Road Trip to Mackinac Island and the Places We Discovered Along the Way

Hi there!  Well, it is absolutely pouring outside so, today is a good time for me to sit at my computer and finally share my trip to Mackanac Island, Michigan with you.  After going over my photos, I have decided to split this story into two posts.  I hope, hope, hope that I won't bore you to death with my vacation story!  I, honestly, am sharing it with you because my husband and I had such a great time making our semi-cross country trip that I thought I might inspire some of you to take a road trip of your own!

I trust you can see the highlighted red line on the map above marking the route we took to Mackanac.  It was a fifteen to sixteen hour trip all told but, we split the ride to Mackanac into 2 1/2 - 3 days.  We started our trip on a Friday afternoon around 5:00. Tom, my husband, had worked all day so, we had decided to drive only 4 to 4 1/2 hours that night.  So, with bottled waters and our very favorite meatball subs packed in the car, we set off.  The ride worked out well and our first stop was in Utica, New York at a very pleasant and clean Hampton Inn.

The next morning we took off around 9:30 for our next destination, which was Niagara-on-the-Lake in Canada.  I am not really sure where I had heard about this place before but, at some point I decided it would be a good place to visit.  It was on my mini bucket list. Since we arrived in Niagara-on-the-Lake around 1:30 to 2:00 in the afternoon, we needed to find a place for lunch.  We rarely, if ever, miss a meal :)!!  We found a country club that was open to the public that was located on the shore of Lake Ontario.  There was an outdoor patio and this was the view! ↓↓ Lovely, lovely.

We hung out at the country club as long as we could...

took a selfie and headed downtown where we heard there was a Peach Festival.  We were told we shouldn't miss it.  I'm so glad we didn't.  It was one of the happiest festivals I have ever seen.

Along the way to downtown we passed many, many beautiful homes on small, perfectly manicured lots.  Everything was quaint and quite stunning in a somewhat understated way...if that makes sense :).

I guess these are not understated at all!

Finally, we reached the center where we found the main street of the town had been closed off to car traffic. In the street were vendors, bands, dancers, etc.  The whole scene was awesome!

And the flowers were gorgeous!

I wish we had taken photos of the quaint and interesting shops that lined the street.  The bakeries were amazing and although we were extremely full from lunch, we stopped in at every bakery we could find just to smell the delicious aromas.  I wish we had bakeries like that around here!

We made a very big mistake when planning our trip.  We didn't book a room at any of the lovely inns located in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  We are not generally inn people and weren't sure if we would like the experience or not.  We opted out for a Hampton Inn on the American side of Niagara Falls (the Canadian side was booked).  Big, big mistake!!  The inns here were beautiful and the town was so cool.  We wished we hadn't been so cautious and had been more adventurous.

The festival was a lot of fun with bands playing Big Band Era music and people ballroom dancing in the street.  I was amused to find that the musicians were from local colleges and were of the generation you would not have guessed would enjoy Big Band kind of music.  Whether they did or not, I'm not sure but, they certainly sounded terrific!  The many beautiful dogs being walked by their owners were enjoying themselves, as well.

****I wish we had tried the peach cobbler.  It looked and smelled delicious!!

After a few hours, we decided to head back to the US and check into our hotel but, along the way we stopped at Wayne Gretzky's winery.  By the time we arrived, a storm had come in and it was raining pretty hard.  So, we only visited this one winery.  There are many, many wineries in the area and if we ever go back, we'd love to tour more of them.

That night we dined on the American side of the Falls and settled in for the evening.

The following morning we set out for the next leg of our trip.  We were heading towards Bay City, Michigan, where we would spend the night.  We were planning to stop along the way in Frankenmuth, Michigan.  My sister-in-law, Barbara, had told me that there was supposed to be a Bavarian Village worth seeing there.   Plus...there was supposed to be the "World's Largest Christmas Store" in the village, as well.  Tom and I are big Christmas fans and didn't want to miss that!

Bronner's, the Christmas store, did not disappoint.  I am not sure these pictures will due the store justice,  but they give you a feel of what it is like anyway.  It is huge and full of everything Christmas!!!  My only regret is that we didn't visit it in the fall when you are really starting to think "Christmas".  However, once you are in the store for any length of time, you can't help but get the Christmas Spirit.

Bronner's had any kind of decoration, ornament, tree you could imagine.  It is magical and overwhelming all at the same time.

Next it was off to downtown Frankenmuth, the Bavarian Village.  

The village was very cute with little shops and a big Bavarian hotel.

We toured around a little bit but,

we were starting to get tired from our journey and decided to find our hotel in Bay City.  To our delight, the hotel was perched along the side of a waterway.  To be honest, I don't remember what river or stream it was but, the whole scene was very picturesque.  The hotel, a Double Tree, had an outdoor patio restaurant, which was just what we needed after a long day of traveling.  We shared some appetizers, watched the boats go by and strolled along the boardwalk. It was very soothing and relaxing.  Bay City ended up being a good place to stop on our way to Mackinac Island.  It was another nice find along the journey.

In the 2 1/2 to 3 days of traveling we had discovered Niagara-on-the-Lake, Bronner's, Frankenmuth and Bay City.  Not bad for such a short time.  We would go back to any of these places again given the chance.

The next morning we were off to Mackinac Island where we would discover another true vacation gem, a very special place.  Please stay tuned.  Part Two will be all about Mackinac Island :).

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  1. I went to Mackinac Island once when I was a child. I loved it! It is definitely on my bucket list to go again someday! Bronner's sounds amazing too!

  2. Mackinac Island is definitely a bucket list thing! So is Bronner's! I hope you make it to both :).


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