For $10 a round trip, we boarded the ferry (a first for both of us!) and traveled to the island. It's a bit trippy on the ferry because you're moving forward and can see from either side that we are indeed moving, but you can't see in front of you because the huge metal platform is up blocking your view. Felt a little strange.
Harsens Island was spectacularly beautiful. Residents live around the edge of the island along the water, while the interior is state land, marshes and forests, reserved for hunting and trapping. From the late 1800s through about the 1940s, this was the go-to place for wealthy revelers. Paddle boats and steamers would drop them off at any of the various hotels and resorts to wine and dine and mingle with the upper class. These resorts were quite luxurious. Even Teddy Roosevelt was known to come here once. Over time, these beautiful locations either burned down or were torn down, replaced by private homes. Only one still exists and is now a club.
Carissa and I stopped by the very tiny town of Sans Sousi, which means "Without A Care" in French. The entire town consists of about six buildings. That's it. We enjoyed the little gift shop there and met Chuck at the local history museum (which used to be the firehouse). Chuck gave us an incredible tour of the island's history. The massive anchors in the photo here came from the 1903 wreck of the John Glidden which blocked the river, backing up 400 boats at the time. It had to be dynamited to clear the way.
After that, we grabbed lunch at the Schoolhouse Grill on several people's recommendation. Our server, Amanda, was wonderful. And the food was honestly some of the best we've ever had anywhere. Carissa had a build-your-own burger, including avocado, a fried egg, cheese, olives, and mushrooms. The chef called it the slipperiest burger he's ever made. She had to eat it with a knife and fork.
We also enjoyed seafood nachos, and I had a fried scallop taco (out of this world!) and a locally caught perch taco. Amanda even made me a sampler of their Tuna Poke Bowl because I wished I could have ordered that too, and when she found out we were first timers from out of state and would likely never come back, she wanted me to try it. And it was amazingly delicious!!! We were so stuffed we skipped dinner altogether.
On the way back to the ferry, we were driving along the road when suddenly Carissa shouted, "Stop the car! Turn around!" There was a little (six inches in diameter) water turtle scurrying across the road trying to reach the swamp on the opposite side. Wonder Woman Carissa leapt from the car (no others were anywhere to be seen, so she was safe) and carried the terrified little guy to safety. Way to go, Carissa!
After a lovely, long nap, we decided to go into town to enjoy the night light. We were told that Marine City a few miles down the road had a theater and more entertainment than Algonac. Well, yes and no. They have a small movie theater that plays classic films--but not open until Friday. They have a local live theater--the play opens on Friday. And, well, that's about it. So we didn't bother.
Instead, we headed back to Dairy Queen! Luckily, there was a local band performing in the park across the street with about 150 locals sitting in lawn chairs and enjoying the evening. Carissa and I found a bench on the river to enjoy our ice cream. We watched a young boy catch a fish. We watched families motoring by on their boats. Two women who were incredibly intoxicated asked us to take a picture of them posing on a streetlamp like it was a stripper pole. And we watched as big, black storm clouds rolled into view overhead. (We did spot a rainbow!) The musician assured us the storm was going to pass us by, so no worries. He lied. At 8:30pm the sky opened up and drenched us all with giant-sized raindrops. The concert came to an abrupt end as everyone quickly packed up their lawn chairs and ran for cover. It didn't last long, but in about two minutes, Carissa and I were drenched.
So, true to our now nightly ritual, we have come back to our motel room to watch TV and fall asleep. Tomorrow is our final day in Algonac. We will be leaving here around 1:00pm and flying out of Flint at 4:30pm (EST) and arriving in SLC at 10:30pm (MST). I probably won't be able to post tomorrow, but you'll hear from me on Saturday for my final report on this amazing and wonderful adventure.