Saturday, August 17, 2013

Mackinac Island, Michigan - Page Two

We enjoyed our trip to Mackinac Island immensely. From the fudge factories and restaurants along main street and the churches and historical buildings downtown, to the historical Fort Mackinac overlooking the harbor, we visited them all. We purchased a tour package at our campground that included the boat trip to the island, two narrated tours in horse drawn carriages and entrance to the Fort and several other historical buildings including a blacksmith shop where a blacksmith was plying his trade. If going, plan on one very full day or better yet, stay at the Grand Hotel and enjoy 18 holes of golf on their beautiful course across the street. One could easily spend a day walking the quiet trails or cycling around the island. While the center of the city was somewhat hectic with all the tourists,  it was very calm and peaceful walking around the trails.

The Menominee Indians originally settled on Mackinac Island and the word Mackinac is actually a shortened variation of the Menominee word, "Michillimackinac", meaning turtle. An aerial view of the island shows its' form to resemble a turtle. This sculpture sits alongside one of the upscale restaurants on the island just down from the Grand Hotel.

Many trails meander through the forested hillsides of the island. Getting away from the tourist side of the island allows you to be greeted with sights similar to this. Located just west of Arch Rock, this area provides a place to sit and reflect about how beautiful this country really is.

Another quiet spot to pause and observe the busy harbor and the city below. Down below, the sounds of the  hustle and bustle of horse drawn carriages, people enjoying shopping and eating, bicycles moving up and down the streets, waft upward while we simply sit and enjoy nature at its' best.


Fort Mackinac has a lot of history. The fort was originally founded during the American Revolution in what is now Mackinaw City on the mainland, by the British. Believing the fort was too vulnerable to enemy attack, the British moved the fort to Mackinac Island in 1780. The Americans obtained control of the fort in 1796 where it remained under the American Flag until the War of 1812. In the first land engagement of that war, the British were able to capture the fort as the Americans were unprepared to do battle...the commanding officer had never received notification that we were at war with the British.

This is a view out one of the gun portals across the walls surrounding the fort.

The fort was so well defined, the British held onto the fort despite a well planned but bloody battle by the Americans in 1814. After the war ended, the American Flag once again flew over the fort. 

It remained an active fort until 1895, providing safety for the areas' many fur traders. 

One can easily see how easy it would be to defend this fort from enemies approaching from below.

Early in 1862, Fort Mackinac was called into duty as a prison for Civil War criminals. Several southerners were sent there but it was determined the fort was probably not suitable to house very many prisoners. After almost a year of discussions and fortification attempts, its' role as a prison was abandoned and everyone but the Ordinance Sergeant Marshall.

One of the cannon portholes that protected the area below.

Eventually the fort provided safety for many of the area's well to do who transformed the island into a major summer resort.

Leaving Fort Mackinac, one of the many trails leads off to a viewing platform with a view overlooking the downtown area and the harbor with it's lighthouse and beacon.

As this picture can attest, the day transformed from an overcast cloudy sky to a beautiful sun washed afternoon. It had also warmed up considerably.

Another picture of the Grand Hotel. Each of the rooms of this hotel are different, providing guests with a unique experience. Room rates vary from regular rooms @ $265/per person/per night, double occupancy to $419/per person/per night, double occupancy. If you would prefer a cottage, those are available for a mere $3,300/per night and can accommodate up to eight people. Monthly rate for the cottage is $67,500. Add 21.5% Island tax and 6% Michigan State sales tax to all the above.

I think I prefer our motor coach.
When the day ended, we waited for our ship to return us to the mainland. All in all, a very satisfying and enjoyable day. We were all pretty tired and anxious to get home. The grandkids were looking forward to going to swimming in the Lake. We were looking forward to a hot shower, dinner and relaxing....

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