Looking for an insider tip? You’ve come to the right place. Take a look at our staff-approved top picks for creating magical Mackinac memories.Looking for an insider tip? You’ve come to the right place. Take a look at our staff-approved top picks for crea
Mackinac Fun Facts
As Trip Advisor’s Hottest U.S. Summer Destination, Expedia’s Most Tourist-Friendly U.S. City, and one of the world’s most celebrated towns, Mackinac Island is much more than just a summer retreat.
Until you’re able to visit, here are just a few of our favorite facts to help showcase why the island is so very special.
No Vehicles: Referred to by many as “the all natural theme park of America”, Mackinac Island actually banned motor vehicles at the end of the 19th century and the restriction continues today. The only modes of transportation you’ll find on the island are that of horses, bikes, and your own two feet. It’s one of the things people love most about the island, as it provides a much needed sense of peace.
Fudge: With over 14 fudge shops on the island, and more than 10 tons of butter brought to the island every year, it's no wonder that sampling the delicious dessert remains one of Mackinac visitor’s favorite activities. In fact, during peak tourism season, five tons of fudge are made per day! While the crowd favorite is chocolate, President Gerald R. Ford opted for vanilla pecan upon his 1975 visit.
Horses: You can’t go too long without seeing at least once horse while on Mackinac Island. Used to pull wagons for guest taxis and provide island tours as well, there are over 500 horses brought to Mackinac every spring. The horses are then taken off the island for the winter and return when the weather warms.
The Victorians Started It All
As we look forward to another gorgeous summer and fall on Mackinac Island, let’s look back at how the vacation destination you know and love came to be— for most people don’t know that it was the Victorians who made Mackinac one of the nation’s most favored summer spots.
Before cars, Victorians who wished to vacation traveled by large lake excursion boats from Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, and Buffalo to the cooler climes of Mackinac Island during the post-Civil War industrial age. They dined on whitefish, took long strolls along the broad decks, and shopped for souvenirs. In the late 19th century, many wished to stay overnight and boat and railroad companies would build summer hotels. By 1890, wealthy Midwestern industrialists began to visit Mackinac and wished to stay much longer than a night. Thus, they began to build their own summer cottages in the east and west bluffs, which eventually created a social life including tennis, hiking, biking, golf, and many of the other activities we know and love on the beloved island today.
Three Fun Things to do on Mackinac Island
Each season, Mackinac Island offers our visitors and guests a wealth of fun and fabulous events and activities for their entertainment—listed below are three suggested activities for a great time.
See hundreds of beautiful native and tropical butterflies at this fascinating conservatory with an emergence viewing area. Learn more about Monarch butterflies and the grassroots campaigns in place to increase their diminishing population. You can also visit with a scarlet macaw, an ornate box turtle, Cammie the chameleon, and many other animals.
This year, the museum will host a special celebratory exhibit of juried art. “A Day in the Park−Celebrating 125 Years of Mackinac Island State Park” will be shown in the second-floor gallery through October 11.
Imagine yourself describing to all your envious friends how it felt to actually clean, load, prime, and then fire a genuine vintage cannon. This unique experience can be yours, as openings are available on a first-come basis for lucky individuals every morning from June through October.
Restored Biddle House Opens in May
Make your plans now to explore the early Americana experience of the Biddle House; an experience that begins as soon as you step inside and surround yourself with the period furnishings and settings.
You’ll smell savory aromas coming from the cast iron pot bubbling in the open-hearth fireplace in the reconstructed period kitchen. Watch as costumed historic interpreters knit, quilt, card wool, use the spinning wheel, and work at other domestic crafts tasks of the 19th century.
Just one of Mackinac Island’s many historical treasures, the Biddle House was built over 200 years ago as a fur trading space and the Biddle family home. This vintage gem is a National Historic Landmark, and one of the island’s most popular tourist destinations. Operating under the auspices of Mackinac Island State Park, Biddle House also features the Mackinac Island Native American Museum, which offers two rooms filled with exhibits. The Biddle House will open for the season on May 5, 2020, so be sure to call us at (844) 246-0650 to arrange for your Mackinac Island experience.
Three Romantic Things to Do on Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island’s natural beauty has been an inspiration for a myriad of true-to-life romantic tales, and many visitors who have fallen in love here will attest that the island itself possesses an aura of enchantment.
In fact, Mackinac Island has recently been included in TripAdvisor’s list of the “World’s 15 Most Romantic Island Getaways for Couples.” With this in mind, we have put together a list of three fun and romantic things to do here.
Go Stargazing at Fort Holmes
As the highest point on the island, the view from here on a clear night is breathtaking. Ideal for intimate picnics, late-night stargazing, and snuggling up to your sweetheart.
Ride a Bicycle Built for Two
Rent a tandem bicycle and pack up some supplies. Then, discover the island at your leisure, just the two of you.
Celebrate Somewhere in Time
A favorite activity for fans of the film, and even for those who aren’t, is to take a quick jaunt over to the original gazebo shown in the movie, and to visit the “Is it you?” monument.
To book your own romantic gathering or getaway, call us at (844) 246-0650.
A Fun Fitness Getaway
If you’re one of the 59 percent of folks who made a New Year’s resolution to get more exercise, we suggest a Mackinac Island getaway.
You’ll find a beautiful island featuring lush verdant forests abloom with wildflowers, stunning geological formations, groomed nature trails, and much more. No cars allowed here—so you can safely jog, hike, and bike the island’s 70 miles of trails while enjoying its stunning natural beauty. Additionally, several places here offer horseback riding; or take an exploratory walk or two to check out the unique and impressive architecture of our historic downtown and other impressive structures located throughout the island.
Combine fun with fitness by packing a picnic and hiking up to Arch Rock, considered a source of mystical power by Native Americans, or climb up to Fort Holmes and check out the view from the highest point on the island. Walking tours are always a fun way to get your exercise while learning more about the island, and several terrific tours are available during the season. For details and to book your getaway, please contact us at (844) 246-0650.
