Mackinac Island

Photo courtesy of Mackinac Island State Park Commission

Mackinac Island is home to the second oldest national park and the only state highway to not allow motor vehicles.

With a rich history, Mackinac offers wide variety of attractions.

It is especially known for when the British captured Fort Mackinac on July 17 during the War of 1812. This year marks the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

To commemorate, Kelsey Schnell, public relations officer for the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, said the park has daily programs to discuss the history of the island during the war, as well as special uniforms and muskets in firing demonstrations.

New additions to the park this year include a major reconstruction at Colonial Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City, the first in over 20 years and the largest in the history of the site.

Photo courtesy of Mackinac Island State Park Commission

The South Southwest Rowhouse will be completed in time to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Attack at Michilimackinac.

Colonial Michilimackinac also has all new interactive programming with the historic interpreters on staff that invites visitors to come in and be part of ‘daily life’ at the fort.

The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum on Mackinac Island is also a tourist hot spot. It features one of the finest collections of Mackinac-related art.

This year, a special exhibit, “The Art of Hospitality: Grand Hotel at 125” recognizes the iconic island establishment’s 125th anniversary with artifacts and pieces from the hotel’s history, in addition to art inspired by the hotel.

Photo courtesy of Mackinac Island State Park Commission

As this is a special exhibit, it’s only visible until the Mackinac Art Museum closes on October 7, Schnell said.

Overlooked by some visitors to Mackinac Island, is Mackinaw City on the mainland.

“Mackinaw City has a number of attractions – Colonial Michilimackinac, Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse and Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park – that offer a wide range of experiences. Sometimes visitors come up here just to get to Mackinac Island, and that’s a fun destination, but there are loads of fun things to do on the mainland as well,” Schnell said.

When I asked people I knew what their favorite part was about Mackinac Island, a majority responded that the lack of motor vehicles gives the island a special feel.

Photo courtesy of Mackinac Island State Park Commission

“Over 80% of Mackinac Island is state park. So the 70 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails range from deep woods and lake shore to flowery paths and great big stone formations. It’s what a lot of people think of when they want to ‘get away from it all,’” Schnell said.

And that’s just it, isn’t it? Mackinac Island is the perfect Michigan getaway. If it’s lunch at the Grand Hotel Tea Room you’re looking for, fudge from the Murray Hotel you’re craving or just enjoying the view from Arch Rock at night, grab a bike and take some time away from the rush of daily life.

You can find out more about Mackinac Island, their events and much more history by visiting the Mackinac Island State Park Commission on Facebook or by following them on Twitter. They also have a YouTube channel where you can check out the amazing sites and activities around the Island.

~ Jeremy Beyma, Feature Writer