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1575
Michigan

Mackinac Island: The Jewel of Michigan

Mackinac Island has been a fur trading post, Revolutionary War site, Victorian resort destination and much more. Join us as we explore the history of this small island with a big story.
Rating (4.83)
Program No. 1575RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,249
Michigan

Mackinac Island: The Jewel of Michigan

Mackinac Island has been a fur trading post, Revolutionary War site, Victorian resort destination and much more. Join us as we explore the history of this small island with a big story.
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,249
Program No. 1575 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 3 - Oct 8, 2021
Starting at
1,249
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 3 - Oct 8, 2021
Starting at
1,449

At a Glance

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 and a carriage ride around the island will enhance your visit.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking 1–2 miles per day. Paved and unpaved roads, some hilly terrain, stairs.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Discover the valuable roles horses play on the island during a narrated carriage ride.
  • On a walk with a naturalist, explore the island's beautiful natural spaces up close.
  • Learn why Mackinac’s Victorian homes are an important part of island history on a field trip with the Deputy Director of Mackinac State Historic Parks.

General Notes

Select dates are designated for small groups and are limited to 24 participants or less. Transportation by foot, horse-drawn carriage, bike.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Steve Brisson
Steve Brisson is the Deputy Director of Mackinac State Historic Parks. 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 books on Mackinac Island's history. He 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.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Steve Brisson
Steve Brisson View biography
Steve Brisson is the Deputy Director of Mackinac State Historic Parks. 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 books on Mackinac Island's history. He 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.
Profile Image of Jeff Dykehouse
Jeff Dykehouse View biography
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 Michigan’s State and National Parks. Jeff has been a “birder” 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 Laurie (a middle school science teacher) and their three children.
Profile Image of Carl Hites
Carl Hites View biography
Dr. Carl “Shaker” Hites was born in northeast Ohio. His family has been in the logging-hardwood lumber industry for three generations. His father logged with horses first in Ohio, then Indiana. Upon receiving his DVM from Purdue University, Dr. Shaker started a practice in rural northwest Indiana, later focusing on equine work and small animals. Dr. Shaker, his wife Lisa, and their daughters have been lifelong horse owners and enthusiasts. After “retirement,” an offer to provide veterinary care on Mackinac Island was a perfect match.
Profile Image of Katie Mallory
Katie Mallory View biography
Katie Mallory worked for Mackinac State Historic Parks for 26 seasons. She started as a Historic House Interpreter in college and worked her way through to a full-time position as Museum Educator and Curator of Education. Katie oversaw programming at Fort Mackinac, Historic Downtown Buildings, Mackinac Art Museum, and the Mackinac Island Scout Service Camp. She has a degree in Secondary Education in History and Social Sciences and taught in Spring Lake and Detroit. Katie loves travel and believes it’s the best form of education.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Legend of Mackinac Island
by Kathy-jo Wargin
Beautifully illustrated story incorporating Indian legends of Mackinac Island. Retells the story of the great turtle Makinauk that enlists the aid of other animals to help create the special place known as Mackinac Island, and their discovery of new lands and long-lasting friendship. llustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen.
Fudge: Mackinac's Sweet Souvenir
by Phil Porter
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 Adventures
by Lynda Hepker and Steven Hepker
An introduction to island culture and adventures on beautiful Mackinac Island. Written by year round residents of the island, this booklet offers information that you should know before traveling to Mackinac Island. Plus, a little history, some fun facts, things to see and do off the beaten path, and a little humor about how residents live on the island through the fours seasons of Michigan.
Mackinac Island: Three Hundred and Fifty Years of History
by Robert E. Benjamin
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.
Mackinac Island (Images of America Series)
by Tom North
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.
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6 days
5 nights
15 meals
5 B 5 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation and Welcome
Mackinac Island
D
Harbour View Inn

Afternoon: Program registration and hotel check-in. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table in the meeting room to register with the program and get your welcome packet containing your nametag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last minute changes, other important information, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: Dinner at 6:00pm. All meals served on-site in dining room, buffet style. Coffee, tea, water included.

Evening: Welcome program.

DAY
2
Carriage Tour and Fort Mackinac
Mackinac Island
B,L,D
Harbour View Inn

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 (walk back to hotel from Fort on own, approximately 1/2 mile).

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 (includes 1 mile walk on paved and gravel roads and sidewalk).

Dinner: Dinner on-site.

Evening: Learn about the daily challenges, unique dilemmas, and unexpected pleasures residents face living on Mackinac Island.

DAY
3
History of Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island
B,L,D
Harbour View Inn

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 island’s role in past wars, as a home for early fur traders, explorers, and mapmakers, and its development as a popular tourist destination (includes 1/2 mile walk on paved road/sidewalk).

Lunch: Lunch on-site

Afternoon: Visit to the historic Grand Hotel for an elegant, but casual, afternoon of tea (taxi to and from Grand Hotel or walk back to Harbour View Inn on your own).

Dinner: Dinner on-site.

Evening: Learn about one of Mackinac Island’s most important resources – the horses. Discuss their many roles, their care, and why they are so essential to island life today.

DAY
4
Mackinac Island Birding
Mackinac Island
B,L,D
Harbour View Inn

Breakfast: Breakfast on-site.

Morning: Learn about the indigenous birds on Mackinac Island through a fun and charming lecture with an experienced birder. Take a walk to discover their habitats and nesting areas (1 mile walk on paved and gravel roads and sidewalk).

Lunch: Lunch on-site.

Afternoon: Attend a classroom session to study the unique flora and plant life on the island followed by a walking field trip to experience the island's natural beauty up close (1 – 1.5 hour leisurely walk on paved road; some downhill; and approximately 150 stairs to walk down with standing platforms during each set of stairs).

Dinner: Dinner on-site.

Evening: Find out more about the island’s birds and raptors. Learn about behavior and flying patterns.

DAY
5
Victorian Architecture, Free Time
Mackinac Island
B,L,D
Harbour View Inn

Activity 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 (includes 1 mile walk on paved road).

Lunch: Lunch on-site.

Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon to explore Mackinac Island on your own.

Dinner: Dinner on-site.

Evening: Program wrap up.

DAY
6
Program Concludes
Mackinac Island
B,L

Breakfast: Breakfast on-site.

Morning: Discover the traditional foods of Northern Michigan, including their historical and cultural influences.

Lunch: Box lunch. Program ends at 11:30.






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Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.