The Grand Hotel and Sunset Rock

The middle of February proves to be a somewhat boring month, once Valentine’s Day has passed. You realize that the only thing coming up is… well, March. Late February, to me, seems like the opportune time to schedule dentists appointments. But it turns out it’s really not so bad, because my birthday is also during this month! I had a wonderful little gathering of friends come over, and we all sat down and sipped wine, played guitar, ate my homemade chocolate donuts, and had a good time.

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Earlier that day, I decided to venture down the street and clear my head. Although I’ve lived here for 28 summers, this has only been my second winter on Mackinac Island. I gained a lot of insight and perspective out of the first year, but there’s still a lot to take in. Every day, I feel like I find something beautiful and new. I guess that’s why people love living here in the winter… there are hardly any tourists around. The island seems as though it’s all ours. We have time to stop and enjoy the surroundings. It’s home.

I found my way out to the breakwall again, and remembered how frozen the lake was last year. I was able to walk all the way down and back again. This year it wasn’t quite the same, but I did manage to make my way “off the island” to some degree. I always enjoy taking those pictures because it’s one angle of the island I’m not always able to catch. I treaded as carefully and walked out as far as I could before turning back around for a photo:

I ended up having a lot of time to myself this weekend… and I was very happy for it! I knew that a hike would be inevitable. But where to hike? I hadn’t really gone anywhere yet this year, so I decided with my favorite spot: Sunset Rock.

As I made my way up there, I decided to take an alternate route and go around West Bluff, where I was able to catch several pictures of the Grand Hotel. The hotel is clearly closed for the winter, but there’s still plenty of people working their butts off to make sure it’s in top shape come Spring! It never ceases to amaze me how big it is. Below are some photos of the hotel, plus some horseshoe prints left in the snow:

Throughout my hike, I just kept getting caught up in these little trails that pop up all over the place. If you’ve never been through the middle of Mackinac Island… you should! It’s as much fun finding the trails on the map as it is walking them. I have my favorites, but every now and then I’ll travel off the path towards something little that catches my eye:

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Sunset Rock itself is a beautiful spot. You can see everything! The bridge, Mackinaw City, St. Ignace, the shoreline below, the frozen (or not so frozen) lake, and you can be sure to always catch a nice breeze, too! It’s quite a quaint little spot, really. Once you get there, you find yourself in front of a stairway that takes you right up to Sunset Rock (the rock itself has its name written into it). Although I’ve never climbed to the top of a mountain before, I imagine the satisfaction that you get from doing so feels the same as how I feel when I’m at Sunset Rock:

And I just happened to be there when the plane was leaving the island, too. Looks like I’ll be getting back on that plane next weekend… for my dentist appointment….. 

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