Mackinac Bridge Museum in Mackinaw City


6-24-16  –  Day 4 of BIG Michigan Trip

 

Mackinac Bridge Museum

Bridge Museum plaque on building

Mackinaw Bridge Museum display

Our day in Mackinaw City would not be complete without a visit to the Mackinaw Bridge Museum to learn more about this important connection between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan.  It is open spring through fall, closes in winter.  Residents and visitors alike love their bridge and are not shy about showing it.  Our first view of the bridge as we approached Mackinaw City sparked the same reaction in us.  The bridge celebrates its 60th birthday in 2017.

First view of Mackinac Bridge text hearts

The agency charged with the upkeep of the bridge and safety of people crossing is the Mackinac Bridge Authority.  They have offices in both St. Ignace and Mackinaw City.

There is a $4.00 toll payable on the St. Ignace side, which helps pay for maintenance and professional drivers. They drive people across the bridge in bad conditions or if you have a fear of bridges.  Tune your radio to 530 or 1610 AM to hear a broadcast on bridge conditions.  If there are good conditions, you hear a welcoming message to the Upper Peninsula (U.P.).

Enjoy this view of the bridge from  Michilimackinac State Park and hear the broadcast, a 4 min-33 sec. looped message.  A bonus, the freighter Joseph L. Block  goes under the bridge!

This bridge is beautiful, day and night.

Mackinac Bridge from Gary Williams Memorial Park in Mackinaw City

Let’s go inside now and take a look at the exhibits.  On the ceiling are hard hats worn by the iron workers.

Museum Room with hard hats

Five men died in the building of this bridge and their sacrifice will be honored for all time. May they rest in peace.

Mackinac Bridge fatalities

Some of the other exhibits in the room.

Ironworkers Walk of Fame sign

Spuinning Wheel that pulled the wire across the spans of Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge Museum Exhibit Room

It looks like Santa has another job when he is not delivering gifts.

Ironworker Santa

The museum also had a theater showing a documentary about the Mackinac bridge, a different film was on a TV in the other room.

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It turns out both films were for sale, get both for $30 downstairs at Mama Mia’s order counter to watch at home.

Mac Bridge videos at Mackinac Bridge Museum

We highly recommend coming here to learn more about the Mighty Mac.  Admission is free but donations are encouraged or buy a souvenir.

Mackinaw City- Gateway to the Upper Peninsula and Mackinac Island


6-22, 23 and 24 – 2016

Mackinaw City sign-Mark Beaudry text

Mackinaw City Historical marker

On Day 2 of our trip, we headed to Mackinaw City to catch the Arnold ferry to Mackinac Island.  Our first view of the Mackinac Bridge really built up our excitement!  Residents and visitors alike LOVE their bridge and are not shy about showing it.  The Mackinac Bridge Authority, located in both Mackinaw City and St. Ignace, takes care of the bridge and the many people crossing it every day.  There is a $4.00 toll payable on the St. Ignace side, which helps pay for maintenance and professional drivers. They drive people across the bridge in bad conditions or if you have a fear of bridges.  Tune your radio to 530 or 1610 AM to hear a broadcast on bridge conditions.  If there are good conditions, you hear a welcoming message to the Upper Peninsula (U.P.).

First view of Mackinac Bridge text hearts

Enjoy this view of the bridge from  Michilimackinac State Park and hear the broadcast, a 4 min-33 sec. looped message.  A bonus, the freighter Joseph L. Block  goes under the bridge!

Michilimackinac State Park map

Michilimackinac State Park

Old Mackinac Point Light House is also at this park, admission charged if you go in, except if you just want to visit the gift shop.

Old Mackinac Point Light House marker

Old Mackinac Point Light House sign

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

Dinner at Hunt’s Mackinaw Pasty and Cookie Co., right across the street from our hotel on the 23rd. Delicious!

Hunt's Mackinaw Pastie and Cookie Co.

The next day dawned with a beautiful sunrise outside of our hotel, the Super 8 Beachfront.  After breakfast there we began our day of fun!

Super 8 Beachfront hotel in Mackinac City

Mackinaw City sunrise 6-24-16

Our first attraction was the Mackinaw Bridge Museum downtown, they opened at 8 AM.  This museum is quite large, you need at least an hour to explore it. Two videos are playing, showing the building of the bridge.  You can buy them both together for $30 for a great souvenir. Having a meal at Mama Mia’s Pizza sounds like a good pairing with a visit here too!

Mackinac Bridge Museum

Mackinaw Bridge Museum display

This museum is located in Mackinaw City’s main shopping district. To us it resembled Broadway Street in the Wisconsin Dells.  In the center of it all is Mackinaw Crossings. There you will also find their historic train depot, now a restaurant.

Mackinaw Crossings Shopping Center

Mackinaw City has a great many historical markers, more than we had time to see.  Some of them are interactive, there are audio clips to go with each marker.  It is part of the Mackinaw City Historical Pathway.  This is what the signs look like.

