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  • Writer's picturePaul Depperschmidt

Mackinac Island MI area... Who knew?

Updated: Jul 14, 2019

It was not even on our top 20 list of places we wanted to see. Actually it was not on the list. But we found the area around Mackinac to be absolutely beautiful. The weather was great. It reminded us of the Florida Keys without the salt water, humidity and sharks! And it was cool- in the summer! We know that it takes on an entirely different persona in the winter, but we were not there in winter :)

Our first task was to cross the Mighty Mackinac bridge. Luckily we crossed on a good weather day. I can't even imagine crossing in high winds with our rig. This is the longest suspension bridge in the world at 4 miles. It connects the Upper and Lower Michigan Peninsula or UP and LP areas.

And from the air..

And what's that at the base of the bridge? A fort? Got to go see that!

Colonial Michilimackinac was built in 1715 by the French, was taken over by the British and eventually ended up with the US after the Revolutionary war. It was eventually torn down and moved to Mackinac Island where it could be better defended. Or so they thought anyway... They had a great group of re-inactors who helped with some history of the fort and what is was like to live in those times.

The plane came in really handy in this area as so much was over water and on islands. We were able to see things that would be difficult to see from the ground. Mackinac Island downtown, a couple of personal dingy's visiting the island, Mackinaw City, St. Helena Island lighthouse,

St. Ignace, where we stayed

We were also able to make a run up to Sault Ste. Marie on the border of Canada to see the locks in action and take a bike ride up the channel. Looks like paint on the freighters takes a toll in the locks.

But the prize was Mackinac Island. What an absolutely gorgeous place. You may have seen some of it if you watched the movie "Somewhere in Time" made in 1980. It had the entire island as a backdrop. In particular the Grand Hotel. It was built in 1887 to accommodate the late nineteenth century swell of summer visitors. Patrons dressed for tea and promenaded the 660 ft. porch. And they still do!

No cars on Mackinac, only bicycles and horse drawn carriages. Luckily we brought our E-bikes which made short work of the hills on the island. Nellie went too!

And the island hosted Ft. Mackinac, that was established after Ft. Michilimackinac was torn down. This was more civil war area re-enactors. But during the war of 1812 the British landed on the North side of the island catching the garrison completely by surprise. The fort was surrendered without a shot being fired. But we got it back at the end of that war. After the Civil War the fort was inactivated. But what a spot for tourists!

What a fantastic place to ride a bike! Particularly an E-bike as there are some fairly steep climbs. There are state roads that go completely around the island without a car in sight. But we did have to dodge families and child bike gangs on the roads. A few of the natural sights on the island are Arch Rock and Sugarloaf Rock. And we made it up to Ft. Holmes, a support facility for Ft. Mackinac.

If you have never been, put the Mackinac MI area on your list to see. At least in the summer...

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