Harbor Springs and Mackinac Island

By John E. Laycock
Posted to Facebook, Wednesday, July 17, 2019

My brother Bob and husband David are taking a vacation this week at Harbor Springs on Little Traverse Bay. There’s a family connection to this town. It was here that my paternal grandparents ran a resort hotel, the Roaring Brook Inn, during the late 1930s and early 1940s. This visit is primarily to get away from the Cleveland rat race. The guys were kind enough to invite me to share their cottage for a couple days.

Yesterday (Tuesday) David, Bob and I took a day trip to Mackinac Island. It was their first visit and I tried to show them the highlights. David had researched lunch at the Grand Hotel, but found that the tab would greatly reduce the national debt. Instead we looked at a couple stores, had pizza for lunch, and then took a carriage tour of the interior of the Island. This included the Butterfly Garden. The Garden is quite fascinating. As we are very much a part of their world, the butterflies have no fear of humans — one hung out on my shoe for a few minutes, and others landed in visitors’ hair. They live 7-10 days, and the Garden get a new shipment of butterflies every ten days or so. The variety of butterflies is quite amazing.

We are in the height of the tourist season at Mackinac, so the streets at the harbor were crowded with a milling mob of visitors spending their hard-earned cash, as the local businessfolk want them to. It was pleasant, then, to visit the less crowded “outback” and listen to the carriage drivers pour forth an endless stream of bad jokes.

Customer service note: Shepler’s Ferry now has remote parking lots where you can drop your car and take a shuttle to the doorstep of the ticket office. On your return the shuttle drops you at your lot a short walk from your car. How well I remember the days when I would wander a muddy car park in pouring rain as I tried to remember where I had parked my vehicle! This is a real step up.

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Our Shepler’s Ferry docked at Mackinac Island.
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Bob (left) and David on the dock after our arrival.
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High Noon on the Island’s commercial strip.
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Getting lunch.
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The Grand Hotel. Rooms, I was told, are about $750 per night. Super 8 on steroids.
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At the Butterfly Garden.
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One of the Garden’s residents.
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The “eyes” may be a way to ward off predators.
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Photographing butterflies.
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Enjoying the flying butterflies — with David Lansaw and Bob Laycock.
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Arch Rock, looking down at the state highway from which cars are banned.
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At Arch Rock.
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Walking back to the business district.
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Walking back to the business district.
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Making the turn onto Market St.
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Back at the cottage, which has a long stairway linking the car park and the building.

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