Only With Coffee

LOVE LIFE

Month: November 2015

Stunning Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island is a place you should visit, especially when you’re in Michigan or anywhere close by. It’ll set you back in time. There’s no other transport on the island than bikes and carriages – mind you if you have allergies. I was soooo excited to take my sister along, that I forgot it was gonna be hard on her allergies, so don’t repeat this if you don’t have to. There’s loads to do and see on the main land too, but that’s not what I’m sharing with you today.

First you’ve gotta get on the island somehow. There’s several ways to do so. Either get on a ferry from Mackinaw City or St. Ignace on Starline, Shepler’s or Arnoldline. There is also an Airport on the Island, but unless you fly in and out with your private jet, I’d recommend taking a ferry. If you’ve got time to walk around St. Ignace – don’t forget to stop by at Bentley’s Café as their café is located right on N State Street and their coffee isn’t too bad after all 😉

On the ferry, depending on where you’ll be heading out – it’ll take you between 30 – 45 minutes to cross over. Once you get off the ferry, you’ll find yourself right on Main Street and you’re either gonna love it right away or not. But I have yet to meet someone who didn’t love it. Make sure you get there between May and October, if you’re after experiencing the real deal. If you get there during the winter months, it’ll be beautiful too, but most shops and attractions close in late October. So, if you get here in summer, make sure to book you’re accommodation ahead of time. There’s a couple of nice places to stay, but my favorites all just have a few rooms, so you want to make sure to get one. So worth staying on the Island for at least a night.

Places to stay

Inn on Mackinac

Inn on Mackinac

Fun to look at from the outside and totally old school on the inside. Everyone is welcome here. Great location and amazing views of the Harbor, if you get a room facing towards the Main Street.

Cottage Inn

Cottage Inn

Absolutely charming, only a handful of rooms, very personal, one street off Main Street situated on Market Street.

Lilac Tree Suites & Spa

Photo of Lilac Tree's Website

Photo of Lilac Tree’s Website

Photo of Lilac Tree's Website

Photo of Lilac Tree’s Website

Fabulous location right in the heart of Main Street with the option of getting proper SPA Treatments.

And then, there’s some hotels with plenty of rooms, that are not less phenomenal.

Grand Hotel

Grand Hotel

A traditional Hotel that opened in 1887 and has the world’s largest front porch. Make sure to at least take a walk around it.

Mission Point Resort

View of the Resorts Gazebo

This place holds the typical resort feeling as you walk in and definitely is the place to stay for families and couples. There’s a gazebo for weddings set in the beautiful garden.

Taking walks to find cute spots is the best thing to do

sun and treesFall day DSCN7024 DSCN7056 DSCN7058 DSCN7060 DSC_0235 DSC_0175 StrollingDSCN7090DSCN7068 DSCN7244

Activities awaiting you

Carriage rides, bike rentals, walking tours, SUP-ing, kayaking, strolling along Main Street and visiting all the fabulous shops, checking out some of the local art, visiting Fort Mackinac and Fort Holmes and of course making fudge and eating until you feel kinda sick (I don’t know about you, but I tend to eat more than I can handle. Especially of the sweet stuff, haha).

Food, Snacks & Drinks

Millie’s on Main
I’d say you can’t go wrong with your order. Their food is great and it comes with extra hearty service. And go figure, their coffee is great too.

Twist N Sprouts
THE place to get a salad! Fresh salads, wraps and frozen yogurt – what more do you Need?

Fort Mackinac Tea Room
It’s all about the VIEW! Plus their tea & coffee selection is good. Sit down for lunch if you want to enjoy the great view a bit longer.

Photo of Grand Hotel's Website

Photo of Grand Hotel’s Website

And then, after your stay here on incredible Mackinac Island – you will wanna come back eventually, just like I do :-)

Hello World

I’m Sandrine, 31 years old, former travel agent and an absolute life lover. I’ve come past a few people who don’t like to travel in my former career – let me get one thing out of the way – I’m not one of them. And you most certainly aren’t either. What I love doing most is talking, shopping, writing, catching some highlights of life on camera and go figure – traveling. Also, if there’s coffee to start the day and continue throughout the day – I’m happy.

