Hello there! Melanie here. My dear blogger friend, Pernnille, asked me to do a guest post on her blog, Wanderlust, because I hail from the United States of America, a place she has yet to travel. Now, you may be expecting something about a big city: Chicago, L.A., New York. However, I would like to discuss a much smaller place because it’s near and dear to my heart.
My family was never one for traditions. However, one vacation we took every year was to Mackinaw City for Labor Day Weekend. This is the last weekend of the summer before school starts back up in the United States and it’s also the only time of the year that the Mackinac Bridge (the bridge that connects the upper and lower peninsulas of the state of Michigan) is open to pedestrian traffic. We walked the five-mile-long bridge almost every year. (Some years it was windy, and/or raining, which is not fun to walk through.) This was the highlight of our trip and the main reason we went. However, it wasn’t the only reason.
In the middle of Lake Huron, one of the five Great Lakes of North America, stands Mackinac Island. It’s not a very big island. In fact, one of the many things we do while on the island is ride our bikes around the perimeter, which is about 8 miles(12.8 km). The paved road that takes you around the island winds along the edge of the lake with the rocky cliffs jutting up on the other side. It’s a gorgeous scenic ride. In addition, there’s plenty of places to stop along the way to take breaks, take pictures, go hiking. In fact, along the way you’ll see a few of the beautiful houses of the full-time residents of the island peeking through the trees.
Why do we ride our bicycles and not take a car, you ask? Why because motor vehicles aren’t allowed on the island. Motor vehicles (excluding emergency vehicles, service vehicles, and snowmobiles in winter), were prohibited back in 1898. For that reason, bicycles have become the preferred method of transportation on the island. Of course, walking is allowed and horses are allowed on the island, as well. In fact, taking a horse-drawn carriage tour is another of the attractions offered on the island, or perhaps a horseback-ride through the middle of the island.
Or perhaps you’re a history-buff, someone who enjoys history? Have no fear! The island is rich with history! In fact, on the top of the island stands Fort Mackinac. Built in 1780 by the British during the American Revolutionary War and later used in the War of 1812, it now remains a top tourist attraction. Here you can see what daily life was like, watch reenactments, and listen to music of the time period.
If history and bike-riding aren’t your thing, you’ll have plenty else to do on the island with the countless unique, eclectic shops, a butterfly house with dozens of butterfly species from around the world, putt-putt golf by the beach, visit the Grand Hotel, plenty of open grass areas for catching some (sun)rays, playing Frisbee, or flying a kite.
Remember that peak tourist time is Labor Day Weekend. So be careful not to run any pedestrians over with your bike in the jam-packed Main Street. :p For a better look at the scenery of Mackinac Island, check out my flash fiction series :
Across the Lake (part 1);
Across the Lake (part 2);
Day to Night.