We couldn’t find it in the gift shop or the deli. It wasn’t on the menu. Finally, we asked our server. “You don’t sell fudge here, do you?”
She laughed. “No, it’s good for the people in town who make it to make some money, too.”
A no-fudge zone on Mackinac Island? No problem. There is a distinct un-fudgie vibe surrounding Mission Point Resort. In local parlance, “fudgies” are the day-trippers who roam downtown, buy fudge, maybe visit the fort or a museum, and leave.
By contrast, our fellow guests at Mission Point were here to relax. A buffer of residential area separates the resort from downtown, and only the guest carriages and taxis come down this way. Perched along the Mackinac Straits, with an expansive lawn down to Lake Huron, it’s an oasis of calm on this bustling island.
We arrived, as planned, by bike. Beyond the sweeping drive where carriages dropped off guests, a bike parking area was just around the corner from the Main Lodge. Their rental fleet sat nearby.
Although it was built in the 1950s, the lodge at Mission Point feels much older. Solid support beams of Norway Pine, their bark stripped with draw knives, hold up the roof and form a giant teepee. The meld of wood and stone throughout the structure gives it a grounded, earthy feel, much like the grand National Park lodges of old.
If you see a border collie carefully watching the cavernous space, it’s Nick. Spending his time around concierge Pat Driscoll’s desk, Nick is one of the more important members of the grounds crew. While originally trained to round up sheep, Nick now rounds up geese. “He won’t chase ducks or seagulls,” said Pat, “although his herding instinct kicks in with joggers, bicycles, and small children.”
We found this a delightful solution to an ongoing problem for Great Lakes lawns: the unwanted deposits of visiting Canada geese. Let’s just say the lawns at the last two places we’d stayed didn’t chase the geese away, and the results weren’t pretty.
Not a problem at Mission Point. The shoes of kids, brides, and mini-golf players stay clean, even after dark during Glow Golf or stargazing on the Great Lawn.
Family is key to the success of Mission Point. Many of our dining companions were three generations vacationing together. John complimented a Canadian couple of how well-behaved their young boys were in the classiest restaurant on the property, Chianti. The granddaughter of the piano player sat with her dad listening to Grandpa play. We all oohed as a freighter slipped by at sunset.
The ambiance and measured pace of the meal let us relax after a busy day exploring the island. John raved about his filet mignon, the best he’d had yet. “I’ve never said this before, but I don’t want this dinner to end!”
We found the common spaces of Mission Point to be as pleasurable as the privacy of our own room, and spent a few hours kicking back in the library. It was delightful to see families pull out board games to play. Other folks read books. We kicked back in comfy chairs and talked, admiring the wooden kayak hanging over the barrister bookcases.
Built around a core of a college that had its own theater – which was featured in the movie “Somewhere in Time,” with many interiors from the film shot here at the former Film Studio – Mission Point also actively supports the arts on Mackinac Island.
The theater building houses an art gallery showcasing works curated by the Mackinac Arts Council. Guests are encouraged to visit the Richard & Jane Manoogian Art Museum in Marquette Park, with admission included in your stay. You can also view “Somewhere in Time” and other scheduled films at the theater as well.
As cyclists who’d come with our own bikes, we were thrilled that M-185, the loop road around Mackinac Island, goes right through the property. From our room, we could gauge when bike traffic was light or heavy.
Built on the bluffs, the hotel has a lot of steps and terraces. Even indoors. I was surprised at how much the Main Lodge rambled on in many directions. This meant a great deal of walking about, but that’s expected when you’re on Mackinac Island. Especially on a property with 241 rooms. We did see bike racks at numerous locations, although we kept ours close to the lobby.
It was three years ago that the Ware family took on Mission Point Resort as their personal mission. “We all have a love and appreciation of this property and we want it to thrive,” said Liz Ware, who serves as Director of PR. Other members of her family oversee various operational aspects of the resort. With more than $5 million dollars invested in renovations so far – both behind-the-scenes and in the guest quarters – the Ware family is taking the future of Mission Point Resort seriously.
Mission Point Resort is open from late April through the end of October. You can often find great deals on their website for their quieter weeks of the season.