Michigan’s Mackinac Island: Americana to the Max

February 17, 2010 at 10:16 am | Posted in festivals/celebrations, history, Michigan, resorts | Leave a comment
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by Max Pesling

Mackinac Island, MichiganThe USA’s Midwesterners have long known that a swell strand doesn’t necessarily have to be on an ocean. After all, that’s what the half-dozen mighty Great Lakes — North America’s great freshwater inland seas — are for. And especially as of Memorial Day weekend (May 29-31), lots of them head up to this Lake Huron island on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, six hours by car north of Detroit. Just under four square miles (10 sq. km), Mackinac Island‘s resort pedigree stretches back to the 1880s, leaving it with a charming collection of Victorian architecture (for this reason the entire island’s on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places) and lots of horse-drawn carriages (thanks in part to a policy of no motor vehicles on-island). Mackinac (pronounced “MAK-i-naw,” by the way) also makes an engaging destination for overseas visitors in the market for a mix of historic Americana and outdoorsy pursuits like hiking, biking, fishing, boating, and swimming. Oh, and did I mention the festivals? They’re a big part of the island scene and its appeal, including the Lilac Festival (June 11-20 this year), the Music Festival (August 17-19), and perhaps the most famous of all, the Fudge Festival (August 21-22); you’ll want to book well ahead for these. Finally, while overnighting here can certainly be pricey — the top of the food chain, the Grand Hotel, starts at US$240 per night — you can find more moderate rates even at other lovely historic properties, such as Mission Point Resort (from $150) and Main Street Inn and Suites ($80).

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