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Mackinac Island: The Jewel of Michigan

Program Number: 1575RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/7/2015 - 6/12/2015; 8/9/2015 - 8/14/2015; 8/16/2015 - 8/21/2015; 8/23/2015 - 8/28/2015; 8/30/2015 - 9/4/2015; 9/13/2015 - 9/18/2015; 9/20/2015 - 9/25/2015; 9/27/2015 - 10/2/2015; 10/4/2015 - 10/9/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Mackinac Island, Michigan
Price starting at: $1,249.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat    

Explore the treasures of Mackinac Island as you delve into the island's glorious history, geology, natural beauty, architecture and modern life. Discover old-world traditions as you learn about the island's early economic and military importance as well as its development as a Victorian resort. Customs and cultures will come alive through lectures and field trips with local residents and area experts. A field trip to Fort Mackinac, a carriage ride around the island and afternoon tea at the historic Grand Hotel will enhance your visit.


ē Discover the valuable roles horses play on the island during a narrated carriage ride.
ē On a walk with a naturalist, explore the island's beautiful natural spaces up close, then juxtapose your natural encounter with afternoon tea amid the elegance of the historic Grand Hotel.
ē Learn why Mackinacís Victorian homes are an important part of island history on a field trip with the Deputy Director of Mackinac State Historic Parks.

Activity Particulars

Walking 1Ė2 miles per day. Paved and unpaved roads, some hilly terrain, stairs.

Transportation by foot, horse-drawn carriage, bike.

Date Specific Information


The program week takes place during the islandís annual Lilac Festival. The festival celebrates the islandís historic varieties of lilacs, as well as its distinctive equestrian culture, historic appeal, and local cuisine. Special activities are scheduled as part of the program, including a session on lilacs with a renowned expert, a visit to the Governorís Mansion, and A Taste of Mackinac, a culinary event that features Chefs from the islandsí restaurants.

Coordinated by Central Michigan University.

Mackinac Island

With a vibrant Native American and European history, this island in Lake Huron is an amalgam of natural beauty and Victorian architecture. Michilimackinac, or Land of the Great Turtle, forbids automobiles in favor of carriages or bicycles.

Stately Victorian manor.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Karen Allen

Karen Allen currently teaches reading and language arts in grades 2-7 at the Mackinac Island Public School on Mackinac Island. Originally from Pontiac, Michigan, Karen has worked at the school since 1988 and resides on the island year round. Each Spring Karen produces a Broadway Jr. production with her students. She enjoys traveling and created a travel club at the school. Karen, a CMU alum, offers walking tours of the island as a side business. Karen has a daughter who attended the University of Michigan and now works in the Detroit area.
Steve Brisson

Steve Brisson currently serves as the Deputy Director of Mackinac State Historic Parks. He received his B.A. in history from Northern Michigan University and his M.A. in history museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program in Cooperstown, N.Y. A Michigan native, he completed his graduate internship at the Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village. Steve previously worked as a curator for the State Historical Society of Wisconsin before joining Mackinac State Historic Parks in 1996. He has written several articles and four books on Mackinac Island's history. He lives in Cheboygan and works out of the Mackinac State Historic Parks Mackinaw City office in the winter and the Mackinac Island office at Fort Mackinac in the summer.
Jeff Dykehouse

Jeff Dykehouse has worked for the Mackinac State Historic Parks (MSHP) since 1983 and is the Curator of Natural History for the MSHP. Trained as a biologist, he has worked as an interpretive naturalist, environmental educator, research biologist, and audiovisual specialist for a number of Michiganís State and National Parks. Jeff has been a ďbirderĒ all his life and has had a master Federal Bird Banding permit for over 30 years. Jeff lives on the shore of Lake Huron near Cheboygan with his wife and their three children.
Patricia Martin

Patricia Martin holds a masterís of science degree in field botany from Central Michigan University (CMU) where she wrote her thesis entitled ďA Floristic Study of the Vascular Plants of Mackinac Island, Michigan.Ē She also holds a secondary education teaching certificate from CMU and did her undergraduate work in biology and chemistry at Alma College in Alma, Michigan. She taught school in England, Richmond, Michigan, and on Mackinac Island where she continues to substitute teach. She grew up on the island where she lives year round. For 11 years she was both a natural history interpreter and head historic house interpreter for the Mackinac State Historic Parks. For the last three decades she has run her family home, Bogan Lane Inn, as a bed and breakfast and writes the weekly ďNature NotesĒ column for the Mackinac Island Town Crier. Trish is a member of the Mackinac Horsemenís Association, and serves on the Planning Commission, the Environmental Advisory Committee, and the Ministry Support Team of Trinity Episcopal Church where she is also one of the priests.
Lisa Craig-Brisson

