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Mackinac Island Opening for Historic Season Including War of 1812 Battle Bicentennial [Video]

Mackinac Round Island Lighthouse. (Photo: Michigan Sea Grant)

While the Great Lakes still have some ice on them, Mackinac Island is about ready to come alive.

It has been a long winter, with ferry service to Mackinac Island in the Straits of Mackinac between lakes Huron and Michigan just getting back into operation. Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry said it plans to start passenger service Tuesday.

Bob Benser, Jr.’s family owns two hotels, a bed-and-breakfast and Murdick’s Original Fudge on Mackinac Island. The bed-and-breakfast is open year-round, but the hotels — The Chippewa Hotel and The Lilac Tree Hotel & Spa — are opening May 9, just in time for Mother’s Day, he told “Andy Rent Show” guest host Tim Harris this morning on 100.5 The River.

Murdick’s Original Fudge, which has been in business 127 years effective this summer, re-opened in December to make fudge for the holidays.

Besides its original Mackinac Island location, it also has locations in Mackinaw City and St. Ignace on the mainland of Michigan’s Lower and Upper peninsulas. Benser said it’s a family-operated labor of love and sweetness, and that he’s looking forward to National Fudge Day on June 16.

Meanwhile, Mackinac Island is celebrating a battle bicentennial tied to the War of 1812 this summer.

Fort Mackinac was captured by British forces on July 17, 1812. Two years later — from July 26, 1814, to Aug. 4, 1814, the Battle of Mackinac Island was fought on what is now Wawashkamo Golf Club to solidify British control for the remainder of the war. Mackinac Island got returned to U.S. control when peace was declared in 1815.

On Aug. 4, Mackinac State Historic Parks is planning a commemorative re-enactment of the Battle of Mackinac Island as part of ongoing War of 1812 bicentennial activities. Other special events and activities are planned.

The Chippewa, home to the Pink Pony Bar and the Patio Bar, and The Lilac Tree are both partnering with Wawashkamo Golf Club with Mackinac Island stay-and-play packages. Island House Hotel and Mission Point Resort, both also located on Main Street on the island, and The Inn at Stonecliffe Mansion & Suites are also offering packages with Wawashkamo, which was founded in 1898 and is Michigan’s longest continually-operated golf course.

The Scottish links-style Wawashkamo was designed by Alex Smith, a golf pro from Carnoustie, Scotland, and two-time U.S. Open winner, said Chuck Olson, the resident PGA pro and general manager for the 5,979-yard, par-72 layout.

Detroit Free Press: Michigan's Mackinac Island Thaws Out Late for Tourists

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