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Hi, we’re Suze and Lee Weaver

We hope you will join us as we transition from our very "normal" life to something a little less traditional. We are not experts in downsizing, minimalism, early retirement, or full-time RV living. In fact, we’re not experts in anything! Our goal for this blog is simply to share our travels and adventures with our friends and family. Along the way we hope to continuously learn, grow, and laugh.  

Mackinac Island - the Fudge Capital of the World!

Mackinac Island - the Fudge Capital of the World!

The first thing you notice when you walk down Main Street on Mackinac Island is that there are a lot of fudge shops. In fact, there are more than a dozen shops within 3 blocks of each other. Murdick’s Fudge claims to be the first and it opened in 1887, but there are at least 3 other shops that claim to have been established right around that same time.

On the way to the Island, we took a short detour under the Mackinac Bridge. As we passed under the bridge we went from being on Lake Huron to being on Lake Michigan. We quickly turned around, because Mackinac Island is located in Lake Huron.

On the way to the Island, we took a short detour under the Mackinac Bridge. As we passed under the bridge we went from being on Lake Huron to being on Lake Michigan. We quickly turned around, because Mackinac Island is located in Lake Huron.

We ended up buying our fudge at Ryba’s, because we happened to be walking by as they were pouring out a fresh sheet of the gooey stuff and it smelled fantastic. Ryba’s opened on Mackinac Island in 1959 - a relative newcomer on the Island.

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What’s with the different spellings of the word “Mackinaw”? It’s Mackinac Island, but it’s also Mackinaw City? It turns out that the French spelled it Mackinac and the English spelled it Mackinaw, but it’s always pronounced Mackinaw. The Island was ruled by the French, then the British, then the US, and then by the British again. Finally, after the war of 1812 the US took over control of the Island and the surrounding territory for good. In the end, they just let the citizens of the local communities spell it however they liked.

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They must have found their gardener, because the landscaping on the island is as good as it gets.

They must have found their gardener, because the landscaping on the island is as good as it gets.

By the 1820s the fur trade was flourishing. The American Fur Trading Company was based on Mackinac Island, and furs from their camps in Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota flowed to Mackinac every summer. On Market Street the furs were counted, sorted, baled and shipped to the East Coast and Europe.

This is a shot down Market Street. The oldest buildings on the island are located here with some of them dating back to the 1780’s.

This is a shot down Market Street. The oldest buildings on the island are located here with some of them dating back to the 1780’s.

By the 1830’s fishing replaced fur trading as Mackinac Islands primary industry. The region’s waters were filled with white fish and lake trout. The trade routes that once carried furs quickly adapted to carrying fish to cities like Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and Buffalo.

It was in a bark chapel like this that Father Claude Dablon started his missionary on the island in 1670. A year later Father Pe’re Marquette took over the mission. That Marquette guy was a determined explorer! Note the smoker’s pole at the door to the chapel. It’s normally frowned upon to smoke in a chapel, but especially one made of bark!

It was in a bark chapel like this that Father Claude Dablon started his missionary on the island in 1670. A year later Father Pe’re Marquette took over the mission. That Marquette guy was a determined explorer! Note the smoker’s pole at the door to the chapel. It’s normally frowned upon to smoke in a chapel, but especially one made of bark!

By the 1880’s Mackinac Island had become the most fashionable summer resort on the Great Lakes. The palatial Grand Hotel opened in 1887, and by the 1890’s mansions were being built to keep up with the new standard set by the Grand Hotel.

The Grand Hotel from Lake Huron. The movie Somewhere in Time staring Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve was filmed at the hotel in 1980.

The Grand Hotel from Lake Huron. The movie Somewhere in Time staring Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve was filmed at the hotel in 1980.

The Grand Hotel from land. As you walk up to the hotel there is a sign stating the dress code after 6pm. Gentleman must wear coats and ties and women can not wear pants. I didn’t bring a tie and Suze didn’t like the idea of removing her pants so we couldn’t stay in the hotel.

The Grand Hotel from land. As you walk up to the hotel there is a sign stating the dress code after 6pm. Gentleman must wear coats and ties and women can not wear pants. I didn’t bring a tie and Suze didn’t like the idea of removing her pants so we couldn’t stay in the hotel.

The island is known for the absence of motorized vehicle traffic, and it does give a visitor the feeling that they are stepping back in time. The horse drawn carriages and carts are seen pulling everything from tourists to garbage. Bicycle is the preferred mode of transportation, but there are 2 motorized vehicles on the island - a fire truck and an ambulance.

There are more than 500 horses on Mackinac Island.

There are more than 500 horses on Mackinac Island.

Oh, and did I mention the Fudge Shops? Fudge, not furs, or fish, is the #1 export of Mackinac Island today.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore