Posted June 18, 2009 by Jamie Moore
Mackinac Island is famous for its annual June Lilac Festival, a 10-day celebration of the island's ancient, abundant, and fragrant trees. But it's worth a trip any time during the summer to experience a car-free getaway, Mackinac (MACK-in-awe) style. This peaceful island in Lake Huron doesn't allow vehicles, so locals and visitors travel by real horsepower, walking, or cycling. Take a carriage seat and tour Mackinac, stopping for afternoon tea at a grand hotel or lunch in a lakeside bistro.
Mackinac Island Carriage Tours: Clip-clop your way through Mackinac's quaint streets in a traditional horse-drawn carriage. Mackinac Island Carriage Tours has been hitching up horses to entertain visitors for more than 100 years. In fact, it's the oldest and largest livery in the world, and its horses consume 1,250 tons of hay per season. The 1.75-hour tours run throughout the day for $23.50 per person. To really ride in style, find some friends and hire a private carriage for a few dollars extra.
Grand Hotel: Movie stars and presidents have marveled at the view from this 19th-century hotel's 660-foot porch. Some even attended its elegant dinners in chic evening wear and stayed in the elaborately furnished rooms. You can experience the luxurious atmosphere for a fraction of the price by stopping in between 3:30 and 5 pm for afternoon tea ($25 per person). Step into the parlor and sip tea, sherry, and Champagne; nibble on tiny finger sandwiches and fresh-baked scones; and listen to a soothing chamber music recital.
Mary's Bistro: Mary's Bistro has lakeside tables for water lovers, street-side tables for people-watching enthusiasts, and a menu of mouth-watering dishes for everyone. The chef uses local ingredients—there's even Michigan hardwood firing the grill—and serves delicious entrees like spit-fired chicken basted in garlic oil and wood-grilled Portobello mushroom with aioli. Dogs are welcome on the terrace and served water and sometimes treats. Breakfast and lunches start at $6.50; dinner entrees at $10.95.
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