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  • Writer's pictureBecky Wagaman

Agawa Canyon and Mackinac Island

A few years back, Dustin and I took a couple days off of work and went up north for a nice long weekend getaway. We drove about 5 1/2 hours to Sault Ste. Marie where we caught a train to take us to through Algoma Country and the Canadian Shield to Agawa Canyon, so we could enjoy the beautiful autumn colors. We had purchased tickets ahead of time for the Agawa Canyon Tour Train to reserve our seats, and I’m glad we did because it filled up fast! We had spent the night in a small hotel in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada and woke up early to catch the train. It is 114 miles each way to get to Agawa Canyon by train, so we had plenty of time to enjoy the scenery. After taking in some of the views, we decided to head up to the restaurant car where we enjoyed a delicious pancake breakfast and mimosas, all while being able to look out the windows as we travelled.

It was such a nice way to travel! Dustin and I really enjoy travelling by train because it allows us both to be able to constantly look out the window, versus one of us having to drive and watch the road.

Along the way, we got to see Lake Superior, several pristine inland lakes, beautiful autumn color radiating throughout the forested hills, and even some granite formations of the Canadian Shield! We also got to go over some tall trestles, which offered a great view below!

After a couple of hours, we arrived at Agawa Canyon.

Here, the train stopped for 2 hours to allow everyone to get off and explore the area a bit. We walked around a bit taking photos and found some small waterfalls to hike to, as well as a trail that was an uphill hike to an overlook of the entire canyon.

We always like to get as high as possible to get a different perspective, so after peeking at the waterfalls, we opted for the hike to the overlook. We were a little out of breath after the hike, but the view was gorgeous! Overall, the train ride was a really neat experience and a lot of fun!

That night after arriving back in Sault Ste. Marie, we drove back over into the lower peninsula of Michigan and decided to stay in Mackinaw City for the night. Dustin knew of a pizza place that he had gone to as a kid and wanted to take me to it knowing my love of pizza but he couldn’t remember the name of it. We drove around until we found it and it was called Mama Mia’s Pizza. It was a neat place and was decorated with all kinds of paraphernalia (such as hard hats, etc.) from the iron workers who built the Mackinac Bridge. The restaurant also has a free museum for customers which includes a movie about how the bridge was built, if you are into that sort of thing (I’m not-never been a fan of most museums).

After dinner, we walked around the town a bit and noticed that the streets were starting to become lined with people more and more as the sun went down, as if there was going to be a parade or something. We curiously waited around to see what all the hype was about. To our surprise, all of the crowds were there for a semi-truck parade! Semis from all over the place started pouring in from the highway and were all decked out with lights and decorations and fancy horns playing all sorts of tunes! It was hilarious to me that this was actually a thing and that so many people had shown up for it! After watching realizing what was going on, Dustin and I headed back to our hotel. We had a balcony overlooking the city where we could view the whole spectacle with all of the trucks winding down every street in town. Come to find out, Dustin’s dad (who used to drive semi-trucks for Post) was there that night also, specifically for the parade and we didn’t even know it!

The next morning, we got up and headed over to catch a ferry to Mackinac Island. The ferry that we got on took us on a scenic tour of the bay first and we got to cross underneath the towering Mackinac Bridge, which meant we went from Lake Huron into Lake Michigan. We had driven over it several times throughout our lives, but very neat to be able to go underneath it this time.

Upon arriving at the island, we spotted a cute restaurant called the Pink Pony with an outdoor seating area overlooking the lake and the docks, so we headed in that direction in search of breakfast with a view! We were seated outside where we enjoyed one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had! I had a cinnamon French toast that was killer and Dustin had eggs benedict!

Cars are not allowed on Mackinac Island so the only way to get around is by bike or horse drawn carriage.

After breakfast, we walked around a bit and found a place that rented tandem bicycles.

Initially, we almost bit the dust a few times trying to navigate around tourists, carriages, and other cyclists, but we finally got the hang of it and it was a really fun, unique way to see the island.

These are my best attempts at trying to take a photo with both of us in it while riding on the tandem bike. Dustin was able to get a way better angle when he tried, but you still can’t see the bike!

There is a road that runs along the outer coast of the entire island so we took that part way and then decided to take the road that goes by the airport, about halfway through the island. It was neat to see the small planes take off right over our heads! We ran into our friend Scott’s dad while we were there, which was so ironic being so far away from home and on an island! After chatting with him for a bit, we went to Arch Rock, which is a popular spot on the island with a cool rock formation and a great view of the lake!

Someone had moved rocks in the water to spell out the words “Water is life” which was so perfect because we love the water and boating so much!

After turning in our bike, we walked around a bit more exploring the side of the island that we hadn’t made it to on our bike ride. We saw the other side of Arch Rock and walked along the coast a little more, and eventually found a place to buy some of the famous Mackinac Island fudge before getting back onto the ferry to the mainland.

On the boat ride back, we got to see the Round Island Lighthouse.

Northern Michigan has endless beautiful places to visit and Mackinac is no exception!

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