Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

Northern Michigan Road Trip: Mackinac Island

Toodling around town checking out the sights

Pronounced “MackiNAW,” this quaint little island that separates not only the upper and lower peninsulas but also Lake Michigan and Lake Huron was the next stop on our way to Marquette for the wedding.  One of the unique things about the island is that motorized vehicles are not allowed, so we left our cars at the dock, and boarded the ferry with just our luggage.  It was the first ferry ride for both Cragbaby and his cousin E, so the whole 20 minutes were filled with enthusiastic pointing and exclamations.

Our accomodations were at the Hotel Iroquois, and it was absolutely phenomenal!  The hotel was right beside the ferry dock, and all the windows in our suite had a stunning view of Lake Huron.  The cousins loved watching all the boats come in, and the parents were happy that none of the ship horns and “all ashore” type announcements kept the little guys from sleeping!

"I'll trade ya this flower for those sunglasses..."

Although there was an abundance of family green hour opportunities on the island, our crew opted for a morning of cycling.  The perimeter of the island is a little over 8 miles around, so including pit stops for photo opps and Cheerio breaks, we were able to leisurely cruise the entire island in just under 2 hours.  After biking, we had just enough time before C’s nap to squeeze in a visit to the Butterfly House, where we quickly realized that C uses the same word for “butterfly” that he’s been using for “bird” (a high-pitched “eeeeeee” sound, always accompanied by a finger pointing in the air).

"Let's get in the water! Who's with me!"


Not relying on motorized vehicles made for lots of interactions with nature on an everyday level.  Both cousins squealed with glee every time they saw the horse-drawn carriage “taxis” delivering people and their baggage to wherever they needed to be.  Each storefront, natural area, and sidewalk corner was littered with a spectacular array of flowers, with some gardens reaching several feet tall.  We had lots of fun watching geese, sea gulls, chipmunks, and even a small mouse darting in and around the maze of flowers in one of the gardens.  And of course no trip to any island is complete with out a dip in the water, no matter how mind-numblingly cold the water might feel!

The magic of butterflies!

Impression #2: The funny thing I noticed about our time on Mackinac Island is that being without a car wasn’t even slightly inconvenient.  Now granted, everything on the island was designed for transportation by horse/foot/bike/etc, and being that we were on vacation, there wasn’t a mile-long list of errands that needed to be checked off on a daily basis.  But it makes me realize that while its not always practical to walk or bike everywhere, taking the extra effort to do so whenever I can not only makes a cumulative difference environmentally, but will also exposes Cragbaby to a more simplistic way of living that will hopefully keep him from getting sucked into a life of materialism later on.


What about you all?  How do you keep your child from an “always needing more” mentality?


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“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN