Time Travel to the Crown Jewel
Known as the Crown Jewel of Michigan, Mackinac Island is one of the only communities of its kind where motor vehicles are banned. Bicycles and horse drawn carriages will take you to see the islands natural wonders and breathtaking beauty. Ferryboats are the only way to get to Mackinac Island, but this is an ideal opportunity to relax and enjoy the natural splendor of the Straits of Mackinac.
Three ferry boat companies service the 15 minute journey to Mackinac Island from Mackinaw City. Arnold Line, Shepler’s and Star Line leave every 15 – 30 minutes in season and every hour during off season. Once you have arrived on Mackinac Island let your senses take you back to the Victorian era. For first time travelers to the Island, we suggest a chauffeured carriage tour. Tours are usually 2 hours in length with highlights of special points of interest. Included on most tours are stops at Surrey Hill, Arch Rock, Fort Mackinac and The Grand Hotel.
After your tour, rent a bicycle or horse and revisit the spots that you were particularly interested in. Is it lunchtime yet? A favorite spot is the French Outpost on Grand Avenue. You will find a breathtaking view of the Grand Hotel from the outdoor patio. Sip on your favorite beverage and imagine the splendor of the Victorian age as the ladies and gentlemen strolled the longest porch in the world. Or visit Horns Bar on Main Street. They have a great selection of Mexican fare. For an extra special treat, the Grand Hotel serves its Grand Buffet Lunch daily from 12 noon – 2 pm (no dress code for lunch and reservations are not required). If you prefer to tour the Hotel, there is a $10.00 charge per person.
Set off for another adventure to Fort Mackinac, set atop a 150′ limestone bluff, will take you even further back in history. Enjoy period reenactments, musket firings, cannon salutes and authentic exhibits. Experience American military life as it was in the 1880s. Walk upon the parade grounds and throughout the 14 original buildings. Witness authentic military music presentations. Also available is a new multimedia exhibit; Mackinac: An Island Famous in These Regions. In addition, your admission ticket allows you to enter Mackinac Island Historical Downtown Buildings. The exhibits are open mid June – late August and include: Mission Church, Indian Dormitory, McCulpin House, Beaumont Memorial, The Blacksmith Shop and Biddle House. If you have not stopped for lunch, The Fort Mackinac Tea Room provides food service by The Grand Hotel. Lunch is served daily. Sit inside next to a warm fire, or outside under the yellow umbrellas. Outside, enjoy spectacular views of the Mackinac Bridge, city of Mackinac Island, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. As you stroll down Main Street, heading back to your ferry boat, enjoy the Somewhere In Time feeling of the American days of yesteryear.
Back to Mackinaw City – check out the many restaurants that will fit your mood and budget. Remember that casual/resort wear is the standard attire for Northern Michigan.