Mackinac Island Carriage Tours - Mackinac Island, Michigan
The Grand Hotel
The narrated carriage tour continues inland and most of the time it stops at the Surrey Hills Carriage Museum where you will leave the two horse hitch carriage which brought you from downtown. Very early or late in the season, the museum may be closed and you will take the entire tour in the smaller carriage, but most of the year this is your time to enjoy the carriage museum. The Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory is next door for an additional fee.
The Carriage Museum has a neat display of historic carriages, including a horse drawn hearse that is still used for Mackinac Island funerals today. There are also gift shops and a place to have a snack before starting the main part of the tour.
Then you board a larger 35 passenger, three hitch carriage to travel through the interior of the Island and Mackinac Island State Park. Along the way, your driver will point out wild flowers and other island feature such as the three cemeteries, skull cave and the Fort Holmes Rifle Range.
The next stop on the tour is at Arch Rock for a 5-10 minute visit to the beautiful natural limestone arch. Arch Rock is at the top of a bluff, 145 feet about the Straits of Mackinac and offers a spectacular view. This is also a chance to take a rest room break.
You reboard the same carriage to continue your tour. Near the end of this stretch of the drive, you will pass the Scout Barracks which accommodates up to 54 Michigan Boy and Girls Scouts participating in the Mackinac Island Scout Service Camp and Governor's Honor Guard. The program began with eight Eagle Scouts in 1929. one of whom was Gerald Ford, who became the thirty eighth President of the United States. Over 30,000 youth have participated over the years and the two story barracks was constructed in 1935.
The next stop is at Fort Mackinac, where you may leave the tour to visit the 18th Century Fort (fee) without having to climb the hill from the city below. Following a tour of the Fort, you may rejoin the carriage tour as space is available or continue on your own.
The carriage tour continues past the 1902 Michigan Governor's Mansion. The three story building is the governor's summer residence.
Your carriage will now return to the Surrey Hills Carriage Museum where you transfer back to a smaller carriage for the return to downtown Mackinac Island. As that carriage passes the Grand Hotel, you may disembark to go to the hotel. If you leave the tour at the Grand Hotel, that will be the end of your tour.
Copyright 2008-2013 by Keith Stokes