Vacationing in Mackinac Island: Horses, Vegan Fudge and Ferries….Oh My!
Mackinac Island in Michigan is a great respite from your every day life with its old school charm and was a great weekend getaway for myself, my boyfriend and my best friend and her boyfriend (recently fiance!). Who doesn’t love walking out of their hotel and seeing horse-drawn carriages, the sunrise on Lake Huron and all the fudge they can eat! There are no cars or motorcycles on the island so you can easily get in a lot of exercise just walking or biking around the island, but you can always get a quick ride on a horse and buggy if you’re feeling lazy or wearing heels! Vacationing in Mackinac Island is a no-brainer if you’re looking for some relaxation and a fun time!
We got to the ferry around 7ish and took a nice, but chilly ride over to the island. Ferry or boat is the only way to get to the island. Once we were there we checked into our adorable accommodations, Island House Hotel. The whole hotel was just so cute and had a great feel to it. Not to mention they had a pool, hot tub, two attached restaurants, live music and two bonfire areas that we spent both our evenings at just talking and enjoying the fire’s warmth. I would definitely stay here again. I think I was most surprised that the hotel actually used keys and not cards. I can’t remember ever staying at a hotel that does that!
We were starving by then so we decided to go grab a quick bite to eat and just walk the island enjoying the sights before settling down for the night in front of the bonfire.
We were pretty tired after our 7 hour drive and ferry ride over and wanted to get an early start to the day the next morning so we ended up knocking out at around midnight. The next morning, my best friend, Colleen and I, got up before the boys to grab some Starbucks. The Starbucks there was literally the only modern establishment on the island. We grabbed our drinks and took a walk down the main street to window shop and see all the houses. All the little boutiques were so cute and had so many cute trinkets I had to stop myself from buying up the whole island! They had super cute coasters, tons of journals and cutesy planners and a ton of knick knacks to make your own house look rustic and adorable. Once we got past all the shops the cute hotels and houses start up. I wonder if the island has a housing code for how you have to keep your lawns and exterior of your houses because each house/hotel had gorgeous greenery, flowers and were painted with bright, lovely shades of paint.
We roused the boys and they came down to meet us so that we could walk over to the horseback riding stable, Cindy’s Riding Stable. They don’t take reservations so we got there as early as we could and were allotted with an 11:00 AM time-slot after filling out their questionnaires about our experience and comfortability levels with horseback riding. I went riding a lot when I was younger and Tyler was familiar as well, but Colleen and Brendan hadn’t been before in a long time. We went shopping while we waited for our time-slot which is one of my favorite past times so the time just flew past. Soon we were off and riding! You can request a guide or you can go off on your own. Since Tyler and I were fairly experienced we decided we could handle going out alone. So we just followed the guide with everyone else out to the trails and then went our own way. It was gorgeous and I love exploring nature on horseback. Semolina was more horse and was supposed to be the leader of the pack, but I could very rarely get her to trot or canter so we ended up putting Tyler’s horse Slim in the front and he definitely got us moving. It felt so good to be with horses again. They are just such magical beasts. If you’re ever out on Mackinac Island I can’t suggest enough going horseback riding and enjoying the inside of the island on horseback. Colleen and Brendan did a great job even though I know they were a little nervous when we picked up speed!
After horseback riding we had worked up an appetite so we headed over to the Seabiscuit Cafe for some delicious grub. I just got a burger and ate that and the fries since I’m gluten-free and the options for that were limited here. Plus, I was saving up my appetite for the Pink Pony which we were eating at that evening! After we chowed down we went off in search of a frisbee golf area that Brendan had looked up online before the trip. I’d never played before so I was super jazzed to try it out. We walked up a very steep hill and for about another 20 minutes before locating Turtle Park, but we did it! The park was super cute and despite the playground and walking area it was still pretty secluded. We horsed around for a bit on the playground and then got down to business.
Brendan explained the difference between the different kind of frisbees and which were used for which length you are from the bucket. Your score is added up the same way as golf, so the smaller your score the better. There were little rocks in the ground showing us where we were supposed to start for each bucket and off we went. I didn’t do too badly and, unlike the boys, none of my throws ever ended up in the trees. It was relaxing, but still took some physical effort and I found it much more enjoyable than actual golf. 10/10 would play again and already am looking to schedule a play date with my friends again!
Everyone was ready for some relaxation so we stopped at Sadie’s on the way back to the hotel so everyone could grab some ice cream. I was still full from lunch and I can’t eat ice cream sadly so I passed on that one, but everything looked delicious! Then we headed back to the hotel to get our swimsuits on to enjoy the pool and hot tub, mostly hot tub for me since the pool was a tad chilly. The hot tub felt super nice after the horseback riding and frisbee golf.
After the pool we all showered and got ready for a fancy dinner at Pink Pony. They don’t take reservations so we knew we’d have to get there early to get our name on the list. They told us it would be about an hour and a half wait so we got our shopping on. I was super excited to eat at the Pink Pony because it’s rated super highly, had gluten free options and who doesn’t love something pink and pony-themed!? I picked up a cute pair of socks and a mug from their store and Colleen got a really cut canvas water bottle. I collect shot glasses so I was keeping my eyes open for some cute ones and ended up on one that had a horse coming out of it that said “watch where you step in Mackinac Island” and there was a little piece of fake poop in the glass. So gross, but so true! I have about 60+ shot glasses that I’ve picked up from all the places I’ve gone and places my friends have gone. Each one holds a special memory for me and I love them all! I’ve been collecting them since before I could drink.
We also spent a lot of time taking pictures because this island is just so darn beautiful and makes for great picture taking opportunities.
We stayed at the Pink Pony for a long time just listening to the music and enjoy the food and each other’s company. It was so nice to just sit and hear stories about Tyler in college and reminisce about my own college experiences with Colleen. Funnily enough Colleen and I went to college together and Brendan and Tyler went to college together and when everyone came back home after graduating is when we each met our significant others. Love happens when you least expect it! Once we were done there we went and picked up some alcohol from the local market and just drank and chatted in front of the fire. I don’t drink alcohol right now because of my stomach problems so I was super happy when I realized they had kombucha in the little market. Score! We were exhausted so we still ended up going to bed at midnight. I wanted to get up early anyways so that I could take more photos of the island before we headed on our way home.
Tyler and I got up around 8:30 AM, hit up the local Starbucks and meandered around the island taking some gorgeous photos and walked up to The Grand Hotel. If you’re going to Mackinac Island and you have money to burn The Grand Hotel is the place to me. Just look at how gorgeous it is.
Everywhere you walk on the island is just gorgeous and there’s more bikes than you could possibly imagine for rent, including tandem ones!
I hadn’t been to Mackinac Island since I was a youngster and I greatly enjoyed coming back. There’s so much to see and do. If we had another day I would gone on the hiking trails and rented a bike to ride around the island. I remember riding around the island when I was here my first time and how beautiful it was. For anyone travelling gluten-free you’ll be happy to know it’s quite easy to do on this island! Definitely more than we could do in a weekend.We took the ferry at around 11:00 AM after buying a LOT of fudge, which Mackinac Island is known for, and then began our 7 hour journey back home! If you live in the Midwest it makes for a great weekend getaway or if you’re just looking for a relaxing place to visit and vacation this is a great one. The atmosphere is so relaxing. I can imagine famous writers spending a summer here as they write their latest bestseller on a porch overlooking Lake Huron. If you ever have the chance I highly recommend checking out Mackinac Island.