Monday, September 24, 2012

Mackinac Island Fun and Antiques Part 1

I mentioned a few posts back that our family had gone to Mackinac Island while our daughter was home for a month before returning to college.  My camera was fairly bulging with pictures from that day.  In fact I had to break this post into two parts and it's still really long.

I rarely share my family on this blog, but I thought I'd give a peek into this special day.  I also want to share pictures of some of the cool antiques on the island.  I've seen many of them before, but I have a new appreciation for them now.

Before I start, how about a little guessing game.  We saw this item in of the buildings, but there was no explanation of what it was.  I know it's hard to see.  It was encased in glass, so there is a lot of reflection.  Can you guess what it is?  The answer will be at the end of this post.

We (read I) panted and puffed our way up the long ramp to the fort, just in time to witness the firing of the canon, which they do a few times a day.  I didn't get pictures of that, because by the time we huffed and puffed our way there, it was completely surrounded.  We heard it, but didn't see it.  We did get to see this one in the upper floor of one of the blockhouses.  Jared loves hamming it up!

Immediately following the canon firing, there was a reenactment of infantry drills.  This represented the early years, when the American army had possession of the fort.  Soldiers would line up and load their muskets.

Then half of the line would move forward and fire.  

They would then reload while the other half ran forward to fire.  

Later on the fort was taken by the British without a fight, when the American lieutenant realized they were surrounded and surrendered.  The British held it until the end of the war, when the fort was returned to American possession once again.

There was also a drill of the Redcoats.  They didn't win the war, but they sure had style.  Look at those snazzy outfits!

These two were out of uniform.  Oh yes...that would be my sons!  I couldn't believe they got to handle the muskets themselves.
In between drills, we toured the various buildings in the fort.  The main building was the barracks, which houses several fun rooms for the kids, but my favorite room was the soldier's sleeping quarters.  This utilitarian room had a simple charm about it.  I love the pegs on the walls.  Can you imagine having a few pegs and one little shelf for clothing?  I doubt if it smelled very good in it's day.  I don't think wash day came very often, and with so little clothing...well you can imagine!

Check out those US bags.  Aren't they cool?  I'm not sure if they were man purses or what, but I'd love to have one.  

I didn't even notice this little doohickey on the pegs while we were there, but saw it in the picture after.  It's got a mirror in it, because it is reflecting the other side of the room where we were standing.  Maybe it was a shaving kit?  It looks like it has little pockets.  If anyone knows what it is, please enlighten me.  Inquiring minds want to know!

See that picture of the lovely lady perched next to the shelf.  I like to imagine it was a picture of some soldier's girl back home that he gazed at on those long, lonely and cold winter nights.

Oh look!  Maybe we can ask that fellow.  How rude...he wouldn't even look at me, let alone answer my questions!  Curious guy...he was in that same position when I was here last time...

Did you see the open trunk at the foot of the bed?  I've never seen one with divided sections.  Those pictures in the lid are girls.  I guess they are the Revolutionary War period pin-up girls.  Guys...phfttt! No wonder the guy wouldn't answer me.  The lights are on, but nobody's home ya know!

At the foot of the other bed is an amazing detailed stringed instrument.  I wish there was more information listed about what these things were.  It looks a lot like a guitar with no handle.  It was really beautiful.  

 In this same building was a fun section for kids that explained history in creative ways.  One room had period costumes to try on.  Jared was ready for action.

Jamie dressed Tyler up.  Poor Tyler...but as usual he was a good sport about it.  

Jamie didn't dress up this time, but she did last year when she invited me to go with her friends.  So turn about is fair play.  Personally I think she looks pretty darn cute in these duds!

Check out these good looking soldiers!

One room had an interactive TV.  You stood in front of it and a recording told you what to do.  It was supposed to be a drill, which quickly deteriorated into goofiness.

Dad's turn first.  I think he was brandishing a sword.  Either that or he's playing tennis...

Jared looks all serious at first, but...

That couldn't last long.  I don't know what he was doing, but it looks like he's about ready to backhand the sargeant.  I feel a court marshall coming on.

Then he goes all out and gets all Karate Kid on the guy. 

Tyler and Jared looking into the screen, following instructions...for about 15 seconds.  But hey, when my kids can learn some history while having fun...why not?
So, did you guess what the mystery object was?  Does this help?

 How about this?

If you guessed a bullet case, you are correct!  You get a five gun salute :)

That's enough for now.  I'll post part 2 tomorrow.  There are some really cool antiques and reproductions coming up, so stay tuned!

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