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The Many Colors of Mackinac Island: Fall, spring and summer

Each fall, when the days shorten and the air cools, Mackinac Island is ablaze in vibrant colors. Yellows, oranges and reds paint the bluffs and line the streets.

The colors are absolutely beautiful. But fall colors are by no means the only beautiful colors on Mackinac Island.

Not only are the maple trees on Mackinac Island gorgeous. So is maple fudge. And maple glazed salmon.

Have you seen the splendor of a Mackinac Island sunset? Or tasted the uniquely delicious beers and cocktails?

There are all kinds of incredible colors in the fall and throughout the year on Mackinac Island. Here’s how to make your next visit to Mackinac Island as colorful as possible:

Sample fudge – Before there was world-famous Mackinac Island fudge, there was maple sugar candy harvested from the syrup of the island’s maple trees. Victorian-era vacationers got hooked on that treat and tasty sweets rapidly became part of the Mackinac Island tourist experience. Fudge-making soon followed, and today there are 13 fudge shops on the island that together make 10,000 pounds of fudge per day!

Of course, Mackinac Island fudge comes in chocolate brown. But you can find it in a wide variety of other colors, too: vanilla fudge is white, cherry fudge has a hint of red, butter pecan features a creamy shade, there’s an orangish hue in pumpkin fudge and cranberry fudge is pink. That’s just a small sampling of the many colors of fudge to taste on Mackinac Island!

Go to dinner – You can’t dine on fudge all day. Well, actually, you could, but then you wouldn’t be leaving room for dinner at any of Mackinac Island’s one-of-a-kind restaurants. The island’s restaurants all have tasty and colorful plates on the menus, too.

There’s grilled shrimp with sauteed zucchini, summer squash and fresh basil pesto sauce in cesse fiocchi pasta at the Carriage House at Hotel Iroquois, parmesan risotto with roasted vegetables at Cudady Chophouse and the Whitefish Beurre Blanc at the Pink Pony, just to name a few. Come explore all the glorious colors of food on Mackinac Island.

Watch the sunset – It’s amazing how many different shades of how many different colors emerge during a Mackinac Island sunset – pinks, reds, oranges, yellows, purples and blues. No two sunsets are quite the same.

After enjoying a colorful meal at the Cudahy Chophouse, for example, you can stroll through the Grotto – a popular wedding spot with reflecting pond and fountain – and on to the majestic Sunset Rock. But anywhere on the island with a view to the west presents a striking photo op.

Another popular place to watch sunsets is in the Cupola Bar atop Grand Hotel, sipping on a favorite beverage while admiring the strokes of Mother Nature’s paintbrush. And you can soak in the colors of the setting sun on board a Sip ‘n Sail Cruise on the Isle Royale Queen III, too. From the deck of the ship you can listen to live music as you sail under the mighty Mackinac Bridge and watch the sun slip beneath the waters on the horizon.

Have a drink (or two) – Who’s up for a pub crawl? One good thing about drinking on Mackinac Island is that cars are prohibited on the island, so no worries there. Another good thing is that there’s a density of restaurants and bars not found many other places – and they’re all within walking distance of each other.

No wonder there are more liquor sales per capita on Mackinac Island than in any other county in Michigan!

At Mary’s Bistro Draught House, for example, there are 50 beers on tap – each with their own unique color. How about a Bellaire Brown from Short’s Brewing, a Blackout Stout from Great Lakes Brewing, a Calabaza Blanca from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales or a Cannonball Gold from Arcadia Ales? You can even get a Pabst Blue Ribbon 😊

Go on a fall color tour – Of course, fall colors are always a favorite on Mackinac Island. Leaves in the tip of Michigan’s mitt typically start changing around the last week of September and reach peak color during the first couple weeks of October.

Because cars are prohibited on Mackinac Island, a fall color tour on the island makes for a unique experience. Have you ever seen fall colors by horse and buggy? From the water in a kayak? From the air in a plane? You can also enjoy fall colors by bike, pedaling all the way around Mackinac Island with dazzling blue water on one side and leaves ablaze on the other. Or, hike right through the forested middle of the island on some of the 70-plus miles of trails.

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