Two Nights in Traverse City and Two Nights on Mackinac Island, Michigan


On our quest to visit all 50 states, we spent two nights in Traverse City, Michigan and two nights on Mackinac Island, Michigan.  This was the first trip that I took my new camera, so I’ll tell the story in more visuals than words this time around.



One of my favorite parts of vacation is checking out new restaurants.  Below are photos from a few places we visited that were recommendations from friends.




Most people suggested we do Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes while we were there, and I had known about the sand dunes for years.  What I realized very quickly while we were there (which was confirmed when we got back), when people say “do” the dunes — they mean something very different than what we did.

I think many people drive over to the dunes and climb up the first sandy hill (as seen in the first photo of me below).  What we did, because Chris is basically like an Olympian in all athletic ventures, and because we’re both 3’s on the enneagram and can’t stand the thought of not achieving to the highest level available . . . we hiked all the way to the water and back.  On the surface, it seems “easy” (ha, yeah, okay).  It’s about a mile and a half out and obviously a mile and a half back.  3 miles doesn’t seem all that bad, but when you’re climbing sandy hills . . . well, let’s just say I described it as “spiritual” and “really cool” on the way out, and, well, let’s just say I wasn’t quite using the Lord’s words on the way back.

It was very tough, mainly because it’s sand.  But, I will say — now that I’ve calmed down and stopped complaining about the heat, and hiking, and anything else I could find to complain about on the way back — I did the whole thing barefoot, and as cheesy and weirdo as it sounds, there was something very spiritual about hiking three miles barefoot, especially when you could put you could put your feet right in Lake Michigan when you reached the other side.



After a couple nights in Traverse City, we took a ferry over to Mackinac Island to stay for a couple nights (we stayed at Mission Point).  One unique part of the island is that there are no cars allowed on the island.  Your options for transportation are renting a bike (which is what we did), taking a horse and carriage, or walking.  I had no idea how much I would enjoy hopping on a bike with the little basket on the front and riding up to the shops.  We also rode around the whole island a couple times (8.2 mile path).

I’ve also included one photo from a fudge shop.  Fudge shops are everywhere there and you’re not even human if the smell doesn’t put you into some trance where you find yourself buying four bars of fudge so you can get a fifth one free.



I said I wasn’t going to believe the water was clear until I saw it with my own eyes.  Well, it’s clear.  Even more beautiful off Mackinac Island than Traverse City, but both are clear.



My favorite part of the trip was what I call “chasing the sun.”  After dinner one evening, we realized the sun would be going down soon on the other side of the island (I’ve never been more aware of the sun than when I got my camera).  So we hopped on our bikes and raced over to see it.  Similarly, the next morning we woke up and raced over to the opposite side of the island to see the sun come up.  I don’t know if it was the simplicity of the bikes and how it made me feel like we were school-aged kids, or the beautiful sunset/sunrise, but that was my favorite thing we did.



The Grand Hotel is the most popular thing about Mackinac Island (and super expensive to stay in).  While we didn’t stay there, we did do their Afternoon Tea just for fun.  It ranks in my top favorite things we did while we were there.



Just some other fun photos from the trip.

I would recommend both Traverse City and Mackinac Island to anyone looking for a trip.  I would recommend only 2-3 days on Mackinac Island since it’s so small (and pricey!).  But if you’re looking for beautiful water, fudge, and a little bit of a simpler way of life . . . check it out!