August is warmer than June (as the water warms) and September (which can be an awesome time to visit the island) is usually warmer than May. January is coldest with an average high of 25°. Ice is usually thick enough in mid-late winter for an ice bridge to form from the mainland to the island. The path is marked with discarded Christmas trees and snowmobiles can make the trip quickly.

Topiary on Mackinac Island (pic. by Marie Steffen)

On your walk or ride around Mackinac Island, there’s something new around every corner. Here’s a pair of majestic horses. The art of clipping shrubbery or trees to look like animals is called topiary. There are written texts from Pliny the Elder that discuss topiary as far back as 38 B.C.

This sculpture of five turtles, one on top of each other, is on a boundary pillar in front of the Gatehouse (a restaurant). Native Americans thought the island had the shape of a turtle shell. There are 10 species of turtles native to Michigan.

Round Island Lighthouse – pic. 6 29 19 by Marie Steffen

This is the Round Island Lighthouse just south of Mackinac Island. It was built in 1985, automated in 1924 and refurbished in 1978 in preparation for the filming of the movie Somewhere in Time.

Ferries deliver tourists to Mackinac Island (pic. by Marie Steffen)

Two ferry companies transport thousands of tourists to Mackinac Island in a single day during peak season. You can take Shepler’s or the Star Line to the island in as little as 16 minutes. You can view the Mackinac Bridge behind you and you can see the Grand Hotel from several miles offshore.

Mackinac island has a year-round population of approx. 470, but that number can swell to 15,000+ in peak tourist season. The island is 3.8 square miles and it’s 8 miles to go completely around the island on bicycle or carriage. There is a summer home for the Governor of Michigan on the island. 80% of the island is Mackinac Island State Park. Every summer, Mackinac Island accommodates up to 54 Michigan Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and their leaders in alternate weeks. These scouts serve the state park as the Mackinac Island Governor’s Honor Guard. The program began in 1929, when the State Park Commission invited eight Eagle Scouts (side note…I’m an Eagle Scout) including young Gerald Ford, to serve as honor guards for the Michigan governor.

I hope you enjoyed my little blog travelogue to Mackinac Island. If you see daughter #2 (Marie), tell her thanks for the nice pictures. Oh, and thanks for reading my blog.

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