Mackinac Island and Year 3 Here We Come!

Our route for the fall of 2019 through the spring of 2020. Each leg represented by a different color. Starting out from Minnesota in the middle of September, down to Orlando by middle of October, the Miami area in November and back up to Orlando for a few months. We will be heading North out of Florida March 1, 2020.

It is hard to believe that we sold the house over two years ago now in the fall of 2017.  We set out now for our third winter enjoying the warmth of Florida and other areas south of Wisconsin.  We left from Minnesota in the middle of September for the Upper Peninsula of Lake Michigan and planned to make our way down through central Michigan on our way to Nashville and ultimately to Florida.  Of course, we have already modified that plan because of circumstances that demand flexibility.

We headed out to the U.P. of Michigan so that we could ultimately meet up with a Jeep friend on Drummond Island, but unfortunately, his Jeep was held hostage by his mechanic.  So we made the best of it and headed to his homestead in Central Michigan to spend valuable time with him at home.  We “moochdocked” for a few days at his place, which was a great way to get caught up. While wheeling on the island would have been fun, the Jeep life is just a way to spend time together while doing so.

Since we were ahead of schedule on our way south through Michigan, we caught a Thousand Trails Collection reservation at the Elkhart area in Indiana and will spend some time here now.

Escanaba, Michigan

On the lower side of the U.P. on the Northern shore of Lake Michigan is Escanaba, the home of a great little comfort bakery and restaurant called the Swedish Pantry.

If you are headed East or West across the U.P. of Michigan there is either the “high” or the “low” road across the U.P.  to choose.  We prefer to take the lower route over the top of Lake Michigan because of Escanaba and most specifically a chance to stop at the Swedish Pantry restaurant and bakery.  Huge cinnamon rolls and silky smooth Swedish pancakes with Swedish meatballs complementing on the side.  Of course, a splash of the clarified butter, maple syrup, and some tart lingonberries jam makes it all come together.

Swedish pancakes and Swedish meatballs from the Sweedish bakery in Escanaba, Michigan

After fueling up on the Northside of town on Highway 2, we continued on across the U.P.  The total time from Minnesota over to the East end of the U.P. is about 10 to 12 hours depending on the number of stops.

St. Ignace, Michigan & Mackinac Island

Site 2 at Tiki RV Park in St. Ignace, Michigan

We stayed a the Tiki RV Park in St. Ignace on the North Side of the Mighty Mac bridge. St. Ignace is the Northern launching point to Mackinac Island and puts you in easy access to Ste. Sant Mare just over an hour North.  Tiki RV Park provides a steep discount to Escapees members, but you have to pay in cash to get that discount.

The cold plate from the Grand Hotel Lunch on Mackinac Island. The buffet has many different cold items you may or may not be able to identify. Nothing better than meat sealed in Jello!

After we were last on Mackinac Island in 2017, we return to do something new for once. We made our way over on the Shephler’s Fiery and headed up to the Grand Hotel to have lunch. We had lunch in the “Main Dining Room” of the Grand Hotel.  You need to have $10 / person cash to even walk onto the property up to the front of the hotel.

Much of the island is incorporated into the Mackinac Island State Park, which helps to preserve the historical influence that is maintained today.


Lunch service at the Grand Hotel, before getting reprimanded for butter mismanagement.

The hotel will “credit” this against your lunch bill.  The cold hors d’oeuvres sort of food was pretty good, the hot items nothing amazing.  The lunch service doesn’t have much for dress code or manners needed. However, Barb did get a reprimand by the head waiter for putting her butter pat on the edge of your coffee cup saucer!  What was she thinking?  He brought over a plate for her butter pat and politely asked her to move it and he replaced the dirty coffee cup and saucer.

Post lunch, we enjoyed the view from the “longest porch in the world” overlooking the lake. From there it is a pleasant walk up and over past the summer home of the Michigan governor, back down to the downtown touristy area.  This time of the year you need to watch the ferry schedules as the last one back to the mainland was at 6PM, no time for dinner on the island.

Sitting for a spell on the front porch of Mackinac Island’s iconic Grand Hotel overlooking Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.
Of course Amazon Prime is delivering on the Mackinac Island via horse-drawn drayage!

Dinner in St. Ignace is well served at the B.C Pizza, which is a local pizza chain, right along the “main drag” downtown.  They have an amazing Pizza Margherita “with fresh sliced red ripe Roma Tomatoes & fresh leaf Basil atop a bed of melted Mozzarella – on our famous Classic pizza crust & Red Sauce.”