Aug 14, 2012

A day on Mackinac Island

Our day started leisurely enough.  It was nice not to have to get up, get to ferry, get on Island, and then begin our day.  Instead, we just got up and had a nice breakfast and headed out.  The house we're staying in is almost visible in the image below, but you can see a large fenced yard in the middle right of the image.  That's their back yard.  If you know the island and the town, you'll notice that it's just on the edge of, well, everything.

 For every wonderful thing there is a price, albeit small.  Living one block off the main drag, surrounded by history, you end up on tour routes.  It was a bit unsettling the first few times they passed by, and they pass by regularly.  But eventually you ignore it and it becomes just another set of clomping horse hooves.  I'm not saying I timed my leaving the house with the tours passing.  That would be tacky.  But I wish I had better timing.  :)

By late morning we had our act together and rented some horses.  If you're on the island and you don't have the opportunity to stay in a "private residence" just rent some horses.  People would poke each other and look with amazement -- "oh, look, horses!" -- on an island filled with horses, somehow those riding horses are more interesting.  What these people don't realize is that we're not riding horses.  We're renting a small space on top of a large animal that has been programmed to walk the same route over and over again.  Our skill level had more to do with the level of docility of the animal, nothing more.  I could have told them I was a rodeo clown and that I owned a herd of horses, I would still have gotten the same horse.

The kids had a great time, and the adults enjoyed it.  But we were certainly hurting by the time we got off the horses.  Old bones and such.  But it was a wonderful opportunity and I had a lot of fun.  Lily would go riding every day if she could.  Jill and I are on the "once a decade" plan.

After a simple and excellent lunch back at the homestead we recharged our batteries a bit and headed up to the fort.   We have all been to the fort a number of times, but for the first time we set the kids off by themselves.  Lily and Emma took the camera and went off and had lots of fun taking pictures.  Lily took a LOT of pictures.  But they had fun:

The boys went off and toured the fort, seeing more than I thought they would.  Jill and I took up the role of an older couple who move slowly through boring (to others) exhibits.  At one point I sat patiently waiting for Jill to read all about the war of 1812.  But I was sitting in front of a maritime display that had a cool model boat and a song being played by a concertina.  Heard that song about 15 times.  It was awesome.  And nobody complained that they were hungry, bored, or tired.

A stop at the tea room for Lemonade and Pecan ball, a stop at the gift shop (no joy this trip, I have all the cool toys) and we rolled down the hill back to the house.  Again, so nice to walk in the door, lose the shoes and sit down for a while.  Bliss.

I took an evening stroll to check out the touristy shops down the lane, checking my options for a power-shopping trip tomorrow.  I'll be able to take the kids to two or three places, let them pick their trinkets, and get out with nary a tantrum in front of hot pink t-shirts with offensive sayings on them.

The island is a magical place.  If I ever won the lottery I would buy a cottage as close to downtown as possible, sit on the porch and complain about all the damn tourists.  It would be heaven.

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