Situated between the lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan and surrounded by lakes Michigan and Huron is Mackinac Island, a timeless and picturesque reminder of a bygone era characterized by peace, innocence, romanticism and prosperity. Limited to travel by horse and buggy or bicycle, Mackinac Island has purposefully ignored the vast advances of time. Step off the Island Ferry Dock and you immediately enter a living Victorian village.
Explore the island's remarkable Fort Mackinac, enjoy the sights and sounds of a quaint downtown, try the different varieties of homemade fudge at dozens of shops or relax at a charming B&B or historic inn like Grand Hotel, famous for the movie "Somewhere in Time." The opulent 385-room Grand Hotel celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, July 13-15, with a grand reception, spectacular fireworks, a concert and number of great events and packages. Plan ahead and book a Grand Hotel 125th Anniversary Celebration Package now and make plans to attend the gala festivities.
If you know anything about Mackinac Island, you know that it is known for its tantalizing tastes and swirling aroma of decadent fudge. Fudge may not have been invented on Mackinac Island, but it was on Mackinac that the Murdick family made a particular style of fudge and fudge making famous. As Mackinac Island transitioned from a wealthy fur trading post to famous summer resort, fudge making gradually became an island mainstay. In 1887, the construction of Grand Hotel promised to make Mackinac a center for tourism and a perfect place to start a summer candy business. The building of the Grand Hotel brought father and son sail makers, Henry and Jerome (known as Rome) Murdick to the island to make the huge canvas awnings for the hotel. With the family came Mrs. Henry Murdick and her confectionery skills and recipes.
In 1887, Mackinac's first confection shop, Murdick's Candy Kitchen, opened. It was a modest 1 1/2 story building on the waterside of Main Street. Henry Murdick made sails in his boat livery in the back of the building, while Rome made fudge using his mother's recipe. It was here that the marble table was first used to make fudge, a process which gave Mackinac fudge a unique texture and also provided a great show for visitors. This year, Murdick's Fudge celebrates its 125th anniversary.
This spring and summer, the island is unveiling a number of new businesses, milestone anniversaries and major renovations just in time to welcome the season's patrons. The Village Inn, now Cawthorne's Village Inn and operated by Grand Hotel, welcomes visitors to enjoy an expanded menu with more Michigan products and organic selections.
The Island has a number of lodging options to help you relax, pamper and rejuvenate. Located in the heart of downtown, the Murray Hotel opens this season with updates to boast about. Visitors can get away from the hustle of Main Street and enjoy the improvements to the spacious pool and sun deck areas.
Thursday evenings come alive at the Island's Marquette Park with Music in the Park. Sit back and enjoy the upbeat sounds and the spectacular views. Music in the Park, founded by the Mackinac Arts Council, will host seven unique performances mid-June through early-August.
Mackinac Island is home to more than 600 horses and each July, the horsemen of Mackinac Island put on a grand celebration of all things. With a saddle horse parade, blessing of the horses, breed show, symposiums and stable tours of the Island's historic Victorian-era barns, the third annual Festival of the Horse, August 8-12, is the perfect time to visit the island.