Turn Back Time on Mackinac Island
No need to worry about galloping gas prices on an island that literally runs on horsepower.
You might say Mackinac Island, Mi. conspires to escape the present — or maybe it’s more about embracing the past.
Cars (non-emergency) are forbidden by local ordinance. Instead, horses’ hooves set the pace with bustle defined by grand ladies in period costumes, carriage drivers in top hats and tails or a soldier attired in gold braid and epaulets and shiny boots.
This picturesque island, nestled in the straits of Mackinac where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet, harks back to another era. Once a fishing ground for natives, Mackinac Island (MACK-in-awe) attracted French voyageurs and fur traders. The island eventually became a strategic military outpost during the War of 1812, with a battle fought near the end of the two-year war.
Visitors to the island can also opt to stay on the mainland and ferry over for the day. But for day-trippers and those lingering longer, the real draw perhaps lies beyond the town. About 80 per cent of the island is Mackinac Island State Park with dense, fragrant forests and hundreds of varieties of lilac trees and wildflowers.
To take in the island’s abundant nature, pedal the flat 8.2-mile shoreline road and perhaps pause to climb Arch Rock or Sugar Loaf or take an invigorating swim near Point aux Pins. Or you might hike deep into the forest where there are no other tourists and not even the clip-clopping of hooves, only the timeless whisper of the wind blowing through the trees.