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Attend a morning memorial service
We may celebrate Memorial Day as a sign that summer is finally here, but to keep the real reason for the holiday in mind, attend the Memorial Day Observance at Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island. The ceremony begins at 8:30am, so make it a special trip and stay overnight Sunday at one of Mackinac Island’s many hotels. If spending the night is not an option, you can still make it over to the island in time, as ferries leave Mackinaw City starting at around 7:30am.
Bike or hike through Mackinac Island
Even though Mackinac Island is quite small, there are a plethora of trails to explore by foot, horseback, or bike. Hike through the interior of the island, being sure to check out sites like Arch Rock and Skull Cave, or rent bikes at The Mackinac Island Bike Shop (906-847-6337) for a trip around the island’s perimeter. Follow the paved route, and only state highway that does not allow car traffic, eight miles all the way around to experience gorgeous views of the surrounding turquoise water. Because of the holiday weekend, Mackinac Island will probably be busy for the first time of the season, but that shouldn’t deter you from wandering around the village’s shops and restaurants. Be sure to stop by the historic, and magnificent, Grand Hotel (286 Grand Ave) and stop at the Chuckwagon Restaurant (7400 Main Street, 906-847-0019) for its friendly atmosphere and a hearty, home-cooked breakfast or lunch.
Attend the Petoskey Stone Festival and stay awhile on the Lake Michigan shore
The annual Petoskey Stone Festival in Antrim County is on for this Memorial Day weekend with a full line-up of festivities, with the majority of activities on Saturday. Test out a Northern Michigan bratwurst, take part in a stone hunt, or peruse jewelry vendors that have taken advantage of the Petoskey’s intricate fossil design in their work. While you are in the Petoskey area, roll down the windows and take a drive to look at some of Bayview’s historic Gingerbread Homes. Or if the Petoskey Stone Festival has inspired you, head over to Petoskey State Park to comb the shore for some of your own. Linger at the beach to enjoy a stunning sunset over the lake (check out this video for a taste), wet and sandy toes and all.
Northern Michigan is toted as a golfer’s paradise, and with the weather getting warmer this time of year, Memorial Day is an ideal opportunity to sharpen your golf game for the summer. Belvedere Golf Club (231-547-2611), just outside of Charlevoix, is situated in an idyllic setting, with views of Lake Michigan, a historic clubhouse, and rolling hills. Save on the greens fee by teeing off after 3:30pm. You can still get all 18 holes in plus the added benefit of afternoon shadows and the peacefulness right before dusk. Belvedere is undoubtedly a special place, but there are many other gorgeous golf courses across Northern Michigan counties, ready to be enjoyed this Memorial Day weekend.