Mackinaw City Historical Pathway sign

From here we headed to McGulpin Point Lighthouse.   We even got to go up into the light part. It is open until Nov. 1.

McGulpin Point sign

McGulpin Point Light House in Mackinaw City

McGulpin Light House light

From the shore you could see the distant St. Helena Island lighthouse.

St. Helena Island Lighthouse in Michigan

If you like stargazing, the Headlands International Dark Sky Park is in nearby Emmett County.  We went in the daytime, it is open 24/7.

Headlands sign

We walked on the trail to the shore, from here you could see the new telescope building going up. It should be done by next summer!  This is where you look at the blackest sky possible.  If you wish to do some stargazing in your area, use this light pollution map as a guide.

Headlands Telescope building in Mackinaw City

It was lunch time, we headed to one of the city’s favorite places, Darrow’s Family Restaurant.  The Darrow family also were the Mackinac Bridge builders as well. It was pretty busy!

Darrow's Family Restaurant in Mackinaw City

We also paid a visit to Wawatam Park, named after a brave Indian Chief who lived in this area.  You can see Mackinac Island in the background behind the wood carving of the Chief. There is also a historical pathways sign here.

Wawatam Park in Mackinaw City

Wawatam Park Historical Pathways sign

We also went to the Gary R. Williams Memorial Park, where we got day and night pictures of the Mackinac Bridge.  A freighter passed under the bridge at night while we were there.

Mackinac Bridge from Gary Williams Memorial Park in Mackinaw City

Night freighter

We also enjoyed visiting the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum, a retired Coast Guard Ship.  What a great tour and view from the deck!  This was the last attraction we visited that day.

Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum in Mackinaw City

Two freighters passing in front of Mackinac Island!

Freighters passing each other

We finished our day with dinner at the Dixie Saloon, located at the endpoint of the famous Dixie Highway.  It follows most of the outline of Michigan. I have been near the beginning of this highway when I lived in Illinois. It passes through Chicago Heights.   The restaurant does not have free wi-fi, but you can pick up a signal from the nearby Shepler’s Ferry.

Dixie Saloon in Mackinaw City

Shepler's Ferry in Mackinac City

This rounds out our only full day in Mackinaw City. We had views of other attractions  we may get to on a future visit.

Mackinaw Parasailing

We saw great views of this from the shore, looks like fun!

Mackinaw Parasailing

Parasailing and Mac island

Colonial Michilimackinac

See what life was like in the fort in the 1700-1800’s, complete with cannons and muskets.  It is still an active archeological site too.

Colonial Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City

Heritage Village

Heritage Village in Mackinaw City

It was an enjoyable stay in Mackinaw City, we hope to go back again soon!

Manistee – The Victorian Port City


6-20-16

Manistee The Victorian Port City sign

Manistee is a city of 6,226 and is the county seat of Manistee County.  We only a saw a little since we were just staying overnight here before going to Mackinaw City the next morning.  It’s 25 minutes from Ludington and is of course, another port city.  The sun was getting low since it was after 7:30 PM by this point. We did want to see the light house so we went to First Street Beach. Unfortunately, it was under wraps for some restoration work.

Manistee light house

There was still plenty to see here, this is a beautiful park and even has a walking path that we saw many people using this evening.

Manistee Riverwalk sign

There is also a beautiful marina here called Harbor Village and a Coast Guard station is located here as well.

First Street Beach marina marker

Manistee First Street Beach marina

Manistee Coast Guard Station

On display to the right of the buildings.

Coast Guard boat in Manistee

Also a Lions Club concession stand and pavilion, complete with lion.

Manistee Lions Pavillion

On the other side of the pavilion is a ship propeller and plaque.  It was from the S.S. Glen.  When I was walking around I saw Al looking at them, he appeared to be saluting. He actually was trying to block the setting sun while reading the plaque.

Al in silouhette in Manistee

Manistee Ship Propeller display

S.S. Glen plaque on rock in Manistee

We were getting hungry and asked some passing walkers what would be a good place for dinner.  Without hesitation they said T.J.’s Pub in the historic Ramsdell Inn downtown.  Now I see how it got it’s slogan, “Victorian Port City”.

Downtown Manistee

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And here we are!  What a beautiful building at the heart of downtown!

Ramsdell Inn and T.J.'s Pub in Manistee

Ramsdell Inn corner view

T.J.'s Pub outside in Manistee

A few steps down and you are in!  We had a great dinner in a relaxing setting at the end of the day. This crystal decanter reflected the light in the room beautifully.  The french dip and chips hit the spot too.

T.J.'s Pub crystal decanter in Manistee

French Dip at T.J.'s

What a great dinner, it was time to go to our hotel, Microtel not not far from here.

Microtel in Manistee

On the way we saw the S.S. City of Milwaukee ship and Coast Guard Cutter.  Both retired ships  are museums now.

City of Milwaukee ship in Manistee

Our stay here was short but we are glad we came!