Say “I Do” to a Mackinac Island Wedding
It’s official—the proposal has been accepted, the ring is on her finger, and the two of you are discussing tentative plans for the ceremony, reception, rehearsal dinner, and most importantly, the location.
What’s the next step for the wedding of your dreams? Making plans to host it all right here on our picture-perfect Mackinac Island. Whether you want an intimate ceremony or a grand gathering, you and your beloved will be following a cherished tradition, as generations of couples have tied the knot right here at Hotel Iroquois.
The island is also an ideal honeymoon destination, and your family and friends will be enchanted with the stunning scenery of the island. You can rest assured that we’ll provide an elegant setting for your special day, as we’ve hosted everything from engagement parties to wedding receptions to anniversary dinners—and everything in between. For assistance planning your unique wedding-related needs, we encourage you to call us at (844) 246-0650.
Start A New Tradition
This Thanksgiving, while you enjoy a glorious feast with your loved ones and give thanks for your blessings, why not start a new holiday tradition?
We recommend making plans for a fun and fabulous getaway on magnificent Mackinac Island. There is so much we have to offer, whether you come solo, bring along your plus-one, or include the entire family. Summer magic rules on the island, and you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time as you experience the soft clip-clop of horse’s hoofs, concerts in the park, yacht races, the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory, and our dazzling annual Lilac Festival.
Explore wildflowers and other flora on our many trails by foot, bicycle, or horseback, and don’t miss the stunning views from Arch Rock, Fort Mackinac, or the aptly-named Sunset Rock. History and architecture buffs will appreciate various structures scattered throughout the island, especially our unique downtown. Speaking of downtown, be sure to pay a visit to the fudge shops—we are famous for our fudge, and so proud of it that we celebrate it with a yearly festival! For details, call us at (844) 246-0650.
A Fabulous Finale
October on Mackinac Island is a bittersweet month. While it brings the end of yet another season of fun, autumn dazzles us with its brilliant glory, and the final events are always fabulous. For details, see below.
October 18-19: Women’s Wellness and a Wee Bit of Wine Weekend
Hundreds of women will celebrate a weekend of pampering, friendship, and good health. Wellness seminars, art shows, spa days, yoga, wine, and luxurious shopping are all on the agenda. Proceeds support the Mackinac Island Cancer Fund.
October 26: Great Turtle Trail Run & Half Marathon
Thousands of participants will run and walk one of the most scenic trails in the state, traditionally held the last open weekend of the season. From Mission Point Resort to the shoreline, these beloved annual races are always an exciting seasonal highlight.
October 26: Mackinac Island Halloween Trick-or-Treat
Don your costumes and join the march through downtown during this festive Halloween celebration, featuring costume contests, end-of-the-season sales, and live entertainment. Don’t leave the mini-monsters behind—they’ll have a blast as they trick-or-treat their way down Main Street.
For more information about these, or other Mackinac Island events, call us at (844) 246-0650.
“Fall” in Love with Mackinac Island
Here on Mackinac, autumn brings breathtaking views, delightfully mild days, and refreshingly cool evenings.
Here on Mackinac, autumn brings breathtaking views, delightfully mild days, and refreshingly cool evenings. As the crowds depart the island following the summer season, those who join us for the fall months will find that the pace is less frenzied, but there are still many special events and activities for our guest’s enjoyment and entertainment. Ongoing events include everything from guided walking and horse-drawn carriage tours to almost everywhere on the island – from Fort Mackinac to the harbor to Arch Rock and all points beyond.
Stroll through our historic and architecturally unique downtown and to stop in at such notable island attractions as the Butterfly House and Insect Museum and the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum. Or, set out on any of the island’s numerous trails to enjoy spectacular scenery as you explore by biking, hiking, or horseback riding. The fall months include many special events, such as the Eight-Mile Bridge Run and Walk and the Great Turtle Trail Run and Half-Marathon. To join us for a fall getaway for any Mackinac Island events, call (844) 246-0650.
Fudge, Fabulous Fudge
Rich, sweet, creamy, decadent—no matter how you describe it, it’s a wonderful treat worthy of our annual celebration, and we hope you’ll join thousands of other “fudgies” from August 23-25 for the 2019 Mackinac Island Fudge Festival.
Rich, sweet, creamy, decadent—no matter how you describe it, it’s a wonderful treat worthy of our annual celebration, and we hope you’ll join thousands of other “fudgies” from August 23-25 for the 2019 Mackinac Island Fudge Festival. This year’s event will also feature Willy Wonka sightings, a fudge egg hunt, an ice cream social, fudge-infused cocktails, and family games at Windermere Point. The fudgy fun begins on Friday, August 23 with fudge-making demos at Ryba’s, Murdick’s, May’s, Joann’s, and Sanders fudge shops. Be sure to join the Market Street Open House and Art Walk afterward.
On Saturday, August 24, head over to Windermere Point at noon for family games, an ice cream social, and free concerts before a showing of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Sunday, August 25 features a children’s chocolate fudge egg hunt at Marquette Park at 10:00 a.m., along with the Great Turtle Slow Ride and more! Fudge-related specialty drinks and cocktails will be served daily at various establishments around the island, along with dinner and dessert specials. For more information, call us at (844) 246-0650.
Sail Through Summer
July on Mackinac Island—the days are warm and sunny, the nights are pleasantly cool and full of stars, and the fun is boundless.
July on Mackinac Island - the days are warm and sunny, the nights are pleasantly cool and full of stars, and the fun is boundless. Summer also brings a myriad of fabulous maritime events for our guests’ entertainment, and July’s lineup is listed here. First, it's off to the races on July 13 with the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac Island. This prestigious annual race is the world’s longest freshwater sailing event and attracts top competitors from all over the country. July 17 brings the Chicago Mac Week Round the Island Race, featuring sailboats from the Chi-Mac Race and the Mackinac area.
