July 18, 2010

Michigan, Mackinac and Michiganders

We’re on the road! We left New Orleans June 15, and since have set some sort of record for consecutive days visiting. A result is occasional disorientation: Where were we last Thursday? What was it somebody told us to see here? When are we going to eat the food we bought? Who wanted us to send them a picture?  









The best part is connecting with friends and lots of Chuck’s family, getting to know them better, catching up on growing kids, and re-uniting with friends from cruising days after more than 20 years!

Temperance Jacob 








We’ve explored the northern Michigan-Canada interface along the Great Lakes. This is a good thing as we’re soon heading for Canada, to blast through Ontario and spend the rest of the already dwindling summer in the Maritime provinces.

Welcome to Mackinac Island – A community that in 1898 rejected the automobile in order to retain it’s historic character. To this day, horsepower and bikes are the only method of transport and travel on the island!

Mackinac Marina from Fort







Mackinac Island occupies a strategic location between Michigan’s UP, lower Michigan, and Canada.

BTW, the UP is always referred to as “the UP”, never as the Upper Peninsula. In any discussion of Michigan geography, such as the location of a town, a true Michigander will always illustrate with a graceful series of gestures. It’s very difficult to emulate by an outsider, especially trying to to get the correct side of the hand turned toward the listener, so the state does not seem “inside-out”!  


“See, here’s the thumb (they always start with Michigan’s thumb, check the map to make sense of it) …

DSC06824and up here … (now they add the other hand) is the UP.  Mackinac (or Frankenfort, or Traverse City, etc.) is right here!”  It’s entrancing to watch this ballet  executed at the speed of speech, because they seem to use three hands to both illustrate the geography and also pinpoint to the location by pointing! 

Mackinac’s historic significance stretches back hundreds of years, involving Native Americans since 1000 B.C., and French, British and Americans in times of war and peace. The island was strategic during the Seven Years War (I must look that up), the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

Residents, guides, explorers and fur trappers, soldiers and their families all played a role in evolution of the island into an attraction with historic sites, elegant homes, fancy and period hotels, and diverse outdoor activities. It’s a May to October destination for tourists and these summer workers, who told us they return year after year.

Mack Doorway w Buckets




The cook leaves the kitchen for lunch.






Fort Mackinac Ranger led drill squad today.

                               Horses everywhere! If you want a ride, flag one down! 








Our fast trip back to shore!


Liz said...

I live on Mackina year-round. Glad to hear you are enjoying your visit.

- Mexican Trailrunner said...

What a cool place Mackina Island is! I love the auto-free concept. What a great idea, more places need to do that. Progressive thinkers in their planning department. Nice.