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Old Posted Jun 5, 2009, 7:33 PM
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Steely Dan Steely Dan is online now
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Mackinac Island, MI - this place has charm coming out of its ass

Mackinac island is located in the straits of mackinac, the body of water that connects lakes michigan and huron, and which seperates michigan’s lower peninsula from the upper peninsula. The impressive mackinac bridge (pictured in some of the images below) connects the two peninsulas of Michigan; the island is reached via high speed ferries.

With the exception of an ambulance, a fire truck, and a police car (which are only used in emergency situations), all motorized traffic on the island is forbidden. The main modes of transportation are feet, bicycle, and horse drawn carriage. In fact, Mackinac island is home to the largest working horse population left in north america.

About 9 miles in circumference, roughly 80% of the island is heavily forested state park land with lots of nice bicycle and walking trails, the rest is occupied by historic Victorian cottages, several resorts, an old fort dating from british colonial days, and a town & harbor on the island’s southern end. For over 3 centuries mackinac has served as an important control point on the great lakes separating lake michigan from lake huron, giving the island a rich commercial and military history.

I’ve been going up to the island every summer for the past 31 years and the island is truly home away from home for me. The pics below are from last week. Any way, enough rambling about the island, on with thw pics.



01. Sunlight filters through the leaves on one of the island’s many bicycle trails


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02. The house my family and i stay in on the island, deep in the woods on about 3 acres of forested land.








03. The trail from the road leading up to the house we rent








04. One of the centuries old cemeteries in the island’s interior








05. An attractive garden in town








06. A scenic view from a trail along one of the island’s many bluffs.


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07. Marquette park, on the edge of main street








08. One of the island’s many limestone formations back in the woods








09. Overview of the eastern side of town








10. Trail in the island interior








11. The famous arch rock overlooking the water







12. A dead seagull I saw on the beach








13. A cottage on the east bluff








14. Busy main street in town. Busy streets rock when they ain’t full of cars








15. A view from fort holmes down to fort mackinac







16. The island’s pleasure craft marina







17. Another scenic overlook








18. A nice round stone church








19. The grand hotel, the island’s most famous resort








20. An alley in town








21. A quiet residential side street in town







22. East side cottage








23. Market street in town








24. East side B&B







25. East bluff cottage







26. A side street ending in a stairway up the bluff







27. Bike trail in the interior








28. The murray hotel








29. Main street








30. The old decaying entry gates of fort holmes, at the very top of the island








31. East side Victorian hotel







32. Marquette park







33. Pretty flowers. This island has some immaculately maintained gardens








34. Main street







35. Marquette park with the marina beyond








36. Outdoor restaurant on the edge of town







37. Private horse stable







38. A giant iron ore freighter passing by the island








39. The old barracks building inside fort mackinac








40. East side








41. Mission church, one of the oldest existing churches in Michigan. It looks like it belongs in new england







42. Pubs in town








43. West bluff cottages








44. A newish condo development on the water, seen from across the harbor








45. The stately st. anne’s church on the east side








46. The majestc grand hotel in all of its linear porch-laden glory







47. The beautiful waters of the straights area








48. East side, with the fort looming in the distance








49. Main street








50. View of the harbor from the fort








51. View of town from the fort







52. More east side cottages







53. The new harbor lighthouse








54. Main street








55. Another big ore boat plying the waters of the straits








56. Main street







57. The fort looming over the marina








58. Main street








59. A classic motor yacht








60. the marina with east bluff cottages above








61. town







62. Private boat docks in the harbor








63. A nice west bluff victorian








64. Harbor scene








65. A high speed ferry leaving the dock








66. You know these guys are having a blast out there







67. St. anne’s from across the harbor








68. Side street in town








69. A west bluff beauty







70. The dilapidated coal dock in the harbor







71. town







72. My arts and crafts project for the week, a model of mighty mac








73. Market street








74. The backside walls of fort mackinac








75. Windimere hotel








76. West bluff view







77. There’s the real deal, mighty mac stretching cross the straits








78. A small alley in town







79. Market street







80. I just can’t get enough of that beautiful great lakes water








81. A block house of the fort







82. The bridge at sunset







83. Even in the harbor, the waters are crystal clear, this water is about 25 feet deep








84. Cottages on the west side of town








85. A freighter passes in the south channel with the old round island lighthouse in the foreground







86. East bluff







87. East bluff over the harbor







88. Pretty clouds over the harbor








89. Trying to be artsy at breakfast one morning







90. Two pallets of dry wall loaded on a dray bound for a construction site on the island








91. Lighthouse at sunset







92. A ferry pulls into the harbor catching the last rays of the day







93. A ferry speeds in front of the bridge at sunset








94. The bridge with some cool clouds








95. Main street with the fort looming above








96. Goodbye mackinac, until next summer


Last edited by Steely Dan; Jul 31, 2014 at 6:26 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jun 5, 2009, 7:36 PM
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97. pano from the top of the island, ~330' above the water.


Last edited by Steely Dan; Jul 30, 2014 at 3:50 PM.
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Old Posted Jun 5, 2009, 7:39 PM
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I remember this and I still enjoy it.
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Old Posted Jun 5, 2009, 8:31 PM
Uptowngirl Uptowngirl is offline
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Holy crap.

I know where I'm going to take a vacation...to Michgan no less.

And how do people live there? just working retail?
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Old Posted Jun 5, 2009, 8:33 PM
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Wow, thanks. Breathtaking & enchanting. I would love to visit during off-peak times... I think it would be mystical. I've read the town closes down off peak though. How did the Starbucks manage to finagle in there? haha. Do you notice a drastic inflation of prices on the island (restaurants etc...)?
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Old Posted Jun 5, 2009, 9:10 PM
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Looks like an amazing place to vacation. Your shots are fantastic. Thanks!
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Old Posted Jun 5, 2009, 9:19 PM
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Yup, remember this thread. I still haven't been to Mackinac Island...

There are so many observations one can make looking at this place, like how much better off our towns and cities all across the nation would be if there had been less emphasis on cars.

That picture of the horses pulling a load of drywall was amazing. Does that mean that even construction vehicles aren't allowed on the island?
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Old Posted Jun 5, 2009, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uptowngirl View Post
And how do people live there? just working retail?
the island is essentially a summertime tourist destination. there are only 500 people who live there year round. however, on any given summer day there may be as many as 20,000 people on the island. so for the permanent island resident's the strategy is to make as much money as you can during tourist season and then drink beer and ride snowmobiles all winter long.




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I've read the town closes down off peak though.
yeah, pretty much. as i said, there's only ~500 year round resident's so there ain't much open in the dead of winter other than the grocery store, pharmacy, maybe a couple of the bars/restaurants, and that's about it.




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How did the Starbucks manage to finagle in there? haha.
they're starbucks, they go wherever the hell they want. no one can stop the mighty starbucks.




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Do you notice a drastic inflation of prices on the island (restaurants etc...)?
definitely. it's a double whammy of being a captive audience tourist mecca (price-gouging) along with being an island where absolutely everything has to be brought over from the mainland by ferry and then distributed via horse-drawn drays (not exactly the height of efficiency)




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Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
Yup, remember this thread. I still haven't been to Mackinac Island...
well, now that you're moving back to the great lakes region this summer, you'll have to change that



Quote:
Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
There are so many observations one can make looking at this place, like how much better off our towns and cities all across the nation would be if there had been less emphasis on cars.
i can't argue with you there. mackinac island is one of the absolute best places on our continent and a large reason why it is so fantastic is the lack of automobiles.



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Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
That picture of the horses pulling a load of drywall was amazing. Does that mean that even construction vehicles aren't allowed on the island?
i have occasionally seen a backhoe or bulldozer or other piece of heavy construction equipment for big jobs, but the general operating guideline of the island is that if a job can be done by horse power, then that's how it is to be done. so yes, the delivery of all materials on the island - food, merchandise, construction material, etc. is all done via horse-drawn drays.

the island does possess a fire truck, an ambulance, and a couple police SUVs for emergency purposes only, but otherwise, all other motorized traffic is prohibited on the island, except those who need motorized wheelchairs for mobility.

to give you an idea of how far the island takes it "no cars" philosophy, below is a picture of a horse drawn street-cleaner. i've heard anecdotally that mackinac island is the last place on the planet still using a horse-drawn street cleaner. most other car-free places would simply cut a few corners and just use a conventional motorized street cleaner, but not mackinac island. "no cars" means NO FREAKING CARS!


