Horses, Bikes And Automobiles: What More Could You Want?

The fall season is here and the introduction of the new model automobiles are appearing in a dealer showroom near you. This annual new car introduction is particularly important in the Motor City. This year is a little different because, back on September 15, 2019, the UAW (United Auto Workers) initiated a strike against General Motors, and the work stoppage is still in effect as of October 17th. For over one hundred years the automobile has been synonymous with Detroit and the State of Michigan. Ironically, over a hundred years ago a city in Michigan banned automobiles, and the ban exists to this day.

Mackinac Island, Michigan, consistently receives top recommendations from travel sites as the jewel of the Great Lakes, and I completely agree. It’s Victorian charm and “back in time” atmosphere is only matched by it’s natural beauty. If fact, the major 1980 motion picture “Somewhere in Time”, starring Christopher Reeves, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Plummer, was filmed on location on the island, and captured this unique ambiance.

On July 6, 1898 , Mackinac resolved, that “the running of horseless carriages be prohibited within the limits of the Village”. Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton all visited the place without using a motorized vehicle. When President Gerald Ford visited the island in 1975, he did not use a car, however the U.S. Secret Service did smuggle a vehicle onto the Island and kept it hidden, only to be used in the event of an emergency.

Since 1975 no sitting President or Vice President had visited the Island until recently when Vice President Mike Pence attended a meeting at the Grand Hotel. It appears that, in the 21st century, the tradition and the local ordinance banning cars is no match for security. The U.S. Secret Service insisted the VP be transported to the hotel in his protected motorcade. The Michigan State Police accompanied the motorcade on their bicycles and horses as did local law enforcement officers.

I have spent many summers on the island staying at a B & B on Main Street and waking up each morning to the clip-pity clop of horseshoes traversing the neighborhood. The postal service, FedEx, hotel luggage deliveries and even trash collectors all utilize horses, horse and buggy or bicycles.

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If you have the chance, please visit Mackinac Island, you won’t regret it.