St. Ignace, Michigan

 


 

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Places: St. Ignace

We were in St. Ignace during the 2007 Labor Day weekend. We had a great time there and were lucky enough to participate in the 50th Anniversary Walk over the Mackinac Straits Bridge. (best viewed as a slide show).

One of the best things about St. Ignace (or the Mackinac area in general) is "getting there" - at least when you're coming up Lake Michigan. For so much of the trip up the Michigan coast, you have the open lake to port and the shore - usually large sand dunes - to starboard. But then, once you clear Little Traverse Bay, things start getting really interesting. Ahead of you, a little to starboard, is Waukoshance Point jutting out into the lake. To port is the Beaver Island group. On a clear day, by looking to starboard you can start seeing the Mackinac Bridge rising over the mainland well before you get to Ile Aux Galets.

Then you see the lighthouses of the Gray's Reef Passage. We cut the corner and got a nice close view of Waugoshance Point Light. After clearing the passage and turning to starboard, you are now heading directly towards the Mackinac Bridge, which gradually grows larger and larger. Before reaching the bridge, you pass St. Helena Island which has a tall lighhouse.  Finally you reach the straights.  Passing under the bridge for the first time as you head into Lake Huron is an adventurous feeling.

St. Ignace is a nice town, much quieter than Mackinaw City across the straits. There's a boardwalk along the waterfront with historical markers sprinkled here and there. And this is an area rich in history - a center of the 17th century fur trade and much older than most areas of the midwest US. Our favorite stop in town, was Bentley's, where the ice cream was so good we went back several times for more. We also liked the food and the view from the Marina Pub.

We took a bicycle ride while there, first heading north, then west into the Upper Peninsula, then south, returning along the northern shore of Lake Michigan. That part of the ride was some of the most interesting bicycling we've done along Lake Michigan. In summer, it has the feeling of Cape Cod or the Outer Banks - lots of sand dunes surrounding you, sand blowing over the road, and folks parking alongside to spend the day out on the beach. You also get lot's of nice views of the Mackinac Bridge from here.

St. Ignace has a good marina, well protected and, once again, staffed by friendly and professional folks. Not the ones in this photo though - there was an arts and crafts fair in the parking lot while we were there complete with local entertainment. 

While we were at the marina, a couple of otters could be seen wandering around the docks in the early morning hours. They walked right down the finger pier of the boat across from us.


 

Blog entries from 2007:

Through the Mackinac Straits to St. Ignace
Bike Ride in St. Ignace
Stroll Over the Bridge I
Stroll Over the Bridge II
Quick Trip Upper Peninsula to Lower Peninsula

NOAA Online Charts:

14881
14902

 

General Info:

Wikipedia entry
Chamber of Commerce

 

  

Thumbs up:

The marina - and it's otters - the only marina we've been in that gets really busy before sunrise.

Ice cream at Bentley's and food/view at the Marina Pub.  Speaking of views, how about those incredible views along the Lake Michigan shoreline southeast of town.

Walking the boardwalk along the waterfront, and visiting the Old Mission Church and the grave of Pere Marquette.