Spring in Michigan signals the beginning of the season on Mackinac Island, a vacation getaway that mixes the down to earth feeling of Nantucket with lots of old world charm. And, let’s not forget, plenty of fudge.
It was my first trip to this island, which is located between Lake Huron and the Straits of Mackinac. The only way to get there is by boat. My friend Lisa and I took Arnold Transit from Mackinaw City to the island. The boats are large and comfortable and it was only a 15 minute ride from Mackinac City.*
It doesn’t take long to realize that this island is different from any I’ve been to. There are no cars, only horses and buggies to carry both luggage and people to the hotels. It was a throwback to the past and I almost wished my cell phone didn’t work (it did, even on the ferry).
Our next few days would be spent at the Mission Point Resort. It offers a variety of accommodations as well as a golf course, spa, swimming pool, hot tubs, tennis courts, croquet, three restaurants and even a movie theater. It was all spread out nicely on 18 acres.
We had the beautiful three bedroom Great Lakes Suite in the main building. It would make an ideal apartment for an extended family vacation. I claimed the master bedroom, which had a large bathroom with a Jacuzzi. The views from our large wrap-around balcony were also just magnificent and we warmed up with the fireplace in the living room.
After the long drive and a short exploration, we decided to stay put for dinner at the Round Island Bar & Grill. White fish is a local favorite and we started with a tasty whitefish dip and Mojitos. Lisa had the grilled flat iron steak for dinner and I made a wise choice with the sweet pulled pork sandwich.
We enjoyed a few interesting cocktails at the Round Island Bar and the Martini Bar before heading back to our rooms.
Our second day started with a great buffet breakfast at the resort. We then walked down town and shopped a bit for souvenirs — and fudge. One of the things Mackinac Island is known for is fudge. There are over a dozen different fudge shops and I found it to be my duty to check them out!
Now, I’m a serious chocolate lover, but I felt the need to try some of the more exotic offerings. At Mays, Lisa and I both fell for the blueberry. At Sander’s, the staff favorite was the Mackinac Mudslide and I couldn’t disagree. Joann’s, where they are also known for brittle (the peanut was great, but I really loved the cashew), the caramel sea salt was perfectly balanced.
I fell for the Pistachio Pecan at Rybas and the Bailey’s Irish Cream at the Murray Hill Hotel fudge shop. We watched the double chocolate being made at Murdick’s and had samples of this excellent treat before deciding we had enough.
We took a carriage tour around the island and learned about its history, which included visits to Fort Mackinac, and various spots that were shown in the film Somewhere In Time, starring the late Christopher Reeve and filmed on this island.
Since there were no cars on the island (there are a few vehicles used in construction), we did lots of walking and almost got rid of the sugar high and calories as we made our way back to the resort.
We had our final dinner at the Chianti Restaurant in the Mission Point Resort. The open window provided a beautiful view and the piano in the background made it a special way to end our girls getaway. For our appetizers, Lisa had the Black & Blue Flatbread, a tantalizing combo of shaved beef and gorgonzola cheese. I had delicious Herb and Goat Cheese Mushroom Polenta. Our main courses where Surf and Turf (crab and sirloin) and ricotta gnocchi in a braised beef ragu.
The meal ended with a dessert we both love… Crème Brulee and we vowed to go home and diet – until the next trip.
*Due to the massive cold that hits the area, the ferry only runs from the beginning of May until the end of October. Service is also offered from St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
After many years as one of the top tennis writers in the country, Marcia Frost now devoting most of her time to travel writing, with a focus on food, wine and spirits. She has her own blog at WineAndSpiritsTravel.com and does weekly columns for Inspirato on Sonoma and Paris (two locations she visits often). Marcia also freelances for many other outlets, including Yahoo!; AOL; Michigan Avenue; Rum Bum; Los Angeles Confidential; Travel, Food & Drink; and Air Tran’s Go! Magazine. She has been contributing to Girls’ Getaway since 2010. For more information on Marcia, visit her website MarciaFrost.com.