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    Mackinac Island,

    Michigan

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    Mackinac Island ( MAK-in-aw) is a city in Mackinac County in the U.S. state of Michigan. In the 2010 census, the city had a permanent population of 492. The summer population numbers in the thousands due to an influx of summer visitors and hundreds of seasonal workers. Established as an important fur trading center in the eighteenth century, with a predominately French-speaking population of French Canadians and Métis, after the War of 1812 the city gained more Anglo-American residents. The US put restrictions on Canadians for fur trading. From 1818 until 1882 the city served as the county seat of the former Michilimackinac County, which was later organized as Mackinac County, with St. Ignace designated as the county seat. The city includes all of Mackinac Island and it also originally included nearby Round Island which is unpopulated and now federally owned and part of the Hiawatha National Forest. The state park and the national forest make up most of the island. A unique local ordinance passed in 1898 prohibits the use of any motor vehicles on the island. Today the most common means of travel are foot, bicycle, or horseback. The only exceptions to this are emergency vehicles (ambulance, police cars, and fire trucks), along with snowmobiles in winter. Mackinac Island is home to the Grand Hotel, built during the nineteenth century when the island was a summer destination. When the 1980 movie Somewhere in Time was filmed here, the city made an exception to allow the production company to use motorized vehicles on the island. Mackinac Island is noted for its many fudge shops, a tourist attraction. The island has a large craft industry devoted to making fudge in a traditional manner, creating portions on cold marble slabs. The many varieties are a tourist draw and frequently given as gifts throughout Michigan.
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    Inspiration

    5 last-minute leaf-peeping deals

    All across North America, shades of red, orange, yellow, and brown herald autumn's arrival. While many big, multicity fall foliage tours sold out months ago, there are still small-scale deals to be had that make for great weekend getaways. Here are five ways to peep your local leaves while they're still alight. Boston, Bike/2 Nights, From $315 Stay for two nights at the Midtown Hotel, located in the center of Boston's Back Bay, and use it as your home base for exploring the city on two wheels during a classic New England autumn. Includes free parking, daily breakfast, and 24-hour bike access, with helmets, maps, and locks. When: Through October 2011 Contact: Midtown Hotel, 800/343-1177, midtownhotel.com Mackinac Island, Mich., From $159 a Night Mission Point Resort's "Ghost Hunter" package includes accommodations for two in a standard garden room; a ghost-themed tour of the rumored-to-be-haunted hotel grounds, featured earlier this year on Syfy's Ghost Hunters; round-trip ferry tickets on Arnold Transit Co., which travels through the Straits of Mackinac; dinner for two at the resort's restaurant, Chianti; and daily breakfast; from $159 a night for a minimum two-night stay, plus taxes of 18 percent. When: Through Oct. 23, 2011 Contact: Mission Point Resort, 800/833-7711, missionpoint.com Mammoth, Calif., 2 Nights, From $49 a Night Experience autumn in California's Lakes Basin with a cabin rental, complimentary bottle of wine, daily breakfast, complimentary two-hour boat rental, fishing-rod rental, and access to Tamarack Adventures' guided activities (like hikes, bike tours, and fishing clinics), from $49 per person per night (two-night minimum stay), plus taxes and fees. When:Through November 7. Contact: Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, 800/626-6684, mammothmountain.com Seattle, Wash., and Victoria, British Colombia, Ferry/Hotel, From $99 a Night Enjoy a round-trip Victoria Clipper cruise from Seattle to Victoria, Canada, and one night at the Harbor Towers hotel in Victoria, from $99 per person per night. Plus, "like" Clipper Vacations on Facebook and get a promo code good for an additional 10% off. Extend your stay to 2 nights for a discounted $123 per person per night. When: October 1, 2011- January 2, 2012 Contact: Clipper Vacations, 800/888-2535, clippervacations.com Virginia, Resort/Horseback Ride, From $99 a Night Includes one night in your choice of tree house, yurt, cabin, chalet, or hotel room at the Shenandoah Crossing resort, plus one 45-minute trail ride for two people. Extend your stay from $63 per night for up to three additional nights; extra horseback rides for other members of your party can be added for a discounted rate of $18 per person. When: Through November 18, 2011 Contact: Shenandoah Crossing, 888/760-8188, otdestinations.com MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL: 5 Fall Foliage Drives North America's Most Charming Fall Islands 8 Fall Foliage Cruises

    Inspiration

    Kid Rock Gives Michigan a Lift

    He may not get the highest marks for imaginative song titles, but pop star Kid Rock is no slouch when it comes to home-state loyalty. The rocker has contributed his song "Detroit, Michigan," from his upcoming album Rebel Soul, to the state of Michigan's official tourism website, michigan.org.  "Detroit, Michigan / Ya heard about Marvin Gaye / We got him," the artist croons, in a song that references a number of Motor City celebs, including Motown singer/songwriter Gaye, "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin, and Grammy-winning rapper Eminem as well as civil rights activist Rosa Parks and automaker Henry Ford. Rock, who grew up in a Detroit suburb and has recorded such hits as as "Cowboy" and "Bawitdaba," shows his local pride (and party-hearty spirit) with lines such as "The Big Three baby and the finest cars / George Clinton's P Funk all stars / We spend our days on the line and our nights in the bars." Michigan, of course, should require no arm-twisting where vacationers are concerned. The 11th-largest state, with a population of nearly 10 million, is home to a host of popular destinations, including:   Traverse City, on the shores of Lake Michigan, offers miles of beaches, wineries, scenic lighthouses, and some of the Midwest's best golf courses.   The Henry Ford, one of America's most popular historical attractions, is a museum, a village, an auto factory tour, and IMAX theater dedicated to the inventor of the assembly line and founder of, well, you know…  Mackinac Island, with its limestone bluffs, is a favorite summertime vacation spot for its historic forts and trails for biking, hiking, or horseback riding.   Detroit, best known for turning out world-class cars and groundbreaking R&B and techno music, is also gaining popularity for its downtown casinos like the Greektown Casino-Hotel, the Detroit Beer Company (across from the Detroit Opera House, home to Michigan Opera Theatre), and Diamond Jack's Detroit River Boat Excursions, a two-hour narrated river tour.  

    Inspiration

    Ready for a Ferry Ride to Cuba?

    For those of you who've enjoyed ferry rides to prime destinations like Sausalito, Nantucket, and Mackinac Island, hold on to your hats: The U.S. just approved ferry service between Florida and Cuba. Granting licenses to several cargo and passenger companies, the federal government opened up the possibility of ferry service in the Florida Straits for the first time in more than a half century. The Miami Herald reports that some ferry companies say they may offer service within weeks from ports like Key West, Miami, Port Everglades, and the Tampa area. The Sun Sentinel reports that one company, CubaKat, hopes to offer high-speed catamaran service from the Florida Keys to Havana by December. CubaKat's multimillion dollar craft would transport about 200 people to Havana in approximately for hours for $338 (considerably less than the $500 airfares common at the moment). While there are still plenty of hoops to be jumped through and red tape to be cut (not to mention the fact that Americans are allowed to travel to Cuba only for family visits and educational/professional purposes), the prospect is enticing. Back in the 1950s, ferry travel to and from Cuba was a normal part of many Americans' and Cubans' travel experiences. If you're ready to dive into the "purposeful travel" that is currently permitted to Cuba, you don't have to wait for ferry service to begin. A group tour such as Intrepid Travel's 9-day Hola Cuba People to People package might be right for you. You'll meet real Cubans, including top chefs, local artists, salsa dancers, historians, and tobacco farmers, as you travel from iconic Havana to the countryside. We want to know: Have you visited Cuba? Are you one of the many travel fanatics eagerly researching a future Cuba excursion?

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