I'm Nicole. I am a wife, mother, shop owner on Mackinac Island, and lover of handmade. The little things and little moments inspire me. Follow me on my blog as I write about shop news, my travels, island life and motherhood.

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little luxuries

I have wanted to visit the Mall of America since I was in the eighth grade. I finally made that happen with our family last week over spring break! We drove through the Upper Peninsula along US-2 and stayed the night in Green Bay, WI. It was a four hour drive from the Mackinac Bridge to Green Bay. It didn't feel like four hours, maybe because the drive along US-2 is so pretty along Lake Michigan. I had never driven through Escanaba and Gladstone and all those little towns along US-2. We stayed at Tundra Bay Lodge in Green Bay which was right by Lambeau Field. We were planning to all do a tour of Lambeau Field, but Louie wasn't feeling great and we knew Johnny wouldn't last through an hour and a half tour. So Tommy and Andrew were the lucky ones to experience the field and get the tour. They LOVED it! Andrew was so excited after the tour! We highly recommend doing a tour. It was $75 for two people for an hour and a half tour and totally worth it. 
We then continued our drive to Bloomington, MN where the Mall of America is located. It was four hours from Green Bay to MOA. We passed over the Mississippi River and lots of farmland. The drive again, was really easy. I hoped to stop at Door County because it was only 45 minutes from Green Bay. Maybe next time! I didn't think the boys would love strolling the town and looking at shops! Ha!
We stayed at the Marriott Hotel connected to MOA. They had a small pool (no hot tub) and a restaurant for breakfast and dinner. We loved the hotel and so nice it was connected to the mall. 
We explored the mall Saturday evening and the boys were in awe at the amusement park section of the mall. They had roller coasters, rides, food stands, and more! We paid $75 I think for so many points to ride the rides. It was definitely enough for us. They had things for toddlers too which was really nice. It was very busy, I'm sure because of a weekend and spring break. We never made it into the Legoland store because the line was wrapped around the store. We visited the aquarium which was really fun! Something we didn't know is you can't just buy tickets and go in. We had to buy tickets from our phones (online) and then reserve a time to go. We had to wait two hours before the next slot was open. 
The restaurants all had long wait times as well. I recommend making reservations in advance if you want to eat inside the mall. Wait times were from 1-3 hours. Since the wait times were so long we opted to eat in the food court area. I don't recommend that. Service was very bad and it was dirty. 
We really did not go into many stores. We did hit up Old Navy and got the boys some summer clothes and I bought myself a pair of overalls I have been wanting for awhile and they were half off! We left the mall at 3pm Saturday and then switched to a different hotel located downtown to try something new. It was called the Hewing Hotel. It was really neat! Industrial and built in 2016. 
If we make another trip to the mall we will make reservations in advance for restaurants and stay at the Marriott again. If you plan on going in the future, I hope it's a great trip! It is something fun to experience especially since malls are not as popular these days. 
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Visiting Mackinac Island for the first time can have many unknowns. Which ferry do we take? Do we bring our own bikes or rent them? Do we stay on the island or just for the day? Do we pack a lunch or eat out? 
Since living on Mackinac since my first summer in 2006 and now living here with kids I have learned a lot over the years. If you are making the trip to Mackinac Island with kids this summer below are a few of my suggestions that I have found work best for our family. 
1. Dress in layers. You never know what the weather will be like once you are on the island. It could be sunny and warm in Mackinaw City or St. Ignace and by the time you get to the island it is chilly and cloudy. It's not fun with kids not having enough warm clothes with you! 
2. If you plan to ride bikes throughout the island and most of your time while on Mackinac, I recommend bringing your own bikes. If you want to ride a bike only for a few hours I recommend renting them. All the bike rentals on the island are great! 
3. Do we eat out or pack a picnic? This is totally up to you and your family. Personally, I would grab to-go items at Doud's Market and eat in Marquette Park or ride bikes and pick a picnic table along the way. If you are not wanting the restaurant atmosphere The Doghouse is also a good option for families across from The Windermere Hotel. There is a large grassy area with picnic tables right on the water. The kids love throwing rocks in the water or flying kites. If you do want to eat in a restaurant Pink Pony is the iconic restaurant on the water side and Mary's Bistro is great with a family as it is spacious, options to eat outside or inside and great food! 
4. When visiting, make sure you get off of Main Street and see what beautiful Mackinac Island has to offer. There is so much more than just Main Street! 
5. If you want the full Mackinac experience staying overnight is highly recommended. Once the last ferry leaves it is peaceful and quiet along Main Street. When you visit just for the day it is difficult to fit it all in. Staying overnight allows you to relax more and fit it all in. If staying overnight just isn't an option, I do recommend staying til the last ferry leaves and there are many campsite options on the mainland close by as well. 
I hope these 5 tips help plan your next visit to Mackinac Island! Stop in and say hello! 
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Summer passed by in the whirlwind! I cannot believe that it is already September! We had the best summer spending every spare minute enjoying our favorite parts of Mackinac.

