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June 23, 2016

Considered a scared island by it's first residents hundreds of years ago, Mackinaw Island in many ways tells the story of America itself. Add to that the natural beauty and this is a destination worthy of the journey.              

Spotlight on Mackinac Island, MI

By Marianne Moore

At about 8 miles in circumference and with a unique and storied history, Mackinac Island is truly a special destination. Once the home to a unique and solitary Native American tribe, Mackinac Island is considered to be the home of the Gitchie Manitou, the Great Spirit, and the island is considered sacred by the descendants of tribes who inhabited the island more than 700 years ago.

Eventually abandoned by Native Americans, the island remained deserted until the British built Fort Mackinac during the war of 1812 and held onto it until the Americans regained the possession in 1815. Soon it was a hub of commerce for the Great Lakes. John Jacob Astor’s (famous for being on board the Titanic when it sunk, among other things) American Fur Company put up shop on the island and for 30 years exported beaver pelts from the region.

The Streets of Mackinac Island

After the Civil War, the island became a tourist destination for those living around the Great Lakes. Just 3 years after Yellowstone was declared the first national park, much of Mackinac Island was declared the second national park and eventually the state of Michigan declared it their first state park. 

Today, Mackinac Island is the jewel of Lake Michigan and listed as a National Historic Landmark. With a ban on motorized vehicles and a very well restored and preserved town, the island is the perfect destination to spend the day exploring its many offerings. Travel in horse drawn carriages to explore Marquette Park, Fort Mackinac or the wide variety of architectural styles, including the Grand Hotel, where Esther Williams shot This Time for Keeps, and where we offer an option for a traditional Afternoon Tea.

The Grand Hotel

Make sure that you don’t leave the island before picking up a supply of the island’s gastronomical specialty, Mackinac Island fudge. You won’t regret it! 

Interested in more information on this destination? Click the links below:

Great American Waterways


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