More on our summer vacation....
Where we left off: We had arrived at Mackinaw City and rode the ferry across to the island, enjoyed a walk on the boardwalk, watched the sunset, and fell asleep the moment our heads hit the pillow.
Day 2 on the Island / Day 3 of vacation
I was on VACATION and my mom woke me up at 6am to take a picture....I know, crazy right. Well, turns out I didn't mind so much once I walked out on the balcony.
Speaking of the bridge. The bridge is the largest suspension bridge and is 5 miles long. From land it doesn't seem like it's 5 miles long. You'll see shortly just how amazing this bridge is...from the water.
We woke and had a disappointing complimentary breakfast at the hotel. (it wasn't a Hampton, in so many ways) At the ferry, we had to wait about 15 min for the next boat so Haley had lots of time yearning to be like the other bad kids and jump the rail and play on the rocks. Me, being the mean mom, would not let her do it. I know, mean mean mom.
I wasn't really paying attention to the actual time we got on the boat until we were halfway through our trip over to the island. Haley and I were making sure we purchases a travel guide to the island from the ferry staff and were looking over the maps and deciding where we were going to ride our rented bikes when we heard a lot of commotion and oohs and ah hhs around us. I look up and we are UNDER THE BRIDGE! We were ON one of the few trips that take it's passengers under the bridge. (I think there are only 3 or 4 a day)
Did I mention that Haley insisted we ride up on top and although I resisted at first, I went for it. While Mom and Jeannie were warm and wind free in the lower section, my fly-aways that were secured with hair spray back at the hotel had found their way free within 5 min on the water. Turns out, my kid is really really smart. I got some great pictures this morning!
Once on the island, our first order of business was to find our way down main street to the Main Street Carriage tours. Main street is amazing. There are no cars aloud on the island, but horses are. And they are massive horses and love the jobs they do.
A view of mainstreet and a carraige from the rear end.
The carriage tours take you through all the historical sites on the island, which happen to be everywhere you turn. It's a beautiful island and we were very lucky to have a driver on the second half of our tour that spent countless hours reading about the island so he could tell us some amazing stories. Why? Because he didn't like a boring tour. Mr. Henderson (history teacher at ECC) would have been very proud of this kid.
We started off with a two horse team and were taken off main street and shown some of the first buildings on the island and the stables where they maintain the carriages and the horses.
We were dropped off a the top of the hill to the Surrey Hill Square. A really neat little shopping center, food court, carriage museum. To the left, the butterfly house: Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory.
After our tour of the butterfly house we hopped on the second half of our carraige tour, a larger carraige with a three horse team. A three horse team we became very familiar with....Haley wanted to sit on the front row so our view was well really the rear. It really was a relaxed tour. You could hang out and shop, eat, explore and get on the text half of your tour whenever you wanted. There were no time limits or restrictions. Well, just one, please don't touch the horses, they really don't like it. These are working horses that just pose for pictures. And as you'll see, Haley had the camera a lot and she wanted to capture every horse. Brace yourself....
This cemetery is the Fort cemetery. Has soldiers here from the war of 1812...unknown soldiers. So, this is one of 5 cemeteries in the country that have a flag flying at half mass 365 days a year. This part of our tour was with the genius tour guide who thought it would be fun to have us guess the other 4...I only got Arlington correct. (I really did enjoy this guides stories...a LOT!)
Skull Cave. The general was hidden here during one of the two battles, and was the single survivor of that battle. It's called Skull cave because when he woke the next morning after no one had come back to get him, he found he had slept on a bed of skulls. Interesting nugget about the Fort - the british built the fort, so after Americans occupied it, the British knew it was built facing the main land so they attacked from the back side, surprising the Fort. History lesson over....moving on.
We had stopped at one of the most spectacular views on the island: Arch Rock. The tour guide gave us two theories, one scientific, one more fork lore fairy tale. We all agreed the scientists had no idea what they were talking about. The tale had more love and heartbreak and indians and things I can't remember all the details about now, sadly. Something to do with a forbidden marriage of the chiefs daughter, as most good fairy tales go.
We were given exactly 5 min....FIVE MINUTES....to get our pictures taken and get back on the carraige. Of course you were given the choice to stick around and hop on a different ride but who whould switch tour guides now, this guy was really good.
The horses are trained as a team and always pull together as a team. This tour guide uses his tips to buy treats for the horse (like strawberries or carrots) which he gives them the very next morning as he gets them brushed down and ready for the day. They like working together and their heads were not so close till Haley lifted the camera. I like to think they were posing for her, some might say they were discussing with each other how to get away from the kid.
That's all for today. More to come. More horses. More amazing views. And one pivotal moment where I may have made the wrong choice BUT there is always next summer....