Mackinac Island—Pure Michigan Magic

Mary Katherine Quasarano shares her “Pure Michigan Moment” of a visit to a favorite childhood spot, magical Mackinac Island.

Flickr Photo Credit - Sunde ShecklerLast year, our friends Phyllis and Vanessa, born and bred New Yorkers, traveled for the first time to Michigan to visit my daughter and me. Because of our limited time together, we could only pick one destination, but there was no question about where we would take them to experience Pure Michigan: Mackinac Island.

When I was younger, my family vacationed on the island for two weeks each year. Every time I board the ferry to Mackinac Island, I return to some of the best days of my childhood. When mom would put the bulky orange life vests on my siblings and me, my adrenaline pumped, and I knew a new adventure was about to begin. There is something so Flickr Photo Credit - Chris Aracemagical about being transported to the island by boat. It’s like the spirit of the island’s way of preparing us to receive its many gifts. With every rise and fall of the boat on the crest of the blue waves, we are invited to cast the tensions, pressures and concerns of daily life overboard. As the wind playfully whips everyone’s hair and clothing, we are conscious of the fact that nature is in charge here—and nature wants to play. This is a time to breathe and to be free.

Flickr Photo Credit - Scott BaltripI still catch my breath every time the ferryboat motor downshifts to signal that we’re close to docking. Is everyone as excited as me? I look around at fellow adult passengers. Many are electronically capturing images and video, some are kissing; all are smiling broadly.

After riding the ferry, visiting the unique shops on Main Street and experiencing the local nightlife, Phyllis and Vanessa were just as enchanted by Mackinac Island. There wasn’t any part of their experience they didn’t like.

Flickr Photo Credit - Laura Reynhout

That evening, with our old friends by our side, we sat by the shore, watched the sun set over the bridge and marveled at the sky as night slipped like a blue velvet cover over the town. My heart filled as I watched these two very cosmopolitan women from New York, so accustomed to iron and brick, high-rises and steel, surrender to the softness and green and organic gifts the island so freely offers. We have all become children again … in an experience that is Pure Michigan.

Mary Katherine plans on having more “Michigan Moments” in June with a trip to Muskegon for time at the lake and the arts event, An Evening with the Clarity. Phyllis and Vanessa hope to return to Michigan when time allows. Mary Katherine Quasarano from Holt wrote about her “Pure Michigan Moment“ for Michigan Travel Ideas.