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!

Four Ways to Express Your Love of the Arts on Mackinac Island

From the weekly Music in the Park series to artist lead workshops, films in a historic theatre and an exhibit gallery, the Mackinac Arts Council has enhanced Michigan’s picturesque Mackinac Island with the love of the arts. Here are four fun ways you can enjoy the arts during a trip to Mackinac Island.

Photo courtesy of Mackinac Arts Council

Photo courtesy of Mackinac Arts Council

What started as a vision to meet the arts and cultural needs of the island has developed into a world-class program encompassing music, film, workshops and more, giving residents and visitors enhanced access to the arts. The Mackinac Arts Council continues to grow and provide expanded arts and cultural programming including Music in the Park, 2014 Film Series, Workshops and Special Events.

The Marquette Park lawn, at the foothills of Historic Fort Mackinac downtown across from the marina, is the place to be on Thursday evenings for Music in the Park. The summer concert series, Thursday evenings in July, welcomes folk, jazz, rock, country, and blues musical guests to the island. From American Opera to The Accidentals and Jetty Rae this season is sure to offer music for all tastes. Plan a picnic, or ask an island restaurant to prepare a gourmet picnic of menu favorites, and find the perfect spot on the lawn to enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of Mackinac.

Photo courtesy of Mackinac Arts Council

Photo courtesy of Mackinac Arts Council

The Center for the Arts, Mackinac Arts Council’s new home generously donated by and located at Mission Point Resort, will offer three art exhibits during the summer 2014 season including Children’s Book Illustrations, June 2-28, features the work of numerous children’s book illustrators; Puppet Art, July; and featuring 16 original collages from Jennifer Powell’s children’s book “What I saw on Mackinac” an exhibit of the same name, August 4-September 30.

For a hands-on art experience, join local and regional artists as they share their expertise during the workshop programs. From pastels to photography, jewelry and more, the workshops offer a broad range of media. Workshops at the Museum kick off on July 1 with Kids Day. The workshop program has grown this year to include multiple day workshops taught by nationally known artists, including papermaking, bookbinding, painting, felting and weaving. Extended workshops book early, check the website for the 2014 schedule.

Photo courtesy of Mackinac Arts Council

Photo courtesy of Mackinac Arts Council

In addition to the gallery space the Center for the Arts also includes a 500 seat theater. Take in a classic, or cult-classic, film at the historic theater at Mission Point Resort. Throughout the season films are shown most Fridays and Mondays. Along with the regular line up, the Arts Council will also feature an Art and Artists on Film Series on Fridays during August. Check the calendar to see what’s showing this season.

Stay up-to-date with the Arts Council happenings on Mackinac Island by signing up for their newsletter.

The Mackinac Arts Council would like to thank several local and statewide organizations, businesses and individuals for their dedication to the arts. For without their support the arts programs and operations on Mackinac Island would not be where they are today.

Do you have a trip to Mackinac Island planned for this summer?

Ten Unforgettable Love Letters to Michigan From Our Fans

Our “A Love So Grand” love letters contest recently came to a close. We had a fantastic turnout with more than 300 letters submitted. Thank you to all who participated!  It was a joy to read your love letters to Michigan. Since there were so many letters that truly expressed all that is grand about the state of Michigan, we put together this roundup of love letters to Michigan from our fans.

403x403_MILoveletter1“A Michigander’s Ode to the Mitten” by Missy Langdon

My Great Lake State with waters blue, to you belongs my love most true
Each season has beauty for us to behold, even in winter – so bitter and cold
From the fluffy white snow that blankets the ground to the ice covered piers and caves all around
Then you ‘spring’ into beauty to which none can compare, with tulips and cherry blossoms blooming with flair
And summer – what joy the thought brings to mind, a more perfect vacation spot no one could find
We can see Pictured Rocks while taking a cruise, with picturesque sunsets in breathtaking hues
Your fresh water lakes give an ocean-like view on Mackinac Island riding bikes built for two
There are mountainous dunes rolling down to the shore, and cherries, melons and berries galore
When the air turns crisp and the apples all grow you prepare for a final, most beautiful show!
Your trees and forests display overhead a canopy of leaves orange, yellow and red
Michigan, your grandness is second to none, with you shall I live till my days are done!

“My beloved Michigan – Fresh Water, Fresh Michigan” by Sunisa Roidoung

I’m originally from Thailand, and Michigan is the first state ever of my life in US. The lakes in Michigan are beyond my expectation. The nature is amazing. I used to understand that lakes were small, might not be deep, and might be narrow like canals, ponds but NO, Michigan enlightens me that lakes are so big and wide. I had a chance riding speed boat with my friends on Lake Michigan 2 years ago. The color was green just like the sea.I never like cruising on the sea because I hate salt water, I feel sticky on my skin. But my experience with the lake is completely different.I opened my mouth so wide to bypass fresh air into my lung faster,I feel like the fresh air brings the highest ozone level into my body! I spent 2 hrs on the Lake. At that time, everything went out just perfectly, I love the lake, I love fresh water.I’m lovin it!
Overall, I love the nature in Michigan; blue sky, big trees, fresh air, fresh water. The name “Pure Michigan” absolutely represents the way I love Michigan.

“Oh, Michigan” by Alicia Tasvibi

Oh, Michigan, Oh, Michigan – you’re pure as you are true;
Your lakes so wide, your trees so green, your skies so bright and blue.
Oh, Michigan, Oh, Michigan – the place I call my home;
Your mitten shape, the goods you make, and towns with garden gnomes.
Oh, Michigan, Oh, Michigan – I never should have fled;
Your seasons change, your strength remains, with more proud years ahead.