July 20-22 will see the return of a Mackinac favorite, the Bell’s Beer Bayview to Mackinac Race. This exciting annual race from Port Huron to Mackinac Island is hosted by the Bayview Yacht Club and showcases sailors from all over the world. Lastly, set sail on the Veuve Cruise on July 28. You’ll cruise the Straits of Mackinac while sampling Veuve Clicquot offerings. This Sip n’ Sail cruise also features live music by Owen James, and proceeds go toward support of the island’s arts and culture programs. To book your reservation, call us at (844) 246-0650.
Make Dad’s Day with a Mackinac Getaway
Searching for that perfect gift for the best Dad ever?
Searching for that perfect gift for the best Dad ever? Surprise him this Father’s Day with a getaway to stunning Mackinac Island. There’s something for everyone here, no matter their interests and tastes. From our annual June Lilac Festival to the yacht races, the Fudge Festival, and later summer events, Dad will find plenty from which to choose. If he’s a nature lover, he’ll be thrilled with the island’s stunning natural beauty. As a large percentage of the island is part of the Mackinac Island State Park, there is always an abundance of nature to explore, as well as ways to go about it.
He can tour the island by bicycle or horseback, or set off on foot along any of the numerous hiking trails. Also, the unique beauty of Mackinac Island’s architecture viewed from leisurely strolls through downtown, or from the old-fashioned charm of a horse-drawn carriage are sure to please both design enthusiasts and history buffs. Whether Dad is looking for excitement or just a quiet getaway for his special day, he’ll agree that Mackinac Island is the perfect place to find it all. To book a reservation for that special Dad, call us at (844) 246-0650.
A Lilac Immersion Experience
Make your reservations and start packing your bags for a ten-day getaway featuring fabulous flowers and floral-themed festivities.
Make your reservations and start packing your bags for a ten-day getaway featuring fabulous flowers and floral-themed festivities. The 71st annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival will be celebrated June 7-16, and thousands of visitors will come to observe the glorification of our favorite flower. Long ago, lilacs earned a place in the island’s hall of fame, planted by wealthier island residents, who soon found that they thrived here as nowhere else in the world. Some of these famous blooms, varying in shades of lavender, blue, white, and pink, are more than 100 years old and can reach heights of 40 feet.
The result is a lilac-immersion experience you will only find here, as you stroll along streets under a veritable canopy of brilliantly-colored and fragrant lilacs. The island offers an amazing array of events in honor of the fest, including outdoor concerts, a Grand Parade, a charming Dog and Pony Show, the Lilac Festival 10K, and a plethora of food, cocktails, and wine, including the island’s favorite foodie fest, “A Taste of Mackinac.” We hope you’ll join us in June for your own “Lilac Immersion Experience.” Call us at (844) 246-0650 for details.
Hit the Trail
Mackinac Island offers a myriad of scenic paths and trails to explore, the majority of which are part of the Mackinac Island State Park.
Mackinac Island offers a myriad of scenic paths and trails to explore, the majority of which are part of the Mackinac Island State Park. Guests can select from over 70 miles of trails, the longest of which is the Tranquil Bluff Trail. In addition to the Tranquil Bluff Trail, popular hiking spots on the on North side of the island include the Packard, Lydia, Partridge, and Swamp Trails, each varying in length. The Southern and Central parts of the island’s trails include Indian Pipe, Juniper, Cliftview, and Lost Bear.
For one of the most breathtaking views, including stunning optics of Mackinac Bridge and Mackinac Straits, follow Lake Shore Drive, which runs along the coast of the island. You can easily traverse most of these trails with almost any form of transportation – pull on your hiking boots, rent a bike, or arrange for a ride on horseback, but be aware that horseback riding is not allowed on Lakeshore Drive. However, hikers and bikers are welcome, and the scenic coast route can still be viewed from a horse and buggy you can rent and drive on your own. Ready to hit the trail? Call us at (844) 246-0650 to make your reservations.
Our Native American Heritage
Most of our guests visit here because they enjoy the Mackinac Island “experience” reminiscent of a more genteel era – an era of horse-drawn carriages, wildflower-strewn woodlands, bandshell concerts, and vintage architecture with unique shops and boutiques.
Most of our guests visit here because they enjoy the Mackinac Island “experience” reminiscent of a more genteel era – and era horse-drawn carriages, wildflower-strewn woodlands, bandshell concerts, and vintage architecture with unique shops and boutiques. While this is an accurate picture of our modern-day Island, we also like to encourage visitors to explore a past that goes well beyond the Victorian Age – back to the Island’s early beginnings, when the people of the Potawatomi, Ojibwa, and
Odawatribes made their homes here, and throughout the region.
The story of the region’s Native American Tribes can now be gleaned through six markers set up around the Island’s perimeter on M-185, on which visitors can read of their burial grounds, trade, and history up to the present. Other sites around the Island are excellent examples of its heritage, such as the newly-restored Biddle House. The Island’s oldest building, it was the home of Agatha Biddle, who was an
Odawachief and married a fur trader from Philadelphia. A restoration of Biddle House is scheduled for completion in 2019 and will contain two rooms of exhibits. Call us at (844) 246-0650 to reserve your stay on Mackinac Island, where you can see Biddle House for yourself.
The Most Romantic Places on Mackinac Island
Here on the Island, we’ve heard a multitude of romantic tales told by visitors who fell in love here, said their vows here, or experienced a memorable romantic proposal.
Here on the Island, we’ve heard a multitude of romantic tales told by visitors who fell in love here, said their vows here, or experienced a memorable romantic proposal. So, in honor of them, and Saint Valentine, here is a short list of Mackinac Island sites awarded the title of 'Most Romantic.' First, don’t underestimate the timeless charm of an island sunrise viewed from Mission Point, or a romantic sunset from, where else, but our famous Sunset Rock. Next, Fort Holmes is an idyllic site for intimate picnics or late night stargazing.
