Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sweet Vacation Part 6

The Americans being fired upon by the British during the War of 1812

Inside Fort Mackinac

Do, Mom, Nora and J on the Grand Hotel porch

The Grand Hotel coach dropping off guests

Inside the entrance of the Grand Hotel
Have you ever been called a "fudgie"?  If you have, then I know that you visited Mackinac Island and sampled several pieces of the world famous fudge!  There are really about 5 companies on the island that all do a wonderful job and they ship fudge and other goodies all over the world.  Some companies also feature salt water taffy, (interesting in a fresh water state) or carmel corn, but I have two favorite companies.  Murdock's Fudge has my favorite dark chocolate pecan. JoAnn's Fudge has the sweet and  salty, butter pecan; and dark chocolate Traverse City cherry.  You can stand and watch these confections either inside or outside of each shop being made in deep copper kettles and then cooled and shaped on cold marble slabs.  Even on the hottest summer day, the candy makers toil over their copper pots and marble slabs. 

After a delightful lunch at the Pink Pony, the restaurant inside the Chippewa Hotel, our family was warmed and dry enough to head for Fort Mackinac.  This stone fort was constructed by the British during the Revolutionary War, as they were fearing that the Americans would take over Fort Michilimackinac.  The fort on the mainland was dismantled and parts were taken across the straits to the island.  Lumber was also cut and shipped from a sawmill on the mainland that was started by Robert Campbell at the state park site of Historic Mill Creek.  It was a three year construction that was followed by the British burning Fort Michilimackinac to the ground.

Of course the fort was surrendered to the Americans following the Revolutionary War. However, neither the Americans nor the British were in a huge hurry to change the occupancy, because the British remained in the fort on the island until 1796!  Of course, since the British knew the island so well, they could easily find a path to haul a few cannon and troops up the backside of the fort; which is exactly what they did during the War of 1812.

Mom and I took taxi up to the fort from downtown while the rest of the family hiked up the front walkway...a great hike, if you're in shape!  Now, when I say's not your typical yellow cab.  There are no motor vehicles on the island, except for an ambulance and a couple of MDoT trucks that I saw sneaking around at the top of the island.  Our cab was yellow with red spokes on the wheels and fringe around the edges.  It was pulled by two gentle chestnut colored horses.  For $5.75 we had the best tour and view of the island.  We went up the West Bluff of the island, past many beautiful painted ladies that were being winterized and the Governor's Mansion!  The Governor's Mansion is a summer vacation home for the governor of Michigan.  It is used a few weeks each summer by most of our governors.

After touring the fort, be ALL piled into a taxi to head over to Grand Hotel, another world famous gem on the Mackinac Island.  For $10.00 you can tour the entire hotel, with the exception of the guest rooms!  It was well worth the money.  The hotel is beautifully appointed and has some small shops, a gallery of famous people that have stayed there and many artifacts from the making of the movie with Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour, "Somewhere in Time".  The 1980's film was made on the island, one of the few times that a motorized vehicle was driven.  I had always wanted to tour the hotel, so it was a dream come true.

It was a fabulous ending to a "sweet" vacation!

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