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  1. #1
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    There actually IS a place in the USA where motor vehicles are not allowed.

    The place is Mackinac Island, Michigan. People actually live there. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the island. Transportation is horse, bike, and foot. It is a neat place.

    Most of you have probably heard of Mackinac Island; home of the famous Grand Hotel. However, how many of you know that motor vehicles are not allowed on the island?

    It is a beautiful island community on Lake Michigan.

    Now, it is mostly a tourist community, but people do work there and live there.

    If it sounds interesting, give it a try for a summer. In fact, there is a small year-round community that has a school and other needs.

    Even if you do not chose to work there, you might find it interesting to see what it would be like to live in a land without automobiles.

    Mike

  2. #2
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Mike, you have resurrected a long-lost memory for me. When I was a child visiting my cousins in Michigan, I remember my parents talking about that place. But it was so long ago, I don't remember if I even set foot there. Isn't it serviced by a ferry-boat and not a bridge? I would like to check that out!

  3. #3
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Anyone who has seen the Christopher Reeve (Superman, in my book!) -- Jane Seymour movie, "Somewhere in Time" has seen the Grand Hotel and parts of the island. Beautiful place, and its freedom from cars must have simplified filming of the turn-of-the-(previous) century scenes.

  4. #4
    Senior Member technogirl's Avatar
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    Wow, I didn't think that such a place existed in the US. Is this some kind of legend like "Atlantis"?

    I remember watching that movie. I should rent it sometime...but I thought it ended kinda sad.

    It'd be fun to visit that place...thanks for the info Mike! I'll have to look up some info on the Net for it.
    -------------------------------------
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  5. #5
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Mackinac Island is a real place. It is part of Michigan State. You have to take a ferry to get there.

    It is like a fairy-tale place: "Little House on the Prarie" frozen in time (except inflation which only will freeze when hell does).

    The inns and resturaunts are wonderful. You can bring your own bicycle or you can rent them on the island (can't be picky, though - lots of single speed coaster brakes).

    Mackinac Island is a peaceful and beautiful experience.

    It is always cool and would be chilly to someone from LA even in the middle of July, so bring a nice thick sweater for the evenings and a windbreaker for the daytime.
    Mike

  6. #6
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by mike
    Mackinac Island is a peaceful and beautiful experience.
    I wonder what makes it so peaceful and beautiful? Could it be, no cars?

    I'm sorry, I lost my mind for a moment. That would not be realistic to dream of such an existence. Encouraging false hope would do more harm than good. That's why only a small island survived Henry Ford's revolution: it's just not realistic.

    Look at the great things the automobile has brought us: McDonald's, shopping malls, a chance to listen to great music away from the family and kids with 10,000 other commuters for an hour or two a day, neighborhoods where privacy is so good that you never have to see your neighbor at all, and even the opportunity to flip off anyone you want without worrying about them seeing your face!

    Yes, I'm all for places like Mackinac Island, but Mike, thank goodness everywhere is not like that!
    Last edited by LittleBigMan; 04-07-01 at 05:18 PM.

  7. #7
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    I had the pleasure of riding on Mackinac Island twice in the past couple of years. It s really different riding without cars but sharing the pathways with horses poses a whole new set of hazards. Especially the exhaust There are several places to stay on the island but you will save megabucks by staying on the mainland either in Mackinac City or St. Ignace. The hispeed ferries run often and make the trip out in about 15 min. With the money you save on rooms you can buy more of their famous fudge.I would recommend going in June or September (midweek )room rates are down a bit but most importantly so are the crowds.

  8. #8
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Good advice, Tourman!

    I say stay at the island hotels, but skip breakfast and lunch to save up for the fudge money. That way, by staying on the island, you get the freshest fudge. GNaiaiaiaia - Oh, memories of thundering sucrose headache calling.

    "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, can I have that kind and that kind and that kind and..."

    "Whoa, kids, who do you think is going to eat all that fudge?"

    Well, folks, you guess the answer to that one. BLECK!

