Somewhere in Time
We have arrived on Mackinac Island.
This is like Disney World come to life. Walt had to have based his “Main Street” on this charming, historic town.
My husband and I have wanted to come here for a loooong time. One Thanksgiving about 25 years ago, we saw the movie Somewhere in Time* and loved what we saw.
It took us long enough, but finally, we are here. We had our car locked-up in covered storage in St. Ignace and took Shepler’s Ferry over to the Island in time for a late lunch. We spent the first afternoon just walking around. No cars are allowed, it’s just bikes, horses and foot traffic.
The style is from the 1880’s and bright seaside colors are everywhere. Turquoise, pinks, white clapboard, yellows, weathered grey, lilac and more. Colorful flowers are in bloom in front of every home, most buildings, and on the lampposts lining the streets in the commercial areas. It’s a different kind of quiet; you do hear the sounds of horses’ hooves, families chattering, the canon occasionally firing from Fort Mackinac, horns bellowing from the boat traffic and seagulls. But not engines and no honking, only the tinkle of the bells on children’s bikes.
Main Street has the pervasive sweet odor of horse manure and even though they work diligently to keep it cleaned-up, with more than 500 horses on the Island it’s a big challenge. So when you are walking down the street and smell the wonderful fudge being made in every other shop, the effect is slightly altered. But it’s worth it. Horse are a big part of the ambiance here. There are horse-drawn taxis, horse-drawn shuttles, private tours in surreys, horses resting in stables, and people riding horseback through the Island.
We walked many of the wonderful paths and biked the 8 miles around the Island’s perimeter. We had drinks in the Cupola Bar of the Grand Hotel and delightful water-front lunches. Danny and Daisy pulled us in a taxi, half an hour through the woods to a delightful Bavarian-styled restaurant aptly named Woods. We enjoyed ice cream and the famous Island fudge (cute fact, locals call visitors “fudgies”). Weather has been very cloudy and humid, with pleasant temps in the 70s. Rain has been continuously imminent, but we have been lucky.
In 1875, this was actually the second national park established (Yellowstone was first), but in 1895 it was transferred to state control and became Mackinac Island State Park, Michigan’s first state park. It’s located in Lake Huron, so I finally got to see all five of the Great Lakes.
Photos won’t begin to do justice to any of the Island, but here are a few:
* Somewhere in Time stared Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour and was released in 35 years ago in 1981. Jane Seymour, other cast members and crew members returned this year for an anniversary celebration at the hotel. The Grand Hotel looks pretty much exactly like in the movie. I remember it as such a romantic movie. We re-watched the movie before we left on our trip and by today’s standards it is really pretty humorous at times. So, if you watch it, be prepared for some sappy overacting along with the beautiful scenery.