I love all of the seasons in Michigan, especially on Mackinac Island. Winter is cold and blustery with fresh fallen snow, where your lungs are crisp with every breath you take, ice begins to form and Islander’s wait with anticipation for an Ice Bridge between Mackinac Island and the mainland. In the Spring, everything is brand new again and life comes into bloom on the Island as if to say; “It’s time to wake up!” Summertime is a time to take in the majesty of the great outdoors with lots of activity, the hustle and bustle on Main Street with bikes, horses, people and boats filling the harbor with thousands of visitors.
While I love all of the seasons, Fall is my favorite time of year. It’s a time of change as leaves turn into a gorgeous symphony of red, yellow, orange and light purple catching a gust of wind as they cascade down covering the trails with a blend of colors on the inner island, roads and around M-185 or as I like to call it “Highway to Heaven.” “There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of Autumn leaves.” – Joe L. Wheeler. I agree.
On Mackinac, Fall is when you really feel like you’ve gone back in time more than the other seasons. To a time when life was much simpler with a peace and quiet that makes you want it to never leave. A time of change as many people have left the Island to return to their homes and summer homes are being boarded up and stores are closing down in preparation for the Winter. A time of change as many horses have left and go up North after a hard-working season for some much deserved rest and relaxation.
Exploring Mackinac Island and learning about the history of the island is one of my favorite things to do. I didn’t appreciate history when I was younger but I love it now that I’m older. If you want to learn some amazing things about the history of Mackinac while enjoying a beautiful 8.2 mile bike ride or walk, you’ll love this new addition as you adventure the road around Mackinac Island. The new history exhibit is called the Native American Cultural History Trail. As you go around the Island, there are six places to stop and each tells the story about the Indians who lived on Mackinac or who passed though years ago. My wife and I have stopped by each sign many times when we biked in the Spring, Summer and Fall and I’ve learned new things each time. Each historic stop is marked with signs that you can read, bike racks and benches so you can take it all in. It’s the first time that history from the perspective of the Anishnaabek Native American Indians, has been told by Mackinac State Historic Parks.
The six signs include historical information about the cultural and spiritual significance Mackinac Island has to the Anishnaabek, and the treaties that helped preserve Anishnaabek lands and rights. The Lilac Tree Suites & Spa and our sister hotel, the Chippewa are honored to have contributed funding to help bring these great historical messages to life so these stories can be told and experienced by people visiting Mackinac.
Another historical point is perched on Mackinac’s highest elevation- Fort Holmes. The original fort was built by the British soldiers in 1814 during the War of 1812. It was named Fort George to honor Britain’s King George III. Fort Holmes was constructed to protect Fort Mackinac against the United States during the war. When the United States soldiers peacefully reoccupied the island after the War of 1812, it was renamed Fort Holmes in honor of Major Andrew Hunter Holmes who was killed in the 1814 battle of Mackinac Island. The fort was eventually abandoned and decayed over the years and in an effort to continue to preserve Mackinac Island’s rich history, it’s been reconstructed using the original plans for the fort. When I bike ride up to Fort Holmes with my wife, the magnificent views take your breath away, and when we go into the fort, reading the history while being inside the actual fort are amazing. One of my son-in-laws is from England and I’ve told my daughter Kelly for them to come to Mackinac as they would really appreciate the history that England played in the birth of our nation. Maybe these are some of the reasons we say when you come to Mackinac, you fall back in time.
Fall is now in full bloom and while I’d like this time of year to stand still over the next few months, it will transition to the beauty of a Winter wonderland once again. It’s hard to believe that our season is coming to an end as we close our doors on October 23rd, but we’ll be opening again to bring in the New Year, Mackinac style, so stay tuned!
Brian Bailey, our General Manager would like to say; “ This has been a great season and we really appreciate our guests who returned and the many new people we met this year. We look forward to seeing you all next Spring!” All of our Lilac Tree Suites & Spa family will miss you, but always remember one of my favorite sayings, courtesy of Winnie the Pooh- “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. ” I’ll continue to stay connected to all of you with our monthly blog and looking forward to your comments. Spring will be here before you know it and we’re already taking reservations for next year so give us a call at (866)-847-6575 to reserve your sweet “suite” for 2017.
Talk to you in November,
George Piliouras for The Lilac Tree Suites & Spa