Mackinac Island Hospitality: Eco-Tourism in Michigan

| 11/29/2013 12:33:00 PM

Tags: eco-tourism, bicycle tourism, Michigan, John D. Ivanko,

With every quaint clicky-clop of the horse-drawn carriages and bicycles whizzing back and forth downtown, we’re not surprised that the lodging options and cuisine of Mackinac Island, Mich., reflects its historical past. Nearly every experience, given the charm of the place, came with stairs to climb, real metal keys needed to open doors, and, sometimes, bats to shoo away (there’s a zillion more bats than people residing on the island).

That’s not to say what my family and I experienced lacked the travel comforts many are accustomed toMackinac Island Hospitality these days (AC included). But every bag of luggage, marked with hand-written notes (not barcodes), was delivered by horse-drawn carriage or balanced on top of bicycle handlebars.

My family and I discovered that those in the hospitality business on this small island (Read Part One, “Where Cars are Illegal: Eco-Tourism on Mackinac Island, Michigan”) showcase the best of the past, blending it perfectly with modern sensibilities and, by default of it being an island, an ecological awareness to protect and preserve exactly what the millions of visitors come to see and experience every year.  Plus, we discovered a few restaurants at Mission Point Resort that serve up uber-local Lake Huron whitefish in a tasty and big way.

Mackinac Island Lodged in History

Opting for a break from the hustle of Mackinac Island’s downtown and feeling that getting dressed up just to eat dinner at The Grand Hotel required too much formality for our tastes, we settled in first at the more laid back Mission Point Resort at the quiet, eastern end of downtown – about a fifteen minute walk from the ferry docks. Its inviting Great Hall, resembling a sixteen-sided tepee constructed in 1956 with 50-foot long Norway pine trusses harvested from nearby Bois Blanc Island, reflects the history of the site before it became a resort in 1988. Cozy fireplaces in the Great Hall, plus Main Lodge and Straits Lodge, were likewise built from limestone quarried on the island. Using local building materials was the norm, in the old days.

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