I didn’t tell the whole truth; we went to Mackinac Island for a long weekend. I’m not one of those nervous souls who frets constantly about getting robbed, and I normally don’t have a problem with announcing when I’m going to be gone for a while. But this was a short stretch, and I just imagined telling the police officer, both of us regarding the kicked-in window, “Well, yes, I guess some people knew we were going to be gone…Who?…Um, well…”
The fact is, most criminals are pretty stupid. The few who aren’t probably don’t get their targets from reading blogs, though. But you never know.
However, it was time to introduce Kate to her adopted state’s most famous tourist trap, and the last weekend in July seemed the perfect time to escape lower Michigan’s heat and breathe in the clear, cool air of the straits. Uh, no. The heat wave followed us there, not as bad as downstate but plenty bad in a place that is, by and large, without air conditioning. (Even the hotels.) We slept on top of the covers and sought out shade, but still had a good time. The picture shows Kate getting in the local FTF spirit, i.e., Fleece the Fudgies. We didn’t stay at the Grand Hotel — and thank God, since it requires men to wear ties in public areas after 7 p.m. — but one of our last outings was to climb the long hill and see the famous veranda. I figured on being shaken down, but choked on the price. I would have paid $12 for the three of us, but that’s $12 per person. They employed a nice lady in black linen to enforce the perimeter. Forget it. This is why websites were invented.
We stayed here. No huge complaints, other than the vague not-quite-rightness that comes from spending three nights in a place where the prime directive is not “Make guests happy” but rather “Maximize profits.” I’m sure running a hotel, let alone a resort, is complicated beyond belief, but it seems that once you make the prime directive pleasing your customers, a lot of the rest falls into place. Instead, the place was staffed by seasonal help from overseas (we saw this phenomenon at Cedar Point last summer, too), all of whom behaved as though making a decision without upper-management approval would be met with immediate flogging. The food was merely OK, the in-room shampoo the worst ever, and the fan provided for our room — an absolute necessity in the heat — wouldn’t reach the window from the closest outlet without running the cord across the main drawer in the dresser, and then just barely. The maid, from eastern Europe, didn’t understand what an extension cord was. And, in the great tradition of the island, admission to the five-story tower that offered such nice views of the water was extra. Five bucks a head, in fact. To climb some stairs and look around. Please.
But the place had one huge asset — the Great Lawn. Two football fields dotted with comfy Adirondack chairs facing the lake. Even in the sun it was tolerable, as it caught the breezes that always seem to pour through the straits, no matter what the weather. Alan bought Kate a kite, and they flew it Saturday and Sunday:
(That’s Alan, being supportive in the background.)
We had a nice time, but came home poorer. But isn’t that always the story, even for short vacations?
I did some reading while I was up there. A book review, of Scott Smith’s “The Ruins,” coming sometime tomorrow.