Mackinac Island Events: This summer Mackinac Islanders uncork the champagne and cut a giant cake as three iconic anniversaries converge. We suggest taking part.
Visit the Grand Hotel’s storied porch on its July 10 quasquicentennial to score a slice of Chef Hans Burtscher’s special 125-foot-long birthday cake. Or splurge for the 125th anniversary weekend package (July 13–15) and participate in the full-on party, mingling with dignitaries, hearing behind-the-scenes tales from the Musser family and resort decorator Carleton Varney, and celebrating over afternoon croquet and evening fireworks. All anniversary season, guests can take an expanded history tour—of the hotel, bluff cottages and downtown—and get free admission to the nearby Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum. A juried exhibit features the Grand depicted in assorted mediums.
Discounts on candy, new flavors and commemorative souvenirs are reasons to celebrate the 125th birthday of Mackinac Island’s first fudge shop—still thriving today. That Murdick’s and the Grand share the same birthday year is no coincidence. Father and son sailmakers Henry and Jerome Murdick originally came to Mackinac to make the hotel’s huge canvas awnings. While Henry made sails, Jerome made fudge. His marble table (supposedly responsible for the creamy consistency) and showman’s flair became island-wide traditions.
Fort Mackinac offers a history two-for-one this season. Mid-July marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812’s Siege of Fort Mackinac. As commemoration, costumed interpreters will tote muskets, not rifles, and represent British and American soldiers from 1812 alongside the regular interpreters dressed as American soldiers from the late 1800s. War interpretation will remain family-friendly, though, since no bloody battle—indeed no battle at all—ensued. When a force of British, Canadian and Native American troops approached the fort, the outnumbered Americans were caught by surprise; they didn’t even know war had been declared.
Never golfed with hickory clubs before, nor on a former battlefield? This might be the year to play a round at Wawashkamo, where you can do both. Package deals with assorted Victorian-style hotels make it easy to stay and play Michigan’s oldest continuously operating links. Rounds can be purchased à la carte, with rental of traditional hickory or regular clubs offered. Overnight packages start at $285 for two at the Chippewa Hotel and include 18 holes of golf, round-trip carriage taxi to the course, a boxed lunch and full breakfast buffet. Similar stays at the Island House and Lilac Tree Suites and Spa available for slightly more.