Ferry service to Mackinac Island stopped the first week of February and after one week of only being able to fly to Mackinac Island, the ice bridge from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island formed. For most islanders, this is a favorite time of year - to be able to freely leave the island and head to the main land within 20 minutes. The ice bridge is 3.5 miles in length and is lined with Christmas trees so islanders can follow the path.
Andrew introduced me to the ice bridge in 2009, my first winter on Mackinac. Some winters an ice bridge is not formed if the weather is too mild, and other winters, the ice bridge can last up to two months long. My first winters on the island, we had longer ice bridges. Andrew hauls the groceries for Douds Market from St. Ignace to the island which saves him A LOT of money instead of having it flown over. It costs .30 cents a pound to fly something over! It adds up very quickly!
The ice bridge is one of the most amazing experiences, yet it can be very dangerous too. Islanders have been crossing for years and even horses use to take the hike across the ice as well!
This past Friday, we loaded up the boys and took the ice bridge to Mackinac. This is a favorite moment for Louie and Tommy! The sun was shining, blue skies...it could not have been a prettier February day. Johnny and I sat in a sleigh behind the snowmobile Andrew drove with Louie and Tommy on both sides of him. This year, the ice bridge was not the best, very bumpy which made traveling the bridge much slower. But nonetheless, spectacular. We took in our views, took in all the sunshine and headed to our happy place!
Since 2017, we have been back and forth between Petoskey and Mackinac Island. We made this choice after Louie was born and our work became busier in the off-season. Meeting with reps, traveling to gift shows, as well as seeing family and friends .... it all became too difficult to do living on a remote island with a limited boat schedule. We have the best of both worlds; living on Mackinac and in Petoskey, MI. We love both towns, but of course, Mackinac is our true home and happy place.
Our short-lived winter weekend was packed with snowmobile rides, ice skating, visiting Douds Market, dinner with family and seeing friends as well as fitting in work at my shops and at the grocery store. There is never enough time to fit it all in! The ice skating rink is located near Fort Mackinac. I think this is one of the cutest rinks we've seen! Mackinac State Parks has done a fabulous job keeping the rink groomed, offering skating accessories and a happy environment for residents to enjoy.
I am so grateful we were able to get to our tiny island via ice bridge and get our winter island fun in before the warmer temps came this week! You can follow along on instagram to see our adventures and life on Mackinac and Petoskey.