Stunning vistas of wildflowers, birches, and cedars on the Island’s trails provide a perfect setting for everything from a first kiss to popping the question. For fans of the film, “Somewhere in Time,” the “Is it you?” monument is a must, along with the original gazebo constructed for and used in the movie, and which remains in use for weddings to this day. Lastly, we here at Hotel Iroquois are renowned for our elegant and intimate settings for engagements and weddings. To book your own romantic gathering or getaway, call us at (844) 246-0650.
Two Terrific Tours of Mackinac Island
While we appreciate our guests who return each season, we also look forward to those who have never been here before.
While we appreciate our guests who return each season, we also look forward to those who have never been here before. It’s always a pleasure to see the looks on their faces and hear their glowing remarks after they have "discovered" the beauty and charm of Mackinac Island. For all of our future guests who want to explore and learn more about Mackinac Island, we suggest booking one of the tours offered here. First, check out Mackinac Revealed, which promises a journey "beyond the beaten path." You’ll see and hear about the best of the Island’s neighborhoods, history, shipwrecks, famous attractions, Native American culture, and more, all led by an authentic Mackinac Islander.
The tour offers walking and bicycle excursions, or carriage horse tours. For those who prefer a more "spirited" perspective regarding the Island’s history, we suggest the Haunts of Mackinac tour. Promising a walking tour that’s an "adventure into the unknown," their knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides offer information about the Island’s history, legends, and ghostly tales.
For more information, or to make reservations for your Mackinac Island getaway, call us at (844) 246-0650.
A Perfect Group Getaway
Whether you’re planning a retreat or a gathering of a circle of friends, a family anniversary or a wedding, you’ll find Mackinac Island is the perfect getaway destination.
Whether you’re planning a retreat or a gathering of a circle of friends, a family anniversary or a wedding, you’ll find Mackinac Island is the perfect getaway destination. Here at Hotel Iroquois, we’ve been rated “Best Small Hotel in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler. We’ve got everything you need to make your event a resounding success, and we’ll help ensure that you, your family, and your guests will have wonderful and unforgettable memories about the occasion for years to come.
It’s easy to fall under the Island’s enchantment the moment you step off the ferry – there’s a quiet sort of charm and ambiance that summons up a feeling of having gone back in time, where unspoiled beauty reigns supreme, and the sight and sounds of horse-drawn vehicles have displaced the jarring sounds of car horns and heavy equipment. For the bride-or-groom-to-be, we offer everything you need to make your special day a romantic dream come true, and our Carriage House provides an elegant setting for intimate gatherings. For more information, or to make reservations for your special getaway, call us at (844) 246-0650.
Reflections at Thanksgiving
November – the time of year when the evening comes ever earlier, when autumn’s last vestiges linger before the coming of winter, and when our thoughts turn to the upcoming holidays, particularly Thanksgiving.
November – the time of year when the evening comes ever earlier, when autumn’s last vestiges linger before the coming of winter, and when our thoughts turn to the upcoming holidays, particularly Thanksgiving. Here on Mackinac Island, we are blessed with a rich and vibrant heritage, from indigenous peoples and the earliest settlers to the socially elite who summer here, to the decades of new guests and visitors who helped make our island the tourist Mecca it remains today. We’re grateful that the island abounds with a spectacular natural beauty that is protected and cherished, and for the ability to share this gift with our visitors.
We love to hear guests’ enthusiastic comments about the magnificent views after they return from a hike to Arch Rock. Many admire the interesting architecture of the Island, including the downtown shops, the Governor’s Summer Residence, or Saint Anne’s Church. Let’s not forget the pleasures of lilac festivals, horseback riding, movies on the lawn, summer concerts, and fabulous fudge. So, this Thanksgiving, we’re going to look back on our many blessings and look forward to a new spring and summer season. To book your Mackinac Island getaway, call us at (844) 246-0650. And Happy Thanksgiving, from our family to yours!
Celebrating Halloween and the Haunts of Mackinac Island
Todd Clements has been incredibly busy for the past 25 years.
Todd Clements has been incredibly busy for the past 25 years. He’s investigated the Island’s ghosts and researched hundreds of local paranormal tales. He is the author of two popular books, “Haunts of Mackinac: Ghost Stories, Legends, and Tragic Tales of Mackinac Island,” and “Haunts of Mackinac: The Next Chapter,” about his “Haunts of Mackinac” ghost tours and his own experiences with the spirit world. His first exposure to the paranormal was here as a young boy on a family vacation, and he was hooked for life on the Island, and its ghosts. Find out more by signing up for the tour.
Next, dress up in your favorite Halloween duds for our annual Halloween celebration on October 26-28. Smart shoppers will be heading downtown for some terrific bargains from local merchants, and the little ones will make their way down Market and Main streets for trick-or-treating. Live entertainment at downtown bars will keep the party groove going, and several of these, such as the Pink Pony, and the Gate House, will have costume contests. For more information, or to make reservations for your Mackinac Island Halloween Weekend, call us at (844) 246-0650.
Autumn is a ‘Cool’ Time to Visit Mackinac Island
Autumn is a great time of the year to visit Mackinac Island; guests have the advantage of gorgeous views and weather, pleasantly cool evenings, and fewer crowds.
Autumn is a great time of the year to visit Mackinac Island; guests have the advantage of gorgeous views and weather, pleasantly cool evenings, and fewer crowds. With many of our guests leaving after the summer season, the Island moves at a calmer, almost easygoing pace, but there are still an abundant amount of events and activities for our visitors to enjoy. Those who set off on any of the available trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding will be rewarded with pristine woodlands and spectacular scenery. Climb up to Fort Mackinac, or catch the stunning view from Arch Rock.