Lisa Craig Brisson lives on Mackinac Island in the summer and in Cheboygan, Michigan during the winter. She holds undergraduate degrees in history and social studies-secondary education from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, and a masterís degree in museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program in New York. Lisa has worked at historic sites all over the country including Historic Fort Snelling and the Alexander Ramsey House in Minnesota, Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts, the Farmerís Museum in New York, and most recently Mackinac State Historic Parks. From 1999 to 2012, Lisa worked as an independent museum history educator. Some of her favorite former projects include operating a historic walking excursion business on Mackinac Island, helping update the Mackinac Island Carriage Tour experience, and serving as a local coordinator for a project that brought a Smithsonian Institution exhibit about food to the Cheboygan Area Public Library. Lisa was hired this year to serve as the Executive Director for the Michigan Museums Association, which gives her the opportunity to work with museums throughout the state. To say she is thrilled to pieces with this new venture would be an understatement. In her free time, Lisa enjoys learning about local foods and writes the weekly food column for the Cheboygan Daily Tribune.
Meals and Lodgings
   Harbour View Inn
  Mackinac Island 5 nights
 Harbour View Inn
Type: Hotel
  Description: Harbour View Inn overlooks the water and is an elegant hotel recreated in Victorian charm. The inn enjoys a colorful history. Madame La Framboise, a Great Lakes fur trader and granddaughter of Returning Cloud, Chief of the Ottowa Indian Nation, built this stately manor. Her home offered shelter for early traders, explorers, and mapmakers, as well as a meeting place for writers, artists, Governors, and Ladies. You will find the Victorian charm and history of Harbour View Inn enchanting. Please visit their web site at to download a brochure or view a video of the hotel and grounds.
  Contact info: 6860 Main Street
Mackinac Island, MI 49757 USA
phone: 906-847-0101
  Facility amenities: Wireless Internet.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Approx. $190 + tax. Make own reservations. Identify yourself as a Road Scholar participant.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Approx. $190 + tax. Make own reservations. Identify yourself as a Road Scholar participant.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel and Road Scholar registration is 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. on the first day. Dinner is at 6:00 p.m. in the dining room. You will be staying at Harbour View Inn that night.
  End of Program:
The program ends at 11:30 a.m. with a box lunch on the last day. You will be staying at Harbour View Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Each ferry company offers free, self-parking for the first 5 nights. Valet service, indoor parking, and RV parking options vary. Indoor parking rates vary from $8-$22/night. Please contact the ferry companies directly for rates and details.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Mackinac Island
  Nearest city or town:  Mackinaw City
  Nearest highway: I-75
  Nearest airport:  Pellston Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Mackinac Island
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Mackinac Island


From Ferry Landing




Mackinac Island Carriage Tours
phone: 906-847-3323


Per Person/One Way:


$5 (2 person minimum required)
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


10 minutes 


Taxis are sometimes at the ferry docks waiting for passengers. If a taxi is not at the docks, you will need to call for one. Waiting time can vary from 10-15 minutes. Actual walking time to the hotel from the ferry docks is approximately 10-15 minutes. If you stand with your back to the water while facing inward toward the island, proceed to the right. The hotel is only a few blocks from the ferry docks, on the left, white with tall columns, a gracious veranda, and large sign.




From Airport




Wolverine Stages
phone: 800-825-1450
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$30 ($49 round trip)
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


Approximately 45 minutes 


Fly into Pellston Regional Airport from Detroit. Take taxi/limousine service from Pellston to one of the ferry docks in Mackinaw City. Reservations are recommended 2-3 weeks in advance. Contact via phone or email at

