Saturday, November 1, 2014

Family Day on Mackinac Island

Earlier this summer my mom purchased a few tickets on UpNorthLive for the ferry ride to Mackinac Island. Because trying to find a weekend where five adults are all simultaneously free from any other plans is quite a challenge we couldn't find a weekend all summer that would work for everyone to go. Finally, last Sunday morning arrived and we all piled in my dad's truck and hit the road. Fortunately it's only about a two hour drive to Mackinaw City, so we didn't have to get up too early.

Mackinac Island has never been my favorite place to visit, but I promised my parents (and myself) that I would try my hardest not to complain or act unhappy to be there. I'm sure that sounds silly that I have to tell myself those things, but I can be annoyingly cranky for myself and definitely for others. I love my family and have always been grateful that spending time with them has never been a chore or something I dread. I always want to be able to appreciate the time we spend together and wouldn't want to ruin a good day with a negative attitude. And guess what? It was such a good day.

None of us had ever been to the island this late in the year so we were all pretty excited to see what it had to offer in October. Last weekend was actually the very last one of tourist season on Mackinac. If you've experienced the island before this is definitely the best weekend to go for a visit. In the middle of summer it can be super hot and smelly and packed with people (which is basically what has fueled my dislike for the place).

Last Sunday was slower and felt more secluded. Half the restaurants were already closed and the other half closed later that day. All the shops had sales going on, so it made for the opportune time to check out the cute stores and get some great deals. I even bought some books because, you know, I need more books. They were 30% off and I can't resist a sale, especially when it comes to books (God help me).

I felt like we were in on some sort of secret being able to witness all these people packing up and saying goodbye to their friends. There I was waiting in line for coffee and people are shouting their farewells and sharing hugs. Friendships truly do change with the season. I like being a witness to other people's lives.

It was a gorgeous day. The past month has been on/off rain and cloudy skies with increasingly colder temperatures, but last Sunday was actually pleasant on the weather front. It was windy and chilly but not in a miserable way; plus the sun brightened the skies and warmed you right up. 

Another plus about making the trip in October is the colors. Everything in nature takes on a whole new dynamic in the fall. When you looked over a hill all you could see were rows of trees in reds and greens and yellows and orange. The island was so peaceful and we were able to walk around relatively undisturbed. Usually navigating the paths between the carriage tours, the horse poop, and the crowds of people on bicycles trumps being able to stay next to the people you're there with and often hinders conversation flow. Now that I've discovered the joy of the end of season emptiness I never want to visit at any other time. So much beauty all for us. I can't wait to visit the island again during future fall excursions. 

We left the island at five (right when the last shops were closing and it was all starting to get a bit depressing). I didn't even realized how tired, or hungry, I was until we got back in the car and started to head home. After much deliberating we decided to stop in Charlevoix for dinner at the Bridge Street Tap Room. My dad and brother had seen the restaurant mentioned in a local magazine and it looked like a cool place to try while we were passing through. I ordered a pumpkin chai beer (which was excellent and subtle) as well as a grilled mac and cheese (which was literally mouthwatering). If you're in the area I would definitely recommend checking it out.

So there ends another great, fun-filled family adventure. I hope you all have days like that with people you love!


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