Prefer something less strenuous? Browse the downtown shops, taking additional time at those that sell fudge! Carriage tours of Mackinac Island are a relaxing way to tour the Island. Lastly, don’t miss ‘Fire at Night: Fort Mackinac Cannon and Rifles,’ every Saturday from September 15-29. Flashes of rifle and cannon fire are juxtaposed against the breathtaking view of a Fort Mackinac sunset, for a magnificent and unique view. We can’t think of a better way to end a September evening. For more information about these or other Mackinac Island events, call us at (844) 246-0650.
Fudging It on the Island
On August 24-26, fudge lovers (also known as “fudgies”) will descend on Mackinac Island for the Annual Mackinac Island Fudge Festival.
On August 24-26, fudge lovers (also known as “
fudgies”) will descend on Mackinac Island for the Annual Mackinac Island Fudge Festival. Fudge has been a specialty here for more than a century, and Mackinac prides itself on the quality and taste of its fudge. Many of the shops on the Island produce nothing but pounds and pounds of this creamy and decadent confection, all made fresh daily in a variety of flavors. In keeping with the fudge theme, the Island features many events and activities all related to the favorite candy, such as fudge-making tastings and demonstrations, and even a Fudge Egg Hunt! There are also fudge-related food and drink pairings, fudge martinis, beer and wine pairings, and the addition of fudge treats to the Friday Market Street Art Walk. Additionally, there is magic, music, and games for the children, the Great Turtle Slow Ride, and the Sugar Sack Relay Race, along with a special outdoor showing of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” at Windermere Point. Also at the Point, don’t miss the “Three Men and a Tenor” concert. Want more information? Call us at (844) 246-0650 for details.
The Regattas of Mackinac Island
Every July on Mackinac Island, crowds gather to cheer on hundreds of sleek sailboats and elegant yachts coming into the home stretch of Mackinac Harbor.
Every July on Mackinac Island, crowds gather to cheer on hundreds of sleek sailboats and elegant yachts coming into the home stretch of Mackinac Harbor. These races have become some of the most renowned events in competitive sailing, and the Island is the final destination, and occasional starting point, for all. Three of these take place in July: the Bayview Mackinac Race on July 14, the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac on July 21, and the 11th annual Chicago Mac Week - Round the Island Race on July 25.
Hosted this year by the Mackinac Island Yacht Club, this regatta is open to all boats in the Mackinac area, along with sailboats in the Chicago to Mackinac race. An after-race party and awards ceremony will be held at the Yacht Club, with food, drink, brag flags, and trophies. Additional island races include the Mission Point Mac to Mac Regatta on August 11, and the Horns Bar Labor Day Regatta on September 1. To make reservations to watch any of Mackinac Island’s exciting boat races, call us at (844) 246-0650.
A Mackinac Island Father’s Day
This year, treat Dad to a Father’s Day he’ll cherish forever with a June vacation on beautiful Mackinac Island.
This year, treat Dad to a Father’s Day he’ll cherish forever with a June vacation on beautiful Mackinac Island. Come for the annual Lilac Festival during June 8-17, or make reservations for a quiet getaway later in the month. You’ll find something for every taste here, from the excitement of the costumed Dog and Pony Parade and other Lilac Festival events to
soakingup the unique architectural beauty of downtown Mackinac Island, to traveling tranquility in a horse-drawn taxi.
And, don’t forget that much of the Island is an integral part of the Mackinac Island State Park, so an abundance of natural beauty and quiet charm is always available for exploring on foot, horseback, or bicycle. The season also brings other events to the Island – there are food, beer, and wine celebrations, yacht races, concerts and movies under a canopy of summer stars, and much more. Dad will agree that Mackinac Island is the perfect place for a summer getaway, so don’t leave without your reservations for next June!
Four Great Reasons to Make a Reservation Right Now for the Mackinac Island Lilac Festival
A profusion of fragrant and colorful lilacs will be in full bloom when Mackinac Island celebrates its 70th annual Lilac Festival June 8-17.
A profusion of fragrant and colorful lilacs will be in full bloom when Mackinac Island celebrates its 70th annual Lilac Festival June 8-17. Thousands of visitors come to the island to celebrate with us, and here are four reasons why you should join them: First, there’s outstanding live music – concerts galore will be performed at many venues, both indoor and outdoor. Second, some of the most fun (and funniest) activities occur during the festival, such as the Mackinac Island Dog and Pony Show, the Lilac Festival 10K, the festival’s Grand Parade, and more.
Third, fabulous food and drink - from “A Taste of Mackinac” to additional food and wine selections available here, you’ll sample and savor some of the best. Oh, and there’s fudge – lots of chocolaty goodness you can save for dessert, or eat it all now! Finally, there’s the island and the flowers themselves. Long after lilacs have ceased to bloom throughout most of the country, they are at their most beautiful here. Take a horse-drawn ride through the area, or explore many of the island’s nature trails to see the lilacs, and our other native flora, at their best. Hope to see you in June!
The Beautiful Birds of Mackinac Island
Although famous for lilac festivals, yacht races, horses, and fudge, there is another aspect of Mackinac Island that appeals to a select group of enthusiasts – the birders of America.
Although famous for lilac festivals, yacht races, horses, and fudge, there is another aspect of Mackinac Island that appeals to a select group of enthusiasts – the birders of America. Much of the Island’s terrain is varied, consisting a limestone formations, lake shores, bogs, marshes, fields, and forests. Such an array of terrain creates habitats for a variety of birds, particularly as the majority of it remains under the auspices of Mackinac Island State Park, which protects it from development and makes it ideal for both migratory species and those native to the area.