Driving Directions
  From the North Take I-75 south and follow signs to St. Ignace. Take exit 345, exit 348, or exit 344A and follow the signs to one of the three ferry docks.
  From the South From the lower peninsula of Michigan, take I-75 north and follow signs for Mackinaw City. Take either exit 337 and travel north on Huron Street or exit 338 and travel south on Huron Street. There are three ferry companies that can ferry you to the island. All three ferry companies provide service from St. Ignace and Mackinaw City and offer similar amenities and comparable services. The staff at the ferry docks will explain where to park your car to unload your luggage for transfer to Mackinac Island. Allow approximately a half hour to park your car, load your luggage, and board the ferry. Ferry to island is approximately 15 minutes (no reservations required). Departure times, maps, and directions to each ferry company can be found on their web sites. Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry $18/person 800-828-6157 Purchase online or upon arrival. Online discount code is SCHOLAR2015. Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry $12/person 800-638-9892 Purchase online or upon arrival. Online discount code is CMU. Arnold Line Transit Co. (ferry to island takes approximately 35 minutes) $12/person 800-542-8528 Purchase online or upon arrival (discount does not apply to online purchases). Identify yourself as a Road Scholar participant at the ferry docks to receive the discount ticket rates. (Ticket rates at local hotels may be higher.) It is customary to tip the ferry porter assisting with your car and luggage. Customary tip is $2-$5.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Welcome and Orientation
(Sunday, June 7)
 Afternoon: On-site registration and hotel check-in.
 Dinner: Dinner on-site at 6:00pm.
 Evening: Welcome program.
Accommodations: Harbour View Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Carriage Tour and Fort Mackinac
(Monday, June 8)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on-site.
 Morning: Enjoy a narrated carriage tour of Mackinac Island through the downtown and into the state park. Discover the valuable roles horses play on the island. Afterwards, visit historic Fort Mackinac and learn about the island's military importance.
 Lunch: Lunch on-site.
 Afternoon: Discover the geological history of Mackinac Island and the Great Lakes region in a classroom session followed by a walking field trip with a prominent local naturalist.
 Dinner: Dinner on-site.
 Evening: Learn about the daily challenges, unique dilemmas, and unexpected pleasures residents face living on Mackinac Island.
Accommodations: Harbour View Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: History of Mackinac Island
(Tuesday, June 9)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on-site.
 Morning: Discuss the unusual combination of Mackinac Island history (Native, French, English, and American) and learn how each culture played a role in the island's development. Discover the islandís role in past wars, as a home for early fur traders, explorers, and mapmakers, and its development as a popular tourist destination.
 Lunch: Lunch on-site
 Afternoon: Learn about the various types of lilacs and their importance to the island through a lecture and walking field trip with a nationally recognized arborist and Master Gardener.
 Dinner: Dinner on-site.
 Evening: Free evening.
Accommodations: Harbour View Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Visit to Grand Hotel
(Wednesday, June 10)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on-site.
 Morning: Tour the summer residence of Michigan's Governor. Designed by Frederick Perkins, the cottage is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
 Lunch: Lunch on-site.
 Afternoon: Spend the afternoon at the historic Grand Hotel. Learn about the hotelís history on an in-depth walking tour with the hotelís resident historian (approximately 1.5 hours), followed by an elegant, but casual, afternoon tea.
 Dinner: Dinner on-site.
 Evening: Learn about one of Mackinac Islandís most important resources Ė the horses. A seasoned and avid rider local to the island will discuss their many roles, their care, and why they are so essential to island life today.
Accommodations: Harbour View Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Victorian Architecture/Free Afternoon
(Thursday, June 11)

Note: Approximately 75-80 stairs to climb as part of the walking field trip in the morning session.

 Breakfast: Breakfast on-site.
 Morning: Learn why the Victorian homes on Mackinac Island are an important part of the island's history and their status today as renowned works of art. Revel in their beauty and design on a walking field trip with the Deputy Director of Mackinac State Historic Parks.
 Lunch: Lunch on-site. A Taste of Mackinac, a culinary event that features Chefs from the islandsí restaurants.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon to explore Mackinac Island on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner on-site.
 Evening: Closing program.
Accommodations: Harbour View Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Departure
(Friday, June 12)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on-site.
 Morning: Discover the traditional foods of Northern Michigan, including their historical and cultural influences.
 Lunch: Lunch on-site.
 Afternoon: Program ends at 11:30am after lunch.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Fudge: Mackinac's Sweet Souvenir

Author: Phil Porter

Description: Mackinac Island and fudge. Both symbolize indulgence, fantasy and escape. But there's more to fudge than sugar, butter, chocolate and cream. In this book, historian Phil Porter stirs up the past to find the hard work and sometimes bitter controversy behind this sweet souvenir. In his hunger for truth and historical accuracy, Porter dug deep into the kitchens and cupboards of the fudge culture. No appetite for history, no taste for sweet truth will be satisfied without reading Fudge: Mackinac's Sweet Souvenir.

Mackinac Island (Images of America Series)

Author: Tom North

Description: From historical richness to unparalleled natural beauty, Michigan's Mackinac Island is the crown jewel of the Great Lakes, unique in America. Native American visitors preceded French explorers and missionaries of the 17th century. Forts were established and battles fought between American and British soldiers. Commerce, including fur trading and fishing, later surpassed military importance, in turn yielding to the tourism industry that has dominated the past 150 years. Accessible by water, "ice bridge," or air, Mackinac Island encompasses a state park, harbor, city, and Victorian hotels and homes. A permanent automobile ban helps preserve the island's historic character, leaving land movement to foot, bicycle, and horse-drawn carriage. This book uses historical photographs to depict Mackinac Island heritage and culture. Rare images capture bygone days and lifestyles on this island where 19th century charm surprises and intrigues even today.

Mackinac Island: Three Hundred and Fifty Years of History

Author: Robert E. Benjamin

Description: This guide to the history of Mackinac Island will increase any visitor's enjoyment of this beautiful and historic island. This chronological account of the significant events in the island's history is illustrated by fascinating photos both current and historical.

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