The Island Ferry

Previous Post About Bois Blanc Island: Getting to the Island

The Kristen D. as it arrives in the Cheboygan dock.
The Kristen D. as it arrives in the Cheboygan dock.

There are four ways to get to Bois Blanc Island, ferry, boat, plane, or snowmobile.

The ferry is the most common and cheapest.

Taking you own boat requires having your own boat. My family has a small dinghy, but its not nearly big enough to transport people, groceries, and luggage to the Island.

Chartering a private plane to get to the Island is expensive and gives people the heebie-jeebies because, “Does the pilot really know how to fly this thing?”

Snowmobiles are only used by the Island’s year-round residents to go over the Lake when it freezes.

All the Summer vacationers like me take the ferry.

The ferry is named the Kristen D. When I was a kid I thought it was named after Kirsten Dunst, the female lead in the first series of Spiderman movies.

The family that runs the ferry are called the Plaunts. They’ve been carrying people back and forth to Bois Blanc since 1932.

The Kristen D. holds 15 cars and dozens of people.

The Plaunts also deliver the weekly mail to everyone’s mailboxes.

This is where my grandparents go to get their mail in the summer.
This is where my grandparents go to get their mail in the summer.

The Plaunts will deliver almost anything to the Island. Packages, groceries, lumber, construction equipment, gasoline, etc. All you have to do is call them up and they’ll charge a fee for bringing it over.

Since the Plaunts control almost all transit to and from the Island they act as an unofficial governing body.

They’re also a form of law enforcement. If someone steals a TV from another person there’s only one way to get the TV off the Island. All the victim has to do is tell the Plaunts what type of TV is missing. If they see it on the ferry, they call the police.

The Plaunts provide a little bit of order in the wilds of Lake Huron.

-Mister Ed

Next Post About Bois Blanc Island: The Three Cottages

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Getting to the Island

Previous Post About Bois Blanc Island: Leaving for a Week

I’m back from my trip to Bois Blanc (Bob-Lo) Island! Be prepared for a lot of posts about my time on the Island.

Getting to Bois Blanc Island isn’t as simple as hopping on a plane and then you’re there like on a vacation to Hawaii or Disneyland.

I timed it once and if the journey to Bois Blanc is made in one go it takes about 21 hours.

First, you have to drive to the airport, check your bags, go through security, and wait for your flight.

The Island and the nearby mainland town, Cheboygan, both have airports, but they are only for private planes, not commercial flights.

There are a few airports to choose from, Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Pellston, or Travese City.

The important cities are colored yellow. I had to add a few of their names in too.
The important cities are colored yellow. I had to add a few of their names in too.

Milwaukee and Chicago have long drives to the Island if you go to those airports directly, but they work well as connections to Pellston or Traverse City.

Detroit is a six hour drive to Cheboygan. While preferable to the two day drives required from Chicago or Milwaukee, being stuck in a car for half a day is not something you look forward to after being in an airplane for a few hours.

The flight my family usually takes is a layover in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, or Chicago before a connecting flight to Traverse City.

Traverse City is a two hour drive away from Cheboygan.

If you’re going straight to the Island then you have to get groceries in Cheboygan before driving onto the ferry.

An hour ferry ride later you meet the relatives at the Island dock.

A half hour more of driving to the cottages on the West End of Bois Blanc finishes the journey.

My dad always did the trip that way, but it’s a little exhausting to do in one day.

My wife and I prefer breaking up the trip with a night in a hotel after the drive from Traverse City to Cheboygan.

There was a mixup with the hotel this time. I got confused by the online booking site and reserved a room for the wrong date.

We got shunted to an antique style bed and breakfast instead.

The Gables Bed and Breakfast reopened in June 2014 under new management after being closed for two years.
The Gables Bed and Breakfast reopened in June 2014 under new management after being closed for two years.

The place was a little rundown, but at least we had somewhere to sleep! We made it over to the Island the next day to greet my relatives.

-Mister Ed

Next Post About Bois Blanc Island: The Island Ferry

Leaving for a Week

A Google Earth view of Bois Blanc Island (Pronounced Bob-Lo Island).
A Google Earth view of Bois Blanc Island (Pronounced Bob-Lo Island).

I left this morning for a week long vacation in Michigan.

I’ve set up the site to update while I’m gone. When I get back I will undoubtedly be posting about what my trip was like.

Consider this a heads-up that if anything strange develops on the site I won’t be able to fix it until I return.

Picture above are three islands in Lake Huron, north of Michigan.

Michigan is split into two distinct parts, the Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula.

When you look at a map, the Lower Peninsula is the section that looks like a left handed oven mitt.

The Upper Peninsula looks like a broken branch or something.

Anyways, those three islands are almost right between the closest points of the peninsulas. You can see the bridge to the left of the islands in the picture.

I’m going to Bois Blanc Island (Bob-Lo), the lower right one, for my vacation.

The top left island is called Mackinac Island (Mac-in-aw). The middle island is called Round Island.

Historically, Mackinac Island is the most important. It contains a fort built by the British to trade for furs with the local Native Americans.

The fort was given to the USA after the Revolutionary War, but many British stuck around.

In the War of 1812, the British retook the fort, but they had to give it back at the end of the war once again.

The other two islands can’t compete with the “staggering historical importance” of Mackinac Island.

Today, Mackinac is a tourist location reached by ferry, boat, or private airplane. It has tons of candy shops, toy shops, and fudge shops.

Fudge is the biggest export from Mackinac. The island also boasts the hotel with the largest porch in the world.

You can also visit the old fort and a butterfly zoo while you’re on Mackinac.

No cars are allowed on Mackinac, so you have to get around by walking, biking, or horses.

Round Island is a national park with nothing on it except trees, rocks, animals, and a lighthouse. It has never had any historical importance whatsoever and it is not strictly round.

Bois Blanc Island is pronounced Bob-Lo Island. REMEMBER HOW TO PRONOUNCE IT!

Bois Blanc was a timber resource for the US navy back when ships were still primarily built out of wood.

The navy started selling plots of land on Bois Blanc after they realized they didn’t need the wood anymore.

The plots were bought by people to construct beachfront summer homes in the 1880s. My dad’s mom’s mom’s dad (I think I got that right) was one of the people who bought a plot of land.

My great-great-grandpa built a cottage on the island and now all of his descendants go there for vacations.

For the next week I will be on Bois Blanc Island with my extended relatives, far away from the rest of the world.

-Mister Ed

Next Post About Bois Blanc Island: Getting to the Island