Mackinac Island - Great Lakes - Niagra Falls

Ken & Dawn Ellis
Vacation 2001
Mackinac Island - Great Lakes - Niagara Falls

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Ken & Dawn Ellis

Hello, we are Ken and Dawn Ellis. This year, we are thanking God for 30 years of His blessing on our marriage. To celebrate, we decided to return to the location of our Honeymoon, Niagara Falls, Canada.

This web site is a pictoral story of our vacation. If you click on the words "BIG Pictures", it will open up a new Browser Window and take you to another version of this web page with larger pictures. If you click on any of the underlined words, it will open a new Browser Window and take you to a web site about that subject. When you are done looking at the other web page, close that Browser Window and it will return you to this web page. Have fun!

Two years ago, our vacation was a bus tour of US National Parks & Canyon Country. We enjoyed that so much that we decided to take another bus tour this time. We found a company called Christian Tours on the internet who had a tour of Mackinac Island, Great Lakes, and Niagara Falls that we thought we would enjoy.

On Friday, August 24th, 2001, we left our home in Boca Raton, Florida and flew to Charlotte, North Carolina. Our son, Scott, and his wife, Tracie, live in Charlotte, so they picked us up and we had an enjoyable evening with them.

Saturday, August 25th, 2001 (click for BIG Pictures)

Early Saturday morning, a small bus came to pick us up at our motel and take us to the campus of Christian Tours. We were impressed with the beautiful grounds, tall trees, and a small prayer chapel. As the rest of our group arrived, we boarded our Motor Coach (note: I did not say 'bus'). Saturday was a day of travel through North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky ending in Cincinnati, Ohio for the night.

Sunday, August 26th, 2001 (click for BIG Pictures)

Sunday, we headed on to Dearborn, Michigan where we went to the Henry Ford Museum. The museum contained a complete history of transportation in America from horse drawn vehicles, to automobiles, to trains, and planes. They had an old Cadilac with fins much like the one my dad used to drive and a Buick Riviera much like my first car. A large section dedicated to Railroads including one of the world's largest locomotives and a working Round House. We also saw a demonstration of glass blowing.

Sunday afternoon, we continued on to Frankenmuth, Michigan, a small Bavarian community with German Old-World style and gardens overflowing with color. They even have a Glockenspiel!

Monday, August 27th, 2001 (click for BIG Pictures)

Monday, we visited Bronner's Family Christmas Wonderland, the largest Christmas decorations store in the world! The place is so big they divide it into zones! We heard one woman entered the store in September and didn't find her way out till after Thanksgiving!

As we traveled north, we stopped briefly at a church with an enormous cross with the figure of Christ.

Continuing on, we left lower Michigan behind, crossed the Big Mac Bridge to the upper peninsula. Three of the largest freshwater lakes on the face of the globe form the peninsula's shoreline.

In order to get to Mackinac Island, we boarded a ferry for a 15 minute journey.

As we stepped off the ferry onto the dock at Mackinac Island, it was like stepping back in time. There are no motorized vehicles on the island, just horses and bicycles. We boarded a horse drawn carriage. for our ride to the Grand Hotel where we spend the next two nights. The Grand Hotel certainly lives up to its name. Its stands majestically on a hill crest looking down over the town below and out over the lake. The colonial white columns that line the front of the Hotel give it unmatched style and class. The front porch lined with rocking chairs stretches longer than a football field. And the bar on the fourth floor has a unobstructed view that stretches from sunrise to sunset.

Meals at the Grand Hotel are something to write home about. The dining room seats 500 and you are served in style by waiters in formal atire. After 6:00 PM, coats and ties are required inside the Grand. Dinner is a formal occasion and possibly the high point of any day. Each evening the chefs bring out their masterpieces. Dinner is a five course extravaganzas!

After getting through the first four courses, my belt was beginning to feel a little snug. But the best was still to come! For dissert, I chose the 'Grand Hotel Pecan Ball', a perfectly formed round ball of the finest vanilla ice cream rolled with a thick covering of candy coated pecans, and resting on a bed of hot fudge! To Die for! I calmly told Dawn, "we're not leaving here till I eat every bite of this - no matter how long it takes!'

