Two years ago this week, Will and I were still in newly wedded bliss on our honeymoon in Mackinac Island, Michigan. It was a very romantic and secluded, so it was the perfect spot for a honeymoon. The only transportation allowed on the island are bikes and horse-drawn carriages, so we felt as if we had gone back in time. Since our anniversary was last week and we will be returning for the second time this month, I’d like to share some of what we did there, from the fancy honeymoon perspective. When we return from our upcoming family trip, you’ll get to hear more about the cheaper and casual options the island has to offer!
To start off our trip, we took Shepler’s Ferry over from St. Ignace. If we had known better we would have stayed in Mackinaw City because it is a bit nicer. It was cold on the ferry in that dress! I tried to be a fashionable new bride, but I wasn’t expecting it to be chilly the first couple days (silly Southern me – Northern Michigan, chilly? Nah!) I had this picture in my head of a warm honeymoon when I was packing, but we had to resort to hoodies for the first day of exploring. Luckily it was warmer for the second half of the trip, so I got to wear my sundress and sleeveless lace cardigan and tank top.
We stayed at the historic Grand Hotel, which is famous for its mile long porch and is the setting of the movie Somewhere in Time. The movie is shown on the local TV station almost everyday, so this is the perfect film to watch on your downtime there if you haven’t seen it yet. Our Presidential Suite was on the main porch level of the building, so we had a nice view and were close to everything. Each suite has a theme, so ours was the Jefferson Suite. The honeymoon package also included breakfast and dinner everyday, plus tea time for one afternoon and a carriage ride.
Since it was included, we enjoyed breakfast and dinner in the Main Dining Room everyday. After 6pm the hotel has a dress code, suits for men, slacks and dresses for women. We usually went early for cocktail hour before going into dinner. They have a wonderful menu selection for the full course meal. Everything was delicious and elegantly presented. We tried everything from fancy salads, salmon (with caviar, which I had never tried!), steak, steamed vegetables, and of course desert – creme brule, every night! For lunch we tried out the local cuisine. We went to a little diner downtown and tried whatever restaurant looking interesting for that day.
The Grand Hotel has live music every night, so there is a full schedule of entertainment. First we went to the Cupola Bar, which is located in the small top level of the hotel. The atmosphere is very intimate with low lighting and live piano music. From there we could see a beautiful view of the entire island and the surrounding lake. We also went dancing in the Terrace Room where The Grand Hotel orchestra performed – think swing and waltzes! Will and I have never had formal dancing lessons, but we did our best to look like we knew what we were doing!
We wanted to get a feel for nightlife outside of the hotel, so another night we walked down the road to The Gate House, which is the hotel’s bar. They were having a karaoke night and a DJ so we had a couple drinks and sang karaoke! There weren’t very many people, so we went downtown to see how the scene was there. It was quite a party with DJ music and a younger crowd of tourists and employees from the resorts and hotels. There was a bigger variety of people and we liked being able to get out of the shelter of the hotel for a night.
During the day we tried to do and see as much as possible. There are a lot of great trails all over the island, so we spent the first day exploring and hiking. During one of our walks, we found the Butterfly House and Insect Museum. Here we took a tour to see an array of colorful butterflies. I’ve never seen so many butterflies in one place, it was a neat experience! We also learned a lot about different types of insects, many of which are so big, I was glad they were not living!
On the second day, we received a call from the hotel asking if we would like to upgrade our carriage ride to VIP. Apparently they call honeymooners first when there are cancellations. Of course we said yes! Instead of riding with another tour group, we had a small carriage to ourselves. Our driver took us to see all the sites, including beautiful houses in private residential areas, the grounds of Fort Mackinac, and some of the other landmarks that we had seen on our hikes. After the ride we looked in some of the shops and galleries on the lowest level of the hotel. There are so many beautiful, expensive clothes I wish I could afford! I enjoyed seeing the local artwork, full of landscapes from around the island.
One afternoon we rented bikes and rode Lake Shore Boulevard around the island’s eight-mile perimeter. I’m not very experienced with a bike, so I was unsure about riding the whole trail. But, it was so exhilarating and freeing to see a different side of the island while riding beside the water. If you only do one active thing on your vacation to Mackinac Island, biking around the lake shore is highly recommended!
I’m so excited about our trip next week! We will try many things that we didn’t do on our first trip, including kayaking and possibly a tour of Fort Mackinac. We are also thinking about going on the haunted tour! We’re staying at Mission Point Resort, so I’ll be able to share about a different lodging option as well.
Do you have any questions or tips about traveling to Mackinac Island? Please share them in the comments below!