Mackinac Island Grand Hotel

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As Bobby and I were riding the tandem bicycle around Mackinac Island we saw a sign for square dancing that night. Since we had already sampled fudge, walked down Main Street, biked and hiked around the island, we split up. I went to take pictures of the Grand Hotel and the hike around the bluff and Bobby went to practice sketching the views of Mackinac.

So here are some of the photos I took. I mainly played with the fountain outside of the Grand Hotel. The water wasn’t as flowing as the picture portrays so I had to hold the camera very still to open the shutter for a a bit longer to create that effect. It would have been much easier with a tripod but I had left my tripod either in Oregon or in the car back in St. Ignace.

Best Fudge on Mackinac Island

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Mackinac Island has fudge shops everywhere down Main Street. One of my favorite parts is watching them make the fudge on the cold marble slabs. While at lunch Bobby asked me which shop has the best fudge, and I didn’t know! So of course we decided to do an impromptu taste test.

We decided to compare shops based on their plain chocolate fudge with the following criteria: Flavor, Texture and Fudge Makers/Customer Service. So without further ado here are our findings.

Ryba’s
Flavor: Subtle
Texture: Creamy
Fudge Makers: Average
Notes: Ryba’s offers a Dark Chocolate Dairy Free Vegan fudge option which we were happy to sample and we will share our notes on that as well.
DCDFV Flavor: Thick Brownie Batter with Strong Cocoa Flavor
Texture: Runny, not fully set

May’s
Flavor: Subtle initial taste that grows on richness as it sits in your mouth
Texture: Solid Consistency
Fudge Makers: Average

Murdick’s
Flavor: Initially Rich
Texture: Solid/Crusty on the outside, Creamy on the Inside, but too much Sugar Grit
Fudge Makers: Average

Joann’s
Flavor: Very full flavor
Texture: Soft and Creamy yet Solid
Fudge Makers: Excellent
Notes: The knowledgable employees who make the fudge were very pleasant and offered fresh samples from the marble slab. In addition to explaining to their customers of all ages what they were doing and why.

Sanders
Flavor: Chocolate flavor falls short and dies off and Too much cocoa after taste
Texture: Dry and Crusty
Fudge Makers: Below Average
Notes: While Sanders has the capability to make fresh fudge, no body was at the time we went to sample. Customer service was also lacking.

Murray Hotel 
Flavor: Very Full Flavor and Pleasant After Taste
Texture: Solid Consistency that Slowly Melts in your Mouth
Fudge Makers: Below Average, Customer Service was average
Notes: The Main St. store (near the park) does not have the marble slabs so no entertainment is even available. If the fudge making process was available to watch, this fudge store would have taken our number 1 slot.

After testing all that fudge we went back to Joann’s and selected three bricks to share with all our family once we made it to Marquette. It was so delicious!!

Mackinac Island State Park

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As part of our road trip we found ourselves once again at Mackinac Island. Mackinac Island has retained its old fashioned charm due to the banning of automobiles. It has only been lifted a handful of times, including the year they filmed the movie, Somewhere In Time, which Kristen forced me to watch every painful moment of it as “proper preparation” for our visit. It was my second time to the quaint old-timey place and Kristen has already become a veteran visitor with at least 5 visits to the island. This time was different though we decided to experience the inland portion of the island and see the places that we had not spent much time at before.

We started off with a hike into the interior of the island. We wandered through the neighborhoods where people actually live and past the horse stables where the transportation was quartered. There were a few fun little trails and parks that we would have never even known were there if it were not for our exploratory jaunt.

The next day we did the traditional bike ride around the island, but on our way out of the touristy town there was a chalkboard in front of the church that was advertising square dancing that night. We made the decision to take the last ferry back to the mainland and stay as long as we could for the dance and live band. We spent about an hour dancing with a handful of retirees that were permanent residents of the island until we couldn’t stay any longer; it was fun to dosey doe with some mature ladies and gentlemen.