Last edited by Steely Dan; Jul 30, 2014 at 4:47 PM.
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Old Posted Jun 5, 2009, 10:50 PM
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Quote:
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That picture of the horses pulling a load of drywall was amazing. Does that mean that even construction vehicles aren't allowed on the island?
I have an uncle who has owned a piece of land on Mackinac for going on 10 years. It's not even in his top 10 of priorities, but he still hasn't started construction. The fact that 99% of construction vehicles are looked down upon makes it very difficult to line up all the subcontractors you need, not to mention the permitting process is super long and involved. Getting things built either takes a lot of money and some connections, or a very long wait while you get things in order.
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2009, 3:42 AM
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Great thread!!!
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2009, 4:05 AM
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Definately a Great Lake's treasure!!
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2009, 4:24 AM
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Wow! I just realized it was 40 years ago this July that I went there on vacation. It looks very much the same but perhaps a just a bit more touristy, and the ferries weren't high-speed then.

A lot of my memories are olfactory, and one of the vivid ones of Mackinac Island is the smell of pine trees when riding my bike around the island. From the ferry with the wind blowing a certain way, the pine-tree fragrance mingled curiously with that of horse manure. I remember the smell of fudge on Main Street, too. Made with goats' milk?

I don't know how much night life there is now, but back then the Main-Street crowds and commotion abruptly disappeared and things got quiet and almost deserted when the last ferry for the day departed.

Another recollection; that crystal-clear water under blue skies looked so inviting that I thought I'd go swimming. Yikes! I didn't know water could get that cold without freezing solid!

Oh. And the Grand Hotel is built of Michigan White Pine. It was built by the Michigan Central Railroad and the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad. The GR&I became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and as late as 1961 the PRR public timetable showed the Northern Arrow operating between Cincinnati and Mackinac on summer weekends, northbound on Friday and southbound on Sunday. You could buy your whole vacation package from the PRR ticket agents; rail transport including Pullman, ferry to the island, and lodging at the Grand Hotel including transportation to and from the ferry dock.
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2009, 4:53 AM
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Oh man excellent shots. I've been meaning to do a Mackinac Island thread for sometime. You absolutely rocked this one.
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2009, 4:57 AM
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Thanks for reposting Dan.

The Grand Hotel really is grand and have stayed there several years ago...But

As a child I remembered the 1812 fort more though.

Dan your Mackinac pictures are top notch.
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2009, 5:41 AM
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Geez that looks nice. I bet car traffic feels tyranical to be around after a week up there.
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Old Posted Jun 6, 2009, 8:32 AM
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Old Posted Jun 7, 2009, 2:05 PM
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One of Michigan's true treasures, and somewhat hidden secret. Love that place.

Great shots.
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Old Posted Jun 7, 2009, 4:10 PM
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Great thread. Mackinac Island is definitely charming and beautiful. I'm not sure I'd enjoy spending an extended period of time there, however, because unless you are reeeeeally into riding a bike or eating fudge, there isn't a whole lot there. Nonetheless though, like Steely said, it oozes charm, and you have to respect the way the town has been preserved.
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Old Posted Jun 7, 2009, 10:33 PM
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Wow. This was fantastic. I've spent many, many years up in far-northern WI and have never made it up to Mackinac, oddly. I'm sold.
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Old Posted Jun 8, 2009, 2:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Pence View Post
I don't know how much night life there is now, but back then the Main-Street crowds and commotion abruptly disappeared and things got quiet and almost deserted when the last ferry for the day departed.
it's not las vegas or anything 24-7 crazy like that, but there are now many bars and pubs on the island and on any given night there will be 2 or 3 live bands playing shows. town definitely gets quieter and less busy after all the day-trippers depart by the early evening, but it doesn't feel deserted.




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Another recollection; that crystal-clear water under blue skies looked so inviting that I thought I'd go swimming. Yikes! I didn't know water could get that cold without freezing solid!
meh, the water isn't that cold. i've gone swimming up there and, while there's a nip to the water, i've never found it to be unbearable. then again, i'm half polar bear so my internal thermometer seems to be out of whack compared to the rest of this planet's human population.




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I bet car traffic feels tyranical to be around after a week up there.
this is true, but car traffic always feels a bit tyranical to me.




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I'm not sure I'd enjoy spending an extended period of time there, however, because unless you are reeeeeally into riding a bike or eating fudge, there isn't a whole lot there.
what's funny is that i've been going up there for vacation every summer for my entire life and i've not once ever felt bored or out of things to do there.
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