After the wedding was over, we took off on our “familymoon”. Rather than take a honeymoon, the newlyweds opted to take their entire family on vacation with them. This worked out really well, because each set of kids had never really met the other, so this provided us a chance to get to know each other.
The kids were surprisingly good on the way up. It was a long drive, but it was no problem. They slept, played, ate, and didn’t scream too much. What more could you ask for?
Now obviously the thing about Mackinac Island is that there are no cars allowed. This means you spend a lot of time riding your bike. Before we left, Sara ran into someone at the park who happened to have one of those bike trailers that you attach to your bike to pull your kids. They let us borrow it, which was totally awesome, because we don’t really know them, and the trailers cost $40 a day to rent on the island!
So we did a lot of bike riding around the island. I calculated that pulled that trailer around for about 23 miles. When you’re riding on a flat path, such as around the outside of the island, you don’t notice it much. But when you’re going up an enormous hill, such as anywhere other than around the outside of the island, it feels like you are towing a giant anchor.
It was fun getting to know everybody. In particular, Evie just absolutely loved her new friend Makenna. Evie always has fun hanging out with slightly older girls. Makenna, on the other hand, just absolutely loved her new friend Oliver. This set up a sort of a rivalry between the two of them. All of a sudden, Evie was very keen that Oliver understand he was HER sister. This worked out semi-well for Oliver. Suddenly everybody wanted to share their food with him, take him for walks, etc. On the other hand, they also wanted to pick him up by the neck and smother him to death.
We did about everything we possibly could have done in the 4 days we were there. We hit up Fort Mackinac, the ORIGINAL butterfly house (twice actually), took a horse-drawn carriage tour, and toured the Governor’s mansion. The Governor’s mansion was free, but sort of lame. You only go through about 3 rooms, and you don’t really see much. We went early and there was no line, but by the time we left the line was pretty long. It probably wouldn’t have been worth waiting in the line. Evie worked really, really hard to sit still and get a butterfly to land on her at the butterfly house, and it paid off. We went to a free museum run by city residents (the name escapes me) which was actually kind of cool. The lady there lived on the island all her life and she was happy to talk about the history of the island. The place was pretty empty, but I would recommend that one.
One of the things that I thought worked really well was that everybody came together to eat dinner every night. This was one of my favorite parts of the day, and really the only time we were all together. I think that if we didn’t plan that out ahead of time, probably we never would have all gotten together as a group.
The food overall was sort of meh. It was expensive, but only average. I would say the best place by far was the Yankee Rebel; I think I had the best pot roast of my life. Oliver tried his first ice cream cone, and, needless to say, he liked it. I mean, first off, he likes all food. Second off, it’s ice cream!
We also took a ghost tour, and I have to say, this was one of my favorite parts of the trip. In general I like that sort of thing, but it was fun to go with family and everything. It wasn’t really scary, per say, but it was a lot of fun. Especially since some of the best ghosts were centered on the place where we were staying, or places we have stayed before.
This time, we were staying at Mission Point Resort. While our room was sort of perfect (bedroom on one side and sitting room on the other, which meant that we had a separate place to go and play cards after the kids were in bed), I wouldn’t recommend staying there. In addition to some customer service issues that we had, it is also really far away from downtown. I felt like we spent a lot of time walking back and forth to the hotel. Several times I thought, “Oh man, I forgot my jacket! Oh well, it’s too far to go back.”
Obviously we had to get fudge since we were at the fudge capitol of the world. I have to say, the fudge was sort of a letdown! Perhaps my tastes are changing as I get older, or maybe we didn’t go to the right fudge shop (there are only 1,000 to choose from), but I think I like the fudge that Sara makes better than what we bought. It was more sweet than flavorful (specifically the chocolate wasn’t all that chocolate-y), and it was creamier in the center than I like. Don’t get me wrong though, we polished off that fudge no problem!
I always like to play the “high/low” game with Evie, where I ask her what her favorite and least favorite parts of the day/trip/what-have-you were. One day I asked her about this, and she told me her “worst favorite” part of the day was, “when daddy called the pirates soldiers” and her “best favorite” part was, “the pirates”. It took me a while to figure out what she was talking about, but then I eventually figured out that there were some animatronic soldiers at Fort Mackinac, and she apparently thought they were pirates. (In her defense, they were dressed sort of fancy, like pirates, and also it would have been a lot cooler if they were pirates.) This stuck with her so much, that she said me calling the pirates soldiers was her “worst favorite” part of the trip!
Of course, Evie being Evie, her other favorite part of the trip was seeing Skull Cave (too bad they don’t have any guillotines on the island). Her sitting next to the sign was the picture she wanted to take to school and show everybody when we got back. Apparently she even told them the whole story about the guy hiding in there and finding all the bones. Ah, kids will be kids!
So, all in all, this was a great trip and we had a really good time. I wish we could have spent even longer on the island (and we even stayed one day longer than we intended to!). To all my “new siblings” (should any of you read this now that we are Facebook friends), you’re a really nice bunch of people and we enjoyed getting to know you. Evie is already making plans to fly to Colorado for a play date.
One thing I should mention is that we really missed having Nathan on the island with us. I’m sure he was bummed about not being able to go, but we definitely felt your absence bro. You would have really completed the trip.