Mackinac Island, Michigan

Mackinac Island, Michigan

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is the perfect destination for families, for people who love nature, for history buffs … there is really something for everyone.  The jewel in the crown of the UP is Mackinac Island.  (Pronounced Mackinaw)

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When you first arrive on Mackinac Island by boat, you will notice a conspicuous lack of traffic on the streets, owing to the fact that cars are all but forbidden on the island. Instead, horse-drawn carriages and bicycles are the primary means of transportation.

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And as if that isn’t romantic enough, there’s the majestic Grand Hotel.  If you ever saw the 1980 movie “Somewhere in Time” starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, you will recognize it immediately.  If you can afford to stay there, do.  The Grand Hotel has been named one of the top hotels in the country by Conde Nast Traveler, Travel +Leisure, Wine Spectator, Gourmet magazine, and AAA.

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For those who are inspired by nature, make sure you tour enough of the island to see its iconic Arch Rock.  Standing 146 feet above Lake Huron, this is a rare natural limestone arch.

 

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Finally, for those who love history, be sure to check out Fort Mackinac.  The views from there are fantastic, and you will have an opportunity to learn about the fort’s role in the War of 1812.  Canon and rifle-firing demonstrations are held periodically each day, and you can tour many of the fort’s buildings, which are set up with recreations of what they would have looked like in the early 19th century.

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Additionally, if your curiosity veers toward the morbid at times, you might be interested to learn about Dr. William Beaumont, an Army surgeon who was stationed at the fort.  When a French Canadian fur trader named Alexis St. Martin was accidentally shot in the stomach and his open wound would not heal, the good doctor took advantage of the situation to experiment with and observe the physiological process of digestion.  Those experiments lasted over ten years and led to many important discoveries.

 

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