Arriving to and Leaving from the Island

Previous Post About Bois Blanc Island: Bois Blanc Island Dinners

Coming on the ferry to Bois Blanc Island has an unofficial ceremony to it.

A member of the Plaunt family that runs the ferry backs my rented car onboard and I walk on.

As the ferry pulls away from the dock I watch the bridge opening in front of us over the Cheboygan River.

The ferry pulls out past the icebreaker that keeps the Straits of Mackinac open during the winter.

This boat is named the USCGC Mackinaw.
This boat is named the USCGC Mackinaw.

I watch the approach of Bois Blanc Island in the distance for a bit before returning to the car to read, chat, or sleep.

Once the ferry gets closer everyone becomes antsy and crowds to the front.

The ferry was pretty busy because people were coming for a tour of all the neat cottages on the Island.
The ferry was pretty busy because people were coming for a tour of all the neat cottages on the Island.

My relatives wave from the sea wall protecting the ferry dock on Bois Blanc.

When we dock we shout, “Hello!” before driving the car off.

We park the car and exchange hugs and greetings with the relatives. Then we drive to the cottages to take out our groceries and luggage.

Leaving is pretty much the same thing.

The relatives come to wave goodbye. They hug, say what a good time they had, and promise to see us again.

The ferry pulls out and I walk down to the end of the sea wall to wave goodbye one more time.

Bye bye, Ferry!
Bye bye, Ferry!

Until next year!

-Mister Ed

This is the last of my posts about my trip to Bois Blanc Island this year. Hope you enjoyed them!

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Food on the Island

Previous Post About Bois Blanc Island: A Typical Day on the Island

The only picture of food from my vacation was taken on the airplane. This is WordPress, people! Not Instagram!
The only picture of food from my vacation was taken on the airplane. This is WordPress, people! Not Instagram!

Bois Blanc Island is an hour ferry ride from the closest grocery store in Cheboygan, Michigan which makes food hard to come by.

My extended family only stays on Bois Blanc for a month or two in the summer. The cottages are closed the rest of the year.

Any food left during the winter would spoil or be eaten by critters.

Every time we come to the Island we have to buy a bunch of food because there’s nothing left in the cottages waiting for us except a few nonperishables like flour and sugar.

My wife and I went to the grocery store and got EVERYTHING. Enough food for a week plus some extra.

Some things you can’t buy a week’s worth though, like peanut butter or mustard.

Inevitably we buy more food than we eat (buying less than we eat would be painful) and we end up with leftovers.

On the Island leftover food is given to your neighbors to use.

There are two places to get food on the Island, the Bar and Hawk’s Landing.

The Bar is a bar. It has food, drinks, shuffleboard, darts, a pool table, and a jukebox. Nothing unusual.

Hawk’s is a general store, gift shop, and restaurant all rolled into one.

The building for Hawk’s is split into two halves. The front is filled with tables for the restaurant. The back has the kitchen, the cash register, and the gift shop and store.

The restaurant serves breakfast and typical diner food like burgers, pizza, and fish and chips.

The gift shop sells Bois Blanc Island stuff. Shirts, mugs, honey made on the Island, poem collections about the Island, novels set on the Island, etc.

The general store sells gas station stuff like soda, beer, a few Tylenol-like things, and snacks. There’s also cereal, baking supplies, milk, and eggs.

The selection and prices are pretty bad, which is why most people bring food with them.

The only other source of food is a weekly farmer’s market.

The farmer’s market is the only source of fresh produce on Bois Blanc. Most of the stalls sell out within half an hour of opening.

Despite the lack of food options on the Island all the meals are fantastic because they’re shared with family.

-Mister Ed

Next Post About Bois Blanc Island: Bois Blanc Island Dinners

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