Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mackinac Island -- Post 2

To get over to Mackinac Island, you must take a private boat, airplane, or ferry. I took the Arnold Line Ferry from St. Ignace. Here are a few shots taken from the ferry boat. The first shot is looking back at the ferry dock.

Here is a picture looking across the Straits of Mackinaw at the island. The ferry ride takes around 15 minutes.

Once we cleared the harbor in St. Ignace, you can look west to see the Mackinac Bridge.

Here are a couple of shots approaching the ferry dock on the island.

Mackinac Island is about 8 miles (13 km) in circumference and 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2) in total area. The highest point of the island is the historic Fort Holmes (originally called Fort George by the British before 1815), which is 320 feet (98 m) above lake level and 890 feet (271 m) above sea level. According to the 2010 census, the island has a year-round population of 492. The population grows considerably during the summer as hotels, restaurants, bars and retail shops, open only during the summer season, hire short-term employees to accommodate as many as 15,000 visitors per day.

Motorized vehicles have been prohibited on the island since 1898, with the exception of snowmobiles during winter, emergency vehicles, and service vehicles. Travel on the island is either by foot, bicycle, or horse-drawn carriage. Roller skates and roller blades are also allowed, except in the downtown area. Bicycles, roller skates/roller blades, carriages, and saddle horses are available for rent. An 8-mile (13 km) road follows the island's perimeter, and numerous roads, trails and paths cover the interior. The road encircling the island and closely hugging the shoreline is M-185, the United States' only state highway without motorized vehicles.

The historic fort that is right next to downtown is Fort Mackinac.  Fort Mackinac was an American military outpost garrisoned from the late 18th century to the late 19th century. The British built the fort during the American Revolutionary War to control the strategic Straits of Mackinac between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron (and by extension the fur trade on the Great Lakes) and did not relinquish it until fifteen years after American independence. It later became the scene of two strategic battles for control of the Great Lakes during the War of 1812. During most of the 19th century, it served as an outpost of the United States Army. Closed in 1895, the fort is now a museum on the grounds of Mackinac Island State Park.

Here are a couple of shots of down town.  I love going to the island this time of year before there are many tourists.  Not everything is open yet, which is fine with me.

Mackinac Island is a great place to take pictures.  Here are just some random shots.  Sometimes I try to capture the details, or a different angle.....

We didn't get much of a chance to walk around, but the few times we did we saw several rabbits.

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