My June 2022 visit to Mackinac Island (pronounced Mack-i-naw) is an experience to treasure even if it is not repeated. However, I believe many make the idyllic island a travel destination over and over. If I lived closer, I would too.
Travelers can reach Mackinac Island by sea (lake) or air. Ferries cross from both the Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula of Maine. The ferries from St. Ignace, Michigan on the Upper Peninsula are easier to catch than those leaving from Mackinaw City. (Same pronunciation, different spelling.) So, it might be worth it to pay the toll and cross the Mackinac Bridge if you are travelling during the height of tourist season.
Air travel onto Mackinac Island is limited to private and charter planes. Horse drawn taxis are available to take arrivals from the airport to their destination. Once the lake freezes and ferries can no longer serve the island, the airport becomes the central location for arrivals and departures. Naturally, weather can shut the airport down in the winter. Sometimes for days.
Key Locations on Mackinac Island
The ferries land right on Main Street. Shop after shop sell everything form tourist trinkets to clothing to fudge. Lots of fudge. Slabs of fudge. Somehow, we managed to get off the island without a purchase of this delicious treat. But purchases were made.
At the Island Bookstore I purchased two books. You can read the review of Braking for Bodies by clicking here. The Lilac Girls still remains on my TBR list. We also spent time at Nephew’s on Mackinac. The window display drew us in. This clothing store is one of the nicest stores I have shopped in. The customer service was fantastic and so was the selection of both men’s and women’s clothing. So, money was spent here as well.
If I ever go back to Mackinac Island, I will want to stay at The Grand Hotel. This resort is awe inspiring. And that is just from the size! This hotel was built in the late 1800s. One can only imagine it was a favorite of the Robber Barons. A commanding view of Lake Huron from the longest porch I have ever been on transports one back to an earlier time.
A ten-dollar admission fee will allow you to stroll through the grounds. Or if your pockets are flusher, The Grand Hotel is still open for business. Since we were on a budget we opted for a stroll on the grounds and a delicious meal outdoors at The Jockey Club at the Grand Stand. A perfect place to relax and watch the horse taxis deliver baggage to the hotel.
Fort Mackinac History
For visitors staying more than a half day, a visit should include Fort Mackinac. Plan to spend a couple of hours at the fort. Good walking shoes are essential as the fort sits atop a bluff. Both British and American forces have quartered on the island.
The British built the fort in the 1700s and kept control for a number of years after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War. Then the British reclaimed the island and fort during the War of 1812. A museum at the site provides much background.
Overall Impressions of Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island is primarily a tourist destination. Indeed, I did not see any other industry, although one may exist. The allure of going back to a past without automobiles may play a part in the attraction. My impression of Mackinac Island along with much of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was one of natural beauty. Clean air, lots of trees, few people and an expanse of water.
I truly enjoyed my time in this part of the world. If you like travel and have not been to this part of the world, Upper Michigan as well as Mackinac Island deserve a visit.