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Another Mackinac Island visit


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#1 of 26 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted September 10 2013 - 06:07 PM

My wife and I spent a long weekend at Mackinac Island last weekend. I decided to start another thread instead of adding to the one I created from last year's visit here.

 

The ferry to the island actually went under the Mackinac Bridge -- this is the first time in all our visits it took this route. I think it had something to do with their reduced schedule after Labor Day. Anyway, it gave me a new perspective to shoot the bridge.

 

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I also recently purchased a Lee filter kit, and also added a 10-stop Hitech ND filter for the kit (the Lee Big Stopper is back ordered for about 7 months). I experimented with some long exposures during sunset.

 

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A new addition to the island in 2012 was this plate steel sculpture by artist Thomas J. Moran of a prominent Michigan citizen. Tell me if you recognize who this is.

 

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There was a vintage baseball game being played while we were there,  played under late 1800 rules -- no gloves, catches on a single bounce were an out, etc. We watched a couple of innings.

 

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Here is one of our favorite historic homes on the island -- it's called Brigadoon, and is next to the Island House hotel we always stay at.

 

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Here's another sunset shot from a different evening. It's not a long exposure, but I did like the outcome.

 

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Edited by Scott Merryfield, September 10 2013 - 06:08 PM.


#2 of 26 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted September 16 2013 - 01:45 PM

Scott,Those are very, very nice!  I really need to make a trip there one day, especially considering that I only live a few hours from there.  Thanks for sharing the gorgeous pics.



#3 of 26 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted September 16 2013 - 02:19 PM

Thanks, Scott. Mackinac Island is a great place for a long weekend family trip. There is lots to do for adults and children, and lots of history on the island. Fort Mackinac (photo below) has been completely restored to it's early 19th century state, and they have numerous demonstrations of musket and canon firing throughout the day, as well as displays of how life was on the island and at the fort during that period. There are also historic markers of significant events from the War of 1812 (the British landed on the island and captured Fort Mackinac), and other restored historic buildings. The place is more than just fudge shops.

 

BTW, the sculpture in my original post is former President Gerald Ford, the only sitting president to visit the island.

 

 

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The island is also the home to a couple of historic hotels. The first one below is the Grand Hotel, where Somewhere in Time was filmed. The second is The Island House, where my wife and I always stay.

 

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Edited by Scott Merryfield, September 16 2013 - 02:23 PM.


#4 of 26 OFFLINE   Mark Collins

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Posted September 16 2013 - 03:36 PM

Scott,  i cannot believe this.  I visited the Island in 1970 with my Grandparents.  We stayed at the Wyndamere Hotel all in yellow.  Grandma and I ran all over the place with bats twittering in our ears that first night.  We went all over the place that evening.  We went up to the Fort the main bluff even the Grand Hotel the Governers Mansion the College and I believe we may have made it all the way up to Fort Holmes.  I remember when we took the offical tour Grandma and I just smiled because we had seen more than the tour was showing. 

 

I went back 7 times in a row for one week ever August after I grew up.  I even flew in a private plane from my hometown where I live to the Island.  I have stayed at the Lakeview the Murray and the final vote was the Island House.  I even was close to getting in on the Chicago to Mackinac boat race.  I knew a young Dr who was going up.  Man that would have been fun.  I used to even have tea in the Grand Hotel every day I was there.  I knew how to get in.

 

Scott there was a house on the island that looked just like Collinwood.  Stone something and was turned into a hotel.  The military cemetary was great and I knew the words to the stone in that cemetary.

 

I have been to the town where there are cars and where the people live on the Island.  Use to bike ride all over the place.  I have tons of old post cards I use to collect over the years and one of my ancestors may I used to think was stationed there during the Civil War.



#5 of 26 OFFLINE   classicmovieguy

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Posted September 16 2013 - 03:56 PM

The Esther Williams movie "This Time for Keeps" had portions of Mackinac Island locations - I wonder if any of these sights were featured in the film. 



