Mackinac Island: A Step Back in Time

Have you ever wished you could go back in time? I have. I’ve thought I would have fit better in the horse and buggy days when life was much slower. But then I’d think more about it and decided that I probably would have been one of those wives that wouldn’t have made it on the Oregon Trail. So, I’ll stick to traveling with our rig! Our next stop was just over the bridge to the mitten of Michigan and then to an island that is a bit like stepping back in time, Mackinac Island.Mackinac Bridge

First we crossed the Mackinac Bridge, the Mighty Mac. This 5 mile long suspension bridge is the longest one with two towers in the western hemisphere. I was a bit apprehensive about driving the rig over this bridge. That is a long time to be over water and I wondered if that would freak me out a bit. We started over the bridge and I realized that I would have to deal with another unsavory driving issue: construction. Now, I don’t have any idea what the bridge is usually like since I have only crossed it this once, but our direction was down to one lane and that lane had a metal grating sort of thing to drive on. This surface was not easy to drive on as it pulled and shifted the truck and camper. So much was I focusing on keeping the rig in the middle of the lane, that I had no time to notice how long we were over the water. We did reach our next campground, Mackinaw Mill Creek Campground, on the lower peninsula in Mackinaw City. I loved our spot on Lake Huron with a view of the bridge.Mighty Mac

It looked beautiful in the sunset too!sunset with Mighty Mac

Our next day was a work day and I had laundry to do. I guess I’ve gotten sort of spoiled and thought every highly rated campground had laundry facilities. But this one did not because of waste water restrictions. So, it was time to wander off by myself. Thankfully, the laundromat was clean and right near a lighthouse I wanted to see. I had made it my goal to see a lighthouse by each Great Lake. I’m not sure if Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse is technically on Lake Huron, but I’m counting it as my Lake Huron lighthouse. Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

Finally, we had a free day to explore and Mackinac Island was our destination. I had heard lots of good things about this island. No motorized vehicles, except emergency ones, are allowed on the island. This sounded like my kind of place. First we needed to ride the ferry. We chose the fast one that shot water out the back.Ferry to Mackinac Island

As we flew along, I shot a quick pic of this pretty little lighthouse through the window. Maybe the Round Island Lighthouse could be my Lake Huron lighthouse? Round Island Lighthouse

As we docked on Mackinac Island, Matt and I debated as to how to spend our day. Would we walk everywhere, hire a horse drawn carriage or rent a bike? Biking sounded like the most fun, so we rented 3 speed cruisers and took off. What a beautiful 8 mile ride around the edge of the island.Biking on Mackinac island

We stopped many times for beautiful sights along the way. We climbed 207 steps in order to see Arch Rock and it was worth it!Arch Rock on Mackinac island

Building cairns were encouraged in the biking literature. We had seen these rock formations in so many places on our travels, but we had yet to build one. It was past time.Our cairn on Mackinac Island

Of course there were geocaches along the way and my crazy man tried on sunglasses that were in one cache. Looks great, don’t you think?My geocaching man

We found our 600th geocache on Mackinac Island! Our 600th geocache!

So we celebrated it with a kiss.A kiss on Mackinac Island

On we biked and came to a stone marker. I had read that this island was the filming place for a movie that I had enjoyed when it came out in 1980, Somewhere in Time. The main character did step back in time and it was all on Mackinac Island. When I first saw the movie, I remember thinking that I wanted to see this beautiful place. Now, I was here, in the very spot where Jane Seymour said to Christopher Reeves, “Is it you?”Somewhere in Time marker on Mackinac Island

I must admit that my memory of that specific event was sketchy, but I watched the movie a couple days ago, and it was fun to see that these trees are just like this in the movie, but a bit smaller.Somewhere in Time trees

We had to see the beautiful hotel where most of the movie took place. We turned in our bikes and hiked up the hill to see the Grand Hotel with it’s 660 feet of porch. That’s the world’s longest, and I dare say, most elegant porch!The Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan

I did indeed feel as if I had stepped back in time as I watched the hotel’s horse drawn carriage approach.DSC_9137 2 DSC_9140 2 DSC_9139 2

We finished the day with some fresh fish from Lake Michigan, lake trout. As we paid for the fish the man asked where we were from. When we said Maryland, he was shocked. “In my 30 some years of working here, I’ve never served anyone from Maryland!” He was not the first to be shocked to learn that we had driven all the way from Maryland.Bell's Fishery

But was going to Mackinac Island worth the drive and ferry ride? A resounding Yes! I truly enjoyed my step back in time.At the Stone Arch, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Searching for Sharks’ Teeth and Finding Beauty

After church on Sunday, Matt asked me what I wanted to do with the rest of the day. I told him, “Look for sharks’ teeth!” We just happen to be staying near one of the best places in the world to find sharks’ teeth. We headed to Stump Pass Beach State Park. Even though it was clear and sunny when we left Sarasota, we headed into a thick fog as we drove south. It created a mysterious, fun atmosphere and most likely made it so that we didn’t have to wait more than 15 minutes for a parking spot. We lathered on the sunscreen and headed to the beach.DSC_0895 2

Now, I’ve always said that I’m more of a mountain girl than a beach girl, but I’m beginning to see that maybe I’ve just not experienced beaches in the right way for me. Since I lived in PA while growing up, we went to Ocean City, NJ a few times. Each time it was really hot and crowded. I don’t like being overly hot and I’m not thrilled with crowds. And laying on the beach while my skin sizzles is not enjoyable to me. DSC_0900 2

But sticking my feet in the Gulf in February, now that I enjoy! I’ve also come to the realization that all beaches are not created equal. They each have their own personality! The beach closest to us here is the one on Siesta Key and it has sand that is so white and fine that it feels like flour. The sand at Stump Pass was grey and had so many shells and pieces of shells. It was among these pieces of shell that supposedly contained sharks teeth.DSC_0902 3

We walked along the beach for a bit over a mile to get a geocache. We had a hard time not stopping along the way to look for teeth. Could the black triangles be teeth? Matt didn’t think so, but I had the advantage of having seen ones that my parents had found awhile ago. I assured him that sharks teeth were black. We had much to learn and stopped to talk to people along the way. One man caught a Sheepshead fish. It had some interesting teeth to look at!DSC_0903 2

Lovely birds crossed our paths while walking along. I took photos of some of them hoping to identify them later. Matt thought this one was a Killdeer, but it didn’t seem right to me. Now I’m thinking maybe it’s a Ruddy Turnstone.DSC_0916 2

If it is, I had never identified one before! I love collecting new birds to my identification list. And this one, an American Golden Plover in winter plumage.DSC_0920 2

I’ll never know what some of these birds look like in their summer plumage! One more, that I’ve seen so often on Siesta Key Beach, but there it sure showed up a lot more on the white sand. I was intrigued with the soft gray beauty of this Willet.DSC_0925 2

What a gorgeous day it was with the beautiful fog.DSC_0929 2I was loving every second of walking along, talking to people and stopping to look for teeth.DSC_0912 3

You might be wondering if we found any. Well, yes! Quite a few. We watched as a wave came in and you could see them in the water. We quickly jabbed our hands in the water to grab the tooth. Here are some of the best ones we found.DSC_0940 2

And the teeth are shades of black. But that is because they are fossils! No one seemed to know why so many teeth show up at the beaches here. I’ll be reading up on it on the internet. Our really fun day came to a close. I set out to look for ugly shark teeth and instead found lots of beauty: birds, waves, fog, people, breezes and even pretty teeth. What a fitting end to the day, the sky on fire. Yet more beauty!DSC_0933