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Writers Discovery

Is romance in your soul? Welcome to Mackinac Island. It was inevitable that 19th century writers would discover the Island’s charm, but even before the written word, Indian legends were part of its history. For many native Americans Arch Rock was created when a beautiful Indian maiden’s tears washed away the limestone bluff as she waited in vain for her lover to return.

In the 1820s a young army lieutenant on a tour of duty at Fort Mackinac sat on the porch of the Officers’ Stone Quarters and composed beautiful letters to his wife revealing his loneliness and love for her. During the Civil War, John C. Pemberton, now a general, commanded a Confederate army in Tennessee and had the dubious distinction of surrendering Vicksburg to U.S. Grant.

New England poet Henry Longfellow based his long narrative poem, in part, on written accounts of Henry R. Schoolcraft, an Indian agent who recorded information on Indian legends and culture while residing at Mackinac’s Indian Dormitory during the 1830s.

Edward Everett Hale wrote his”Man Without a Country” while sitting on the porch of the Mission House.

In the late 1880s Constance Fenimore Woolson, a popular novelist and close friend of Henry James, wrote her best-known book, Anne, which is the story of a young girl and her exciting adventures on Mackinac Island. Anne’s Tablet on the Fort bluff commemorates Woolson, as does nearby Anne Cottage.

Mark Twain, on an international tour to recoup his fortunes, visited Mackinac during July 1895 and lectured at Grand Hotel. According to his memoirs, Twain was paid $345 for this speaking engagement.

In 1946 after World War II MGM filmed a romantic tale of lost and found love called, This Time for Keeps starring the famous swimmer Esther Williams and Jimmy Durante.

In 1979 the Grand was again the setting for a romantic fantasy called Somewhere in Time, starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. Each fall the hotel hosts a reunion of fans enchanted by the movie. But love is celebrated by ordinary folks, too. Each Saturday from June to September many real-life brides takes their wedding vows at picturesque Mackinac settings.