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#6 of 26 OFFLINE   Mark Collins

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Posted September 16 2013 - 04:04 PM

Byron I am glad you asked that question.  I really never knew which movie it was.  Yes the Grand Hotel swimming pool was feature in the movie.  Most if not all of the film Somewhere in Time was done on the island.  The interior of the college main stage where feature films were shown a scene was shot there.  I remember seeing a Star Trek film and then coming outside on the beautiful clear night.  The air up there is wonderful.



#7 of 26 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted September 16 2013 - 05:31 PM

Scott,  i cannot believe this.  I visited the Island in 1970 with my Grandparents.  We stayed at the Wyndamere Hotel all in yellow.  Grandma and I ran all over the place with bats twittering in our ears that first night.  We went all over the place that evening.  We went up to the Fort the main bluff even the Grand Hotel the Governers Mansion the College and I believe we may have made it all the way up to Fort Holmes.  I remember when we took the offical tour Grandma and I just smiled because we had seen more than the tour was showing. 

 

I went back 7 times in a row for one week ever August after I grew up.  I even flew in a private plane from my hometown where I live to the Island.  I have stayed at the Lakeview the Murray and the final vote was the Island House.  I even was close to getting in on the Chicago to Mackinac boat race.  I knew a young Dr who was going up.  Man that would have been fun.  I used to even have tea in the Grand Hotel every day I was there.  I knew how to get in.

 

Scott there was a house on the island that looked just like Collinwood.  Stone something and was turned into a hotel.  The military cemetary was great and I knew the words to the stone in that cemetary.

 

I have been to the town where there are cars and where the people live on the Island.  Use to bike ride all over the place.  I have tons of old post cards I use to collect over the years and one of my ancestors may I used to think was stationed there during the Civil War.

 

 

Mark,

 

All those places you mention are quite familiar to me. Mackinac is one of our favorite places for my wife and I to visit, and we have been all over the island. We even have a painting of a house from the East Bluff in our living room -- it was painted by a local artist, and we recognized it as being from the island and just had to have it.

 

A few of the places you mentioned I actually photographed on the trip this year. My wife and I bicycle and hike a lot when we are on the island.

 

Windemere Hotel:

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Fort Holmes:

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Post Cemetery:

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Governor's Mansion:

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Here is the house on the East Bluff that we have a painting of. This photo was from our trip last year, as we didn't make it up there this year.

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Edited by Scott Merryfield, September 16 2013 - 05:34 PM.


#8 of 26 OFFLINE   Mark Collins

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Posted September 16 2013 - 06:12 PM

Here on hallowed ground their silent tents are spread and glory guards with solemn round the bivouac of the dead.

 

The battle field British landing Arch Rock Sugar Loaf the Catholic cemetery the golf course the church there is also a novel written about the island which i tracked down after many years and a stone to honor the novel on the island. Anne is what it is called I have it. I always took the ferry from St Ignace instead of Mackinaw City. The pines that lead from the Fort up to Holmes is a nice walk. The bike around the island is another. Stone Cliff has a view to the bottom of Lover's Leap. The board walk is so nice. So many places to visit. The college was a hotel when last I was there. I wonder if the glass tower is still there? 



#9 of 26 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted September 17 2013 - 04:20 AM

I do not recall the glass tower, unless you mean the tower at Mission Point Resort, which is still there. We always take Shepler's Ferry, but from the Mackinaw City side -- can't see paying the bridge toll twice, plus the extra time to drive across.  Plus, the weekend we went this year was when the annual tractor parade across the bridge was held (see the photo below). We made 5 trips around the island on our bikes this year, which is about average for us. There was a foot race with about 1,500 contestants around the island one of the mornings, but fortunately it did not interfere with our normal morning ride, as we got out about a 1/2 hour in front of the runners.

 

A few more photos from this trip of places you mentioned. I did not take my camera on our bicycle rides around the island, though, so there are no photos of British Landing this year.

