This place is like taking a step back in time, and if you have never been there, you really must make a point to visit Mackinaw Island! (And trust me, this place is so special that you'll want to keep going back year after year!) **Mackinaw Island is a resort island covering 3.8 square miles, located in Lake Huron between Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas.
The Grand Hotel, (built in 1887), has the world's largest porch- spanning 660ft.! It is the most visible building on the island that can be seen from very far away! Some interesting facts on this historic hotel are:
*5 United States President's have stayed at the Grand Hotel: Clinton, Bush, Ford, Kennedy, and Truman.
*Over 130,000 guests stay at the Grand Hotel every season!
*2 movies were filmed at the hotel: "This Time for Keeps" in 1947 & "Somewhere in Time" in 1980.
*The Grand Hotel staffs over 100 employees in the kitchen alone- serving a whopping 4,000 meals per day!!
But, besides all of the incredible history, parks, shopping, and many other activities the island has to offer, what Mackinaw is really famous for, is the fudge!! I don't know of a Michigander that has not heard of, (nor tried), this famous confection. You don't necessarily have to travel to Mackinaw Island, or Mackinaw City to purchase it, but it's a must if you do! I was fortunate enough to visit there this past weekend with my Girl Scouts, and we had the best time EVER, and most beautiful September weather!!! Although I stopped in a few fudge shops on the island, (there are 17 fudge shops on the island alone- not including all of the fudge shops in Mackinaw City!!!), I decided to make my purchase from the island's oldest and "original" fudge shop- "Murdick's". This year, the business celebrated 127 years of making their world famous fudge!
Back in 1877, a German couple by the name of Henry and Sarah Murdick, moved to Mt. Clemens, MI, and opened their first candy store there. Within the next 10 years of that first store, they slowly migrated north- opening stores in Marine City, as well as Petoskey. Their son Rome, had been 1 of the 300 men to construct the Grand Hotel on the Mackinaw Island, and it was his suggestion that the family open a store on the island! (I'd say he had a pretty ingenious idea!!) So, taking their son's suggestion, Henry and his wife opened the island's first candy store- "Murdick's Candy Kitchen" in 1889, right downtown on the main strip. In the beginning, they made a wide variety of candies, and were the first ones to design their store so that customers could see how the candies were made! (This was invaluable for linking their sales to the candy-making process.)
In the 1890's, Henry turned the business over to his son Rome, so that he could return to his own passion of boat building. Rome was a showman, and it was his idea to make fudge commercially, and use the marble slabs for production. Making the fudge up front in the store on the marble slabs was not only beneficial for sales, (as it was a "show" for customers who were interested to see how the confection was made), but also for adding a unique flavor to the fudge. And the rest is history!! This candy-making process has been passed down through the generations of the Murdick family, and is still owned, and maintained by the family. They also have other family owned fudge shops in Charlevoix, Traverse City, and Sutton's Bay.
So, although Fall is here and the tourist season is coming to a close on the island, it's never too early to start planning your next vacation to Mackinaw Island for next year!! (I know I am!!)
**For more information on the products available, go to: www.murdicksfudgeshoppe.com
**Watch the video below to see the process of making fudge!!