There are over 160 species of birds on Mackinac Island, and birders arrive during different seasons, hoping to spot red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, yellow warblers, indigo buntings, and more. The few who are fortunate enough to be here in the winter might catch a glimpse of snowy owls direct from the icy reaches of the arctic. Due to the access to deep water, there are many varieties of waterfowl, such as loons, long-tailed ducks, and many others.
Mackinac Island’s Rich Architectural History
From stately Victorian-era hotels, to Arts and Crafts-style cottages, to New England Colonial structures and the earliest Native American wigwam dwellings, the architecture of Mackinac Island reflects both its history and the diversity of its influences.
From stately Victorian-era hotels, to Arts and Crafts-style cottages, to New England Colonial structures and the earliest Native American wigwam dwellings, the architecture of Mackinac Island reflects both its history and the diversity of its influences. No matter where visitors may go on the Island, they’re sure to find structures with a fascinating history, as well as a mixed bag of architectural styles. For example, Fort Mackinac’s limestone structure was heavily influenced by the Islamic style that was brought back from Europeans captured during the Crusades, while Anne Cottage is pure Arts and Crafts.
Other terrific examples of differing architectural styles of the Island’s buildings are: the Missionary Bark Chapel in Marquette Park, Ste. Anne’s Catholic Church, the Indian Dormitory, the McGulpin House downtown, and the Mackinac Island Yacht Club. For anyone who wants to learn even more about the Island’s unique and varied architecture, special architectural walking tours are often available during the Mackinac Island annual Lilac Festival in June.
Romantic Selfies: Your Mackinac Island Getaway
Imagine the look of surprise and delight on your Valentine’s face when you present them with the idea of a “couples selfie” getaway on beautiful Mackinac Island.
Imagine the look of surprise and delight on your Valentine’s face when you present them with the idea of a “couples selfie” getaway on beautiful Mackinac Island. The Island offers an abundance of events and attractions, many of which are ideal backgrounds for your photos! Not sure where to take your romantic snapshots? Here are a few suggestions on the best places to make romantic memories and take fun selfies. Starting at the top of the Island, there’s Fort Mackinac, Arch Rock, Sunset Rock, and Anne’s Tablet. And, almost anywhere downtown would be ideal due to the lovely, unique architecture of its structures.
Tired of touring for the day? Take a selfie of the two of you, dreamily riding along in a horse-drawn taxi. Also, don’t forget about making your reservations during any of the Island’s numerous festivals and celebrations. Imagine the photographic possibilities of a backdrop showing a profusion of mauve-purple lilacs during our famous Lilac Festival, or the two of you at the harbor watching one of the annual yacht races. The possibilities are almost endless – now all you need are the two of you, a camera, and your imagination. Don’t forget to say cheese!
Get in Shape Now for Your Mackinac Island Getaway
Is reaching your fitness goals one of your New Year’s resolutions?
Is reaching your fitness goals one of your New Year’s resolutions? If so, give yourself some serious incentive by making a reservation to visit beautiful Mackinac Island. With no motorized vehicles allowed on the island, most folks get around by walking or bicycling, so you’ll need those muscles to be in top condition. The island has several historic and scenic roads trails to explore (a total of 140 miles of them) and lots of fun, summertime activities at a variety of locations scattered around the area.
If you’re feeling energetic and ambitious, hike or bike the 8.2 mile “Round the Shore” trail with its breathtaking views of the Straits of Mackinac, or climb up to Fort Mackinac or Arch Rock. If you just want a leisurely stroll, check out our lovely, history-rich downtown, with its unique architectural storefronts, restaurants, shops, and cafes. And, if you’re feeling a little tired from all the activity, you have only to raise your arm and catch a horse-drawn taxi back to the hotel. For more information, or to make reservations for your Mackinac Island getaway, call us at (844) 246-0650.
A Christmas Present for the Future
This December, ask Santa to skip the usual gifts and leave something in your stocking you’ll really love – a reservation for a glorious summer getaway on beautiful Mackinac Island.
This December, ask Santa to skip the usual gifts and leave something in your stocking you’ll really love – a reservation for a glorious summer getaway on beautiful Mackinac Island. Whether you’re flying solo, planning a romantic jaunt for two, or bringing the entire family, the island is chock-full of attractions and events to suit every taste. View a variety of brilliantly-hued butterflies at the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory, tour the Michigan Governor’s Summer Mansion, and explore the island’s trails via bicycle or horseback.
Join in the Great Turtle Trail Run, or make the hike up to Arch Rock or Fort Mackinac to be rewarded with some of the island’s most spectacular views. Come for the Lilac Festival, the Fudge Festival, and the annual yacht race. Mackinac Island offers Movies on the Lawn, summer concerts in the park, fine dining and wining, and a truly unique shopping experience in our historic downtown boutiques. For more information, or to make reservations for your Mackinac Island getaway, call us at (844) 246-0650.
The Tale of Anne’s Tablet
Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840-1894) was taken by the charms of Mackinac Island from the early days of her girlhood.
Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840-1894) was taken by the charms of Mackinac Island from the early days of her girlhood. Memories of summers spent on the island continued to hold a special appeal for her, and even inspired her choice of career as a professional writer. Her short story collection, “Castle Nowhere: Lake-Country Sketches” was based on her experiences on the island and the nearby Great Lakes shorelines. A few years later, she published her first novel, “Anne,” which was also set on Mackinac Island.
Woolson became a successful author, and made her homes in St. Augustine, Florida and in Venice, Italy. Sadly, she died in Venice in 1894 after falling from a window, and was buried there. Her loyal American readers wanted a place to remember and honor her, so Woolson’s nephew and wealthy Cleveland industrialist Samuel Mather commissioned a bronze plaque from sculptor William Ordway Partridge. An overlook was built on the island in 1916 as a memorial to the author and the plaque, forever part of “Anne’s Tablet,” was installed and remains to this day.
Wellness & Wine: A Weekend for Women
This month, guests of Hotel Iroquois can take part in a joyous, weekend-long celebration of women and wellness from Friday, October 20th through Saturday, October 21st.
