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A Michigan island escape, Drummond Island

Published in the Battle Creek Enquirer

Drummond Island is a little too big to be kept a secret, but if you’ve ever visited this jewel of a place, a ferry ride away from St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula, you might want to try. With 136 miles of shoreline, 40 inland lakes and 50 outlying islands, it offers a wonderful Northwoods getaway. Even I might find it hard to keep secret the largest freshwater island in the United States.

We arrived at the ferry in a drizzle of rain, but the sky cleared up as we landed on Drummond Island. Our destination was the Drummond Island Resort, billed as 2000 acres of “woods, water and wildlife.” If you are looking for a rustic, woodsy experience, this is the place for you.  Lodge rooms are a bit dark given the log cabin nature of the place, but they are large and comfortable. Ours had a loft and skylight with twig furniture and golf décor. Fear not, those connected to your laptops; Wi-Fi was also available at the Lodge.

I was immediately attracted to spending some quality time in the wooden sauna, but others might want to first book a tee time on the Resort golf course, The Rock, an 18-hole championship experience (I was told). The Great Room offered large leather chairs and couches, perfect for sitting and reading if the weather didn’t cooperate.  The resort provided free kayaks, canoes, tennis, volleyball, horseshoes, bikes, ping pong and board games, although all I wanted to do was take a slow walk in the woods. They also have a bowling alley for those so inclined.

Lunch was next on the list of activities, and we decided to venture out to the Gourmet Galley International Marketplace and Delicatessen, known for its milkshakes and mile high apple pie. My husband was drawn to the 1/2 lb. hot pastrami sandwich, which was big enough to split. The rye bread was perfectly fresh and surrounded a mound of pastrami and sauerkraut. He was also pleased to see some 300 different wines in the gourmet shops along with hundreds of other ‘must have’ condiments. The Marketplace and Deli is also the place to get your coffee fix, offering a full range of lattes. I was not sure where dinner would fit after the sandwiches and pie, but perhaps some exercise would help.

Shopping was my first choice for exercise. We started at Sune’s Dry Goods and Grocery, a mini-department store complete with groceries. These Drummond Island folk sure like to eat well! Sune’s (a Finnish forename pronounced “SOON-eez”) was started by a family of the same name in 1938 and is now run by the fourth generation. You need it, they have it, including a complete line of Woolrich clothing (women’s, men’s, blankets, slippers, hats, gloves).  North Haven Gifts was our next stop, with 2700 square feet of island mementos including some outstanding locally crafted jewelry.

Returning to the resort, it was time for dinner. Thank goodness we had a second day so I could get some use out of the bike I rented. We decided to eat at one of the two restaurants at the resort, The Bayside.  How could we skip the local whitefish cakes with a lemon citrus aioli as an appetizer? Perhaps some trout or a rack of lamb with a whipped rosemary-mint butter to follow? Everything was delicious.

The brisk air made me sleepy, and no one would play a board game with me, so it was time for bed. Tomorrow would be the day to try out the bike on one of the many trails, and to finally get that walk in the woods.

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