Is there any place in your world that has so many happy memories it almost seems a bit magical? Fort Wilderness Campground at Disney is definitely that way for our family. Once when Alan called to make reservations, the lady said, “Congratulations! You’ve been here 50 times now!” Hard to imagine, but knowing that Jon was there three times before his first birthday, and so was Joel (well, one of his trips was to Disneyland)…she was probably telling the truth. At least, she gave us some perks, so we believed her.
Anyway, Mackinac Island is one of those places for Alan and me. Our first bike ride on a tandem there was when we were sixteen, and ever since then we’ve been trying to get back each summer for a day.
We usually come up the night before and stay in Mackinaw City. If any of you are looking for a great bargain, the “America’s Best Value Inn” was $39.70 (tax included). It was newish, clean, and neat…had a heated indoor pool and served breakfast. What a deal! The next morning we hopped on the ferry over to the island.
For anyone who’s never been to Mackinac Island, I’ll tell you that it’s a gorgeous little 8-mile diameter gem of an island at the intersection of Lakes Huron and Michigan right by the Mackinac Bridge that connects Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas. It is a world-class resort community with a beautiful waterfront and downtown.
We always ride a tandem around, and sometimes we walk around too. Although there’s a lovely, busy downtown area, we savor the restful countryside most. There are several unusual limestone formations, wonderful wildflowers, and lots of open sky and “sea.”
The island is always beautiful, especially in early June during the Lilac Festival, and in early August. If you look hard, you might be able to see the Mackinac Bridge in the distant background.
After a lunch of fish ‘n’ chips at our favorite restaurant there, the Village Inn (which must be a lot of people’s favorite, because it was sporting a banner that said “Voted Best Restaurant in Northern Michigan 2007”), we meander around town admiring all the gorgeous homes and gardens. There are dozens…too many to even show you my favorites, so I’ve just picked a couple of samples!
And then, before leaving, Alan often wants to do a little window shopping. Yes, Alan! He’s the shopper in our family. However, I do like looking at the shop windows, because they’re really beautiful, and you know how I love flowers! (Or, do you? At any rate, I LOVE flowers!)
And so, with a new tea cup or two in hand for our collection, we finish out our trip and return to the mainland. It’s one of those picture-perfect, expectation-fulfilling getaways that always seems to produce sequels. So, if you’re looking for a great way to spend a very special occasion sometime, think about Mackinac Island. No, I’m not a travel agent, nor have I invested in island stock, but it is the closest thing to Epcot’s beautifully manicured gardens and relaxed atmosphere that we’ve found in Michigan. Oh, except for maybe Meijer Gardens here in GR. If you come for a visit, I’ll show you around. It’s great, and it’s getting to be another favorite with our family! One of these days, I’ll show you just how beautiful it is.
“There is no magic in magic,
it’s all in the details.”
— Walt Disney
Of course, the real “magic” is in experiencing a life of joy, and that comes from walking with the Lord!