Michigan Roadtrip 2018
Another adventure but this time with the family!
When the kids were younger everyone hung out together everyday so doing a vacation together involved a lot of annoying each other. Now vacations look a little different! It’s almost like getting to know one another again. I am so very proud of each of my children they are all on different paths but WOW how they have changed! This blog post isn’t about their lives today and while it is fun to talk about them, I am dedicating this post about our adventure.
We started our trip by piling into our Suburban. On this road trip there were 7 of us and we couldn’t possibly fit another person in there if we wanted to. Having a 5 month old baby on a trip requires lots of extras. (On a side note our family has gotten so big that if we actually took our whole family on an adventure it would fill up 2 Suburbans. I am proud of that❤️) Our destinations for this trip were Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan and Mackinaw Island, Michigan. I had never been to Dearborn but I have been to Mackinaw Island 3 times.
The distance from St Louis MO to Dearborn MI is 544 miles so roughly 8 hours of driving. The drive was pretty uneventful. Driving through this part of the country there are no mountains and it’s pretty much flat farmland. We have this game we play on every road trip. We count how many white horses and oil pumpers we see on the whole trip. I started it when I was young and my Mom was a truck driver. Well we didn’t see one white horse and saw 9 oil pumpers. It is so cute hearing Sophia yell out “There is one Mam - ma” We also played, “I went to the store and bought”... and UNO to pass the time. There were lots of laughs and talking and of course the occasional fight. You wouldn’t be a family without them. We arrived in Dearborn MI at 5pm. Our first thing on the agenda was swimming in the hotel pool. Then a huge group showed up and we decided to explore Detroit and go see the original Model T assembly plant. The Ford Pickett’s Avenue Plant is located in an old neighborhood with a lot of rundown old car manufacturing buildings. We got there to late to go inside. But there are guided tours Wednesday - Sunday 10-4
Dearborn, MI is the car manufacturing center of the world. I am sure there are lots of things to do here but we came to see Greenfield Village. Greenfield Village was owned by Henry Ford. The cost to get in is 28$ for adults and 21$ for a child. Since my guy is a car guy and he likes anything that has to do with them he was interested in going here. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought that we were going to be going to an old car museum where we would see how the first perfected assembly line worked. I was completely wrong. Yes there were Model T cars riding around the village but that was the only car related thing in the whole place.
Henry Ford was a collector. He wanted to create a place where you could go and see history in one place and Greenfield Village was his escape from cars and his life. The Wright Brothers family home and workshop where they made the first airplane were here and while it was neat to see I have been to Dayton, OH where the workshop would have been and in my opinion I would have been happier to see it there. Thomas Edison’s workshops were moved from Menlo Park, NJ and brought here. He moved his own family home where he grew up, school house where he carved his name in a desk was there as well as other houses from history. There were people dressed up like people were from the turn of the century. They were playing games like Baseball and Bat Mitting there were Printing, Pottery and Candle making shops and there was even a train roundhouse brought over from Detroit MI and a Steam Train that rode around the property. We ate lunch in a cafeteria style restaurant the food was designed to be food from the early 1900’s my thoughts on the food was that it wasn’t that great but they tried... Mandi and the kids rode in a Model T then it was time to leave and head to Mackinaw Island. My opinion is if you like historical buildings and seeing history reinactions you should visit this place. But if you are going to see the history of Ford cars you will be highly disappointed.
The distance between Dearborn MI and Mackinaw Island is roughly 300 miles and takes about 5 hrs 30 minutes. We arrived in Mackinaw City around 6:30pm. You have to take a Ferry from either Mackinaw City MI or from St Ignes MI. The cities are located next to the Canadian border and the Island is surrounded by Lake Heron.
The ferry ride is 24$ per adult and 13$ for per child. It is approximately 30 miles from Mackinaw City and takes about 45 minutes. The Island is a State Park and there is no vehicles besides one ambulance. You can bring your own bicycles but you have to buy a permit and pay extra for the ferry to bring them over. We have brought our bicycles in the past but decided to just rent them this time. To rent a bike it runs about 9$ an hour or you can pay 32$ for 4 hours/half day or 58$ for 8-24 hours/full day.
We have stayed at many places on the Island. There is the Grand Hotel which has been a vacation spot since 1887 or Mission Point was built in 1954. These hotels are dedicated to keeping everything like it was years ago. Which is beautiful and takes you back in time. But I definitely like modern amenities if I’m not backpacking or camping❤️ Our favorite place is the Bicycle Inn which was built about 7 years ago. To stay on the island isn’t cheap expect to spend around 350$+ a night.
There is so much to do. As I said before the Island is a State Park and the middle is a forest. There is hiking, biking, horseback riding, paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking and snorkeling. I found that the water was to cold but the girls had no problem swimming almost the whole time we were there. The water is so clear you can see all the way to the bottom. But the beaches are rocky with not a lot of sand. I would recommend bringing water shoes.
Food is a problem and very expensive. Imagine having to boat everything to a place then everything has to be transported from the boat by horse and carriage to the restaurant. By the time the food gets to you it has already had so many hands in the pot that the price is tripled. I recommend bringing a cooler and eating as many meals as you can especially if you have a lot of people.
The first thing we did on the Island was Bicycle riding. There is a paved path that goes all the way around the island it’s about 8.2 miles. The path is fairly flat with only a few hills. If you would like more hills just cut through the middle of the island toward skull rock and the cemetery. But for this trip with Gillian just having hip surgery we decided to be nice to her. We stopped and the girls did lots of swimming. My favorite part of the island is the far right corner the water is smooth and clear. We burned up most of the day playing around the island.
The second activity we did was the Fort. We have been there many times but the view from the Fort in my opinion is unlike anywhere else on the Island. So if your not interested in an early 1800 Fort you get a beautiful view instead. The Fort is very interesting and has lots of history.
The third activity was hiking to Arch Rock. We started our hike at the base of the fort then headed up the hill to Mackinac Island State Park. The trails are well maintained and well used. At the beginning of the hike there were lots of people but the more dense the woods the less people we saw. Once we got deep into the woods we really didn’t run into anyone until we got close to arch rock. There is a paved path near there that a horse and buggy can take you to for those people that don’t want to hike or can’t make it there. The view is very beautiful but very touristy. The island traffic dies down around 7 pm. I recommend going when the day tourists have headed back to the main land.
The fourth activity we did was horseback riding. We chose Cindy’s Stables and weren’t disappointed at all. This was my first time trail riding and I am hooked. You have a choice of having a guide stay with you or going of on your own and riding by yourself. Because it has been years since I have been on a horse we chose to stick with a guide. She was informative and very knowledgeable about the horses and the area. Just like the rest of the island as soon as you get away from populated areas you are left alone with yourself and nature. I highly recommend doing this while on the island.
The fifth and final adventure we had was kayaking on Lake Heron at sunset. Geoff and Geoffrey wanted nothing to do with this so the boys stayed on the Island. There is something about sitting out on a small craft in a vast place to make you feel so small in a great big world.
All in all the trip was wonderful. I am so blessed to have a family to share experiences with and I can’t wait for the next adventure.