Stochastic Bookmark

abstruse unfinished commentary

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Family Business

So, you think I'd resort to retailing startling revelations of a personal nature? Not part of my upbringing. Instead, I'll plug the gap between what this blog was and will be with an interludic infomercial about one of my favorite places, which not unrelatedly is in keeping with accommodating family business.

I mentioned Michigan as waystation in comments to my prior post; as such, it splits in two parts, not unlike the state. But one of them, Mackinac Island, nestles between the peninsulas, and between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. It is an exceptional place, off the beaten track (but then so am I, and hey, you're reading this), though it wasn't always: in colonial times, it was a fur trading center (where John Jacob Astor later got his start) and fort (contested in the War of 1812), later, a Gilded Age retreat for Chicago and Detroit fortunes; much of this history has been preserved. But the mode of preservation I appreciate most is the state park (originally national, 2nd one, after Yellowstone), which takes up 3 of the nearly 4 square miles of the island. No motorized (non-emergency) vehicles are permitted on the island, ringed by the nation's only "Motorless State Highway"; it's horses (a different sort of carriage trade) or bicycles if you're not walking. Or rambling, for which the park is ideal, naturally diverse, with well-maintained trails (bridle and bike paths too), not for serious trekkers. My favorite route [map, pdf] is up the hill to the East Bluff cottages, away from town to Robinson's Folly, then along the bluff past Arch Rock, cutting over to Sugar Loaf and up to Point Lookout, then back towards town via Fort Holmes (also excellent for stargazing), ending up at Anne's Tablet (commemorating Constance Fenimore Woolson, whose bestseller Anne was set on Mackinac), with the best view of the town and the straits outside Fort Mackinac. Only a tiny proportion of visitors to the island penetrate even this far.

My own history on Mackinac goes back to the 70's, when my father's hobby of amateur restoration, with limited means and less limited sweat equity (I have brothers), was satiated by rearranging a house on the island from condemnation to commendation. In the 80's it became one of the first bed & breakfasts on the many-hotelled island, and these days my brother's family runs it: check it out: next to Ste Anne's (no relation to above) Church, "a short but welcome 3 blocks from the bustling 1800's downtown", period furnishings (some say my sentence structure could use that; but I ramble), friendly attention, and economical (the brother's other gig is teaching AP Economics). Reservations: (906) 847-6244.


Blogger JAbel said...

Odd that Michigan also has a Mackinaw City.It's almost like some trappers had a falling out over the spelling one night over whiskey and the two camps split.As for the Island the first time I saw it was in the "Somewhere in Time" which I watched with the flu one day lying on a couch after I first moved to L.A. and it made me feel better.To this day I don't know if it was the sappy though well intentioned movie,the classical music in it,the beautiful shots of the Island or the fact he went back in time without a Geek smartass Dog or didn't call for Mr. Wizard when he got in trouble

9/7/08 03:35  

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