 

Tractor parade across bridge:

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Arch Rock:

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St. Ann's Cemetery:

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You can see more from this year's trip here, from last year's trip here, and from a trip in 2009 here.


Edited by Scott Merryfield, September 17 2013 - 04:25 AM.


#10 of 26 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted September 17 2013 - 07:24 AM

Scott,That pic of the "Arch Rock" is amazing. I'm trying to figure out scale-wise how large that arch and rock really are. And your photography really is captivating. The resolution of those images is very good, too. (I don't know a lot about the craft. These are just my general impressions.)

 

"Grandma and I ran all over the place with bats twittering in our ears that first night."Mark,Are you sure that those were bats? ;)

 

"Scott there was a house on the island that looked just like Collinwood."Now I know that I have to visit there.Incidentally, I loved Somewhere In Time the first time I saw that film.


Edited by Ockeghem, September 17 2013 - 07:25 AM.


#11 of 26 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted September 17 2013 - 08:39 AM

Scott,

 

To give you an idea of Arch Rock's scale, it spans 50 feet at its widest point, and is 146 feet above the shoreline. Thanks for the comments on the photography. As for resolution, I am using a 22MP Canon full frame 5D Mark III digital SLR (also have a Canon 7D 18MP crop sensor digital SLR for wildlife) with a collection of various lenses, so I can capture images with lots of detail that also let me enlarge the photos quite well. We have a lot of my photographs from various trips decorating the walls of our home, with the largest being 36x24. I could enlarge more, but we do not have wall space large enough for anything bigger. ;)

 

And Mark is right about the bats. There are a lot of them in the downtown area that come out at night and reduce the mosquito population drastically. We even had one swoop past us on the porch of our hotel this year as we returned from watching the Michigan - Notre Dame football game at a bar in town.



#12 of 26 OFFLINE   Mark Collins

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Posted September 17 2013 - 09:30 AM

Hi Scott,

 

Scott is right and I wished I had said it up front myself that your pictures are beautiful and show the Island at it's best.  Yes Mission Point used to be the College at Mackinac.  The drive up from IL through all the Chicago traffic is bad.  Have always come up to the UP by way of Wisconsin.  I now believe my last trip there was in 1989.  I was on my way to the East Coast through and only spent perhaps 1 or 2 nights. 

 

I was driving to Maine with my first and only visit to Newport and the real Collinwood.  I remember how quiet it was on the Island going after Labor Day and I rather enjoyed that. Yes the bike around is great fun.  I remember the path from the Grand Hotel down to the Board Walk.  I also remember Shirt and tie after 6 if you were on the grounds of the hotel.  I have been all over that hotel even the rooms.  Like I said I have spent so much time there i know how to get in and out of the Grand and all the very small foot paths on both bluffs.

 

Scott the bats were the cool part and Grandma did not mind.  The family used to scream at Grandma you are not a kid let Mark run off on his own but she kept up.  She was a cool Grandma and I loved her lots. There was a great deal about the Island that made me think of DS.  Lovers Leap/Widows Hill and Stone Cliff which I called Collinwood right behind the bluff.  You could get there to bluff two ways from climbing up from the beach road or from the house just like Collinwood. You really should go there Scott.

 

Love the park below the fort and all the boats docked in the bay.  The small Library was also used in SIT the movie.  The school too as I recall was used in SIT and of course the red light house.  I have a painting of that.

 

You can walk the fort grounds at night because all is closed up and the view of the night looking down is just great.  I remember Grandma and I did that along with all those great houses on the east bluff that first night.  Nice foot path to those houses from the fort parade ground.



#13 of 26 OFFLINE   Mark Collins

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Posted September 17 2013 - 09:34 AM

Scott can you provide the link to your other thread.  I would love to read your thoughts!



#14 of 26 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted September 17 2013 - 11:01 AM

Mark,

 

I did not know that Mission Point used to be a college. That's interesting information. The tower is still there, and is open to anyone to climb it -- not just guests of the resort. I think that Marriott still runs the resort, but people we know who have stayed there have not given the place favorable reviews.

