Tag Archive | Mackinaw City

Tour the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum in Mackinaw City


6-23-16

Icebreaker Mackinaw sign

Icebreaker Mackinaw marker

Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum in Mackinaw City

We finished our day in Mackinaw City by exploring The Icebreaker Mackinaw, a decommissioned Coast Guard ship built to keep an open waterway in the winter.  It is open May through early October, admission is $11 for adults, ages 6-17 are $6. Get your tickets at the end of the pier in the ticket building.  It looks like a buoy.  There is also a ship propeller on display. The marker above is also nearby.

Icebreaker Mackinaw Ticket booth

We began our walk towards the ship, there were informational signs along the way.

Icebreaker information

 Al served in the Navy in the 1980’s, and he informed me that rank and decorations for service are the same in Coast Guard.  Al showed me the decoration he earned during his years of service.

Al's NAVY Medal

We approach the gangway and are welcomed aboard.  The staff are friendly and are there to answer any questions you might have.

Mackinaw gangway

We began with an orientation before our self-guided tour.  We saw a short film about the ship and it’s important role keeping the seaways open during WW II and after. The citizens of Mackinaw City didn’t want this ship to be sitting in a scrapyard after it was decommissioned. They banded together and purchased the ship and converted it into a maritime museum.  We are so glad they did!  The way between levels are essentially ladders, watch your step!

Icebreaker orientation and video

 

Stairway on Icebreaker

 The Ward Room

Ward Room on Icebreaker

Chief Petty Officer Mess

Chief Petty Officer Mess

1st Class Petty Officer’s Lounge

First Class PO Lounge

Battle Lantern

Berthing Crew Quarters for the Women Crew Members

Berthing Quarters on Icebreaker

Berthing Quarters locker

Watch your step!

Door on Icebreaker

If this ship were operating, you would get a pair of ear plugs before entering the Engine Room, our next stop.  Jim told us about how the engine worked.

Ear Plugs and Engine Room sign

Stairway to Engine Room

Engine Room of Icebreaker

Jim on Icebreaker describing engine

The engine room was impressive even silent, we could imagine the power it would have running.  We went back up the ladder to the Main Deck again.  The route is clearly marked with arrowed signs.  Saw this plaque commemorating 50 years of ice breaking on the wall.  Congratulations on a half-century of fine service to the fleet!

50 Years of Ice Breaking

Since I am a cook, the galley was of particular interest to me.  I took a picture through the plexiglass.   There was a small monitor with a video describing kitchen operations. One of the docents answering people’s questions in this area offered to take me inside the kitchen, thanks!  This kitchen is bigger than I expected for being on board a ship, very impressive!

Galley sign

Ship Galley facts

Icebreaker Galley

Galley in operation on Icebreaker

Icebreaker Galley inside

After the galley went out to the deck. we are looking to the former Railroad Dock area of the marina.  On shore is a marker describing it.

Railroad Dock in Mackinaw City

Railroad Dock marker

Now we enter the Enlisted Crew area.

Mess Deck info

Scullery and enlisted crew

Engineering Office

IMG_2118

HALON Storage

Halon Storage

Executive Officer Office

Executive Officer office on Icebreaker

Log Room

Log Room on Icebreaker

Now we head upstairs to the deck and Pilot House.  What a great view up here!

Icebreaker deck

Pilot House on Icebreaker

Inside Pilot House on Icebreaker

And now the view from the deck!  Ferries, freighters and  parasailing all at the same time.  This is a very busy place in the summer!

Parasailing and Mac island

Freighters passing each other

Flag on Ice Breaker

Our tour is at a conclusion.  Allow yourself at least 2 hours to explore the ship, and be sure to pick a memento at the Ship Store.  If you don’t have time to take the tour, you can still stop in the store.

Ship Store sign

We highly recommend coming here for the tour.  We learned a lot and had a great time.  It’s not every day you get to see the inside of a Coast Guard Icebreaker.

Icebreaker Mackinac Museum selfie 2 IMG_2111

UPDATE 8-1-17!

The Icebreaker Mackinaw is in need of a complete repainting to preserve the hull. A Gofundme

account has been set up for donations. Please help if you can!

Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City


6-23-16

Headlands sign

Headlands International Dark Sky Park is one of the few Dark Sky certified sites in the United States.  If you can’t get here, this Light Pollution Map can help you find your local spot of darkness.  We just went to see it in the day on our visit.  It is open 24/7 365, free admission.  Donations are happily accepted!

Headlands Dark Sky Park entrance

Emmet County Self Guided Tour

Headlands Welcome sign

There are big things going on here, making this special park more accessible for workshops and events in the future.  We could not see the whole park due to the new Observatory under construction right now, a telescope will be housed there and rooms for groups to gather.

Headlands map

We walked down to the shore where the sky viewing is located.  To keep the skies dark, only red flashlights are allowed.  We got our red LED flashlights from Ebay.  Here is the Bortle Dark Sky Scale, the Headlands darkness levels can be found here.

red flashlightlight-pollution-levels_small

Now to the shoreline!

Dark Sky viewing by shore at Headlands

After passing though the gap in the trees, we see the new Observatory building under construction. I look forward to seeing it completed next year!

Headlands Telescope building in Mackinaw City

You can also see the St. Helena Island Lighthouse from here.

St. Helena Island Lighthouse in Michigan

A wider view of the shoreline, the water is so blue on this sunny day!

Dark sky viewing area in the daytime at Headlands

Even though we didn’t get back that night, it was worth the time to stop here.  A beautiful park any time of the year to visit.

McGulpin Point Lighthouse in Mackinaw City


6-23-16

McGulpin Point sign

McGulpin Point Light House in Mackinaw City

McGulpin Point Lighthouse has been a sentinel on the Straits since 1869 and was recently refurbished to continue the service.  Admission is free but donations gratefully accepted.

Lighthouse sign

This is a self-guided tour , the rooms are decorated with many historic items. This is the ground floor.

McGulpin Tour InfoMcGulpin tour QR code

Let’s take a look at the many rooms in the lighthouse.

McGulpin Lighthouse room 1

McGulpin Lighthouse room 2

McGulpin Lighthouse Room 3

Here is the attic level rooms.

Attic level map McGulpin Lighthouse

McGulpin Lighthouse small bedroom

Large Bedroom, now a room to view a video about the lighthouse.

Large Bedroom McGulpin Lighthouse

Now, lets go up into the light area of the tower, what a great view of the Straits and the Mighty Mack!  Also a panoramic view from all of the windows.

McGulpin Light House light

Panorama View from Lighthouse windows

You have to crawl through this small door to go outside to the Observation Deck, we did!

McGulpin Lighthouse small door

Just in time to watch the barge Lewis J. Kuber go under the bridge!

Lewis J. Kuber going by McGulpin Point

It was time to go down and take the trail through the woodland down to the shore. There were info boards along the way.

Ch-Sin trail at McGulpin

Chi-Sin trail display at McGulpin

McGulpin Family Life sign

Across from this display is a replica of a wellhead constructed by an Eagle Scout. Very impressive!

Wellhead sign at McGulpin

McGulpin Wellhead

Further down the trail, we learn more about John McAlpin.

John McAlpin sign

John McAlpin figure

Charles de Langlade was another significant person in this area.

Charles de Langlade sign

Chi-Sin trail

Nissowaquet at McGulpin

And the last display before reaching shore, life here 9000 years ago.

Native Americans at McGulpin  9000 years ago

Native Americans in the Streights

We are here!  What a great view, a lot going on this summer day.

GcGulpin point shoreline

You could see Mackinac Island and St. Ignace from here.

St. Ignace view from McGulpin

Mackinac Island view from McGulpin

The St. Helena Island Lighthouse was also visible across the Strait.

St. Helena Island Lighthouse in Michigan

Also this interesting structure I thought was another lighthouse. We found out the next day after we crossed that it was a lookout tower attraction, $1.00 admission as part of a souvenir store called Curio Fair.  Maybe we can stop there on our next visit.

St. Ignace Look Out Tower IMG_1754

Curio Fair in St. Ignace

What a good time and we learned a lot about the early history at this crucial  Straits of Mackinac Lighhouse.  Stop in if you can!

McGulpin Lighthouse back

 

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.

IMG_1466

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!