This month, guests of Hotel Iroquois can take part in a joyous, weekend-long celebration of women and wellness from Friday, October 20th through Saturday, October 21st. Women from all over the state will come together on Mackinac Island to forge new friendships while learning about wellness and healthy living – and indulge in a little bit of shopping, food, and wine too.
The keynote speaker is Dr. Mary Ivey, who will discuss aging gracefully in addition to other topics. A guided nature walk will be available with guide Karen Allen, along with yoga and meditation classes by Lisa Knaftle, Spirit of the North. Judge Beth Gibson will talk about “Everything Women Should Know About the Law,” and Jenny Sullivan, senior stylist for Douglas J (Aveda) and Amber Gilbert, owner of Rootz Salon, will provide hair and makeup demonstrations, with makeovers going to two lucky attendees. The weekend will also feature spa treatments, basket drawings, cocktails, wine, and appetizers by Mike Stickler, culinary chef of Gordon Food Service. This event will benefit the Mackinac Island Community Foundation Cancer Fund. For tickets and more information, click here.
The September Serenity of Mackinac Island
This September, retreat to the serenity of Mackinac Island.
This September, retreat to the serenity of Mackinac Island. As soon as you step off the ferry, you’ll feel as if you’ve gone back in time. No cars or motorbikes here – there is little more than the soothing clip-clop of horse’s hooves echoing in your ears. Take a horse-drawn taxi, rent a bicycle, or indulge in the purely physical pleasure of a good walk as you unwind and explore. There is so much to see and do here – scenic walking trails through cool green woods beckon to the Thoreau in us all, and are just as lovely and serene when viewed from a bicycle or on horseback.
Our architecturally historic and elegant downtown is filled with specialty boutiques offering the ultimate shopping experience. No hot, overcrowded chain stores here, only sui generis shops stocked with clothing, jewelry, toys, and many one-of-a-kind items. Stop in at our exceptional art galleries, featuring the work of regional artists. Don’t leave the downtown area without some of our famous fudge. We’re the fudge capital of the nation, and have dozens of different flavors and varieties to tempt you. The Island is filled with many historic sites and attractions, and autumn is an ideal time to visit. Hope to see you here!
August is All About the Fudge
Join us on August 18th – 20th for the annual Mackinac Island Fudge Festival.
Join us on August 18th – 20th for the annual Mackinac Island Fudge Festival. Although fudge wasn’t invented on Mackinac Island, this creamy, delightfully rich confection has become one of its most famous products. It’s no wonder the island is known as the “Fudge Capital of the World.” Fudge, fudgie flavors, and fudge-related events are showcased and celebrated during this weekend-long festival. Fudge shops will offer fudge-making demonstrations, samples and prizes, bartenders will be mixing up fudge-inspired cocktails daily, and beer and wine tastings will be ongoing at many venues on the island. Be sure to try some of Arbor Brewing Company’s Mackinac Island Fudge Stout.
One of the most eagerly-anticipated events is the Loompahs Golden Ticket Delivery. On Saturday, August 20th, a Friesian horse named Lars will accompany the Loompahs to several of Main Street’s selected fudge shops to deliver Golden Tickets. Each of these shops will set aside 40 boxes of fudge every hour from 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., and one of these will contain a ticket for a free Mackinac Island vacation. Additional contests and giveaways include the Great Turtle Slow Ride, the Sugar Sack Relay Race, and the Mackinac Island Fudge Giveaway at Windermere Point. For a complete listing of the festival’s events, visit here.
Celebrate a Star-Spangled Fourth at Fort Mackinac
This Independence Day, the air will be redolent with the smell of hot dogs and hamburgers sizzling on grills, blaring horns and crashing cymbals will accompany bands marching to the sounds of Sousa, and a dazzling array of fireworks will illuminate night skies nationwide as we come together to celebrate our most American holiday.
This Independence Day, the air will be redolent with the smell of hot dogs and hamburgers sizzling on grills, blaring horns and crashing cymbals will accompany bands marching to the sounds of Sousa, and a dazzling array of fireworks will illuminate night skies nationwide as we come together to celebrate our most American holiday. On July 4th, guests of the hotel are cordially invited to join the party at one of the island’s most popular holiday events – Fort Mackinac’s Star-Spangled Fourth of July.
Return to the 1880’s with a visit to the fort, decorated for the holiday with banners, flags, and bunting. All the fort’s buildings will be open, and patriotic music will be performed, along with rousing 38-gun salutes. Guests can join in the Victorian dances and games on the fort’s parade ground. The event will take place from 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. An American Picnic, featuring hot dogs, hamburgers, barbecued ribs, grilled chicken breasts, and a large variety of sides, salads, and desserts will be served at 6:30 p.m., with a spectacular fireworks display beginning at dusk.
Delight Dad with a Mackinac Island Getaway
This year, give Dad something he'll really love – a Mackinac Island getaway.
This year, give Dad something he'll really love – a Mackinac Island getaway. The island’s natural beauty and old-world charm combine to make it an ideal retreat from the everyday world, and with the lilacs in glorious bloom throughout, make June one of the best times to visit. Stroll along a delightfully unique downtown, with nothing but the slow clip-clop of horse’s hooves as accompaniment. Or, explore with guides as you hike along on the Mackinac Revealed walking tour, the Market Street Art Walk, or the Mackinac Island Legends and Lore Trek.
June is the month that Mackinac celebrates all things lilac with their annual Lilac Festival. True lilac lovers can learn all about the island’s festival flower, and how to grow and care for their own with nationally renowned expert Jeff Young. Or, take in dozens of additional festival events and activities, such as the coronation of the festival queen and her court, the Lilac 10K Run/Walk, and the daily local artist shows. Ready to book your Mackinac Island getaway? For information on reservations and special getaway packages, call (844) 246-0650, or visit: http://www.iroquoishotel.com/.
