Mackinac Island Blog

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What's new on Mackinac Island in 2011

After spending several days on Mackinac Island last week, I’m pleased to provide my 2011 list of ‘What’s New on Mackinac’ for your enjoyment. While not exhaustive, it’s a good indicator of what to expect that’s new...or no longer.

Main Street was still relatively quiet compared to summer weekends, but many school groups find their way to the island before the end of the school year. I managed to snap the photo below at a low in group movements, but don't be fooled, they were everywhere.

Main Street, Mackinac Island 
First some breaking fudge news. Kilwins has left the island. It was located near the Lilac Tree Hotel, and one of the only chain businesses located here. But don’t despair, a candy shop called ‘Velvet’ will likely be open in the same space by the time you read this.

Velvet Candy Store, Mackinac Island

Sanders Fine Chocolatiers has opened a second island location at the corner of Main and Astor Streets, opposite May’s Fudge. A t-shirt shop occupied the space in recent years.

Sanders Candy, Mackinac Island 
Moving across and up Astor Street is Steven Blair’s studio, where he sells not only his great photographs, but mature Mackinac Island lilac trees ranging in age from 3 to 8 years. As far as I know, this is the only location on the island that real Mackinac Island lilacs are available for purchase. The lilacs closest to the camera in the picture below are three years old.

Mackinac Island Lilac Trees 
Back on Main Street, The Pontiac Lodge building, which included the Loon Feather, Balsam Shop, Haunts of Mackinac, Texas Turkey Legs and Central Savings Bank was sold late last year to Ryba Properties. The Loon Feather will stay, as will Central Savings Bank. Balsam shop will also stay under a lease. The empty corner booth in the photo below was the former ticket office of Haunts of Mackinac. (see more about them below)

Pontiac Lodge - Mackinac Island 
Texas Turkey Legs, which was located on Hoban Street under the Pontiac Lodge has closed.

Ryba Properties - Mackinac Island 
Haunts of Mackinac has moved to a new location at Mission Point Resort.

Haunts of Mackinac - Mackinac Island 
The Chippewa Hotel has a new facade that replicates the original that was removed during the winter. During the renovation, all the Main Street rooms received wall air-conditioners and new windows. The hallways were remodeled and many of the rooms redecorated with new furniture, bedding and paint. In the coming days, work will begin on extending the patio area of the Pink Pony to allow more seating on the waterfront.

Chippewa Hotel, Mackinac Island 
Across the street in the Murray Hotel, the 3-D Maze of Mirrors has opened. As if finding your way out of a house of mirrors isn’t hard enough, this maze adds 3-D glasses to make it a real adventure that kids and kids at heart will enjoy. Take their advice, ‘walk slow and keep your hands up!’

Maze of Mirrors, Mackinac Island 
Moving into Marquette Park, a bit of sad news. One of the towering Elm trees bordering Fort Street was cut down, no doubt in response to finding disease. While on the island last summer, I met the arborist who was injecting the trees with a fungicide to help protect them from Dutch Elm disease, but obviously one of these magnificent trees succumbed and had to be removed.

Marquette Park, Mackinac Island 
At the other end of Marquette Park, some great news. The new Mackinac Art Museum opened last summer and is worth a visit. Mackinac Associates receive free admission, but even if you have to pay the $5 admission, it is worth it! If you love Mackinac art, this is the place! I strongly encourage a visit to this wonderful tribute to Mackinac art through the ages.

Mackinac Art Museum, Mackinac Island 
Many of the trees closest to the Grand Hotel were also removed late last fall due to disease. Replacements have been planted and right now is a once in a lifetime chance to get a view of the Grand previously seen a century ago.

I’ll also mention that work on the new community stable, located across from Wawashkamo Golf Club on British Landing Road, is nearing completion. The large barn and arena will house 4H horses and for the first time in recent history, accommodate privately owned horses.

Lastly - and a bit of an oversight from last year, the Cannonball Drive-Inn at British Landing is offering hay rides from downtown to the Inn for a BBQ chicken and ribs dinner, finished off with a hot fudge sundae! Sounds yummy to me!

So there you have it, the highlights of what I discovered on my visit to the island May 18-21. Hope to see you on the island this summer.

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Tags: 2011, Island, Mackinac, new, news, update


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Comment by Todd & Kim on June 13, 2011 at 9:47am

Thanks again, Pat!

You've been a GREAT resource!  Kim and I both appreciate your help.

Comment by Pat Steele on June 12, 2011 at 6:55pm
Comment by Todd & Kim on June 10, 2011 at 9:25am
Thanks Pat...will do!
Comment by Pat Steele on June 9, 2011 at 3:08pm

Hello Todd and Kim,

I suggest you check out as they have a pet friendly section.  If your dogs are small remember the streets are always crowded and a pet can get stepped on easily.

The Fort would be great viewing for the fireworks but you have to pay admission.  You can see Mackinac City's display as well from the island.  How about Fort Holmes?  I have never been to the island for the 4th.


Comment by Todd & Kim on June 2, 2011 at 8:55pm
Hello Everyone! I was hoping someone could give Kim and I some info for our upcoming trip. First, what fireworks are displayed for the 4th of July on the Island and where would the best places be to watch them? Second, we'll be staying on Market Street right across from the post office...does anyone know what restaurants near there allow dogs, or have patios where dogs are allowed? We sure would appreciate anyone's tips and suggestions. Thanks!...Todd and Kim
Comment by Pat Steele on June 2, 2011 at 8:11pm

Regarding the Patrick Sinclair Pub, I found it amusing that they named an Irish pub after a Scotsman.  Dr. David Armour (the late Deputy Director for Mackinac State Historic Parks) pointed that fact out shortly after its opening in the Town Crier newspaper.

Pat Steele

Vernon, MI

Comment by Pat Steele on June 2, 2011 at 8:05pm

Hello Mike,

I haven't posted in quite awhile but still view the site.  My husband and I will be celebrating our 40th Wedding anniversary in August and we are staying in the Jacob Wendell house just over a week with the entire family.  I can hardly wait.  That is the same week my former Scout troop will be serving as the Governor's Honor Guard so we will have a lot of people to see.  Love your updates about the island!

Pat Steele

Vernon, MI

Comment by Mike Forrester on June 2, 2011 at 5:19pm
Thanks for all the comments! I enjoy seeking out the new places on Mackinac each spring. Another item of interest that occurred during the winter is Patrick Sinclair's Irish Pub has been sold to the owner of the Mustang Lounge. By the way, Patrick Sinclair was the British Army officer who oversaw the building of Fort Mackinac in 1780 and was a native of Lybster, Scotland.
Comment by Sara Wolfsen on May 28, 2011 at 11:48am
Discovered your blog through Brenda's link this morning. My husband and I are heading north in a few weeks to celebrate our 16th anniversary (read: no kids weekend!). It will be our fourth year on the island and, for three heavenly days, we enjoy  adult conversation, exploration and discovery. Until then reading these blogs is like a mini-vacation at my desk. Anxious to step foot on the island in 13 days! Thanks for keeping me connected and up-to-date on the changes.
Comment by Todd & Kim on May 27, 2011 at 6:07pm
Thanks for the updates, Mike!  Kim, the dogs, and I CANNOT wait for our three-day adventure to the Island this July 3,4, and 5th. Hope to see you there!


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