We left Madison on Saturday after going to the farmers market. Every Saturday morning in season the square that contains the State Capital building is surrounded by vendors selling agricultural products. Mostly food; fresh produce, cheeses, fruit, honey, dried and smoked meat and fish and backed goods. We buy some produce but our favorites are cheese bread with lots of cheese and pepper when served it's still hot and chocolate cream cheese muffins which are out of this world. On the corners in the approaches to the Capitol are a number of public interest groups viewing for support, membership and an occasional petitions as well as representatives from the areas organized political groups. Across the street on the corner of State Street are two vendors selling hot coffee which we buy to go with the bread and muffins. Running down State Street are all the craft vendors and a children's area on the corner in front of the Madison Children's Museum which we used to visit with Jesse and Leah but they have out grown it now.
We drove North on US 151 through Green Bay to Michigan's Upper Peninsula and camped for the night at J.J. Wells State Park on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Lake Michigan is the largest lake in the United States, the fourth largest lake in the world and the only one of the great lakes wholly in the United States. The other four are shared with Canada. In addition to campsites the park has a number of rustic cabins along the shore. We hiked along the shore and left the park continuing along the road past the scenic Cedar River.
Upon returning from our walk we ate breakfast and left the park. About a half hour out we stopped for gas and I discovered I had lost my trailer keys. I hoped I had lost them in the campground. and therefore could retrieve them. I thought about calling or writing them and then I decided to turn around and go back, so we did. I was lucky that two boys had found the keys and turned them into the host and that Debby had thought to ask the host in addition to searching the campsite. With my keys in my pocket we resumed our trip across the Upper Peninsula to the Mackinaw Bridge
which we crossed into the Lower Peninsula and Mackinaw City. The bridge is a 5 mile span at the Straights of Mackinaw at the confluence of Lakes Michigan and Huron. Trucks and cars pulling trailers are restricted to twenty miles an hour. It was supposed to be a windy day but we didn't feel any buffeting driving 20 mph behind a big truck with locals zipping past us with cars and yes cars pulling trailers.
We drove into Mackinaw City, found a campground and settled in for the night. After breakfast the next morning we jumped on the rail trail just across the street from the campground and walked about a mile and a half to Historic Mill Creek.
"As the Straits of Mackinaw's first Industrial complex, Mill Creek provided sawn lumber for the settlement of Mackinaw Island from the 1790's to 1830s. Today at the 625-acre state park, you can enjoy an exciting blend of living history demonstrations and nature interpretations along the many scenic trails." We walked the trails near an active beaver colony but the foliage was such that we really didn't see anything. We toured the exhibits and watched a volunteer run the water powered saw mill. We walked back to the campground, had a snack and drove down to Colonial Michilimackinac.
Colonial Michilimackinac an "authentically reconstructed village" which has been an archeological dig site since 1957. during the summer archaeologists and students from local schools search for artifacts and proof of the structures which once stood on the site. Once their research is complete the buildings are reconstructed using the data uncovered during the research. We purchased the Audio Tour and walked in and out of this reconstructed colonial village which included a stockade and about a dozen buildings. Amongst the buildings were the commanding officer's quarters, troop barrack's and latrine, a priest's house and church and several trader's homes. One of the homes was inhabited by Ezekiel Solomon and his partner Euriah Levy two Jewish traders who came down during trading season to trade with the indians. The the village was originally constructed by the French who befriended the Indians after the French and Indian War it was taken over by the British . The British briefly lost it to a very successful sneak attack by local Native Americans as part of Pontiac's rebellion .The visit to the community includes a musket and cannon demonstration by state employees who also talk about life at the fort.
The community with many people journeying them from all over the country and Canada have been recreating this event in an annual pageant since 1962. The Natives "playing an apparently innocent game of baggataway (sounds like an early form of soccer or lacrosse) at the fort, where a great number of Natives have assembled outside the fort's wall. the British soldiers garrisoned at the fort are politely invited to watch the game. the native's plan is simple, yet calculating. In spite of the warm weather on the fatefully morning of June 2, 1763, the Native American women appear wearing blankets over their over their clothing. Their heavy blankets conceal weapons of battle to be provided to braves when the fighting begins. The Natives plan to gain entrance to the fort during the game. the first time the ball goes over the wall it is retrieved by British guardsmen. The second time the ball goes over, a few braves are permitted to enter and retrieve the ball. The third time, the Natives will enter , capture the soldiers and take over the fort."
Eventually the British retook the fort and treated the natives better. During the American Revolution the British commander determined that the fort was not defensible so the fort was dismantled and moved to Mackinaw Island. The Americans never did attack the fort but received it from the British at the conclusion of the revolution. The British returned during the war of 1812 and retook the fort by taking the high ground behind it. the British shrewdly constructed a small fort on this high ground and kept the Americans from retaking the fort, however, it was given back at the conclusion of the war. After the fort was decommissioned in the 20th century it was turned over to the National Park Service and eventually given to the State of Michigan as a State Park.
Today visitors can take a ferry to the island and visit for a day or stay at one of several island hotels for longer. When automobiles first became available the island's carriage drivers successfully lobbied the town council to prohibit this horseless carriage. The island is auto free to this day. Horse drawn carriages carry people on tours and freight throughout the island. Even the water for horses is carried by horse drawn tank.
We toured the fort which included a cannon firing and talk by period costumed American troops walked to the arch a famous natural site walked past the islands historic cemeteries and visited the world famous Grand Hotel for tea lunch. The hotel charges $10 a person for non guests to tour the grounds but discount's the fee for lunch but not tea lunch. Tea lunch at the Embassy Hotel in British Columbia was better but this visit to the 19th century style hotel was an interesting experience. With our bellies full we walked to the Arch a famous island landmark and returned to ferry and our campground.
The next day we left the campground and went to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakefront.