At the beginning of August, we were able to spend almost two weeks in Michigan with Dan’s family. It. was. glorious. We were able to spend 1 day with my Gramma Faye in northwest Ohio (she’s 92!). We had a great dinner with Dan’s best friends from high school, their wives, kids, and parents. Right before that, we were able to have coffee with my best friend, Andrea – a new transplant to southeast Michigan.
…and then came the Fair. Once again, we were able to spend the week at the great Shiawassee County Fair. It’s better than Christmas. (Not like actual Christmas, but travelling home for Christmas.) We get to really spend quality time with Dan’s family – sister, brothers, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, hopefully-one-day-sister-in-law, niece, nephews – and Dan’s cousins, their kids, and aunts & uncles. On top of all that, we had people visit us at the fair: Jim & Attie Brix and their kids; Ben & Jessy Tirrell and their kids. Dan and Attie were state FFA officers together, Attie made our wedding cake, and they are just wonderful people. Ben and Dan worked together at the sheep barn at MSU; Dan was in Ben and Jessy’s wedding; they are also wonderful people. We wished that we lived closer to both of these families; they are such good friends. Spending time with so many beloved people was so refreshing.
Speaking of refreshing, we spent 1 day on Mackinac Island. Yes, even just one day on the Island can be considered refreshing. It is awesome & I highly recommend that every one of you visit! When we were planning our trip back, we knew we wanted to take a little ‘mini’ vacation up north, but weren’t sure whether to go to Mackinac or Traverse City. After doing a little reading about the Island, I was sold on Mackinac. It sounded like the perfect place to truly get away.
The first rule of Mackinac? No cars. No motorized vehicles. It immediately causes you to just slow down. To get around the 8-mile island, rent a bike, ride a horse, or drive a horse & buggy. It sounded perfect.
It was. Here are some pictures.
A word about the bike ride: when I did renting bikes, I got REALLY excited when I saw that tandem bikes are available. Immediately, I thought that riding a tandem bike would be awesome – mainly because of the cute picture. In my head, it would be the cutest thing.
We could have rented bikes from our hotel…but, that morning, they were out of tandems. [The woman working at the front desk looked at Dan and said, “You’re a good husband,” when I said that our vacation would be ruined – jokingly – if we didn’t ride a tandem.] So, we went to one of the (many) bike rental companies and rented the tandem. Then, we were fitted for the bike. Then came time to push off and pedal.
I couldn’t do it.
I am, by nature, a fearful person. I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was 9. Two days after finally being brave enough to ride, I hit rough gravel, went down, and sprained my ankle. So I’m a little gun-shy with bikes. I ALSO haven’t ridden a bike in ten years. So, I’m also way out of practice. When it came time to lift my foot that had been firmly planted on the ground, I couldn’t. It was cemented.
I had to go back into the office and ask for two single bikes. When I made the request, the woman taking reservations said, “Oh, you don’t want to do the divorcycle? Probably a good idea.”
It was. I felt really uncomfortable with the idea that I could cause BOTH of us to go falling if I didn’t do things the right way. I still had a white-knuckle grip on my bike with the fear of crashing…but, about halfway around the island, I started to relax. By the time we got back to the “city,” the day-trippers were arriving in full-force. I said a quick prayer to be able to make it through without problems – and I did! Dan was impressed that I made it through town without a problem. I also think he was shocked that riding a bike was so scary for me….
Views from our 8-mile bike ride on a beautiful morning.
After the bike ride, we visited Fort Mackinac. The first photo is one of the many beautiful homes. (I think this one was for sale for a mere $1.5 million!)
A statue of Father Marquette stands in front of the fort. This seagull thought it was the best spot to relax. The fort is located at the top of the hill (which was steep hike).
These are views of the town and harbor from the Fort. Don’t you just want to live there??
A glimpse of the horse-pulled taxis you could hop, if you grew tired of walking.
Now that I’ve convinced you to visit Mackinac Island, some advice. Staying on the island is AWESOME. We were very blessed that one of the hotels offered a Groupon Getaway that allowed us to get a room at a discounted rate. The hotel was the Harbor View Inn and was amazing. They have 3 different houses on the property, which have been renovated as individual hotel rooms. Our ‘house’ was beautiful. Our room was lovely. They serve breakfast; they have coffee and infused water available all day. Each of the houses has a wide porch with patio furniture. It was a great stay.
If you’re staying, go have a drink at the Mustang Lounge. It’s a great place to relax and meet some locals. If you’re just there for the day, go have lunch/supper there. While you’re there, get the Whitefish Dip. Trust me. You will not regret it. It’s incredible (from a non-fish enthusiast).
Mackinac’s all about the fudge. We didn’t try fudge at every place that made it. We decided to buy our fudge to share with the family at JoAnn’s. The fudge and service were terrific. We were able to try ANY fudge we wanted. Recommendation: TRY THE PENUCHE. AH-MAZ-ING. It’s a brown-butter fudge and sooo delicious. We brought home 5 kinds of fudge – and the penuche (which no one had tried before) went first. The Kieslings have discerning palates when it comes to fudge – so this is a ringing endorsement.
Visiting Fort Mackinac was fun. If you visit the fort, you will be able to visit other historic places around town, like the blacksmith.
This sign was hanging in his shop. I thought that my dad and Aunt Nancy would appreciate this. They don’t call me “5-bucks Rohrig” for nothing!