Mackinac (MACK-in-awe) became one of the nation’s favored summer resort destinations during the Victorian era. Vacationers seeking the cooler weather on Mackinac Island arrived in large lake-excursion boats from Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago, and Detroit. They danced to Strauss’ waltzes, listened to Sousa’s stirring marches, dined on whitefish, and strolled along the broad decks. To accommodate overnight guests, boat and railroad companies financed the building of Grand Hotel.
One of the most noticeable differences on Mackinac Island (which is accessible only by boat and plane) is the absence of automobiles. Visitors and residents travel by foot, bicycle or horse-drawn carriage. There are only 600 year-round residents. And during the summer, there are more than 500 horses.