Make Reservations Now for the Annual Lilac Festival
Since 1949, the people of Mackinac Island have been honoring the beloved lilac with the Lilac Festival.
Since 1949, the people of Mackinac Island have been honoring the beloved lilac with the Lilac Festival. The lilac is particularly dear to Mackinac, as the island’s climate causes the common lilac to grow to a larger size, and to maintain a longer lifespan than in other gardens in this country. There have been lilacs on Mackinac since the original plantings of the Victorian Era, and some of them, at over 150 years old, are still thriving. The festival always begins on the second Friday of June when thousands of visitors converge on the Island. For 10 days afterward, both visitors and islanders celebrate the lilac with a variety of activities before the traditional horse-drawn parade marks the conclusion of the festival on the third Sunday of June.
This year’s Mackinac Island Lilac Festival will be held from June 9th through June 18th, and the list of activities includes the Lilac Queen’s coronation and her court, A Taste of Mackinac, the Lilac Festival 10K, the Mackinac Island Dog and Pony Show, wine tastings, concerts, horse-drawn carriage tours, and numerous additional events before the Lilac Festival Grand Parade. Make your reservations now for the Lilac Festival or summer getaway. Call us at (844) 246-0650, or visit: www.iroquoishotel.com/.
Book Now and Save Big on a Mackinac Island Staycation
Imagine leisurely spring and summer evenings spent stargazing, or sunny days exploring the island by horseback or bicycle.
Imagine leisurely spring and summer evenings spent stargazing, and sunny days exploring the island by horseback or bicycle. Dream of Mackinac’s wildflowers in all their glory during the Lilac Festival, the annual celebrations of fudge and horses, and browsing downtown’s unique shops. Now, make that dream come true by booking a staycation with Hotel Iroquois. You’ll receive the utmost in luxury and savings with our brand-new offer, The Carriage House Getaway. When you stay between May 18-19 or May, 21-25, you’ll receive 25% off your room, plus a $50 daily dining credit for our Carriage House Dining Room. Or, take advantage of our other specials: the Mackinac Outing, the Great Escape, the Island Getaway, and our one-night Short & Sweet rate. Don’t miss out on the upcoming attractions and events that Mackinac Island has to offer. Make your reservations now by calling us at (844) 246-0650, or by visiting: www.iroquoishotel.com/.
The Wildflowers of Mackinac Island
As winter slowly draws to a close, the island’s inhabitants and few visitors look to that harbinger of spring, and Michigan’s state bird, the American Robin.
As winter slowly draws to a close, the island’s inhabitants and few visitors look to that harbinger of spring, and Michigan’s state bird, the American Robin. His song signals the arrival of one of the shortest seasons, as spring quickly turns to balmy summer on Mackinac. As the days grow ever warmer, wildflowers suddenly appear in profusion across the island, as if ornamenting it with their brilliant hues and delicate designs. For wildflower lovers, a stroll on the Shore Road, the wooded and bluff trails, and the edge of Lake Huron will provide a spectacular show of Michigan’s own wildflowers, including Yellow and Pink varieties of Lady’s Slipper, Goldenrod, Pearly Everlasting, Crown Vetch, Trillium, Periwinkle, Clintonia, and the fragrant Lily of the Valley, among others. The island is ideal for these excursions but remember to look and take pictures, but don’t touch, as wildflowers are protected under the Endangered Species Act on all Michigan public lands. Make your reservations now for your own personal wildflower tour or getaway. Call us at (844) 246-0650, or visit: www.iroquoishotel.com/.
Romance on Mackinac Island
Throughout its history, the beauty of Mackinac Island has provided the inspiration and the settings for many real-life romance stories.
Throughout its history, the beauty of Mackinac Island has provided the inspiration and the settings for many real-life romance stories. From a 19th-century Fort Mackinac sentry to one of the island’s state park directors, there is something magical about the effect of the island on its inhabitants as well as its visitors. Nature’s beauty is the perfect setting for romantic encounters, and many of those who fell in love on the island still rhapsodize about watching meteor showers from Fort Holmes, discovering wildflowers on wooded trails, the sunrise at Mission Point, and the sunsets from the aptly-named Sunset Rock. Their romances led to marriage, and many of these same couples tied the knot right here on the island. Hotel Iroquois is proud of the fact that they provided an elegant and intimate setting for generations of grooms- and brides-to-be. With its exceptional food and service, the hotel’s beautiful Carriage House is always a great choice for any romantic gathering, from wedding receptions to anniversary parties. To book your own romantic gathering or getaway, call us at (844) 246-0650, or visit: http://www.iroquoishotel.com/.
Mackinac Island and the Movies
With its abundance of natural beauty, historical landmarks, and unique architecture, it’s no wonder that Mackinac draws thousands of annual visitors, and that these same charming features have made it so attractive to the film industry.
With its abundance of natural beauty, historical landmarks, and unique architecture, it’s no wonder that Mackinac draws thousands of annual visitors, and that these same charming features have made it so attractive to the film industry. Since the 1940’s, Mackinac Island has drawn Hollywood location scouts like moths to a flame. Celebrities such as Esther Williams, Jimmy Durante, Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, Christopher Plummer, Bronson Pinchot, and Dame May Whitty have all been involved in filming movies on the island. Many of these same celebs surrendered to the island’s timeless quality. In a testimonial that speaks volumes, Christopher Reeve wrote, "We began filming in late May 1979, and the location quickly cast a spell on our entire company. The real world fell away as the story and the setting took hold of us. I've rarely worked on a production that was so relaxed and harmonious. Even the hard-boiled Teamsters and grips from Chicago succumbed to the charms of the island and the mellow atmosphere on the set." For more information about a magical Mackinac vacation, contact Hotel Iroquois at (844) 246-0650, or visit http://www.iroquoishotel.com/.