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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Bottrall

Fourth of July Mackinac Island

Back: Me, Jeff, David Front: Leah, Hannah, Jordan, Theresa

There is so much to do on Mackinac Island over the Fourth of July. From stone skipping contests to old-fashion children's carnivals to the Red, White & Blue Celebration to benefit the Mackinac State Historic Parks. In retrospect, I wish we could have attended every event. The winner of the stone skipping competition won with 23 skips! and a woman won the amateur division for the first time in 10 years. How awesome was that! For more on that contest please go here to watch the video: Mackinac Tourism Video

But for most of the visitors to Mackinac Island over the weekend, Independence Day is about spending time with their family, and ours is no exception. The Fourth of July is always a big celebration for us. Eight years ago our granddaughter Destiny, was born on July 3rd, and as we watched fireworks the next day from the hospital window we just knew they were set off to celebrate her arrival. Just like they would for any princess.

This year Destiny got to come to the island with us for a couple of days just before her birthday. Two nights alone, being spoiled by Grandma and Grandpa (that's us) and we were all excited. The time was filled with trips to the beach to look for shells with Grandpa. They got lucky enough to witness the $85 Million mega yacht anchored on the east end of the Island. Des and I played a game of putt-putt at Mission Point Resort, and she whipped me good! She and Grandpa also managed to consume more Mackinac Island chocolate ice cream than any normal person could hold. She left after two sleeps to go spend her birthday with her parents and a ton of relatives up north. Just as she and I were getting on the ferry, our granddaughter Hannah and her friend Leah were disembarking. Cue round two of the extended holiday weekend.

David's daughter Theresa, and her family (Jeff, Jordan, Hannah and Leah) came to spend the weekend celebrating with us. This trip was extra special. The last time they were here, Theresa was in a fight for her life. This time we were celebrating a cancer-free Theresa. Fully recovered, and ready to rock and roll. David insisted that we visit every restaurant we did two years ago, this time with Theresa's full head of beautiful curls. The waitress at Iroquois even treated her to a celebratory glass of champagne.

Hannah was insistent that we witness her "improved" dancing skills, so we spent three days searching out the best places with live music. Horns on Saturday night and Mission Point with Gabi won the award.

Dinners at the Jockey Club, Iroquois and the Woods did not disappoint. The Woods took the lobster claw macaroni and cheese to a whole new level. It was creamy and chock full of tender lobster meat. The venison strip was a delicacy. Cooked perfectly medium rare with the richest gin demi glace I've ever tasted. Do you think they would let me spend an afternoon spying in their kitchen!

At the Jockey Club our waiter, Alvin, entertained everyone by carrying drinks out to our table on top of his head. The service was sublime as always and Onique even came by to photo bomb our grandson. A nearby table ordered champagne and the waiter took the top off with the largest knife I've ever seen outside the kitchen. That video is below.

Grandpa took the kids golfing at the historic Wawashkamo Golf Club on Sunday and they enjoyed the nine holes almost as much as the fun they had meeting all of Grandpas friends who work there. Later that night the same people showed up for dinner at our neighbors house and we joined everyone for a traditional Mackinac Island potluck dinner. I was supposed to bring a green salad of some sort. Doud's Market had been pillaged over the busy weekend, so I searched through our refrigerator and found a limp bunch of kale from a farmers market trip 10 days before, some old carrots and an onion. I cut the bottoms off the kale and plopped the ends in a pot of cold water. In 10 minutes the kale was crisp and crunchy again. I shaved the carrots, added some dried cherries, goat cheese, homemade honey mustard vinaigrette and sprinkled bacon all over the top to entice the men in the group. I must say the result was a wonderful blend of tangy and sweet and it was so colorful, just like fireworks in a bowl. Grandson Jordan even made sure they went home with the recipe, which I've included below for you as well. I hope you enjoy it and play with the recipe a bit to make it uniquely your own.

The fireworks on Sunday night were the perfect wrap up to the holiday. They had moved the launch site out near the marina where the front lawn of the fort, filled with hundreds of tourists had the perfect viewing spot. Almost every hotel on the island had a front row seat to the world class display of pyrotechnics. Our little neighborhood was directly in front of the launch site and I must say, our view was inspiring. Whoever made the decision to change the launch site - thank you, thank you! It couldn't have been a more perfect wrap up to a perfect Independence Day Celebration! The finale is on video below with some pretty good music added to it.

All the pictures, recipes and videos from the wonderful weekend are below. Enjoy!

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