Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Island. Mackinac.

In Michigan, we have ridiculously common names for things that are all around the world and all around our state making it difficult for non-Michiganders others to sometimes follow conversations.
The Lake. Great Lakes.
The Island. Mackinac.
*Fun Facts: You are never further than 6 miles from a lake in Michigan, 85 miles from the Great Lakes. There are over 11,000 inland lakes in Michigan. Michigan has 3,288 miles of shoreline - the greatest number in the lower 48

Mackinac Island, located in between the waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, between lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, is Michigan's summer playground!

My family goes to Mackinac Island every year for the Fourth of July and spends the week, thanks to my wonderful grandparents, at The Grand Hotel. Staying there makes you feel as if you are Royalty or at the very least a Kennedy :) I absolutely LOVE the old school Victorian charm that it eludes, from its colorful, mismatched, yet perfectly balanced garden inspired rooms, to its after 6:00 p.m. dress codes of suits for men and dresses for ladies. I always feel as if I am aboard the Titanic or at least living during the same time since it is not nearly as depressing ;) 
Fun Fact: At 660 feet, The Grand Hotel's Front Porch is the world's longest
Fun Fact: The Movie Somewhere in Time and This Time for Keeps were both filmed at The Grand Hotel
If you are planning a trip as you will be after reading this persuasive post here are a few things I would recommend doing!  
Besides The Grand, the island itself is one of the most charming places in all the US of A. Boasting quaint shops, gorgeous lake views, the bluest water, bicycles, and horse drawn carriages you truly feel as if you have stepped back in time.  
1. Walk up for a photo, take a $10 tour, or stay at The Grand Hotel
2. Walk and shop the quaint pastel colored shops - don't forget to buy some fudge from the famous fudge shops lining the streets!

Fun Fact: There are over 15 fudge shops on main street
Mr. B's - Great little place to grab a cheap bit to eat particularly before or after biking Has a cute little deck area located on the back for enjoying your food by the water
3. Ride a horse if you have experience you can even go without a guide! or rent a carriage to enjoy the island the romantically old fashioned way. No vehicles are allowed on the island so horses and bikes are the only source of transportation.

Fun Fact: There are more than 500 working horses on Mackinac
4. Visit Fort Mackinac - it does cost a fee but with it you can tour the replicated interiors of the buildings, dress up in costumes, see a real cannon fired, see inside an indian wigwam, and visit many other historic buildings around the island with your pass.
5. Rent a bike they even have tandem bikes which are tons of fun and ride around the entire island. The ride is gorgeous, boasting relaxing wooded trail, scenic shoreline, a great view of Big Mac, and main street bustle. There are many photo opportunities along the way so don't forget your camera!
 Wear a bathing suit and join in on jumping off the loading dock about 1/3 around the island! 
Fun Fact: This is the spot where the British landed to attack during the War of 1812
6. Put on your hiking shoes and travel into the interior of the island through wooded trails and staircases into the trees. Be sure to get to Sugar Loaf Rock, Fort Holmes the old British fort and Arch Rock!
7. Whether you are staying at the Grand or not, on the lower path to the Grand's swimming pool there is the beginning of a workout path which is open to anyone - DO IT! My family loves doing it in the morning to start off our days. It isn't very long and is a very fun workout!
 8. Take a Mackinac Island Carriage Tour - well worth your buck! Relax in a horse drawn carriage led by a knowledgeable tour guide and learn the history past and present about the island.
 9. Take an early evening walk through main street and then up the old fort road. Above the town, enjoy walking this scenic road littered by some of the most extravagant victorian homes and cottages. Another great place to walk, enjoy a view, and drool over homes is past the Grand Hotels porch and up the hill.
If you have not visited Mackinac Island, take it from me and my accidental travel brochure description, pack up your bags, buy a ticket to Flint, Sault Ste Marie, or Traverse City and experience a weekend in paradise - 3 days is PERFECT for Mackinac ... Put it on the bucket list. NOW! 

Note: The Grand, many other resorts, and bed and breakfasts do great deals starting in August ... ;) 

Royals, Renos, and Relaxation

I have changed the three R's for summer purposes... they are Royals and everything Kate Middleton Renovations which is currently ALL of my life this summer and Relaxation which is what I am doing when I am not renovating :)

Aren't you sad we don't have such an incredible role model for modest, classy, beautiful fashion in Hollywood? I am always depressed when I realize that Kate is not ours - ha! I know, I know, she has a royal weight of pressure to be everything the Nation needs her to be and we don't have those types of things in our country because we created something awesome, but she pulls it off so stinkin tastefully and makes Britain look oh so good! Really, I am an emphatically patriotic American, I just wish we dressed better! Sadly, her wardrobe is not exactly isync or in budget, for my lifestyle otherwise you bet your bottom dollar I would totally be snatching up her wardrobe at some action! Just finished watching her and Williams presentation of the baby ... so beautiful. 
I know I mentioned that I would be doing a LOT of home renovations throughout this summer since we just our first fixer-upper! I began sharing them on here until I realized that I am probably going to have more than I want or you want to read on my teacher blog. SO.... I started a new blog for all my un-teacher related items including our home Reno. If any of you are interested, we are in the process of renovating our kitchen and our main downstairs bath. Here is a picture just to tease you on coming over to my other blog ..... 
Relaxation: at home.
This has been the first summer where my husband has had to work. That sounds bad, like he's lazy - ha! Not the case. We have both always worked through the summer all through college. He laid hardwood floor for goodness sake and I worked at summer camp. But these weren't really jobs, we vacationed and always had month long adventures ... This year he has a REAL job. You see, my parents are teachers, I am a teacher, his parents are teachers ... I remember the day I realized that people in the world did not have summers off - it was a terrifying moment ;) However, also being from a teacher home, one quickly realizes that other people tend to make more money than you considering our moms were stay at home moms while we grew up! And so, my handsome, smart, and totally incredible man became a ..... Physical Therapist! Not a teacher. He is now realizing his loss. And really, its a loss he isn't very happy about. All that to say this is the first summer where I have not really done anything minus a week at Mackinac (post on that later) - which, please don't shoot me, is a lot for most people I know! Remember where I am coming from though ;) and ... wait for it! It has been quite RELAXING and we have both enjoyed it very much! 
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