Straits of Mackinac
2021 Trip Report

Day eight: Mackinaw City,
St. Ignace & a moonlit night

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Mackinac Bridge in the early morning
Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse - Mackinaw City, Michigan
Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse from the Riviera Motel
The weather is more pleasant this morning and we enjoyed the view from our room until 10:30AM when we had to be out of the room at the Riviera Motel. I really wish they allowed a little later checkout! Around Mackinaw City, we bought whitefish spread at Big Stone Bay Fishery to take home and fudge at Joann's Fudge as a gift to family.   

Big Stone Bay Fishery - Mackinaw City, Michigan
Big Stone Bay Fishery

Lunch was at one of the Mackinaw City restaurants where we try to eat every time we are in town, Scalawags Whitefish & Chips. This popular little restaurant has been on the market for sale for over a year and their many customers are grateful that the owner is keeping it open while he attempts to sell the business.

We had a perch dinner and a two piece whitefish dinner. The fries, coleslaw and hush puppies are all good, but the fish is the star of the show. Not necessary the best of the trip, but both fish dishes were among the best.

Scalawags Whitefish & Chips - Mackinaw City, Michigan
Perch dinner and 2 piece whitefish dinner

Before leaving town, we stopped to get a look at the interior of Brigadoon, a large B&B built onto a home that I occasionally played in as a child. We may host an extended family gathering at the Straits of Mackinac in a year or two and this is a location we are considering.

It seemed weird to be leaving Mackinaw City before we were leaving the area, but I wish to post more things about St. Ignace on the Mighty Mac Facebook Page and felt that spending a night on the St. Ignace side would be an opportunity to improve on that. We started with a visit to Kewadin Shores Casino, which I had not been in since 2011 when my father passed away. Then we drove south through town, stopping at interesting looking businesses and spots along the shore and many of my favorite places to photograph the Mighty Mac from the north side.

Laura Ann in St. Ignace
Commercial fishing boat Laura Ann

Mackinac Bridge from Lakeside Cemetery
The Mighty Mac from Lakeside Cemetery

We stopped by the St. Ignace Coast Guard station and walked out on the nearby Pier 3 at Pier 3 Park. The end of the dock at the Coast Guard Tug Biscayne Bay moors is off limits to all because it is the home of one of the largest colonies of Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) in the upper Great Lakes, but from Pier 3 you can watch the upper Great Lakes largest Common Tern colony, 400' away at the Coast Guard station.

Common Terns in St. Ignace, Michigan
Common Terns on the end of Pier 3 (Prints of this Photo)

Common terns at US Coast Guard Station St. Ignace
Terns in the nesting colony

Finally it was time to check in and we went to the Super 8 by Wyndham St. Ignace on US-2 west of town. The city of St. Ignace is built around a bay facing the back of Mackinac Island and there are few businesses with a view of the Mackinac Bridge. The Super 8 has the best view of any motel on this side and has been on my radar for a couple of year. I had reserved a room there in May of 2020, but that trip was canceled by Covid.

We had Room 112, which had a decent view of the Mackinac Bridge, but because of trees, rooms a few doors farther west, perhaps 107, would probably have a better view. The room was comfortable, clean and more roomy than any we had for the past week. The balcony had just two plastic chairs. I settled onto the balcony, but discovered that it was much different than sitting at the Riviera Motel. The view was great, but it was like looking at a picture. At the Riviera we were also looking at the ferries, traffic, birds, people and the movement of the water.

View of the Mighty Mac from the Super 8

After about 20 minutes, I went into the room. I still liked the view and every hour or so I would look out and take a few photos. 

Before supper, we took a drive along the shore west of the Mackinac Bridge, farther than I usually drive and I took many photos of the bird rookeries on Green Island (also known as Gull Island) a 1,200' unpopulated Island off Point La Barbe.

Double-crested Cormorants and the Mackinac Bridge
Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) on Green Island, west of the Mighty Mac

Ring-billed Gulls and a swan

A sail boat moored off shore

On a Tuesday night in June, we thought it would be easy getting a table at The Gangplank Pub & Grub, but they took our cell phone number and told us it would be about 45 minutes. We took a walk along the harbor across the street photographing Wawatam Light and returned to wait. The time stamp on my photos tells me that it took exactly an hour. 

This was first time I had dined at this 6 year old restaurant and we ordered gator bites, whitefish tacos and Angry Poor Boy (Jumbo Shrimp dusted in Cajun seasoning & deep fried, served on a grilled French bun with angry mayo, lettuce, tomato & marinated cucumbers. We enjoyed it all and would eat there again, but this doesn't make my short list of restaurants I must visit around the Straits.

Wawatam Light 

The Gangplank Pub & Grub - St. Ignace, Michigan
Whitefish tacos and a shrimp poboy

It was my birthday, but instead of having a dessert here, we went to Zak & Mac's Chocolate Haus, which we had noticed during the afternoon. I enjoyed my butter pecan and Mackinac Island Peanut Butter Fudge ice cream at a table in the pocket park next door. I REALLY liked the scoop of Mackinac Island Peanut Butter Fudge!

Zak and Mac's Chocolate Haus - St. Ignace, Michigan
Zak & Mac's Chocolate Haus

After a few dusk photos of the Mackinac Bridge, we returned to our room. About 11PM I looked out at the Bridge and saw it lighted a way I never have before. The bright, slightly more than half moon was providing back lighting and the moonlight was shinning on the water. Better yet, the south cable lights were finally working again After taking photo from the motel. I drove down to the shore and took photos from a couple more angles.

I want to return to this side the next time we are at the Straits of Mackinac in a full moon.

Mackinac Bridge with moon backlighting
The Mackinac Bridge from near the Super 8 Motel

Mackinac Bridge and the moon at night
Moon over the Mackinac Bridge from the shore

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