Visitor Information, News, Guide, Videos, Photos, History
With the 17th Annual Mackinac Island Great Turtle Run on Saturday, the Somewhere In Time Weekend and the Close the Grand event, the 2012 season on Mackinac Island effectively comes to a close. Some businesses have already closed, but most are in shutdown mode this week, anticipating one last 'pop' of business during the sold-out race on Saturday.
By nearly all accounts, it was a good season on the island, which saw tourism numbers increase, a few new businesses open and others upgrade their facilities. The ferry lines came to an agreement with the city which will hopefully result in stability for the boat lines, residents and visitors alike.
Years ago, a friend suggested that I make a visit to the island during the winter season. I have done so twice in recent years. If you've never visited during the 'off-season' and want a complete change from the summer crowds, I highly suggest a winter visit.
You can start as early as Thanksgiving and the first weekend of December during the annual Christmas Bazaar. New Year's Eve is a special time to gather at The Mustang Lounge and celebrate with the locals. February brings the annual Winter Festival. The Chili Cookoff and St. Patrick's Day are also opportunities to visit during special events that are much smaller and intimate than say, the Fourth of July or Labor Day.
Accommodations are available at the Pontiac Lodge, Harbor Place Studio Suites, Bogan Lane Inn, Cottage Inn (select dates) and Mission Point Resort (New Years only). The Mustang Lounge and Cawthone's Village Inn (reopens Nov. 28th for the winter) are open for dining and Doud's Market is open daily.
To get an idea of winter on Mackinac, take a look at the trailer for Ice Bridge: Mackinac's Hidden Season which is a personal favorite to watch when I miss winter on the island:
The island offers cross-country skiing on groomed trails, snowmobiling (especially if the ice bridge forms) and a quiet retreat from civilization during the quiet winter months, so consider a trip north for a vacation this winter!