If you’ve followed my blog for awhile you already know I hope to some day live on Mackinac Island. People who’ve been there tend to fall into one of two categories: those who understand the magic and those who don’t. And there’s nothing wrong with those who don’t. It’s maybe just not their thing, or they like it just fine but don’t want to live there. No problem. For many people, though, the island speaks to them and they have a dream such as ours, to eventually call it our home.
Why? It’s hard to put my finger on it. It’s that certain “something” you feel when you know you are comfortable somewhere and want to stay. That certain “something” that feels like home. Even if it isn’t. But since I can’t explain that “something,” I decided to try to come up with a few more concrete reasons I love the island.
1. Nature – Over 80 percent of Mackinac Island is state park lands. So, while typical tourists are shopping, eating, and biking its perimeter, we’re more likely to be found up in the middle of the island, hiking, taking pictures, and looking for woodpeckers.
There’s so much more to the island than most people ever see! We’ve been there a half-dozen or more times now and I can’t imagine ever seeing it all.
We find new places each time and can’t wait to find more.
Don’t get me wrong, we live in a beautiful part of the country with wonderful nature-based activities we can enjoy without ever moving. But as I said, there’s just something about that island!
2. No cars – I love that cars aren’t allowed on Mackinac Island. I’m not one of those people who loves to drive. In fact if you told me I could never drive again I’d probably say “oh well” and my biggest concern would be who was going to take me to the grocery store. On Mackinac Island, I would WALK to the grocery store. Or, ride my bike. Or, if I needed a lot, I’d take a horse-taxi. But not a car! That appeals to me on many levels. First, it’s quiet and peaceful. Second, I love horses. Third, I love “enforced exercise.” I love to exercise even though I don’t actually do it. 🙂 I hate the time it takes up, but I do love doing it. The best kind of exercise is when you have no choice. If I want to eat, I have to walk to get food. That works for me! (As an aside, we used to live about a quarter mile from a Dairy Queen. We rationalized our ice cream intake as long as we walked there to get it. There is no Dairy Queen on Mackinac Island, but there are plenty of other dangerous choices. I’ll have to keep my rationalizations in check!)
3. Winter – I’m one of those weird ones. I love winter. I should clarify. I love all seasons, and I love having all four seasons. But if I had to put them in order from favorite to least favorite, I’d go with Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer.
Living on the southern tip of Lake Michigan has certainly quenched my thirst for snow, but winters on Mackinac Island are even snowier, typically. I suppose I’d have to actually spend a winter there before I’d know for sure whether the isolation would be bearable. Once the straits freeze, there is no ferry service to and from Mackinac Island. If you need to get off the island you can fly, or drive your snowmobile five miles across the frozen lake hoping the ice holds. Neither sounds very appealing to me. There are businesses on the island that stay open year-round to provide for basic needs. But it may ultimately be disconcerting to know you can’t readily leave at any time.
Well, those are my three main reasons. There are others, but this is a start. We’re not moving anytime soon. We do love our current home and our town and the life we have here. But our five-year-plan does include significant island time! Stay tuned! 🙂