We decided to start an annual trip with our son and his friends from high school who are back from college for the summer. The idea is that we would take him and a group of his friends up to Mackinac Island for a long weekend so that they can catch up, have a good time and just be kids again for a few days. What the trip lacked in being budget friendly, it made up for in the memories that were created.
Here’s the cliff notes version of what we experienced for anyone thinking of venturing to the island;
Bayview Bed and Breakfast;
The Bayview is nestled just outside the downtown area of the island off of the harbor. It is a quaint b&b that has held onto the floral antique decor that island is so fond of with about twenty rooms located on it’s property. It has a small artists cafe with a second floor rooftop patio on the back of the b&b with a large front porch that holds several seating options. The cafe had a small window of time it was open so we spent most of our time on the roof top patio. We attempted to sit on the front porch but only one side of it was open at the time due to flowers being potted, the porch being painted or the garden being watered. We booked two rooms on the third floor with one being directly located at the top of the stairs and the other located at the end of the hall. The first room was a larger room with a full size bed, twin bed and bathroom with a walk in shower. It housed all the college kids on the trip easily with the only issue being that their door led directly to the staircase, literally you stepped out of the room and were at the top of the stairs so…it was a little precarious. The second room had barely big enough space for husband and I to stay in it. It had a full sized (not queen) bed that butted up directly to the air conditioning unit and a twin sized bed that was in the corner of the back wall. The bathroom had a shower and tub in it that were about the same size as the room itself. After a night of no sleep due to my husband being face to face with the air conditioning unit, we moved our pillows to the opposite side of the bed only to bang our heads on the ceiling when getting up in the morning. The upside is that the b&b provides an actual breakfast for it’s guests as well as dessert at night, so it is a step up from the continental grab and go options most provide. It wouldn’t be my favorite for the price we paid for two rooms for the weekend ($1700), with all the properties we have stayed at Mission Point (in the main lodge) is still the go to option I would recommend.
Pink Pony Bar;
This is one of our favorite places to go if you are able to get a seat at the bar. It’s just plain fun and not the priciest bar on the island. You will always meet good people and want to get up and dance when the music starts going. The patio is a great option if the bar isn’t available but there will usually be wait to be seated. We were on the island with four weddings being celebrated so getting a prime spot was not an option for us during this trip.
Ice House BBQ;
The located of this restaurant is great, it is behind the Island House hotel and is outdoors. They have lawn games to play and are comfortable with kids running around which makes for a fun and relaxed environment. The kids burger and the corn fritters were delicious. However, everything else was terrible. The ribs were incredibly undercooked, the nachos were incredibly spicy and they were literally out of EVERY other meal that was listed on their menu. No pulled pork. No burnt ends. No brisket. No smoked chicken. Nothing. If you were looking for BBQ your only option was the most expensive one, the ribs and they can be avoided. The server was great and very apologetic, the sangria was delicious and the staff was incredibly fun and kind to be around so, they at least have atmosphere and staff going for them, everything else needs some work.
The Gate House;
We only had drinks here but I will say this. It was wonderful. The beer was cold, the service was impeccable, the atmosphere was fun and relaxing and there was no pressure to order food or to leave at any time. This was one of a dozen times we have been and it has been wonderful every single time!
While the live music is fun to experience, the cost of drinks and food is expensive and can add up very very quickly. There are no prices on the menu so beware of that fun little surprise. The food isn’t bad however it’s not worth the prices charged in my opinion. The staff however, is always friendly and attentive, you never have to wait for them to come around so that coupled with the live music can make for a decent time.
Let me start by saying that they employ one of our favorite bartenders who makes the best old fashioned we have ever tasted so, my opinion may be some what skewed. Their prices are in line with most restaurants on the island (i.e. expensive) however, their food is delicious. We had six people and every person said their dish was delicious, hot and came out just as they had ordered it. It’s a small restaurant so sometimes getting in can be difficult but it’s worth the time if you are looking for yummy food and willing to splurge.
The Great Turtle;
This is a great place to relax, have a drink (or four) and hangout with friends and everyone else on the island. They have live music on certain nights, tons of televisions for anyone looking to watch a game, good appetizers and one of the best staffs on the island. We have hung out at this restaurant for hours on end at varying times throughout the year and have never been disappointed or gouged on the price of food and drinks. If you want a good place to go on the island, go to The Great Turtle it has anything you could possibly need.
The Mustang Lounge;
If you are looking for a place that has good burgers and sandwiches this is a great place to go. There is also a pulled pork mac and cheese dish that got very high praise by everyone at our table, which is not a small fete considering the various pallets we had. They have a small outdoor area you can sit on as well so it’s a great option during the warmer parts of the season.