Author: Ashleigh (Page 1 of 53)
A few months ago, if you would’ve asked me how many forts the were managed by the Mackinac State Historic Parks, I would’ve told you two: For Mackinac on the island and Fort Michilimackinac near Mackinaw City. On our recent trip to Mackinac Island, I learned of a third fort, Fort Holmes. Fort Mackinac is one of the most popular attractions on the island and at $13.50 per person to visit, it can get expensive for a family to visit. If you’re up for it, head to Fort Holmes (top), at the highest point on the island, instead. While there aren’t demonstrations or a tea room, Fort Holmes is free to visit.
The fort was constructed by the British during the War of 1812 to protect the vulnerable backside of Fort Mackinac. This blind spot allowed the British to take the fort from the Americans during the first battle of the War of 1812. When it was built in 1814, the British named it Fort George after King George III. After the Americans won the fort back at the end of the war, it was renamed to Fort Holmes in honor of of American Major Andrew Hunter Holmes who was killed in the 1814 battle of Mackinac Island.
Shortly after the war, the fort was abandoned and went into decay. Fort Holmes, along with Fort Mackinac was made the 2nd National Park after Yellowstone. In 1895 the land was transferred to the state and became Michigan’s first state park. In 1935, as part of the WPA, the fort was reconstructed but once again went into decay. In 2015, The Mackinac State Parks completed a historic recreation of the building and now it looks the same as it did 200 years ago. Hopefully this time it will be better preserved for future generations. Being the highest point on the island, this is also a great spot to take in a beautiful view of the Straits of Mackinac.
Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
Mackinac Island is a popular summer destination and the ferries to and from the island each day are bustling with tourists. Its very popular for visitors to rent bikes (or bring your own) and pedal M-185, the car-free state road that circumnavigates the island. This summer, M-185 is under construction near Mission Point Resort and Arch Rock due to record high water levels in the great lakes. This year, visitors will not be able to take the 8.1 mile long journey around the island. Instead, I propose bicyclists head inland, away from the crowds (social distancing, right?) and to some lesser-known spots.
Sugar Loaf (top) was something I did not even know existed before this trip. Towering at 75 feet tall, this limestone rock formation is the tallest on the island. Geologists believe it formed this way when the waters of Lake Algonquin began to recede, eroding the surrounding rock. Native American legend is much more verbose and dramatic. You can read about it at MackinacIsland.org. The rock is very easy to see from Point Lookout on Sugarloaf Road. The adventurous can even hike down to the rock, just remember, all the step you go down, you have to climb back up!
Near the Mackinac Island Airport are two more hidden gems of the island, Crack-in-the-Island (left) and Cave in the Woods (right). They are pretty self-explanatory, one is a cave in the woods and the other is a big crack in the island. After biking up hill for a while, it feels good to get off the bike and hike on your own two feet and see these unique geological features. And of course, Crack-in-the-Island makes for a great photo-op like you’re stuck in the crack! Cave in the Woods is one of several caves on the island. It could be a fun journey to try to find them all!
Of course, since the interior of the island is quite hilly, getting to these sites requires more work than just biking the flat road along the water. But, getting away from the people and seeing sites that not everyone sees are definitely worth it! MackinacIsland.org has a great map to help you find these and many other worthy sites on your next trip to the island!
Did I miss your favorite hidden spot on Mackinac? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.