|Port of Mackinaw Island - a seasonal harbor.|
Tickets in hand, we boarded the ATA (American Trans-Air) Boeing 727 from the gate, fastened our seat belts and taxied to the runway. I love the thrust back into the seats as the plane accelerates, then noses upward and suddenly there is the ‘knock’ sound of the tires leaving the ground, followed by the whining motors that retract the landing gear. All the while, the cars along Interstate Highway 465 surrounding Indianapolis, Indiana grow smaller, while seemingly driving more slowly. Banking the plane to the right, we leave the take-off/landing pattern and assume a heading almost due North toward Michigan. It wouldn’t be a long flight – perhaps two hours – give or take.
In the days of May, 1995, like many – if not all photographers – I used film, so my picture-taking ability was limited to the film stock I had on hand which amounted to about six, 36-exposure rolls of Kodak print film as I have 186 pictures in my digital conversion files – scanned from the prints. As the flight progressed, I cleaned my camera lenses, dusted out the camera body and that done, re-read the brochure explaining the “fun stuff” that the day promised to have.
We touched down at Pellston Regional Airport, deplaned and transferred to the awaiting buses then traveled to the pier where the Star Line Hydro-Jet Ferry awaited us and we didn’t want to miss that! Our short journey over to Mackinac Island would take us underneath the Mackinac Bridge.
|From the top deck of the Hydro-Jet boat, we traveled under the bridge to the island.|
We weren’t the only folks on the top deck, either. You can see, we had a plane load of people on that boat.
|Upper deck of the Star Line Hydro-Jet Ferry.|
|The Grand Hotel - as viewed from the Jet Ferry - about 1/2 mile from port.|
|This was our view as we walked off the Ferry and onto the pier.|
Okay, what maritime weblog would be complete without the obligatory Seagull on a post photo? Huh?
|Jonathan?! Could that be you?|
In our study of the map, we learned that the island was once a highly contested British military installation, founded in 1780. Oh yeah, we must go there! Along the way, we saw another copy of the Statue of Liberty faithfully provided by the Boy Scouts. We have one in our small town in West Virginia, also. It’s a cool gift to the community. We also walked slowly by Sainte Anne Church founded in 1670 which maintains baptismal records dating from April 1695. It really is a beautiful church. Wait. I have a photo or two.
|The oldest church dedicated to Saint Anne resides on Mackinac Island.|
|The little village on Mackinac Island. No motorized traffic allowed.|
My date wasn’t too keen on hiking, so the surrey-with-the fringe-on-top deal was high on her list. We walked past the Grand Hotel and I had to snap this photo. It was beginning to be even more clear that it was the surrey ride or nothing. Hiking in the sunshine wasn’t going to work out.
|Road entrance to the Grand Hotel.|
We got off the surrey at Fort Mackinac, but kept our tickets for a convenient ride back to town after our visit. You can see from this view, the commanding position this fort held at the entrance to the harbor.
|I'm probably the only guy who photographs signs for their informational value. (click to enlarge)|
|Strategic viewpoint from the fort.|
|The Parade Grounds in front of the soldier barracks.|
I have lots of photos of The Grand Hotel, but I can’t share them all. In short, it is grand and it is spectacular – first class all the way, back in the day – but it would certainly be a great visit today, as well.
|A 19th Century carriage brings tourists to the Grand Steps of the Grand Hotel.|
|Elegant way to travel and stylish way to arrive.|
Here is another photo from the croquet courts down below. There was also a pool with hot tub, although a bit premature in the season for full utilization. Can’t you just imagine the women dressed in fine gowns with bustles and large feather decorated hats gentlemen wearing woolen suits and beaver fur hats?
|Lovely water fountain view.|
Our time was nearing an end so we slowly wandered down to the docks and waited for our ship to come in – literally. Well, our ferry anyway. Wait, here it comes now!
|Our ship has come in!|
|I always boarded planes from the gangway. This was different.|
Well, that’s about it. This has been a long entry and I’m glad that WordPress automatically saves in Draft mode every few seconds or I would surely have been logged off by now.
Thanks for taking the time to read about my trip. Clearly, I’m enamored with American history and visiting the places that were a part of history not often heard in classrooms. Every one has their story to tell just as every place has its history. I have a long list of the places I want to eventually visit. I also have a list of places that I’ve already been. Before its all said and done, I hope I don’t bore you to sleep.
If you have any suggestions or wish to add or ask anything about any of my entries, please feel free to comment or drop me an e-mail. I also invite you to share your stories with others who might like to hear another point of view. The object of my blog here is to share my travel stories and meet other people who enjoy the same. Retirement will soon be upon me, so I must make plans for more trips. View suggestions are always welcome. Thanks again for your visit, comments and remarks.