Worth The Drive: Mackinac Island’s Lilac Festival


At May’s end, Mackinac Island’s 200-year-old lilacs bloom at the Mackinac Straits, where waters of Lakes Michigan and Huron meet beneath the third-longest suspension bridge in the U.S. The festival, which runs June 3–12, includes a horse-drawn carriage parade (no cars are allowed on the island) with a lilac queen, of course, and a pup parade. Once a key colonial outpost on the fur-trading lake routes, the Brits settled the island and built Fort Mackinac in 1780, the site of several heated battles in the War of 1812. In 1887, vacationing Victorians arrived on steamers at the Grand Hotel, and the Belle Époque beauty throws open the doors for her 129th season May 1.

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