 

I think Lover's Leap is on the West Bluff, which we finally found our way to for the first time this year, but I didn't see that actual place. We'll have to spend some more time over there on our next visit. We always seem to end up on the East Bluff, since there is a staircase a block from the Island House that leads there.

 

It makes sense you would take the ferry from St. Ignace if you came up through Wisconsin and the U.P. Even when our trip has continued into the U.P. after leaving Mackinac, though, we always have taken the ferry from the Mackinaw City side -- probably out of habit.

 

We have never stayed at the Grand Hotel, partly because of the price, and partly because of the evening dress code -- jacket/ties for the men, dresses for the women. I have been visiting northern Michigan my entire life, and the idea of wearing a jacket & tie "Up North" doesn't work for me. My parent retired to northern Michigan 24 years ago, and we have a long running joke -- formal wear "Up North" is a clean flannel shirt. :lol:

 

If you are referring to the thread from last year's trip as my "other thread", you can find it here.


Edited by Scott Merryfield, September 17 2013 - 11:02 AM.


#15 of 26 OFFLINE   Mark Collins

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Posted September 17 2013 - 12:08 PM

Hi Scott, thanks for the thread.  I sure did not mean for you to think I could stay at the Grand.

 

I just have visited so often that I know how to get in and out.  Like I said I even had tea every afternoon.  I pretended I was a guest and it was pretty cool.  They used to allow vistors inside during the day as I recall.  Yes I have been in that tower.  Funny they even claim that Mission Point is haunted.

 

Scott the segment aired with the haunting of Collinwood last fall if you remember. The ghost in the DS House it was called or something.  I was shocked to hear about Mission Point.  Sorry to say I am not a believer in such things but it was fun to watch. 

 

The west bluff view of the bridge and water is fantastic.  You can easily get there from the beach road.  There is a long sandy hill down to the beach with a guest house Tudor in fashion that goes with Stone Cliff. You take the path to the right and there you are on top of Lovers Leap.  Check it out on your next visit Scott.  I wonder if Stone Cliff no longer is open as a hotel.  The trouble is that it is so far from the business district.  Have you been to the town in the middle of the Isand. I believe it is near the paths to Arch Rock and near the Battlefield.  I always loved to get a hot dog at British Landing. Lakeview Hotel may be closed now.  The Windsor was another one that closed and I had hoped would reopen. So many places to eat.  Large bar on the road to the Grand where the college bunch who worked the Island used to hang out.



#16 of 26 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted September 17 2013 - 02:13 PM

Mark,

 

Sorry if I sounded put off about the Grand Hotel. I know people who have stayed there and really enjoyed it. I just cannot bring myself to pack a jacket and tie for an "Up North" vacation. Also, you may have a tough time sneaking in for tea like you did in the old days. The hotel staff aggressively pursue anyone entering the grounds, and the hotel now charges $10 for any non-guests just to walk on the porch. On a previous visit, I even had a staff member try to give me a hard time as I stood on the street taking a photo of the hotel, because he thought I got too close to their grounds. He got more than an earful from me

 

I think I know the road you are referring to to get to the West Bluff. We will have to wander up there next time. On this visit, we somehow ended up on a road behind the large homes on that bluff.

 

Yes, I have been through the town in the middle of the island where most of the island's 450 permanent residents live. It's called Harrisonville, and we will sometimes ride our bicycles through there if we are riding on the interior. It's not on the way to Arch Rock, though. The town is actually west of British Landing Road (the road that cuts directly through the center of the island), almost due north from the West Bluff. Arch Rock is on the southeastern portion of the island, due north of the East Bluff. If you want to get your bearings, there is a pdf map of the island located here.

 

Oh, and the Lakeview Hotel is still open.We actually stayed there on our first overnight visit to the island quite a few years ago. I do not know about Stone Cliff, though.

