Most of the time when Alan and I travel, we go places we’ve never been before, because we love how much we learn from new experiences. However, there are a few treasured places that we return to again and again, and Mackinac Island is one of them. Our first trip together was back in 1966, and this spring marked our 50th anniversary of enjoying the island together, so I’m no longer a novice and feel some confidence in sharing our list of all-time favorite things to do: #1. Take a boat to the island. This is mandatory, since you can’t swim there, but the ride is super fun, so be sure to savor it…which will happen if you’re prepared.It’s usually chilly and windy, so you might want a fleece or hoodie, which you can store in locker on the island if carrying it in your backpack is a problem. (Of course, if it’s really too cold or rainy, you can ride inside the cabin.) Also, the weather is unpredictable, so you might want an emergency raincoat. Last summer we took Michael’s family on a day when the weather prediction was “sunny and warm,” but our bike ride turned out to be “rainy and cold!” If you time it right, the Star Line will take you under the Mackinac Bridge in transit. This is definitely worth considering, although being on the island as long as possible is worth more than checking under the bridge for trolls.
#2. Bike around the island. It’s just eight miles and can be done in an hour (plus stops, but do stop!). The views are stunning and the adventure totally memorable! Besides all that, it’s the only highway in America where no cars are allowed! #3. If you don’t want to bike, walk around the island. (We usually do both.) It might take you more like 2-3 hours, but it’s worth every minute. #4. Climb up to the top of Arch Rock for the best views on the island! (If you don’t have a heart attack, you’ll never regret it nor forget the view.) #5. Chase some seagulls… (and watch your food!) #6. Skip some stones. (It’s usually too cold to swim, but wading works,
and a few people have been known to swim in July or August if it’s really hot.) #6. Build a cairn; it’s trendy the world around. If you’re in the mood, you could even associate it with some special prayer that you’ve been asking God about. However, lots of people just build them strictly for the fun of it! 🙂 #7. Buy some fudge. It’s overpriced but wonderful, and the shop keepers don’t call the tourists “Fudgies” for nothing! #8. Explore the town, taking time to enjoy all the beautiful buildings, people, sights, sounds, and scents! #9. Tour the Grand Hotel, which has the world’s longest wooden porch. They do charge you to walk on it, however! If you can’t spare the cash,
you can still walk around and enjoy the beautiful views and gardens. #10. Tour historic Fort Mackinac. They have costumed soldiers and shoot off cannons (with tin foil balls) into the harbor. It’s educational and fun. #11. Enjoy lunch at one of their great restaurants, or pack a picnic and eat on the governor’s lawn. (Did I say that?? I think we actually did that 50 years ago because the governor wasn’t there, but today we wouldn’t be so cavalier.) #12. Take a horse-drawn carriage tour of the island. You’ll learn a lot of interesting facts about the island and its history. (Next week I’ll share more.) #13. If it’s a sunny day and you’ve got the time, stop at the Butterfly House. #14. If you’re a shopper (or even if you’re not, like me…)
there are dozens of lovely shops worth exploring. #15. If you’re spending the night on the island,
walk down the boardwalk and watch the sun set. #16. Otherwise, get in line early so you don’t miss the last boat off the island! I’ve thought a lot about the fact that even when we’ve been somewhere
a zillion times, we can never perfectly predict what will happen. There are times when we’re expecting sunshine but get caught in the rain! We’re praying for a friend who’s developed an infection at the port site
for his chemo, causing a delay in treatment, and for another friend
who badly injured her leg while visiting Japan a few weeks ago. Life is full of storms and challenges. I am thankful that through both the sunshine and shadows of life,
we can know that God is ahead. He will lead us and guide us
safely through all the storms as we trust in Him. (As I watched the sunset, I saw this cloud formation, which looked like an angel with a lamp in his hand, flying down to earth to light the way. Can you see it?)
“In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed:
deliver me in thy righteousness” (Psalm 31:1).