Amazon Local Mackinac Island House Hotel Deal

AMAZON LOCAL MACKINAC ISLAND HOUSE HOUSE HOTEL – One of my personal favorite weekend vacations after having our first son and my wife being pregnant with our second son was a trip over the fourth of July to Mackinac Island. No vehicles, horse-drawn carriages, bicycles, and the island lifestyle.

100704 Mackinac Island Downtown

Visiting Mackinac happened years before I started blogging, but I still recall the trip like it was yesterday. We wondered around the island on foot and horse-drawn carriage, seeing the wonderful parks, history museums, shopping, and dining. One of the most remarkable aspects I was quite surprised by was the island is bustling with tourists coming over from the mainland during the day. However, by dinner time, the island cleared out, and you had the island to yourself along with the rest of the residents and patrons staying the night.

100704 Mackinac Island Island House Hotel

We elected to stay at the Island House Hotel during our stay on Mackinac Island. While our room was quite basic, the hotel was more than substantial for accommodating our island stay.

I bring all this up because Amazon Local is currently offering a discounted stay at the Island House Hotel this summer.

Guests can currently save nearly 50% off rack rates with this promotion for $349. In addition to the voucher being good for two nights either May 2-June 8 or September 1-October 25, guests receive daily breakfast, $40 dining credit, bike rental for two, and 1/2 pound of Ryba’s Fudge.

Note there are substantial blackout dates (5/7/2014-5/8/2014, 5/10/2014, 5/28/2014-5/29/2014, 9/9/2014-9/10/2014, and 9/15/2014) with this offer, so make sure the dates will work for you prior to purchasing.

Link: Amazon Local Mackinac Island House Hotel (affiliate link)

There is also an additional fee of $78.41 due upon check0in, which includes taxes, fees, and gratuity.

Upon landing on the shores of Mackinac Island and staying at the Island House Hotel, you will be transported back in time to when life was a little more simpler.

Have you stayed at the Island House Hotel?

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Source: InACents

Note: The link(s) provided in this article provide us with a commission should you elect to make a purchase using them. Thank you!

2014 BOGO Ski Free Lift Tickets via Shell Gas Stations

Gas to Ski Free

SKI FREE SHELL – For the past couple of years, Shell Gas Stations, via Ski Free Deals, across the country has offered guests the opportunity to get a buy one, get one lift ticket to various ski resorts with the purchase of gasoline. Well it is back again for 2014.

Ski Free Shell Details

The promotion starts January 6th, 2014 and runs through April 21, 2014.

You simply purchase 10 gallons of gasoline at a participating Shell gas station. Then bring the receipt inside to the cashier, and they will give you a voucher.

The Ski Free Deals website has an excellent list of Shell gas stations that will participate this year. States include California, Colorado, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

The 2014 participating list of resorts is limited to properties in California, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Michigan, as listed below.

California and Nevada Buy One, Get One Ski Free Same Day Resorts

HOMEWOOD MOUNTAIN RESORT, CA
Valid: Sunday – Friday
Blackouts: January 18-20, February 15-23

MT. ROSE SKI TAHOE, CA
Valid: Monday – Friday
Blackouts: January 19-20, February 16-17

MT. SHASTA ski park, CA
Valid: Tuesday & Wednesday, 9am – 4pm; Thursday, 3pm – 9pm
Blackouts: None

California and Nevada Buy One, Get One Ski Free Another Day Resorts

CHINA PEAK
Valid: Sunday – Friday
Blackouts: January 19-20, February 16-17

SIERRA-AT-TAHOE®
Valid: Sunday – Friday
Blackouts: January 18-20, February 15-22

Colorado and New Mexico Buy One, Get One Ski Free Resorts

COPPER MOUNTAIN
Valid: 7 Days a Week
Blackouts: None

CRESTED BUTTE
Valid: 7 Days a Week
Blackouts: February 15–16, March 10-12, March 17-19

LOVELAND SKI AREA
Valid: Sunday – Thursday
Blackouts: January 19-20, February 16–17, March 23-27

MONARCH MOUNTAIN
Valid: 7 Days a Week. Regular ticket price $65. Not valid Saturday in February.
Blackouts: January 18-19, February 16, March 10-21

POWDERHORN MOUNTAIN RESORT
Valid: Monday – Friday
Blackouts: None

ANGEL FIRE RESORT
Valid: 7 Days a Week
Blackouts: February 15-17, March 7-16

TAOS VALLEY SKI RESORT
Valid: 7 Days a Week
Blackouts: February 15-17, March 10-15

FIRST ASCENT MOUNTAIN SCHOOL – SNOWSHOEING
Purchase one half-day guided snowshoeing tour and get one FREE for the same tour. Valid at Rampart Reservoir and North Cheyenne Canon. Restrictions apply. Call for complete details. Reservations required at 719-304-6677.

NOVA GUIDES – SNOWMOBILING
Purchase one snowmobile rental for the 1:30pm tour in Tigiwon and get one snowmobile rental FREE for the same tour. Based on availability. Restrictions apply. Call for complete details. Reservations required at 719-486-2656.

