7278 Main St., Mackinac Island, MI 49757
If you’ve watched our show, you know that I like to horse around, and there’s no better place for horseplay or work than Mackinac Island. The horses there literally make the island run, and other than bicycles, they’re the only form of transportation on the island during the tourist season. The island means everything to these horses, and these incredible animals mean everything to Dr. Bill Chambers. Dr. Chambers owns and operates Mackinac Island Carriage Tours, and his family’s been handling horses on Mackinac a lot longer than they’ve been selling fudge there.
They started giving carriage tours of Mackinac Island way back in 1869, and in 1948 the carriage men of the island officially established Mackinac Island Carriage Tours, Inc. The founders of Mackinac Island Carriage Tours have had a very important role in making Mackinac Island Michigan’s most popular tourist attraction. It was the carriage men, led by their president, Thomas Chambers (Dr. Bill Chambers’ great grandfather), that petitioned the Village of Mackinac Island to ban the automobile from the island. Today, Mackinac Island Carriage Tours, Inc. is the world’s largest, oldest and longest continually operated horse and buggy livery, with approximately one hundred freight and passenger carriages put in motion by over four hundred horses.
These horses are very well cared for. They’re fed well, brushed, rested, given top notch medical treatment and treated with great respect. Heck, most of them even get to vacation in the U.P. during the winter. I’ve done that. It’s fun!
I think the horses will always be my favorite thing about Mackinac Island. When you travel by horse, it forces you to slow down and gives you more time to think. Which, for me, is a bonus!