Sandrine

Since this first post should take you to a place I really love, I decided to write about one of my most favorite spots on earth. Durban area, Kwazulu Natal in South Africa. It’s not as busy with tourists as Cape Town, but it’s definitely worth a visit. It’s got the largest Indian population outside of India and walking through the streets of Downtown Durban, you’ll feel the different and exciting vibe. You’ll find one of the biggest Indian Markets on Victoria Street. You’ve gotta love all the colors, spices and foods. Durban’s famous Bunny Chow is well known for its hotness. It’s not just hot, it’s the kind of *oh-my-word-this-is-flippin-spicy* hot. Ok maybe I’m exaggerating a bit… my taste buds aren’t used to hot food, so you might be doing just fine.

If you want to find out more about the South African Indian Culture I suggest you to read the article by South African Tourism to get a tiny idea about it.

I don’t mean to reduce the Indian influence on food, but it’s what makes Durban all the more colorful and interesting in my opinion.

Most favorite place so far

Sunrises by Umhlanga Lighthouse are the best. With a little luck, you might see dolphins playfully swimming through the waves. Ladies, if you’ve been waiting for your boyfriend to drop THE question, you should consider bringing him here. Haha. Just an idea to speed things up.

Umhlanga sunrise

Coffee

If you want to start your day with a good cup of coffee and delicious baked goods, you should go to Vovo Telo at the Lighthouse Mall, also in Umhlanga. You can’t go wrong with your order. Their freshly baked bread is amazing. And believe me, it’s hard to find good bread on trips around the world, being used to Swiss bread.

Vovo Telo Umhlanga

You’ll find a similar atmosphere at Mayfair Café in Durban North. It’s a cute place to hang out and have coffee. Plus their food is great, should you stop by later in the day. Check their Facebook Page to find out more.

Photo of Mayfair Cafe’s Facebook page

Photo of Mayfair Cafe’s Facebook page

Activities

If you’re looking for activities, there’s loads to do in this area. You can go kayaking on Umgeni River or in the open water. Mind you – there’s sharks. Great Whites too. If you visit Kwazulu Natal‘s Sharks Board you’ll get all the extra information on sharks. Unfortunately all I can recall of my visit there is that 80% of the sharks that get caught in the shark nets are on their way out into the open water again. This is why I’ll never post a picture of myself kayaking around Durban.

Illustration by Kwazulu Natal Sharks Board

Illustration by Kwazulu Natal Sharks Board

You can also get adrenalin rushes by jumping off the big swing base at Moses Mabhida Stadium, go shark cage diving or surf at the Wave House , if you don’t dare catching a wave in the ocean.

Typical Durban visitors don’t miss out on uShaka Marine World, Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban’s Botanical Gardens, Wilson’s Wharf and of course all the beautiful beaches.

A few impressions from uShaka’s Aquarium

uShaka_1

uShaka_2

Moses Mabhida Stadium

Stadium

Accommodation

I’m not such a big help when it comes to accommodation in this area, as I usually stay with friends. But the few nights I’ve spent in either Hotels or Apartments, I’ve booked on Umhlanga Accommodation, AirBnB or Booking.com. One of my favorites is 506 Lighthouse Mall Self Catering Apartment. It’s within walking distance of the beach, lighthouse, several restaurants and Shops.

Lighthouse Mall Apartment

If you’re looking for a cheaper place to stay – check out On the Beach in Glenashley. (5mins from Umhlanga, 15mins from Durban)

Alright, I’ll leave you with this for now. Thanks for reading along. Let me know if you’ve got any questions about the above mentioned places – I’d love to get back to you.

 

 

 

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