Tidbits of Interest
Perhaps the most noticeable first impression visitors get of Mackinac Island is the absence of automobiles! Visitors and residents travel by foot, bicycle or horse drawn carriage on Mackinaw Island. This tempo is more comparable to the 19th century. Tour carriages and taxis will take you wherever you want to go and it's not long before you adjust to a slower pace most visitors have never known.
Eleven thousand years ago in prehistoric times, not long after the retreat of the last glacier, aboriginal natives stood on the mainland shore, looked out over the Straits between two newly formed great lakes and saw an island with unusually high bluffs - Mackinaw Island. They thought it resembled a large reptile and called it mish-la-mack-in-naw or big turtle. When they explored it, they marveled at its unusual natural limestone formations and buried their dead in the Island's caves.
It was the Victorians who made Mackinac Island one of the nation's most favored summer resorts. In the post-Civil War industrial age and before automobiles, vacationers traveled by large lake excursion boats from Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit to the cooler climes of Mackinac Island.