Michigan Buy One, Get One Ski Free Resorts

Apple Mountain
Valid: 7 Days a Week
Blackouts: None

Cannonsburg Ski Area
Valid: Tuesday & Thursday
Blackouts: None

Snow Snake Mountain
Valid: JAN – FEB: Monday; MAR: 7 Days a Week
Blackouts: None

Mt. Brighton Ski Area
Valid: Monday – Tuesday, All Day; Wednesday – Friday, Day Only; Saturday, After 6pm; Sunday, After 5pm
Blackouts: January 18–20, February 15–17

Swiss Valley Ski Area
Valid: JAN – FEB: Sunday – Friday; MAR: 7 Days a Week
Blackouts: None

Timber Ridge
Valid: JAN – FEB: Sunday – Friday
Blackouts: None

Boyne Highlands
Valid: Sunday – Friday, 9am – 4:30pm
Blackouts: January 19, February 16-17

Boyne Mountain
Valid: Sunday – Thursday, 9am – 4:30pm
Blackouts: January 19, February 16-17

Caberfae Peaks Ski Resort
Valid: JAN – FEB: Sunday – Friday; Saturday after 5pm; MAR: 7 Days a Week
Blackouts: February 16

Cross Country Ski Headquarters
Valid: 7 Days a Week
Blackouts: January 18-20, February 15-17

Crystal Mountain
Valid: JAN – FEB: Monday – Thursday; MAR: 7 Days a Week; Not valid after March 17
Blackouts: January 20, February 17

Hanson Hills
Valid: During open hours. Call 989-348-9266 for hours of operation.
Blackouts: None

The Homestead Resort
Valid: Friday – Sunday
Blackouts: January 18-19, February 15-16

Mt. Holiday Ski Area
Valid: Sunday – Friday
Blackouts: January 19-20, February 16-17

Nub’s Nob Ski Area
Valid: Tuesday, full day ticket
Blackouts: None

Shanty Creek Resort – Schuss Mountain
Valid: JAN – MAR: Sunday – Thursday; Not valid after March 10
Blackouts: January 19-20, February 16-17

Shanty Creek Resort – Summit Mountain
Valid: JAN – MAR: Sunday only
Blackouts: None

Treetops Resort
Valid: Sunday – Friday; Saturday after 4pm
Blackouts: January 19-20, February 16-17

Blackjack Ski Resort
Valid: Sunday – Thursday
Blackouts: January 19-20, February 16-17

Marquette Mountain Ski Area
Valid: Monday – Friday, 11am – 8:30pm
Blackouts: None

MONT RIPLEY
Valid: 7 Days a Week
Blackouts: None

Mt. Zion Ski Hill
Valid: 7 Days a Week
Blackouts: None

Pine Mountain Resort
Valid: Monday – Friday
Blackouts: February 17

Porcupine Mountains
Valid: 7 Days a Week
Blackouts: None

For reference, here is the 2013 Ski Free and 2012 Ski Free info.

For those residing in Pennsylvania, do not forget that your 4th and 5th grade students can be skiing for free all season.

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Source: InACents

How Long Will the Sleepy Bear Dunes Be Preserved?

Besides our son’s accomplishment at the Sleepy Bear Dune climb area, where hiking to the top is encouraged, perhaps the most beautiful spot to view the dunes is along the Pierce Stocking scenic drive.

After showing your park pass ($10 and valid for 7 days), you proceed on a very scenic 7.4 mile drive through the woods to various little pull-offs to view the scenery and various overlooks. The Lake Michigan Overlook is situated about half way thru the drive and offers spectacular views of the sand dunes plunging down to the lake.

After a short hike back to the overlook from the parking lots, one is presented with very steep grades and an approximate 450 drop to the bottom. Standing at the top of the dunes is spectacular! As one proceeds to the observation deck, situated at the dunes edge, there are beautiful 180 degree views of both the north and south side of the dunes.

130705 Pierce Stocking Overlook Sand Dunes (1)

Viewing from the observation deck is where one really gets an appreciated for the steep grade and the height of the dunes. However, that is where one also sees lots of people sliding down the side of the dunes, only to be presented with the steep climb back to the top. Guests attempting to make the climb literally must walk on their hands and feet to return to the summit due to the slope.

130705 Pierce Stocking Overlook Sand Dunes (2)

130705 Pierce Stocking Overlook Sand Dunes (3)

At the top of the dunes is a sign saying proceed at your own risk and any need for rescue is done so at your own cost. Meaning if they need to send in a helicopter to rescue you from exhaustion, you will get a nice bill from the government to cover the costs. That risk alone was enough to encourage me to never consider such a feat. However, other people were not as bright.

About 50-100 people at any time were either making the descent or proceeding on one of their most exhaustive treks ever.

Would making the climb be an incredible bucket list item? Sure.

However, the problem is sand is very easily erodible. How do you think the wind formed the dunes in the first place? So as guests proceed both up and down the dunes, all day, every day, millions of sand particles erode away and back to the bottom of the dunes base. Overtime, humans infatuation with climbing the dunes is actually “killing” the dunes.

130705 Pierce Stocking Overlook Sand Dunes (4)

130705 Pierce Stocking Overlook Sand Dunes (5)

The purpose of the National Park System is to help preserve our nations beautiful, natural resources so they will be around for all to see in the future. During our visit to the Volcano National Park in Hawaii, the Park Service took precautions to keep people out of areas that were not only dangerous, but also help preserve some of the more sensitive areas. However, besides a warning sign, the Sleepy Bear Dunes Park Service did very little if anything to discourage and/or prevent guest from eroding away the dunes.

Besides the safety issue of descending and climbing of a steep sand dune, I am concerned that the future of the sand dunes may be limited, whether it be 50 or 100 years from now. Perhaps we need to reconsider whether the future of the dunes existence is worth the short term thrills.

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Source: InACents