Mackinac Island, Michigan
We always jockeyed for position on the left hand side of the boat on the way TO the island (and the right hand side of the boat on the way FROM the island) in order to get an unobstructed view of the Mackinac Bridge. Opened in 1957, the bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere (26,372 feet) and third longest in the world. It connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan... and is a thing of beauty.
We used to come across to the island just for the day - and catch the last ferry back to Mackinaw City (yes, spelled with a "w"). I remember our first time staying overnight at the Lake View (in the giant room above the sign). Listening to the horse hooves clip-clop past our room was a natural way to fall asleep.
Everyone in my family has fantasized about working for Mackinac Island Public Schools, and this generally was our “pit stop” our way around the island. There is only one building that serves the entire island and has between 80-100 students in grades K-12. (I mean, could you imagine walking out of the school's front doors and hearing the waves and seeing the Mackinac Bridge? Heavenly!)
While I always liked Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City better, Fort Mackinac is still astounding (although maybe not the climb to get to the entrance.) Once inside, however, the views out over the rest of the island are unparalleled - and totally justify why they picked this location from a defensive standpoint!
Leaving the island was downright depressing, and despite my Mom's reassuring statements that we'd be back again next year, it sucked. Yep. I have a doctorate, and that's the best word I can find to describe leaving... it sucked. But, once we got done fighting my sister for the window/railing seat, and as our sugar comas began to set in, we realized Mom was right, and we would come back again.