On Tuesday, we decided to explore the main tourist attraction in this area: Mackinac Island.
We rode our bikes back into town and basically rode them right onto the ferry. We had heard of all of the famous tourist attractions on the island, but we were mainly interested in the 8.3 mile bike ride around the edge of the island.
Mackinac Island is truly a biker’s paradise. It took us a few minutes to figure out the hierarchy in this car-less society. Horse-drawn carriages and bikes shared the lined roadway. Pedestrians were supposed to walk on the sidewalks.
As hundreds of people got off of the ferries all at once and crowded into the busy downtown, it was confusing at first to figure out how to get around without running over the people in the middle of the street or getting run over by the horse-drawn carriages.
We pedaled north and although the streets were still lined with bikers, at least we had more room to ride. Riding our bikes around the island was definitely the highlight of our trip.
We made frequent stops to take photos of beautiful buildings, gorgeous beaches and the crystal clear water of Lake Huron. At the northern tip of the island, the water was as clear as tap water. The beach was covered in smooth pale stones. It was a hot day, but the crisp breeze felt like a burst of air conditioning.
Life on Mackinac Island was fascinating. We learning that about 500 people live there year round. They have a public school that serves children in grades K-8. We imagined what it would be like to travel around the island by horse or bike to go grocery shopping or take the kids to school.
We were especially impressed by the hotel workers who could balance a pile of suitcases on their handlebars to transport luggage to and from the ferries. We learned that residents use the ferries to travel to and from the island through Jan. 2. From then on, they depend on an airplane to get take them to the mainland.
Usually in February, residents find their freedom when the lake freezes and forms an ice bridge, allowing them to ride snow mobiles back and forth. They use their old Christmas trees to mark the path of the “ice bridge” across the lake.
Click the thumbnails to view all of our photos from Mackinac Island: