Places to visit: Mackinac Island. MI, USA

First published on my LinkedIn profile on 13 June 2018

Of all the places I have visited in my life so far, Mackinac Island holds a special place. Those of you who know of my French heritage, would be forgiven to think this is a place off the Brittany coast in France; but no…this is a small island in north Michigan, on Lake Huron, right next to one of the longest bridge in the world: Mackinac Bridge.

I confess I would never have picked Michigan as a holiday destination, although those great lakes have always fascinated me; the thought of a cottage on a lake shore in the middle of nowhere during fall has always had some romantic appeal, but having family in Michigan certainly helped with discovering the region.

My first visit to the island was some two years ago in October 2015, just as the trees were turning golden and crimson, the sun was lower and the season was ending. I promised myself that I would return in spring in order to experience one of the island attractions: Lilacs in blossom. So this past weekend I had the delight to walk the streets of Mackinac Island, under a warm spring sunshine tamed by a fresh breeze carrying the scent of hundreds of blooming Lilacs.

Another quaint characteristic of the island is the absence of cars and combustion vehicles of any sorts (except for an ambulance I caught a glimpse of, at the medical center). All transport is either by horses & carriages or hundreds of bicycles readily available for hire. Access to the Island is by Ferry, which run every 30min at this time of the year.

Despite the natural consequences of using horses and their never ending capacity to produce fertilizer, a team of efficient street sweepers on bicycles are pacing the streets back and forth, keeping any “unpleasant” smells and sights well under control.

There is no shortage of places to stay to meet any budget although the Grand Hotel holds the lead role; even if you don’t get to stay there, it is possible to enjoy their renowned buffet lunch and dinners as well as access to the hotel grounds. You can get a virtual tour of their rooms on their website too.

So if you happen to be in Michigan and a bit at a loss as to what to do, why not head north on Interstate 75 and hop on a Ferry. We used Sheplers Ferries, who offers good value bundles that include parking, ferry crossing and island activities. Say “hi” to Mark, our friendly Taxi driver; the 70th Annual Lilac Festival is on and there is a big parade on Sunday 17th June.

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