In early June, my family and I fulfilled a long-term dream. We went to Mackinac Island in Michigan and spent the night out on the Island. Before I go any further, I need to tell you a few things. First, it is pronounced MackinAW, not MackinAC. The locals will get on your case if you pronounce it wrong. I know, I know, it makes no sense, but that’s just the way it is.
Second, we stayed at a pretty nice place called Mission Point Resort. It was kinda hot when we got there, and when we got into our room and tried to turn on the air conditioning, we discovered that the air conditioning was a ceiling fan and an open window. Thankfully, my husband is an environmental controls specialist and he used his magical skills to reverse said ceiling fan so that instead of blowing the hot ceiling air DOWN on us, it sucked UP the slightly cooler floor air and thus sorta cooled the room. Also thankfully, within a few hours of our arrival, the weather became much more Michigan-like and our room got almost chilly.
Third, never, never, ever, ride your bike or walk through a puddle on Mackinac Island. There are no cars, only feet, bikes and horses. The horses are the reason for avoiding puddles. They may not be composed of water if you get my drift.
Fourth, the downtown part of the island smells worse on a warm day than the French Quarter in July. For the reason, see third above.
Fifth, the locals call tourists Fudgies. I don’t think I like that.
Sixth, the place is lousy with spirits and I don’t mean booze.
The first night we got there, we were riding our bikes out along the path that runs all the way around the Island. We were out in what we called the “country” although an argument could be made that the whole place is the country. All of a sudden, coming toward us was a guy on an old fashioned bike. It was one of the ones with the HUGE front wheel and the little tiny back wheel. He was dressed in old fashioned golf clothes and he had one of those little wool caps with the bill on it, pulled way down low over his eyes. He was hauling you know what and we were in awe, because our backsides were screaming from hours of bike riding and we could barely move. We looked right at him, and he completely ignored us. Didn’t look in our direction, just kept going on that cool old bike.
So the second and last night (only two nights, because as I read yesterday in a magazine, budget travelers should stay on the mainland) we were there, we took a ghost tour. That girl walked our bike injured butts all over the place, and finally, at the second to last stop at the bottom of a hill in one of the neighborhoods, she told us about a fatal bike crash from the early 1900’s in which a guy on a big wheeled bike died on that hill and has since been seen riding his big wheeled bike in his ghostly form on the trail that goes around the perimeter of the Island. Needless to say, the four of us literally almost fell over. The ghost guide proceeded to tell us that we were the first people to see him this summer.
The last stop of the night was at OUR RESORT. It told the story of a bunch of poor little waif kids who had been neglected and died in an old building that is now used to house summer employees. We were going to go down to the lovely lawn that is next to the lake and sit for a bit in the Adirondack chairs there, but alas, the sighting of the Big Wheeled Bike Ghost right up the path from the lawn, proved to be too much for a certain short member of our family to process and we went on back to the room.
Did we see a ghost? I can’t say for sure, but we had NOT heard the story of the ghost until after we saw it/him, and when we told the ghost guide about what we had seen, we asked if anyone on the Island had a collection of those bikes and she said no. Although it is comfortable to deny the existence of things that are not easily seen that doesn’t mean that those difficult to see things aren’t there. Just as there is no proof that ghosts exist, there is also no proof that they don’t. I WOULD recommend however that if you get the chance to go to Mackinac Island, you should take it. There is a lot to do, it is like stepping back in time, and you just might see a ghost 🙂