Photo courtesy of Instagram user @cassie_smith

Photo courtesy of Instagram user @cassie_smith

“Yooper to the Core” by Stephanie Milbourn

Dear Michigan,
I love you when you’re hot
I love you when you’re cold
I love you when you rain and storm
It never does get old.

I love that you make rainbows
Across a gray blue sky
I love those pudgy, puffy clouds
That don’t look all that high

Spring brings everything to life,
Green grass everywhere
I can watch my daffodils bloom
or relax in my lawn chair

Summer comes with sunshine
The beach calls my name
I’ll enjoy it while it lasts
’cause changing weather is a game

Your fresh fall air comes whipping in
Gitche Gumee waves with all its might
Tree leaves look like Skittle bags
what a beautiful sight!

Then those big, white snowflakes
soon begin to fall
We’ll be breaking records
Because the snow banks are so tall

I love when it gets dark
And the stars are still so bright
The nature of Pure Michigan
Sure beats those city lights.

“My Love” by Kimberly Mannix

My Love,
Oh, how I long for you. Your beauty is beyond compare.
The first time that I laid eyes on you, I knew you had stolen my heart.
From your wide, sweeping porches, to your serene water vistas, nothing holds a candle to you.
I dream of you every night and long to be embraced by your warm breezes and rocking chairs.
With glorious flags and beautiful flowers adorning your doors, you welcome me into your heart.
Being with you on the island takes me back, somewhere in time, where everything moved slowly, love was grand, and
life was sweet.
Until we meet again…
With all my heart and soul, Kim

“To Michigan:” by Vanessa Gutierrez

Five was love at first sight as your beautiful beach sand tickled my eyes. As a child I visited your fields, where my family would work, and squeeze you tight while blueberry juice would drip down my lips. You gave me a kiss on the knee when my bicycle tire slipped on your rural road. Unpredictable snowflakes where the highlight of my day on April 14 when this love letter contest began. You blessed me with sudden rain on my September wedding day. I have felt your bumps along the highway as I weave through traffic on my motorcycle. I have trusted in you as I’ve walked onto your frozen paradise on Lake Michigan. Your heights left me in awe when I encountered Sleeping Bear Dunes. Your grand rivers show off the reflection of the sky as I’ve kayaked within you. You’ve hosted the colorful tulips in my hometown of Holland each spring. My wish is to rest on the beds of the Grand Hotel on the island. I love you my dearest Michigan, you are my refuge, my success, and my future.

1907288_10152811926173289_4591780164611936831_n“My dear Michigan How I Love Thee” by Jodi Schwarzenbach

I’m not sure if it was the way the air smelled on bright, spring mornings or how the lake roared with the onset of summer’s storms.  It may have happened while I felt the clear, cold water touch my skin as I swam or maybe it was the way the lilac’s scents made their mark on my heart.  It could have been the beautiful fall colors and the crunch of the leaves as I’d jump in the piles as a child.  It might have happened on long family boat trips to the beautiful Mackinac Island, viewing the Grand Hotel as if it were a king, welcoming us back each summer.  Or maybe it was while having amazing dinners at the famed Bronner’s in Frankenmuth.  Perhaps it was while sliding down Sleeping Bear Dunes and wondering if I’d ever see any prettier land again in my lifetime.  Maybe it was while having countless picnics with my family at Lumberman’s Monument or Ojibway Island.
I’m not sure of the exact moment I fell in love with Michigan, but she has always had my heart.  We will always be one.

“Come Back to Me” by Norma Allex

One of the hardest things in being apart, is that I miss your grandeur, but it is your warmth, sight,smells, fond memories and love that exudes from Lady Grand and the true love of Elise and Richard that whispers ever so gently “Come back to me”.
You know how to comfort me when I feel low or need to feel great love. No other place in this world makes me feel this way and so connected, especially to times past like 1912. You know how to take hold of me and put me in the arms of Somewhere in Time, year after year. My heart beats faster just thinking of you. You are ingrained into my soul with passion and peace.
I miss everything about you, so much so, that I dream of my return and be in awe of what is to come on that Grand porch with a louder whisper “Come back to me”.
You are the reason I wait patiently and take everything in stride, until my return in October. I can’t wait until the day I am in your arms again and am shouting out in joy,  “I have come back to you and I love you!”

“Mr. Michigan” by Stephanie Conlin Almaguer

I know that I must leave you often, but please understand, the Navy calls me & I must go. I will be back soon though! Walking along your magnificent body of water, laying on top of your golden beaches & wandering aimlessly deep in your trails. Maybe go camping & fishing or visit a town more filled with action! You have so much to offer. Tourists from all over will come to see how magnificent you are soon & you won’t be so lonely while I’m away. Want to enjoy some quality time together? We can plan a romantic getaway to Mackinac Island. Oh how I have always wanted to visit that beautiful island! Maybe we can share a carriage ride together & enjoy some of their famous fudge. We could even enjoy a round of golf at one of your many stunning golf courses. And while your winters are harsh & cold, I do enjoy tubing, skiing & snowmobiling. Don’t be jealous of the world I travel. I love you much more than any place I have ever been. And remember, I always come back home to you, my Mr. Michigan.

“To Michigan” by Sarah Hirsch

Great state, you have it all.  My feet can dip into glittery blue waters, climb sandy dunes, ski down powdery mountainsides, or walk your city streets between casinos, theaters and the finest restaurants.  My ears can hear the cheers from your stadiums, the music and melodies from amphitheaters, the calls of birds swooping over lakes and trees.  My tongue can taste your fresh cherries and apples, Mackinac Island fudge, pasties and packzis, Vernor’s and Faygo.  My eyes can focus on the vivid works of art at your museums, spectacular sunsets over stunning landscapes, or the grandeur of the grandest hotels.  Great state, you possess a wealth of experiences for the senses, and I am richer for knowing you.

 What do you love about Michigan? Tell us in the comments!