After several stressful weeks, Dave and I went on a spontaneous trip to Mackinac Island. Within about an hour from the time Dave suggested it on Friday afternoon, we were packed, Pixel was dropped off at my parents’ house, and we were on the road! Dave and I were last at Mackinac Island in 2006, also during the first week of May, which is opening weekend on the island. Many of the shops and restaurants are not open yet and it can get a little cold, but we’re fine with both.
On our way to the island, we stopped in Gaylord for dinner at El Rancho. Dave had been there previously, but I had never been. We both ordered a combination plate with a beef enchilada, a bean chulupa, and a chile relleno. Everything was very good despite the chulupa being more like a tostada rather than something similar to a Taco Bell chalupa, which we were expecting. The sauce that was on the chile relleno was really good. Dave had a beer and I tried a margarita. I would recommend skipping the margarita. It didn’t seem to have much, if any tequila and it had a strange aftertaste. I think the artificial citrus of their margarita mix was too similar to something you would find in soap or cleaning products. Yuck! I would try El Rancho again, I would just skip the margarita.
We arrive a little before the final ferry at Arnold Transit Company. The ferry schedule is reduced since it’s still technically off season. We really like Arnold’s because the boat is large and fast. It’s dock on the island is also right across the street from the Murray Hotel, where we stayed.
Like almost everything on Mackinac Island, the Murray Hotel has a Victorian theme. The rooms are small and maybe a bit shabby, but they are very clean and have very comfortable beds and in the end that’s what really matters, right? The staff at the Murray Hotel are also very friendly and helpful. Another bonus to staying at the Murray Hotel is the Murray Hotel Fudge Shop right in the lobby! Out of all the options on the island, the fudge at the Murray Hotel is our favorite. It’s super creamy and they offer the most flavors. I got a quarter pound of the chocolate peanut butter and Dave got the same of the Snickers fudge. So good!
Since we already had dinner, we wanted to go out for a drink and some dessert. Not many restaurants were open, so we headed to Horn’s Gaslight Bar & Restaurant and each had a martini and shared brownie bites. The drinks were good, Dave had the raspberry martini and I had the cosmo. The brownie bites were good, but nothing special, unfortunately this was the only dessert option. We headed back to Horn’s on Saturday night for Cinco de Mayo for margaritas and to split their Mexican appetizer sampler, again both were good, but nothing special.
On Saturday morning, we tried the breakfast buffet special at our hotel and it wasn’t very good. The bacon didn’t taste like anything and the french toast was dry from sitting in the warmer. The only saving grace were the old-fashioned donuts.
After breakfast, we rented a tandem bike from Bike Shop Bike Rentals and rode around the entire island, which is 8 miles. Even with stopping for photos, we finished in just over an hour. The ride was incredibly fun, my face hurt from smiling. It was a little windy, but after we put on our hats (under our helmets, safety first!), we were good to go. I highly recommend doing this ride. If you want to take it slow, you could even take a picnic lunch and stop halfway for lunch.
After our bike ride and a couple mile walk to the cemetery and back, we stopped for lunch at the Seabiscuit Cafe, which was perfect timing because it was also Derby day in addition to Cinco de Mayo. In honor of the occasion, Dave ordered a mint julep. I celebrated in my own way with an espresso martini, which was excellent!
Dave ordered the other Derby special, which was the Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich, it tasted a lot better than the picture depicts, we swear! A Kentucky Hot Brown is an open-faced turkey sandwich topped with bacon, sliced tomato, a creamy sauce, and cheese. It was served with sweet potato fries and chipotle mayo. I ordered the pulled pork sandwich which was topped with cole slaw and shoestring fried onions. I had onion rings on the side. Everything was excellent. I wish we had come back to the Seabiscuit instead of going to Horn’s for dinner. Oh well, there’s always next time!
On Sunday, before we got on the ferry back to the mainland, we stopped for breakfast at Marc’s Double Oven Bakery. Dave got a cinnamon roll and I got a cheese danish (it was called a kolachky) and a cup of coffee each. Everything was excellent! I regret my decision not to get a butter tart too, I’m guessing it was probably wonderful.
We stopped for a postcard and bought a bag of caramel corn at Ryba’s Fudge Shop and then we were off to the docks to catch the ferry. On our way home, we stopped in Birch Run for a late lunch at Goal Post Pizza. We ordered a medium Stromboli with jalapeno, black olives, and pineapple. It was HUGE and had a great crust.
Overall, the weekend was fantastic. I’m not a spontaneous person, but once we were on our way, I relaxed and had a great time. I can’t wait for our next trip to Mackinac Island or our next spontaneous trip somewhere else!