Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Sweet Vacation Part 1

There is nothing like a Michigan vacation to inspire a few blog posts! Our family took a trip together last weekend. Now that might not sound like an unusual thing, but "our family"consists of 5 adults over the age of 40 and four of us are females!  My brother-in-law, Jeff, is a very brave and patient man!  Hence the reason my sister Do refers to him as her "superhero"!

The trip began where all of my favorite vacations begin--Mackinaw City. It is pronounced "Mack-i-nah", no matter how it is spelled. Mackinaw City is spelled with a "w" due to the fact that it was named by the British.  The French spelling is on all other sites...Mackinac Island and Mackinac Bridge.

We paid a visit to fort at Colonial Michilimackinac in the city. The Mackinac Historic State Park center is nestled under the causeway to the bridge. As soon as you enter the center your senses take you back 300 years. You are greeted by a state parks employee with Native American flute music softly playing in the background and a large voyageur canoe overhead. There are barrels to replicate the trade goods of the voyageurs and bundles of trading furs from the Indians. This was the favorite rendezvous point of the French and Indians' fur trade.

After purchasing our tickets there was a very well-done 13 minute overview of what actually happened at this historic site in the video screening room and then we exited the building into the cool breeze and beautiful beach of the Straits of Mackinac. I can't adequately describe the gorgeous hues of blue, green, and turquoise that are created in the straits. You have to experience it to believe it. This is where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan flow into each other.

We had walked just a few yards when we began to smell wood smoke from a campfire. Now this is unusual at most historic sites, but not around this here--this weekend was devoted to honoring the King's 8th Regiment that was stationed at the fort from 1760-63. Reenactors were camped for the weekend outside the fort and came into the fort while we were visiting to pick vegetables from the gardens for their dinner.

We toured the various buildings and participated in the fort orientation provided by the uniformed fort interpreters. I believe they signed up an 8-year-old and two 16-year-olds into the King's service, (but only if their parents agreed)! We also saw a demonstration of finger weaving by an interpreter who was making a belt for a voyageur.  We also saw the progress being made by state archaeological team to restore as much of the fort as possible.  I can't remember a time when archaeologists weren't digging at the fort.  They have been searching for artifacts since 1959!

I hope you will stay tuned to the blog for this little travel journal. Tomorrow I'll tell you about the "night life" in Mackinaw City.

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