Favorite thing: The Island House Hotel is a good example of a 19th century resort lodge making the successful transition to 21st century tourism. Originally constructed in the 1850s, it was one of the first summer hotels on the island. Actually, it's original location was closer to the beach; it was moved across the road in 1865. There have been several additions to the original structure; the most important changes were new wings added in 1895 and 1912.
The Round Island Lighthouse has guarded the entrance to Mackinac Island's harbor since 1895. It was operational from 1895 until 1947; up until it was mechanized in 1924, the lighthouse required a crew of three to keep it working.
Although the Round Island Lighthouse is no longer functioning, it is still maintained by the United States Forest Service - under the auspices of the Hiawatha National Forest! How interesting.
Marquette Park - at the base of the Fort - is a good place to catch some rays on a sunny day. The lawn is very inviting, and the grass is guaranteed to be a soft bed if you need to catch a nap in between fudge shops.
Father Jacques Marquette really got around the Great Lakes in the 17th century! You'll find in Milwaukee on a downtown University campus, in the Indiana Dunes near Gary, and in my home town which is even named after him. In fact, the "twin" of his statue here overlooks the Lower Harbor in Marquette MI.
Small boats - and bigger ones - can be found at the Island Marina.
It was a partly cloudy day when I was on Mackinac in late May 2005. Big puffy clouds streaked across the sky, but the rains stayed mainly on the plains, and i never had to get out my umbrella.
Take a horse and buggy tour around the island. They tell you the history of the homes and you see things you wouldn't normally see yourself.
Go to the famous Grand Hotel (presidents and elite from years past) stay (it can be a bit pricey) has a golf course and there is a small eatery up on the hill where you can grab a drink and something to eat, we ended up here late one evening and they have those terre cotta pots you can make little fires in on the patio (they bring you wood) and so we sat there for hours just chatting away into the crisp night...it was wonderful!
Fondest memory: They had a power outage the one year we were there, all the electricity went out! I think 6 of the 7 main power lines to the island were damaged. We were there for 4 days, 3 of which we did not have electricity. It was very interesting, only a few restaurants had generators so the menu's were limited and everything was served on paper plates, no water so the little general store ran out of everything! They brought in Police vehicles to assist because the island was dark! They enforced a curfew of 10:00 (we got a ride back to the condo by a cop because the horse/buggy taxi's were not running cause they couldn't see so we hitched a ride with our long island iced teas - it was memorable that's for sure!
There are guided tours you can take in horse-drawn carriages. They cover the main landmarks on the island and give a good overview of its history and topography. It's a lot of fun and a good introduction to the island.
Fondest memory: I love the natural beauty of the place. 10,000 years ago the island was submerged in hundreds of feet of water, a period that left it with an interesting topography. Its forest, now a state park, was at one point a national park; in fact, it was the second park ever so designated in the US.
Favorite thing: Mackinac City and Mackinac Island are real tourist traps but nice tourist traps. A two night stay is sufficient with one day for a trip to the island . You can rent bikes on teh island . It takes one hour to bike around on a paved and very flat trail . The bridge is beautiful .
The Lilac Festival in early June is a beautiful event because of the lilacs blooming all over town. It is also a very busy time with the the island packed with visitors.
For a quiter experience, visit Mackinaw Is. before Memorial day or after Labor day. The autumn colors can be marvelous in October with "indian summer" days.
Fondest memory: Lilacs everywhere and their sweet scent in the air.
To experience the best go during the week! We went to the island on Thursday thru Sunday & Saturday was the most crowded. You don't get the full experience of the historic town when you feel like sardines on the sidewalk. Plus the wedding parties seem to take over the nightlife & become quite noisy at 2am when you are trying to have a romantic stroll with your spouse...
Fondest memory: I hung a postcard of the downtown at my desk & stare at its beautiful clean - car free picture every time I am on the phone. takes me back! Miss the laid back feeling. Loved coming back to the B&B to have the bed made every day! Wish someone would do that at my house!
The simple white building on Market Street (7374) was originally the County Courthouse for all of Mackinac County.
It now serves as the City Hall and Police station for the island.
Favorite thing: Mackinac Island fudge is a specialty around here. They have windows that allow people to watch them make fudge. YUMMY!
Take the horse and buggy tour of the National Park and the town.
Fondest memory: The buggy ride and buffet diner at the Grand Hotel