Celebrate American History on Mackinac Island with Patriotic Events at Fort Mackinac

Mackinac Island is getting ready to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Mackinac Island. Today, Mackinac State Historic Parks provides a look at some special patriotic events happening on the island to commemorate the occasion.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Lilienthal at Fort Mackinac

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Lilienthal at Fort Mackinac

On July 17, 1812, war descended upon Mackinac Island as a combined force of British, Canadian, and Native American soldiers captured Fort Mackinac from a small, unsuspecting American garrison. The fall of Mackinac, one of the first engagements of the War of 1812, set off over two years of combat between the United States and Great Britain for control of Michigan and the Great Lakes.

In the summer of 1814, the United States dispatched seven warships and nearly 1,000 men on a two-month expedition to recapture the island. British and American troops actually met in battle on Mackinac Island on August 4 at what is today Wawashkamo Golf Club, but at the time was Michael Dousman’s farm. The ensuing battle resulted in American defeat. Only the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812, restored peace to Mackinac. American soldiers took possession of Fort Mackinac from the British garrison on July 18, 1815, three years and one day after the post had been captured.

Photo courtesy of Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau

Photo courtesy of Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau

This August, Mackinac State Historic Parks continues to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812. Special 1812 demonstrations and tours take place every day at Fort Mackinac. New exhibits in the East Blockhouse present the compelling story of the American attempts to recapture the fort in 1814. A series of special events between August 2 and August 4 will mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Mackinac Island. Just some of the exciting features of these special events include a large scale battle reenactment where the actions of the British and American forces are displayed in the very footsteps as they were two centuries ago.

Additionally, the U.S. Brig Niagara, a reproduction of one of the ships present for the battle, will be available for dockside tours. Concerts of patriotic music, and special bicycle tours around the island, highlighting points of interest pertaining to the War of 1812 round out the programming for the weekend.

For more information on the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Mackinac Island weekend events visit, the website.

Have you ever visited Fort Mackinac? Tell us about your visit!

Five Stunning Pure Michigan Instagram Fan Photos from September

As summer turned to fall, our Pure Michigan fans captured some absolutely stunning shots from around the state this September. From sunsets to skylines, the photos shared by our Pure Michigan Instagram community never cease to amaze!  Here are a few of our favorites from this month. For more fan photos, check out our June, July, and August roundups and follow us on Instagram.

A sunny day at the Fort Mackinac Tea Room by @mikeconnick:

 Waves crash at Pictured Rocks on Lake Superior. Photo by @tfeutz:

A spectacular orange and yellow sunset in Grand Marais, MI by @smilesbeek:

A nighttime view of the glowing Detroit skyline captured by @michaellaxphotography:

A fall breeze blows across Lake Michigan. Photo by @hansenca:

If you’re on Instagram, follow us @puremichigan! If you’d like us to share your photos from across the state, please tag them with #PureMichigan to give us permission to repost.

A Mackinac Island Family Reunion

Sometimes life gets so busy that it’s tough to take a timeout and just enjoy your surroundings. John Truscott knows that feeling well, but was able to take a break last summer and enjoy what Pure Michigan has to offer during a Mackinac Island weekend getaway with his family. Today he shares his experience with us.

When I get to Mackinac Island these days, it’s typically for work. A conference, a meeting, or something that keeps me from truly appreciating the beauty and tranquility of this jewel. While the ferry ride is always nice, once I hit the Island, it’s time to go to work. No time to ride around the island, stop for fudge, or just relax and enjoy.

Except for last summer. My family went to Mackinac Island like we used to – as a family. It was my parents’ 50th Anniversary; and I was a tourist!  What an incredible weekend. With my brother and sister and nieces and nephew, we enjoyed the Island like it’s supposed to be enjoyed.

The weather was absolutely perfect – warm sun and cool breezes. It was heavenly. One of the evenings, we just grabbed some pizzas and hung out in the park below the fort. Lying in the grass, appreciating the family time and letting the young kids run. This incredible memory will last a lifetime.

And I was able to ride bikes with my teenage nieces around the Island. When you don’t have time for that ride, it’s easy to forget how beautiful it is. The blue water was like a mirror and warm enough to wade in. It had been a while since I had skipped rocks in the big lake. I felt like a kid again.

But we surely didn’t miss out on some adult time at the Pink Pony bar, located on the water at the Chippewa Hotel. The Caribbean has nothing on this spot.  Better yet, we didn’t have to worry about driving home. The automobile was banned on Mackinac Island in the later 1890s.

That long weekend brought out the kid in me again. We used to take our yearly family vacation to the Island, and it was always magical. Unfortunately, the work of the real world these days had dulled a little bit of the magic. Until that one summer weekend. It was like the younger days as a family, but yet more fun because we had even more family to share this incredible experience. It just might have been the best family trip ever.And on the last day – I ran to the ferry, jumped in the car, drove straight to the airport in Detroit – to jet out for another conference. But I did it with a big smile on my face and great memories to cherish.

Go to mackinacisland.org to plan your next family reunion.

John Truscott is a President and Principal of Truscott Rossman, a bipartisan public relations firm, and a huge fan of Mackinac Island.