We happen to be in Michigan hanging out with Theresa's family at a lake house. Today, we're all headed to nearby Mackinac Island!
Taking the ferry to get to the island.
Ian likes hanging out with the boys.
There's a couple ferry companies that will get you there. The one we're on takes 45 minutes, but it's cheap. There's another one that'll get you there in half the time, but it costs twice as much!
I liked how whenever we hit some good waves, the spray would catch the sunlight and create a rainbow.
We're here! One unique trait of this island is that all motorized vehicles (with a couple exceptions for emergency vehicles) have been banned since 1898! To get around you can either walk, bike, or use horses.
This almost reminds me of Main Street at Disneyland.
We're having a very special birthday lunch celebration at The Inn at Stonecliffe. It's nearly 2 miles away, and we've got a rather large crowd. Best way to get there? Horse-drawn taxi!
Which happens to hold all 14 of us!
Here we are at the beautiful Inn at Stonecliffe.
The back of the inn opens to a large open field.
Perfect for taking a few family pictures.
Don and Amy
Ian also got to run around with the boys, hopping and rolling down the small hills.
She's really enjoying pulling up and standing. She's going to be walking before we know it.
Rita and Donald were trying to make my birthday lunch an extra special one. They made reservations for the entire group to eat out on the porch. It was a beautiful setting. They told me how the menus they'd seen online had all sorts of amazing foods, and we were going to sample lots of them!
On the menu for Stonecliff Inn, there was a pork belly sandwich, jalapeño mac and cheese, a smokehouse beef dip, and even burgers made from either elk, boar, or lamb! Yum!
So imagine our surprise when we all sat down and were handed this as a menu.
Yep. That's the whole menu. Entrees consists of 2 sandwiches. Where's the burgers and everything else?
Well see how this menu says The Inn at Stonecliffe. If you do a google search for Inn Stonecliffe menu, it'll take you to the Stonecliff Inn in Oregon's website which has all that delicious food. Not the Inn at Stonecliffe.
Well that's a little bit of a bummer, but you know what. The weather's nice, the setting is beautiful, and we're all having a fun time hanging out with each other. It's going to be fun either way.
And speaking of fun... Alli, have you ever tried a lemon?
Now she has! After the initial shock though, she kept going back in for more bites. Guess she likes them.
After lunch, we explored the grounds. There was a short hike you could take to overlook Lake Huron.
And there was even a single lane bowling alley with pins that needed to be set up manually.
Our next stop would be the Grand Hotel, one of the landmarks of the island. First, we had to call a taxi.
And there's our taxi now.
These horses work hard, doing 8 hour shifts. But the drivers work even harder, doing 16 hour shifts!
Just enough room for the 14 of us.
The houses we passed along the way were beautiful.
And here's the Grand Hotel. It has made some lists as "One of the Top 100 Hotels in the world" and other lavish praise. A night in the cheapest room here will set you back $672 on a weekend, not counting an additional 27% tax.
It sure looks nice though. Just to explore the hotel interior is $10 per adult, but the gardens are open to everyone. That's where our group went.
And there, we found lawn bowling set up for anyone to play!
Referee Ian making sure everyone stays in bounds.
And taking a turn himself at tossing the ball.
Alli getting into it too.
Free snow cones? Yes, please!
Oh the minds of children. Ian was trying to understand why the horses got to poop outside. "There's poop right there!" Yes Ian. "There's more poop over there!" Yes Ian.
One of the other things Mackinac Island is known for are the many fudge shops. I'm sure we passed 3-4 just on our short walk.
It was nearing dinner time, and it was time to make a decision about where to eat. On the island or off. After looking at our options and what was nearby on the way home, we chose off the island. Back to the ferry!
Share some of that fudge with me Aunt Rita.
The Alanson Depot Restaurant occupies the former Alanson Railroad Depot, after after looking at their menu, they had lots of delicious option for everyone.
From a fantastic loaded mac and cheese with bacon and crispy breadcrumbs, to a slow roasted beef dip that Alli loved so much we asked our server to bring a plate of just the beef for her. There was an all-you-can-eat fish fry that many people at the table took advantage of. And there's not many places that can do ribs as well as Lucilles BBQ back home, but the Alanson Depot Restaurant did that too! It was a great dinner and everyone was stuffed.
But... since it's my birthday, you have to order dessert, right?
The Depot Bomb consists of chocolate chip cookies, Reese's peanut butter cups, and brownies all baked together, topped with ice cream, chocolate sauce and caramel sauce. Mmm! We ordered 2 for the table and 14 spoons.
Well it was a pretty awesome day today. Visiting a new place, seeing lots of new things, having some great food, and hanging out with family. Can't ask for too much more on a birthday.