Mackinac Island: The Jewel of the Great Lakes

Kayakers in the harbor

By KATHY MEGYERI

When it comes to top summer retreats, it’s Michigan that has the upper hand.

Mackinac Island (pronounced Mack-i-naw) is a 3.8-square-mile island resort area in Lake Huron between the state’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas, or as some would say, at the top of the mitten.

The charming getaway was recently ranked the No.1 hottest domestic destination this summer by TripAdvisor, which called it “a throwback to old-timey seaside leisure.” It’s gorgeous and pricey too.

TripAdvisor noted the following about the island escape:

Bicycles line downtown Main Street at night;
cars are banned on the island

• The average summer nightly hotel
rate is $347.
• The average summer week expense
is $2,905.
• The best value hotel is The Inn at
Stonecliffe from $297 a night.
• The most fun experience is the
Mackinaw City Sunset Cruise from
$24 a person.
• A great place to eat with family and
friends is the Pink Pony, famous for
its whitefish dip and burgers.


For the uninitiated, Mackinac, 
is known for its candy-colored downtown shops, homemade fudge, limestone bluffs, Victorian architecture, 18th century fort, Grand Hotel, lilac festival, fragrant evergreen forests, and ban on almost all motor vehicles.

The isle can be reached by small plane, private boat, or ferry from Mackinaw City and St. Ignace. Visitors get around the 8-mile perimeter on foot, by bike or in a horse-drawn carriage. Some claim that Mackinac Island is powered by a 500-horsepower engine in the summer, but that refers to some 500 horses that call the island home.

Floridians and others around the country are drawn to this island during the summer because of cool temperatures, lack of humidity, and natural and man-made beauty. The entire island is listed as a National Historic Landmark.

Carriage Tour


Artifacts have established a Native

American presence at least 700 years
before European exploration. The
island’s original name, Mitchimakinak,
is Ojibwe for Big Turtle, but the British
shortened it to Mackinac or Mackinaw.
Fort Mackinac, founded in 1780 by 
the British during the Revolutionary War, is a walled cluster of military buildings                                                                               situated on a coastal bluff.

 

In 1887, the Grand Hotel, which overlooks the Straits of Mackinac, was constructed only one-half mile from Main Street. In 2015, it was named the Best Historic Resort Hotel in America, and for good reason.

Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, MI

It boasts the world’s longest porch, contains 393 guest rooms all individually decorated, sits on Lake Huron between Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas, offers carriage rides, and features landscaped gardens, multiple dining options, and an outdoor pool.

It was showcased in the 1980 film Somewhere in Time starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. This timeless and elegant resort is also known to draw celebrities like movie director Ron Howard and rocker Bob Seger.

The Governor’s Mansion on Mackinac Island

Michigan’s current governor
uses the nearby mansion called the
Governor’s House that overlooks the
fort. The island also offers boutique
hotels and inns all featuring Midwestern
hospitality and down-home courtesy.
Mackinac is preserved as a State
Park with trails, woods and limestone
rock formations.

The iconic Arch Rock

Arch Rock is a geologic
formation of natural limestone which
stands on the Lake Huron shore line
146 feet above the water. Visible from
both the shore and the bluff, it is truly
one of the natural wonders of the Midwest.
Other natural formations to visit
are Devil’s Kitchen, Skull Cove and
Sugar Loaf.

 

No island visit is complete without sampling the world-famous homemade
fudge available in the many gift shops. It’s the frosting on the cake to your
fairyland adventure.

For more information visit mackinacisland.org

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