Dobsons 411

Hanging on for the ultimate ride--God's great adventure.
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Location: Oregon

The author of fourteen contemporary and historical novels, Melanie Dobson lives with her family in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Her latest novels are Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor and Chateau of Secrets. More info at

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Journey to Mackinac Island

The resort island nestled into a strait below Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is known by many names. Fairy Island. Land of the Giant Turtle. And my personal favorite—the island forgotten by time.

Due to a gale coming off Lake Michigan, my arrival on Mackinac Island was similar to my main character's arrival in my latest novel Love Finds You in Mackinac Island, Michigan. Because of the autumn storm, it was a long journey from Oregon three plane rides, an unscheduled landing in Saginaw due to wind and fog, a 180-mile midnight bus ride to the Pellston airport, a truck ride with a new friend at 3 a.m., and finally a bumpy ferry ride across the Straits of Mackinac. 

From the moment I stepped off the ferry and heard the clip-clopping of horses’ hooves along the island’s historic Main Street, I was transported back a good hundred years when the wealthy and their servants escaped the heat and grime in cities like Chicago and Detroit to enjoy the island's natural beauty and cool lake breezes. Mackinac Island is a place that time did indeed seem to forget.

The sun emerged the next afternoon, the winds calmed, and I savored the beauty of this island in all its glory. Mackinac is filled with natural wonder—forested hills, bluffs that climb three hundred feet above the shore, pebbly beaches, towering rock spires, an arched rock perched high above the lake, and hidden caves. 

There are no cars allowed on the island so I explored by carriage during the day and then late at night, I gazed at the thousands of stars flickering in the sky, reveling in the majesty of the Milky Way far from the village lights. I've never seen the splendor of our galaxy the masterpiece of our Creator so clearly in my life. 

I enjoyed  a five-course dinner including a wild mushroom pastry and fennel soup at the elegant Grand Hotel, and the following morning, I set out to find a light station noted on my tourist map. I biked the eight miles around the island, asked locals about an old lighthouse, and spent hours roaming through the quiet forest and the narrow lanes between the summer cottages. I found some abandoned buildings on the east side of the island, but never found this old light. None of the islanders I asked remembered it so I wondered "what if..." 

What if there was an abandoned lighthouse once hidden on the bluffs? What if the lightkeeper had been loyal to the United States when the British occupied the island during the War of 1812? And what if my characters in 1894 stumbled onto the mystery of his disappearance?

I hope you enjoy exploring the beauty and wonder and the mystery of Mackinac's history along with me in this story. The island forgotten by time...


Blogger Barb of the Tangles said...

I would hope you could bring your family back to the Island. We have gone there many times. The best time we've found is over Labor Day. The island isn't so full of people you can't move, but just enough people to make it interesting. You didn't say where you stayed while you were doing your research. I truly believe everyone should stay at the Grand at least once in their life. But I prefer the more laid back atmosphere of a bed and breakfast. At a B & B, people aren't trying to be who they really aren't. I really enjoyed your book and gave you a glowing review on Amazon.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Nise' said...

I am blessed to have visited this wonderful Island many times and love, love it. I agree with Barb, everyone should stay at the Grand Hotel! Loved the book!

6:22 PM  
Blogger Veronica and Daniel said...

What a special trip to a truly unique place :)

5:02 AM  
Blogger pol said...

Hi Melanie, loved your comments about the island it reminds me of Cumberland island in Ga where John John and his wife were married. I have not got to visit to either of these wonderful island but love reading about them.
thanks for sharing
Paula O(

7:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was an awesome book! I couldn't put it down!

3:50 PM  

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