By the time you read this, we will be back from another trip to Mackinac Island, one of the most unique resort areas in America, and not just Michigan. Mackinac Island is located in the Straits of Mackinac and between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan and alongside of the Mackinac Bridge which spans the two peninsulas. Probably the most unique aspect of the island is that there are no automobiles, other than a police car, a fire truck and an ambulance, but there is an airstrip for private planes, but no fueling or service facilities. The three modes of transportation on the island is by foot, bicycle and by horse. It is very odd to see a UPS truck on a barge off of the marina, and the truck is unloaded onto horse drawn drays for the final part of the delivery. Tourism, hotels, bed and breakfast inns, restaurants, bars all await everyone once they either use the commercial hovercrafts or have a private boat in the marina, though I did see the cruise ship that now plies the Great Lakes anchored off of the marina as well. I guess I should mention fudge, there are more fudge manufacturers on the island, than anywhere else I have ever been to. My Bride goes there for business and I get to tag along and we seem to stay at two different hotels at opposite ends of the downtown district and they are also the two biggest to handle the business requirements for most meetings that tend to want to have a resort setting.
Mission Point has a storied life on the island as it was founded by Jesuit priests only fourteen years after Plymouth Rock. There was a Mission House, a church, a school and a hotel there over the years. There were a couple of different colleges that were there, in fact most of the original dormitories, now house the seasonal employees that work in all of the businesses. There was even a film studio there, but just for a short period. Now Mission Point is a sprawling complex of hotel rooms and suites, banquet and business rooms, restaurants, bars, putting greens, a theater, a pool and spa, shopping and I am sure that I missed some of the other amenities.
The Grand Hotel was originally a joint venture of three transportation companies and the hotel was opened in 1887 and has since been formally recognized as State Historic Building, then placed on the National Register of Historic Places and finally a National Historic Landmark. The hotel is famed for having the largest porch and offers a grand view of the Straits, and it was on the porch that Thomas Edison first presented his phonograph. The hotel actually charges non-guests a fee to wander the hotel and the porch, and some complain, but I think they are showing compassion for their guests. It is also the only establishment on the island that requires gentleman to have a coat and tie for dinner in the main dining room, a lovely tradition and they will also remind men to remove their headwear upon entering the same room. If someone doesn’t want to dress for dinner, there are several other restaurants on the grounds that are not that formal, and they also serve a high tea on the grounds of Fort Mackinac. I have written about many of the restaurants at The Grand Hotel.
When we were on board the ferry getting to the island, I was excited to hear that Mission Point had a wine bar, but I guess that was premature, though The Grand Hotel does and it is called the Audubon Bar and they have an excellent wine list at the hotel. I have never seen a complete wine list for Mission Point, but I have encountered many different wines while we have been there. Both of the hotels also feature “house wines” that one encounters for group events. At the Grand Hotel I have encountered a Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon made by Trinchero Winery of California. A Semi-Dry Riesling by Chateau Grand Traverse and a Blanc de Noir Sparkling wine by L. Mawby Winery all from Michigan. I found a Mission Point Cabernet Sauvignon and a Chardonnay made by Free Run Wine Company of Napa Valley, but the wines carried a California AVA. I also found a Mission Point Late Harvest Riesling made by Black Star Farms with a Michigan AVA. I might add that we found all of the House Wines enjoyable. This time we stayed at Mission Point.