Island is visited by hundreds of thousands of people a year, far fewer
than 1% of Mackinac Island's tourists visit Mackinac Island in Winter.
Star Line Ferry offers limited scheduled ferry service until the ice stops
them from running (usually sometime in early to mid January).
There may be a few
weeks during the winter when it is possible to get to Mackinac Island from
St. Ignace by crossing the ice on cross country skis or snowmobile, but
that is risky and not recommended. The St. Ignace "ice bridge" is not sanctioned
by the Coast Guard or the Mackinac County Sheriff's Department. Every few
years someone dies while attempting to cross the ice bridge.
Saturday, March 29
was forecast to be sunny with a high of about 37 degrees and light winds
- just about perfect for this time of year. I drove over the Mackinac Bridge
from Mackinaw City about 9:30 AM. The Straits of Mackinac was beautiful
with blue skies, ice cover and bright sunlight. As I approached the Mackinac
County Airport, I called the taxi service operated by Mackinac Island Carriage
Tours, to arrange for a taxi to meet my flight. The phone number for the
Mackinac Island taxi is (906) 847-3323.
'09 Mackinaw City winter trip report
Mackinac Island Summer Day Trip
Tahquamenon Falls Trip Report
Mackinaw in winter
Piper airplane at the Mackinac Island Airport terminal.
Mackinac Island airport parking lot.
At the smaller Mackinac Island airport, it was
about 10 minutes before the horse drawn taxi arrived. I was the only passenger,
and sat next to George, the driver. I had never met the driver before,
but he had lived on Mackinac Island all of his life, and I enjoyed talking
about Mackinac Island, Mackinaw City, and people that we both knew. He
was the only taxi driver operating on this day.
Horse drawn taxi.
The taxi ride into the Village of Mackinac Island was
on snow and ice packed roads that we shared with snowmobiles. The horses
were obviously very used to the snowmobiles and didn't shy from them. The
road was starting to get sloppy with the spring thaw and would only get
worse over the next few weeks. The fare between the airport and downtown
Mackinac Island was $6.50 with a 2 fare minimum, so I had to pay $13. It
took about 10 minutes to travel the mile and a half to the downtown.
Passing the Grand Hotel on the way to downtown Mackinac Island. (prints
& cards of this photo)
Getting out of the taxi, I immediately fell on the slippery
ice and my legs started to slide under the carriage. After picking myself
up, I made my way to a step where I could sit down and pull rubbers on
over my shoes. Even with the much better traction of the slip-ons, I fell
a couple of more times during my visit.
Mackinac Island's Market Street with Fort Mackinac in the distance
Turtle sculpture on a fence post at the French Outpost
The Little Stone Church is a Congregational Church which was built
in 1904. It is closed in the winter.
Keith Stokes travel reports
LS-3/14 Copyright 2001 - 2019 by Keith
Stokes. These photos may not be reproduced without
written permission. .