Drummond & Mackinac Islands

 

Fishing and hunting are popular on Drummond Island, but bird and bear watching suffice many families who make nightly outings to the garbage dump to see the wildlife dine. Eagles, ospreys, owls,hawks, seagulls, and bobcats are all in evidence as are deer families who regularly cross The Rock golf course where geese, ducks, prairie dogs, loons, and pheasants are also seen. Pet rabbits at Domino's Lodge will beg for food on their hind legs like dogs and will eat out of your hands. Happily,skunks and porcupines have never made it across Lake Huron. Here, too, mushrooms, berries, morel, wild strawberries, and raspberries proliferate.Tom Minnick, who has presided over the resort for the past five years, lives on this island with his family and his Airedale, Pepperoni. Minnick can be very helpful with all sorts of information you may need about the island. His phone number is (906) 493-1000.Country club attire is the dress code from day into night. Says Minnick, "You can wear combat -boots around here and no one will take notice." The Lodge also has facilities for meetings of up to 150 people. For reservations call 1-800-999-6343.
 

Mackinac Island (pronounced Mackinaw) is unique and perhaps the most enchanting resort in the United States. Known for its Victorian ambiance and absence of motorized vehicles, it has fully earned its national treasure status.I flew in from Detroit, landing among an exclusive group of private jets on a 3,500-foot runway where I was picked up by horse-drawn taxi for a 20-minute ride through serenely beautiful parks and vistas. You can stay at one of dozens of charming bed-and-breakfast inns along Lake Shore Boulevard, or you might choose the Old World elegance of the famous Grand Hotel, featured in Somewhere in Time starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. The newly refurbished Grand Hotel has even added a wing to accommodate several hundred more guests (despite being one of the most expensive hotels on the island), giving ample proof that people who flock there to beyond capacity know its value is worth every cent.


Those (disadvantaged unfortunates) who don't stay at the Grand are so curious about its lavish Victorian interiors totally redone in flowery splendor by Jimmy Carter's White House decorator, Carleton Varney, that many of them will wait on line to pay for a tour of its palatial interior, dine in one of its splendid cafes or dining rooms, and rock dreamily on its world-famous 700-foot-long porch lined with white rocking chairs, American flags, and a telescope. Those who rock side by side range in age from 1 to 90. Your rocking mate might be a babe in arms or a strapping fellow just in from a jog around one of the island's many gorgeous paths or a Jacuzzi and swim in its magnificent Olympic-sized Esther Williams pool. One could easily miss all the fun
things to do in town by the water front, because every aspect of this total resort complex is so delightful, catering to your every whim and need. Guests have almost every imaginable desire fulfilled in its charmingitishops and boutiques-from homemade fudge (the island makes about a million pounds a year)in Carleton's Tea Store, to clothing, to a vast assortment of gifts, children's and adult activities, Shakespeare readings, and movies. Sail into afternoon in the 15 deluxe Grand's parlor with high tea accompanied by piano and violin, then go dancing or have cocktails at
the charming canopied Cupola Bar atop the Grand, which offers panoramic views of the Straits, Mackinac Bridge, and the Village.

 The bird's-eye spectacle takes in the hotel's manicured flower gardens and fountain where its third-generation owner, Dan Musser, took his wedding vows.Dress is as casual as you want to be all day at the Grand, but come 6:00 p.m. all men must wear coats and ties, and all women must be in dresses. Many guests opt to dress in Victorian style in keeping with their surroundings.One day a light lunch may include raspberry soup outdoors on the golf greens under a shady tree at The Grand Stand; the next day you can order a choice of four appetizing picnic basket lunches to take along for an uninterrupted golf game or to the beach on your rented bicycle or horse and buggy. When dining indoors, you may choose the Grand Buffet in the huge, cheerfully appointed main dining room; the Geranium Bar with its needlepoint chairs; or Carleton's Tea Store, which children love. For an. easy day at the pool, the Pool Grill's chef will grill your meal in front of you. Not far from the Governor's Mansion is the Fort Mackinac Tea Room, which has one of the island's best views of the yacht harbor-most wonderful during yacht races in July and August. The Grand Hotel also serves complimentary coffee to guests in its huge, beauteous parlor every morning at 6:30 after an optional bike ride on 45 miles of bike trail, a morning fun run, or exercise class prior to its six-course complimentary breakfast (which has the added perk of freshly squeezed carrot juice on its vast menu). This is not the place to come if you're on a diet!


The hotel's complimentary five-course dinner in the great,

 

            Pictures and story by Bettina Cirone