MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. (WLUC) – “It’s more than fudge, horses and tourism. There is a vibrant community here that is here year round, and it’s like a big family.
Bailey Manninen did not intend to make Mackinac Island his home. She came to the island for a summer job and expected to leave after two weeks.
It was three years ago.
“And I haven’t left since!” she laughed.
Manninen said she came to the island on a soul-searching mission.
“I was so homey and I was so nervous because I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with my life,” she explained. “I was between two classes, trying to choose a major. And I was like, honestly, what I gotta do is gotta get out there and gotta find out who I am. And I need to understand what I want to do, and who I want to be. And I didn’t leave, and I found myself and found such a wonderful community to be a part of, and I’m not planning on leaving anytime soon!
She said island life taught her to be grateful and to simplify.
“Getting things here is such a problem,” Manninen said. “I mean, every purchase is very important at this point, because you have to have it with you to transfer it to your home.”
Now she wants others to know what it’s like to live there. Manninen started a Youtube channel, posting videos of island life in winter.
Then she started posting on TIC Tac and now has more than 310,000 subscribers worldwide.
“A lot of these people come back year after year, and they never see Mackinac Island in winter,” she said. “Being able to experience this and being able to share it with people around the world, people who love Mackinac Island, has been such a privilege. So having TikTok is such a good tool for education and for everyone.
It also helps visitors plan their trips. She created a Patreon Account, a way for “content creators” to offer paid subscription services, so people don’t feel overwhelmed when they get off the ferry.
“I created an anxious travelers guide for Mackinac Island,” Manninen explained. “I give all the details about what to expect, the noises, where the nearest restrooms are, how far out of town things are, and I really want to give everyone that much information. on where they are coming from, so that they feel comfortable and they can really enjoy it.
She also helps people make Mackinac Island their home, showing them what it’s like to live on the jewel of the Great Lakes.
“We have built such an amazing life, and now we are part of this community,” she said.
According to the Mackinac Island website, there are approximately 500 year-round residents on the island.
Manninen also said residents love the winter season as they can slow down after the busy tourist season and spend more time together.
Copyright 2021 WLUC. All rights reserved.