There is no way for Yoopers traveling to the Lower Peninsula to avoid crossing the Mighty Mac, and not only does that bridge connect two historic cities, it also overlooks an island where fudge is not just a delicacy, but a souvenir as well.
It's impossible to visit one without visiting the other. St. Ignace, Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island are places that can be fun for the whole family and Mackinac Island is accessable from either city. Those who are adventurous enough to cross the 5-mile Mackinac Bridge will find Mackinaw City a quaint place full of history, shopping and good food.
Where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet, visitors will find Fort Michilimackinac and Old Mackinac Point Light. Fort Michilimackinac takes people back to when the 18th-century fort and fur trading village was active and in its prime with musket and cannon firings as well as crafts for kids to enjoy.
A re-enactor address crowd members about how to march properly during a demonstration at Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
Just outside the fort to the east stands Old Mackinac Point Light, which had been a beacon for ships passing through the Straits of Mackinac since 1889. The lighthouse is open for tours and the beach it sits on gives those visiting a great, picturesque view of the Mackinac Bridge.
While in Mackinaw City, don't forget to pick up fudge at any of several fudge shops that have grown popular over the years.
Fudge is so popular for tourists and others visiting the area that Mackinac Island dedicates a weekend to the treat with the Mackinac Island Fudge Festival.
Destination: Mackinaw City and
Mileage: Marquette to Mackinaw City,
167 miles; Marquette to St. Ignace, 162
Did you know: The Mackinac Bridge
was first opened to traffic in November of
1957 and is the third-longest suspension
bridge in the western hemisphere.
Trip Highlight: Any of the many fudge
shops on Mackinac Island
For more information: visit
saintignace.org, mackinawcity.net or mackinacisland.org
This year the festival is taking place Aug. 22-23 with events like Fudge on the Rocks, where island bartenders create frothy fudge concoctions you can try all weekend. Both nights you can visit Mary's Bistro for Ryba's Fudge inspired dinner and desserts as well as a Ryba's Fudge Martini.
To get to Mackinac Island there are three ferry services to choose from: Arnold Line, Star Line and Shepler's Ferry. All three ferry companies have docks in both St. Ignace and Mackinaw City, so no matter what side of the bridge you are on it's easy to get to the island. Once on the island there are many things to do and attractions to see.
There are many ways to get around Mackinac Island, but the one way you can't is around is in a motor vehicle. Bikes are a popular way to get around. They can be rented from many different place or people can bring their own bike over on a ferry. Another popular way to get around is by horse.
You can rent your own buggy and horse or take a taxi carriage or a carriage tour. Which ever way you choose to get around Mackinac Island it's worth the time to go around the entire island with the view of Lake Huron, which is 8 miles long.
While on the island be sure to visit Fort Mackinac, which has reenactments, cannon firings and musket demonstrations. Walk through the exhibits within the fort and learn the history of how the Americans lost Fort Mackinac to the British and the many attempts to get it back.
After visiting Fort Mackinac if you go out the back entrance and head east a natural formation called Arch Rock. Arch Rock is made of limestone and looks out over Lake Huron. Other attractions on the island include the Grand Hotel and butterfly houses.
The biggest event in the area every year happens on Sept. 1. The annual Mackinac Bridge Walk is held, allowing anyone who show up a chance to walk across the bridge. The walk begins at 7 a.m. in St. Ignace and allows participants to walk on the Mackinac Bridge to Mackinaw City.
From there bus transportation will be available to take participants back to their vehicles on the other side. This is the only day of the year that foot traffic is allowed on the 5-mile Mackinac Bridge.
For more information on the area and upcoming events visit saintignace.org, mackinawcity.net or mackinacisland.org.
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243.