Here are some of our summer highlights: 

🏊🏻‍♀️Swimming at the Grand Hotel’s pool and swimming in the Great Lakes.

🚲Biking around the Island and all over Mackinac!

🧺Dinner picnics at Marquette Park and British Landing. 

🌅Sunset Sip n’ Sails under the Mackinac Bridge. 

🫖Lunch at the Tea Room.

🌊I went paddle boarding for the first time!

🍋The boys sold homemade lemonade at a stand in the front yard. 

🔦We played flashlight tag at night!

🎨The boys attended art classes at Watercolor Cafe. 

🔥We spent nights outside having s’mores and hot dogs.

🍦Ate way too much ice cream at Sadie’s and I drank a lot of chai tea from Lucky Bean.

This summer was one of the busiest summers I have experienced in the 10+ years that I’ve lived and worked on Mackinac. 

Overall, it was an incredible summer. I loved every minute that I got to spend with the boys! The staff that I had this summer was also truly amazing. They worked so hard, despite the many challenges that come each and every day!  

Another summer is in the books - while I’m sad that the busy season is over, we still have so much to look forward to this fall! 

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I love snack time after school with the boys! It’s one of my favorite parts of the day. I love seeing the boys and having them tell me all about their days! They also love it when I have delicious snacks and treats waiting for them!  Here are some new delicious after school snacks that I plan on incorporating into our after-school routine this fall.

Apple Nachos from Good Cook

  Shot from Good Cook. Grab apples, peanut butter, Nutella and some fun sprinkles to make this nutritious and fun snack! 

Critter Crudites from Good Housekeeping

Shot from Good Housekeeping

Grab some apples, blueberries, peanut butter cream cheese and other fruit to make some delicious and healthy veggies friends! 

Grilled Cheese Roll Ups form Brit + Co.
Shot from Brit + Co

Grab some bread, sharp cheddar cheese and make these tasty little treats for an afternoon snack! 

These are some of the new recipes that I’m adding to our after school snack rotation! For more fun recipes, visit my Pinterest here for more ideas! 

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This past weekend we were on Mackinac Island getting ready for the new season. There is a lot of preparation involved before that opening day! 

We are enjoying the last couple of weekends of the streets being empty before the crowds arrive. We were also able to spend some time with family and friends and catch a gorgeous sunset! Louie made a little ‘boat’ out of popsicle sticks and duct tape and we all went down to the water to let it ‘sail’. It was so cute! 

On the work side, I’m busy getting the three shops ready for the new season, along with Andrew busily making new changes at Doud’s Market. Doud’s Market has decided to update to self-checkout lines which is an exciting, but big project!


I worked on tidying the shops, going through new product that has arrived and putting displays together! We have SO many amazing new goodies for the season. I’ve been sharing on my Instagram many of my favorite new goodies for Mom this Mother’s Day. 

Do you need help picking out a gift for Mom? Check out our Mother’s Day page here: https://littleluxuriesofmackinac.com/collections/mothers-day-gifts.

If you still need help after looking at our Mother’s Day collection, send us an email at littleluxuriesmanager@yahoo.com. We’d love to help you find the perfect gift for Mom! 

Hope your week is a good one! You’ll find me in my casual shop clothes and a baseball hat this week moving boxes, pricing, displaying and trying to get it all together! 
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