I would be embarrassed to say how long it’s been since I’ve been on a vacation. I do know the last time I stayed in a hotel was more than ten years ago in Tennessee when my father died.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy vacations, I just don’t think about them very often. And when I do, there are so many interesting things to see that are close enough to do in a day that it works for me.
But late this past summer, my daughter and I were talking about how cool it would be to visit northern Michigan in the winter – specifically Mackinaw City, one of my favorite places in the world. If you’ve read my novel, Laying Low in Paradise, you might recall that’s where the story began. Most of the story took place on Bois Blanc Island, but it’s still the same area of the state. And it’s beautiful.
So, since we both really wanted to do that, and I’ve had the outline for a mystery that will take place in Mackinaw City collecting dust for too long, we decided to try and go up after Thanksgiving.
And we did! It was a short trip, only about thirty hours between the time we left home until we pulled back in our driveway, but we got a lot of sightseeing done. More importantly, we got some videos and a boatload of photos.
On the way, we passed my future house…
Once you get ‘up north’ in Michigan, you begin to see things you won’t see in the lower part of the state – like ‘Elk Crossing’ signs. And one of the first things we saw when we drove into town was this (and it’s on every single one we saw, too)…
Actually, it was my daughter who spotted it first, but we both got quite a giggle out of it. Especially considering there wasn’t a whole lot of snow. I didn’t get a picture of this one until we were on our way home … but I’m glad she remembered to remind me.
It was getting close to dark when we arrived, and we nearly missed the Christmas parade. I’m glad we didn’t. I’m not a huge fan of parades in December, but this one was perfect. Seven or eight vehicles and it was over. Minimal freezing and shivering.
They are a great bunch of people up there. When I spoke with a woman at the Chamber of Commerce earlier in the week, I was invited to put an ornament on my van and join the fun. I declined the offer, preferring to watch rather than participate.
This is a little blurry. It’s hard to hold a camera steady when you’re shaking from the cold. And with the wind blowing in over the lakes, it was frigid!
Next on the agenda was the bridge. By the time I got some videos of the downtown area, it was pretty dark, and I was hoping it was decorated with colored lights. My daughter, great sport that she is, got out of the van and headed closer to the beach to get this shot (and a few others), so this one is a little blurry, too.
If you have some time to kill, Google ‘Mackinaw Bridge at night.’ You’ll find some gorgeous pictures with the lights reflecting off the water.
And now, I’ll leave you with a few videos. Shortly before we left for home, we stopped at McGulpin Point Lighthouse. It was listed on the calendar of events that it would be decorated, and we could tour it if we liked. Once again my adventuresome daughter braved the cold (and the spiral stairway that probably would have made me dizzy enough to faint) and took a video from the catwalk. What a beautiful area!
As far as I know, this is the narrowest place in all of the Great Lakes, and is where Lakes Michigan and Huron meet under the bridge. It’s still an impressive expanse of water.
I wasn’t going to put this one up, but then I thought I can’t be the only one who gets lightheaded looking at the way she goes down the stairway. Did you see how frosted the windows were? Brr! The poor girl was freezing!
I put my favorite video up on my Facebook page earlier tonight if you want to watch that one. It had been a long day and we were in a giggly mood when we lost the Mackinaw Bridge. 🙂
I’ve never been to that part of MI, but have always heard great things about it. Having lived in Rome, NY years ago, we had lake effect snow and winds frequently. There is a certain beauty in the cold also.
I’m a little further from Lake Michigan than you were from Lake Ontario. Maybe that’s why we don’t get much lake effect snow here (not as much as I’d like anyway). However…they didn’t have much up there either, which surprised us both. If it’s gotta be cold, might as well have snow. 🙂
There is beauty in the cold. I keep trying to get the video she took right on the beach the next morning uploaded to YouTube, but either get distracted – or upload the wrong one. She is a lot different than her mother, who prefers to admire the that beauty by looking out a window. When she said let’s film this from the beach…I said go for it…and I stayed in the nice warm van. 😀
But it is gorgeous up there. If I invested in a snowmobile suit, I might even consider living up there. 🙂
So, my friend, did you actually go over the Mackinaw (that is correct, right?) Bridge? You know we share that fear, along with flying, and for me, elevators.
And yes, I would have stayed in the warm van, for sure!
It would have been a good call. I still can’t believe she wanted to go down to the beach, and she was pretty much frozen by the time she got back in the van, lol. Hopefully I’ll have the video up on my Facebook page sometime this century. That’s sure a slow process. 🙂
Yes that’s right…and no we did not. We argued about it for a while, but my fear of heights won that one. I hate going over that bridge on a clear, sunny day in the summer so there’s no way I’m going over it on a super windy, bitterly cold winter night…or day. I’d rather take a car ferry, but I don’t know if they have them anymore. 🙂
Yay, you got away Kristy! It is so hard to get out of town, let alone leave the house. lol. But, when you do, great things happen. And look, you spent some quality time with your family and you all had a good time. Love the pics. I’ve always heard that the Mackinaw area of your state was beautiful. And it’s in your back yard. Now you need to rest up for your next excursion! 🙂
It was a lot of fun, Karen…and over too fast. Next time we’re going to have to stay longer. Maybe when the weather is a bit warmer. Good grief the air blowing in across those lakes is COLD! 🙂
And it is gorgeous up there. It’s one of my favorite places to go. Beautiful enough that they filmed the Christopher Reeve/Jane Seymour movie Somewhere in Time (I think that’s the title) up on Mackinaw Island. 🙂
Wow the lighthouse was cool and I’m thinking ghost of the widow who kept the light shining for her husband who was lost and sea, you can see her looking out the bedroom window and then your daughter turns the corner and there’s a flat screen tv on the wall, Lol Totally lost the mood……You owe her big time for freezing, next time maybe you should go in the late spring or early fall, not too many tourists and you don’t freeze your tush off.
LOL…I laughed when I saw the big screen television, too. Just not something you’d expect to see with all of the antiques in the there, is it? And I do owe her. I told her we’d try to get up there in warmer weather…but she seemed pretty interested in going up in the winter again when we could stay longer. Only I fear if we do that, we’ll be arguing about driving over the bridge again. She wants to go across…and I do not. I love looking at the bridge from Mackinaw City…but I HATE going across that thing – especially knowing that a vehicle blew over the side a couple of decades ago. Someday I’d like to see if they have car ferries. 🙂