    Anyway, I thought it was neat to bike around horses because it let me experience how the big bike boom cycle pioneers felt at the turn of the last century.
    Mike

  9. #9
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    Mackinac is a great place to see by bike, but don't expect a challenging ride...the path runs right around the Island, and is pretty much uniformally level and paved, unless you opt to see Skull Cave and the remains of the first British fort, in which case there's a pretty steep incline. The best thing to do is bring a lunch, bathing suit, towel, and water and stop at about mile two or so (assuming you head east). There IS a designated beach, but you can stop anywhere, and I recommend stopping where you can eat and swim away from the general public, if you're looking for a more peaceful excursion. Oh, and wear layers, because if you sit outside on the ferry, it gets chilly, but as the day goes on, it can get pretty warm.

    Over the past 15 years crowds have swelled, which has unfortunately seen the rise of more hotels and tourist shoppes on both the mainland and the island. The crowds on the island tend to be extremely chaotic, especially during the summer, which is when the ferries run. You'll have to navigate not only around horses, but other cyclists, many of whom have never ridden in those kinds of crowds, small carriages, as well as large, tour-bus sized carriages, and pedestrians with baby carriages.

    I highly recommend doing the entire circumference; it can't be more than 6 miles, but also, try to get off the main street with all it's tourist traps and check out some of the history. The fort itself is fairly unexciting; Michilimackinac on the mainland is more interesting, I think, but some of the residential streets are much less crowded and you get to see some beautiful houses. The lawn in front of the fort is a good place to rest-up for awhile.

    In terms of fudge, it's made fresh both on the Island and the mainland, and most places have a "buy one slab, get one half off" or "buy two, get one free" sort of deal, and they'll all give you free samples. Personally, I do a fudge run to Makinaw City, simply because it tends to be cheaper, and it's all the same stuff. Kilwin's, Marshall's, and Murdock's are my personal favorites.

    In terms of lodging, there are about a million and one hotels on the mainland where you can probably get a moderately expensive to expensive rate; these are mostly along the coast. If you're willing to sacrifice your view there are some places not on the coast that are a little less ritzy. If you're driving an RV the Mackinaw-Mill Creek campground is for you. It isn't a place for hardcore campers though; it's basically an end-to-end RV park. If you're into what I like to call REAL camping, I'd head up the road, southeast towards Rogers City, about an hour by car, to the state park.

    Hmmm, I sound like a tour book. I've been to the Island practically every year of my life and it's absolutely amazing, even though the constant build-up along the mainland is extremely depressing. As much as I want to keep it to myself, I'd recommend Mackinac to anyone with a keen interest in history and biking.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Hey, I found a postcard booklet of Northern Michigan from 1959! It has a couple of photos of Mackinac Island.

    I thought it would be neat to share them with you.

    It is interesting to note that Mackinac Island has not changed from these photos even though the photos were taken 42 years ago. Well, the horses are probably newer now.

    Attached is a photo of Mackinac Island's main street. I will post another picture showing the Grand Hotel on the Island.
    Mike

  11. #11
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Here is a photo of the Grand Hotel at Mackinac Island. This photo is also from a 1959 postcard, but the hotel looks pretty much the same today.

    Imagine riding your bicycle through the town and around the island, eating fudge, playing on the beach, and then returning for an evening stay at this magnificent historic hotel. All this with absolutely no motorized vehicles on the whole island.

    Don't worry about transporting your luggage. It is brought to the hotel via the horse-drawn carriages shown on the photo in the above post.

    It really is a wonderful experience.
    Mike

  12. #12
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    Hey Mike...thanks for the pics. I was reading this thread wishing someone would do just that!!

  13. #13
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    I gotta tell ya, people, if you want to see Mackinac Island, you better go now.

    It has been raining around the Great Lakes for almost two months straight. If it doesn't let up, Mackinac Island might wash away.

    Mushrooms anyone?
    Last edited by mike; 06-10-01 at 12:22 PM.
    Mike

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