 

Yes, there are a lot of nice places to eat, and thankfully no chain restaurants have infiltrated the island. There was a big controversy several years ago when Pizza Hut expressed interest in opening a place, but that fizzled out. Some of our favorites are The Pink Pony, Horn's Bar and Mary's Bistro. The Pink Pony Bar is also a great place to watch sporting events -- we spent over four hours in there this time watching the Michigan - Notre Dame game. The place was packed, mostly with fellow Wolverine fans, as most of the island hotels (including ours) do not carry ESPN, which was the station televising the game.



#17 of 26 OFFLINE   Mark Collins

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Posted September 17 2013 - 04:17 PM

Hi Scott,

 

I just checked and Stonecliff is still in business.  The place has changed and you can find it on google.  Sounds like you know the Island well.  I have walked biked it so much myself but think even in 89 I was there just for a brief visit.  Making that my 8th and last visit.  Wow what you said about the Grand.  I walked among the grounds the pool area every where.  I had my own secret door to get in the hotel proper. You can walk around in casuals untlil 6 as I recall.  I took tea in them. Huge Grand would be playing songs during the tea thing which was sort of what i went for. 

 

I do remember something about guards at the main gate.  Never any on the foot path that leads behind the gardners shack which was also in SIT.  My secret entrance was not that.

 

Today I would not even bother to go there.  I used to walk all over at night and I think the guards are gone after the general public have left the Island if it is the same.  The whole Island seemed to change when the last boat left the dock I always noticed.  The fudgys I think the Island people called them.

 

I never dreamed I would be going back into my past this week.  Scott you really must pay it a visit.  I remember in 1970 that we had to share a bath that was how it was in those days.  Scott i even think they were playing DS on the lobby TV and that was when Barnabas and Julia had returned from 1995 trying to stop the coming destruction of Collinwood.

 

Well Scott your pictures have been great and any more thoughts please share them with me.  Thank you so very much!!!



#18 of 26 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted September 17 2013 - 05:13 PM

Mark,

 

Thanks for sharing your memories of the island, too. You certainly remember the place very well, and I have learned some new things, as well as additional places to check out.

 

I cannot say how many times I have been on the island, as I went several times as a kid growing up in the '70's, but never actually stayed overnight until I was married. My parents always stayed on the mainland when I was a kid -- we camped several times at Wilderness State Park right on the Straits of Mackinac in the lower peninsula, and once at the state park in St. Ignace.

 

You are correct about the island getting quieter in the evening as the people staying on the mainland leave via the ferry boats. It's one of the things we love about staying on the island itself, especially during the busy summer months. During that busy time, we usually restrict our bicycle riding on the main road around the island to the mornings and evenings, when there are fewer people. During mid-day, there are far too many people on that road with rented bikes, and a lot of them have no idea how to ride properly. It can get dangerous, and we have narrowly avoided accidents numerous times. During the mid-day hours, we usually keep to the center of the island, which is always less busy -- most people do not want to climb those hills on bicycles. One of my favorite untraveled roads is Scott's Shore Road -- and not just because of its name. :lol: It's a gravel road through the woods that runs above the exterior loop road on the east side of the island, and we usually have the road to ourselves -- even during the summer.

 

This year's visit was the first time we went after Labor Day, and I was surprised we had such a difficult time getting a room at the Island House. When my wife called, she was informed that there was nothing available. We checked their website, and found three rooms still available online, so we grabbed one -- they must hold a few rooms for online bookings only. We did not know about the annual foot race that is always held the weekend after Labor Day, which is partly why the island was so busy. There was also a large wedding at the Island House on Friday, too, and the annual tractor parade from Mackinaw City to St. Ignace via the bridge. Next time, we will try for a later weekend. The exterior loop road, though, was not very busy even during mid-day this time, which was a pleasant surprise.


Edited by Scott Merryfield, September 17 2013 - 05:23 PM.


#19 of 26 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted September 18 2013 - 04:35 PM

Terrific as always Scott!



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#20 of 26 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted September 18 2013 - 05:51 PM

Thanks, Sam. I love sharing Mackinac Island with others.






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