We took an evening stroll up the hill from the Hotel's location. The sun was setting across the lake, beside the Big Mac Bridge as we walked by some of the most magnificent Victorian houses we had ever seen.

Tuesday, August 28th, 2001 (click for BIG Pictures)

Tuedsay morning, after a good night's sleep in our room, at the Grand, I got up early and went up to the fourth floor bar to watch the sun rise. Then I decided to get a few more pictures of the Victorian houses.

We took a horse and buggy tour of the island enjoying the way nature has been preserved there. The most interesting site was a natural rock bridge through which you could see the beautiful blue water of the lake.

We walked down to the shopping district for lunch. At first, it seemed like the only food available was fudge and ice cream. There were actually two stores side-by-side that each made their own fudge.

After lunch, we decided to visit the Butterfly House. It was filled with hundreds of colorful butterflies dining on flower nectar. We stopped in a few more gift shops and then took a 'radio dispatched' horse drawn carriage to the Internet Cafe on our way back to the Grand Hotel for another fabulous dinner.

Wednesday, August 29th, 2001 (click for BIG Pictures)

Wednesday morning, we left Mackinac Island by ferry, got back on our Motor Coach, and headed north.

Our next stop was the Soo Locks, the biggest and busiest locking system in the world. We got to see a cargo ship and a tour boat pass through the lock.

Next, we crossed over the border into Canada at Sault Ste. Marie. Our coach traveled along the north shore of Lake Huron as we continued on to Sudbury, Canada, for the night.

Thursday, August 30th, 2001 (click for BIG Pictures)

Thursday, we went to the African Lion Safari just south of Toronto. Most of the Safari is a drive-through park so we stayed in our motor coach and drove through - lion, cheetah, camel, zebra, ostrich, giraffe, buffalo, deer, elk and more. The animals were out in the open and many came up close to our coach. Especially, the monkeys! They actually climbed up the sides and front of our coach, hung from the mirrors, and even got on the roof. Two had babies clinging to them. As our coach left the monkey's area, a park ranger had to check over, under, and around the coach to see that all the monkeys had gotten off.

Friday, August 31th, 2001 (click for BIG Pictures)

Friday, we arrived in Niagara Falls, the Canadian side. As we drove past the falls, the sun shining on the heavy cloud of mist created a brilliant rainbow. We continued down stream to the Cable Car crossing and rode the cable car across the gorge and the whirlpool below.

We rode up the glass elevator to the top of the Skylon Tower and had a delicious lunch in the revolving diningroom with a spectacular view of both the American and the Canadian falls below.

After lunch, we took a thrill ride on the Maid of the Mist. As we got closer and closer to the Canadian falls, the mist of the falls engulfed us, the thundering water plunged down just a few feet away from us, and our thin plastic rain coats were no match for the drenching we got! We stood in awe and amazement in the midst of God's creation. After dinner, we walked down to the observation platform to see the falls bathed in ever changing colored lights.

Saturday, September 1st, 2001 (click for BIG Pictures)

Saturday, we went to the Corning Glass Museum and Steuben Glass Factory. The museum contains glass of every description. We watched skilled artisans transform molten glass into world-renowned Steuben Crystal. Then we browsed through the gift shop.

Saturday afternoon, we began our trip home, traveling south through Pennsylvania along the Susquehanna River and on to Greencastle, Pennsylvania, for our overnight stay.

Sunday, September 2nd, 2001 (click for BIG Pictures)

Sunday, September 2nd, we got back to the campus of Christian Tours and they then gave us a ride back to our starting place in Charlotte. Our son and his wife, Scott and Tracie, picked us up and took us back to their house. We got to spend another day with them before flying home to Boca Raton, Florida.

If you'd like to get in touch with us, please send an EMail to .

Please visit the Home Page of Ken & Dawn Ellis at .

Thanks for visiting us,
God Bless,
Ken & Dawn Ellis
Boca Raton, Florida

Shortcuts to BIG Pictures: Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - Day 5 - Day 6 - Day 7 - Day 8 - Day 9
Ken & Dawn Ellis