Arnold Transit Company – Fun Ferry Ride to Mackinac Island

6-21 and 22-16 (and May 1971)

For those of you who don’t know, this is not my first time going to Mackinac Island, it was Al’s though. My first time was with my family and grand parents back in 1971, just before I turned 5.  The only reason why I know we took Arnold Transit Co.  ferry over to the island was the pictures my grandfather Norman Braton took of us.  He and Grandma Barbara came with us on the trip  too.  It was a trip down memory lane to go back using the same ferry company. Here are the old pictures of back then. Since my family couldn’t join us, I made a picture where we are all together, this is the island dock. That is no longer an empty patch of grass, Mackinac Cycle is now in this spot.

Tauchens in front of Arnold Building 1971 and 2016

Here I am just before dis-embarking. The seats are still green too!

Mackinac Island 1971 Arnold FerryArnold Ferry green seats

There are three ferry services to take people to the island, the others are Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry and Star Line Hydro-Jet® Ferry.  The other companies focus on the fastest speed to the island, we wanted to take our time and enjoy the sights along the way, and be able to take pictures too. We did see the other two on the way to the island as well at the same time.  You can also get all three across the bridge in St. Ignace too.

Forty five years later, I was looking forward to taking Arnold back to Mackinac Island.  It would have been great to have the rest of my family there too with us but that was impossible at this time.

Meeting the ferry in Mackinaw City

View from the bow looking toward the pilot house.  Our ship is the Chippewa, the fleet are named after American Indian tribes predominant in the area.  You can move about while the ship is in transit to get the best views. The stairway leads to the enclosed area and restroom.  Arnold is the only ferry service with a restroom, another plus!

Top Deck of Arnold Ferry Chippewa

Al and I arrived at just past 11:00 AM on June 21.  The staff are very helpful and explained how things worked in a friendly way to us newbies.  They marked our extra bags to be sent to the Murray Hotel where we were spending the night.  Our bikes were stowed  below and we went to the upper deck to enjoy the view.  It is chilly on the lake, even in June so be sure to dress warmly.   We were ready for the 12:00 departure. Join us on our exciting 40-minute trip, thanks Al for your work filming our ride!

We could even see the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum from there. We were going to be seeing that on Thursday after our return to Mackinaw City.

Coast Guard Icebreker Mackinaw Maitime Museum in Mackinaw City

  We also saw our first freighter pass under the Mighty Mack, or Mackinac Bridge.  The bridge is just short of 5 miles across, longer even than the Golden Gate. It’s called the Federal Biscay from the Marshall Islands.

Federal Biscay Freighter IMG_9953

It was especially fun seeing the same views my grandfather had when we enjoyed our first trip to the island, I tried to duplicate them.

You could see the Grand Hotel all the way from Mackinaw City it is so big, this is my Grandpa’s view 45 years ago. The slide is no longer sharp. The houses to the left are on the West Bluff.

Grand Hotel from Water 1971

And the view now, there is no longer a water tower overlooking the Grand Hotel, or it is no longer visible due to tree growth.

Grand Hotel and West Bluff Homes on Mackinac Island IMG_0016

The Ottawa passed us by as it headed back to Mackinaw City. Not many people going back. If you think about it, who really wants to?

Arnold Ship Ottawa heading back to Mackinaw City

As we rounded the island, more landmarks came into view, areas we would be familiar with only a few hours later. This is a view just past the end of Main Street,  the blue building is the Public Library, we are just past Windmere Point. The Governor’s Residence is overlooking the scene.  We didn’t get time to do a close-up.

End of Main St. Gov. Residence and Blue Library

This is the approximately same view from shore.

View of water from Windmere Point on Mackinac Island

We came around the Round Island Lighthouse and it was time to get closeups! Also got in a sail boater and a couple kayaks too!

Round Island Lighthouse and sailboat IMG_0036

Now we approach the harbor with great excitement and downtown came into view.  My Grandfather’s view of Fort Mackinac at the top of the hill from the water, and then my view. I didn’t quite get the same angle but it still is good.

Arnold Ferry View-Ft. Mackinac

Harbor View of Fort on Mackinac Island

We are here! Thanks Captain for the safe trip to this isle of adventure. The view then and now from the dock.

Arnold Ferry Dock 1971 and 2016 Collage

Goodbye Chippewa for now, you are a fine ship. Our adventure here begins!Chippewa ship Arnold Ferry

November 4, 2016

Star Line is in the process of purchasing Arnold.  Read more about it here.


One thought on “Arnold Transit Company – Fun Ferry Ride to Mackinac Island

  1. Pingback: The Grand Hotel – America’s Summer Place! | Adventures in Travel

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