August 18 2014

MaMa Mia’s Pizza – Mackinaw City – Review

mama mias mackinaw

 

The Adventurers Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars (Average)

MaMa Mia’s Pizza Restaurant is in the heart of downtown Mackinaw City. They (naturally) specialize in pizza but also have a wide range of other entrees on the menu such as subs, sandwiches, and pasta. Their pizza is good albeit somewhat pricey (a medium pizza with 1 topping will run about $16) which is justified because it’s a tourist town after all. What sets it apart from any other pizza place is that it is also home to the Mackinaw Bridge Museum which is upstairs above the dining room.

mama mias mackinaw

When you enter the establishment you will be directed to a line at the ordering counter. You may be tempted to grab a seat but will notice that all empty tables are marked “reserved”. They have actually come up with a pretty good way of managing the crowds by assigning you a table only after you have ordered, or if it’s extremely busy, you may not get assigned your table until your food is ready. This ensures that those with food aren’t left standing while people without are hogging up all the tables.

mackinaw bridge museum

While you’re waiting you are free to check out the Mackinaw Bridge Museum or play some of the many arcade games in the back. Penny Squisher Alert – yes they do, in fact, have a penny squishing machine but there’s nothing overly unique to choose from.

mackinaw bridge museum

The museum itself is nothing very special: Mostly hard hats and assorted relics, some photos, and a gift shop that is surprisingly empty and void of …well any souvenirs at all. They do have a small theater that loops a movie about the bridge that is pretty interesting but typically your food is ready before you get to watch the show in it’s entirety. It’s not a must-see destination by any means, however, it does exactly what it’s intended to do… keep you occupied while your food is cooking.

mama mias

 

Out of the three times we’ve traveled to Mackinaw together, we have gone to MaMa Mia’s twice: The first and third time, while the second time up we tried some other pizza place instead. Our decision to return boils down to this… pizza is almost always good no matter where you go… but would you rather sit around at a table thinking about how hungry you are and how long it is taking to get your food? Or would you rather go somewhere that gives you a little distraction to help pass the time? Mama Mia’s Pizza knows how to do one thing right and that’s handle to crazy flood of tourists, and that is why they have got a repeat customer in us.

August 15 2014

Castle Rock – St. Ignace Michigan – Travel Guide

castle rock st ignace

Castle Rock – St. Ignace Michigan – I 75 Exit 348

castle rock

The Details:

To some, Castle Rock is an iconic stop just off the Mackinaw Bridge welcoming you to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. To others, it’s just a tourist trap with a bunch of old stairs to the top of a rock. No matter how you feel about the it, for $1, you just can’t beat it!

For 85 years Castle Rock has been open for tourists to get an amazing view of Mackinac Island and Lake Huron. You can get your picture taken with Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox before making the climb up nearly 200 feet. Local legend has it that Paul and Babe are actually encased in the rock and when you are at the top you’re actually standing on his head.

No matter what your vacation schedule is like, there’s always time for a stop. You could spend a few minutes just to climb up and back down again and still feel you got your money’s worth. Or take your time… soak in the view, take some photos, and shop in the gift shop.

paul bunyan and babe

Tips:

The climb to the top is not wheelchair accessible, however, the gift shop is

The stairs are steeper than you think, there are benches along the way up in case you need to stop for a second and rest.

If you’re into penny squishing as we are, they have a machine with 4 designs to choose from.

The gift shop has a pretty unique selection of items compared to other shops of this type and the prices are average.

castle rock gift shop

The Opinions:

Betsy: I am a BIG fan of Castle Rock as it was an integral part of my childhood. I don’t think that there was one Summer that passed that I didn’t go there at least once either with my parents or my grandparents. As such, you can imagine I was pretty darn excited to introduce Chris to Castle Rock on this trip. The gift shop at Castle Rock has always been one of my favorites as well as it has a very diverse selection of items that are reasonably priced. This is a must stop if you are going to be in the UP!

Chris: I love roadside tourist traps! Especially ones of this caliber. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era as places like this stir up feelings of 50’s nostalgia inside me and I wasn’t born anywhere near the 1950s. It’s not  just the climb or the view that drew me in, it’s the whole experience. I only wish I could have visited years ago, I’m sure at one point you could get right up beside Paul and Babe for your photos but alas, either for safety reasons or to protect them from damage, they have been fenced in. I’m glad I got to take the boys and experience this with them… it was a first for all of us.

castle rock view