Portfolio Naples August/September 2017 - Page 62

Mission Point MACKINAC ISLAND, MICHIGAN By John Companiotte Many theme parks seek to recapture the charm of early 1900s America, with gingerbread-style embellishments on clapboard houses and other details that suggest the appeal of that earlier era. Mackinac Island in Michigan never lost that charm. One of its most notable distinctions is that motor ve- hicles have been prohibited since 1898. Bicycles, horse-drawn carriages, and walking provide the only means of transport. e pace here is truly slower, refreshingly so. Situated on 3.8 square miles at the intersection of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, Mack- inac Island may be small, but its sig- nificance is huge. e entire island is a National Historic Landmark, with more than 80% preserved as the Mackinac Island State Park. Before European exploration in the 17th century, it was populated by Native Americans and was  a vital hub for fur trading along the Great Lakes. During the American Revolution, the British estab- lished Fort Mackinac, one of the island's most important land- marks, whose remnants are one of the more interesting destinations on the island. After the Civil War, the island be- came famous as a summer tourist destination. e island is primarily accessible by ferries that leave from 60 PORTFOLIO MAGAZINE the Michigan mainland, which is only fifteen minutes away. Private boat mooring spots are also available in the harbor, plus a private plane airport allows further access. At Mackinac Is- land, a myriad of boating tours are available on watercraft rang- ing from sailboats to kayaks. Visitors can also spend a relaxing day fishing on the Straits of Mackinac, or if they’d like to up the ante, learning to parasail. For those wanting to fly to the island, Mackinac Island Airport is located one nautical mile northwest of downtown Mackinac Island, Michigan in the center of Mackinac Island. A popular way to get a closer look at the Island and its history is through horse-drawn carriage tours, where you’ll be led by a well-informed guide for an intimate and informative expe- rience. Drive-your-own horse-drawn buggies are also available for vacation- ers who prefer to direct themselves. Touring Mackinac by bicycle is easy, too – both bikes and electric scooters are available at a variety of locations across the Island. And there’s plenty of ground to cover, with over 70 miles of natural and paved trails to keep you occu- pied all day long. If you’d rather move on foot, there are many walking tours available. Plus, the Mackinac Island State Park is open for your exploration.