Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mackinac Island

With Geared for the Grave out Dec 2,

I thought I’d give you a tour of Mackinac Island, and to help things along here’s a map of the place.

Mackinac is an eight-mile-around chunk of land where Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron and is a throwback to the turn of the century...and I’m not talking the twentieth century.
You get there by ferry. No motorized vehicles, scant WiFi and cell service, two golf 9-hole golf courses, and 18 fudge shops. Holy cow!

I used all the streets, stores and a lot of the people who own and run the stores on the island in Geared for the Grave. I added some of my own shops to suit the story but the rest of the places like the grocery, the newspaper, blacksmith shop, medical center are for real.

The island is made of the bluffs and the town. The bluffs have huge Victorian houses (SeeFar) referred to as cottages that are nothing like where Red Riding Hood met the wolf and way more like where the Rockefellers hang out. The bluffs overlook the town that consists of two streets, Main Street and Market.

There are two directions on the island...up and down and down is waaay easier!

There is no Wal-Mart but there is Doud’s Market the oldest family-owned grocery in the US and probably one of the cutest and well stocked. They even have a place in the back where you can get a slice and a cup of soup. Delish! (and wait till you see what happens there in Geared for the Grave!)

There is a police station that is in the Town Hall that also houses the courthouse. Very efficient!

The Grand Hotel is a short trot up Cadotte. The front porch is two-football fields long...the longest porch in the world. All 385 rooms are different and themed. Thomas Edison, Mark Twain, lots of US Presidents and even Vladimir Putin have stayed at The Grand. You must “dress” for dinner and High Tea is scrumptious!

The Governor’s House is stone and clapboard and overlooks the lakes. You can take tours when Mr. Governor is not home hanging out in his jammies.

The Pink Pony is a bar as is the Mustang Lounge right off Main Street. The Stang is the watering hole for locals and has amazing fried green beans...veggies my way! Mustang named after a prop airplane and not the horse. It has a neat jukebox, a big yellow propeller on the wall and euchre tournaments. Euchre is a big deal on the island.

In keeping with the turn of turn-of-the-century theme there is Fort Mackinac where they fire the cannon...scaring the crap out of the tourists...when they raise and lower the flag. And, yes, everyone stops, faces the fort and puts hands over hearts. Very moving.

The Blacksmith Shop is on Market complete with forge and anvil and lots of hammering. The Yacht Club is on Main Street overlooking the harbor.

There are well over a hundred horses on the island to get people and stuff around. They are taken off the island via ferry in October and brought back in the spring. Bicycles are a way of life and all over the place.  Yes, this is how your luggage gets to your hotel!

When the ice “makes” there is an Ice Bridge to the mainland that the islanders take snowmobiles across...brave people...the “safe path” marked with their Christmas trees.  

There are 500 fulltime residents on the island, they have their own Island School and the winters are not for the namby-pambies of this world. The island has a ton of festivals...Lilac, Jazz, Fudge, Horse, etc. that are always packed full of fun.

Mackinac is a family island, an escape and the best place ever to kill someone off and ditch the body! Hope you have a great time visiting in Geared for the Grave. And remember...what happens on Mackinac stays on Mackinac.

Duffy Brown

Geared For the Grave
First book in the Cycle Path Mysteries
Berkley Prime Crime
December 2, 2014