Mackinaw Island Trip end of June 2009

Old May 13th, 2009, 09:52 AM
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Mackinaw Island Trip end of June 2009

I am planning a trip to Mackinaw Island at the end of June with my 85 year old mother who uses a walker and a wheelchair to get around. Any advice? How is the weather at the end of June? We are staying at the Chippawa Hotel. Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. How about "must see and must do" and places to eat. Is the food at the Grand Hotel worth it? Is it really crazy crowded on Fri/Sat! We are driving from NY and planning tto stop at Frankenmurth. We were also thinking of driving north from Mackinaw to Canada and thru Sudbury and Barrie, Canada along the lake to get back to Buffalo. Any thoughts?
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Old May 13th, 2009, 12:54 PM
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We took my mother when she needed to use a wheelchair to get around. We didn't stay overnight on the island, but we just wheeled her onto the ferry. Left the chair at the stop to get the buggy ride tour, and it was fine. She enjoyed it. In fact, we were in an ice cream shop when a couple stopped outside the window and the man made licking motions at her ice cream cone. She laughed and held it toward the window, and he cracked up.

We went in the middle of June for the Lilac Festival, and the lilacs were gorgeous. They are everywhere and are huge, old bushes, some of which reach up to second-story windows.

I hope you have a lovely time. My mother is gone now, but thanks for bringing back good memories.
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Old May 13th, 2009, 02:36 PM
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Carolyn, Thanks you so much for your comments! How was the weather?
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Old May 13th, 2009, 03:36 PM
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The weather will be great. End of June is lovely.

Instead of having a dinner at the Grand Hotel, I would recommend their lunch or their high tea. Call them about both. If you want to go anywhere near the hotel it is something like $11 to do so per person, but if you eat there they take that off of your bill.

Wheelchair should be fine. There are some hills, especially if you want to see the fort.

You can buy a booklet on everything about the island on the ferry for $1 on the way over. Get that.

I will think of more later!
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Old May 13th, 2009, 03:48 PM
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Thanks! How about the crowds?
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Old May 13th, 2009, 05:37 PM
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Northern Michigan is never terribly crowded. It is tough to get to. There aren't any major airports so a lot of people never know about it. Most Mackinac Island visitors are day trippers. After the last boat leaves, the crowds go down tons. There is a bit of a party atmosphere, but it is never too loud since there is no camping allowed meaning everyone ponied up for a nice hotel room. That makes it usually a bit more mature crowd.

Most of the food is located along Main Street. Menus are in windows so you can decide on the fly. One of the nicest places is the Iroquois. They have a very nice patio by the water where you can watch the boats come in. That would make a nice lunch spot since it tends to get a bit chilly out there for dinner. Do bring layers. After dark you will probably need a light jacket.

Also going to lunch or tea at the Grand instead of dinner means casual attire. You have to be dressed well to go there after 6 pm.

Going home via Canada to the north is a long trip. Have you timed it out? If you did that, you could see the Soo Locks. There is also a nice casino I'm told just over the border if that appeals. I assume you are coming in through Canada and crossing at Sarnia?

As for things to do on Mackinac (and it is spelled with a C), we go at least once a year so I can summarize the typical things we do.

1. A horse and carriage ride. There is just one official tour of the island that is very good. You can hire your own driver and make your own tour, but if this is your first trip, the standard tour is great. You can also drive your own horse and buggy, but might be too much work with your mother.

http://www.mict.com/

2. Walking up and down Main Street. Buying fudge, shopping. Watching for brides on Saturday!

3. We always walk over to Mission Point resort. That is where we got married. It is a nice place to visit and you can take the carriage back if the walk was too far.

4. The butterfly house has very nice butterflies. They've added another competing butterfly house on the horse tour, but I prefer the original.

5. The fort is a must. You'll have to push your mom up there somehow (the fort is staffed with volunteer boy scout troops. Don't hesitate to ask one of them for assistance).

6. Definitely do one meal at the Grand or the high tea. It is the really the reason the whole island is so popular. From the Grand Hotel website:

Afternoon Tea
In keeping with more than 100 years of Grand Hotel tradition, Afternoon Tea is served each day in the Parlor. Guests enjoy teas, sherry and champagne, petite finger sandwiches, fresh-baked scones, and an array of pastries, accompanied by a chamber music recital.
Served daily 3:30pm - 5:00pm and is $25.00 per person.

There is also a $45 buffet lunch.

Have fun! We will be there over Fourth of July weekend. I'm looking forward to it.
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Old May 17th, 2009, 07:45 AM
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Thank you so much KelliBelli. This was so very helpful. We have reservations at the Chippewa but do you think staying at The Grand Hotel is worth it?
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Old May 17th, 2009, 08:35 AM
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The problem with the Grand is that the rates include breakfast and dinner. Therefore, you don't really get a chance to experience the rest of the island at meal times.

Last time we were there we stayed at the Chippewa and had a great time. I would keep your reservations, but get to the Grand for a meal and to look around. The other part is that the Grand is up a big hill and kind of secluded, whereas the Chippewa is on Main Street. With your mother in a wheelchair, the Chippewa will be perfect because you will be very close to everything you want to see. Especially if you are shopping, it will be very easy to dash back to your room and leave your things or use the bathroom. If you stayed at the Grand you would have to take a taxi everywhere. That can get expensive and the wait times can get long.

There is tons more to the island than the Grand Hotel. I just don't think the rest of the island would have all the things it does if it weren't for the Grand being there.I think your plans sound great.

Have fun!
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