Q: What’s the weather going to be like?
A: Mackinac Island weather can be fickle; it could be 65 degrees and sunny in mid-October, or it could be snowing. Really. We’ve seen it do both over the years, so it’s best to just keep an eye on the forecast (and radar…the straits of Mackinac weather patterns change from minute to minute) and plan for anything. Bring a raincoat and/or umbrella, and layers of clothing to put on/take off if the weather changes quickly. Generally, the island stays an average of 5 or more degrees warmer in the fall than on the mainland; the Great Lakes soak up the sun’s heat all summer long, and being surrounded by the lake, the island reaps warmer-than-mainland temps late in the season.
Q: Are there taxis available?
A: Yes. However, downtown Mackinac Island is quite small and easily navigable on foot or bike (or on horseback, if that’s your thing). Most destinations won’t require a taxi. The Murray Hotel is smack dab in the middle of downtown close to the docks (about a 5 minute walk from the furthest dock), and the dock porters will take your luggage and/or instrument(s) to the hotel. If you’re interested in biking around the island, (which is only 8.2 miles all the way around, and a lovely, scenic ride) Mackinac Island Songwriterʼs Workshop has secured a discounted rate for bike rentals at an hourly or daily rate.
Q: What should I bring?
A: We’d recommend you bring your instrument(s) of choice (guitar, keyboard, ukelele, whatever), and clothing to cover anywhere between 35 and 65 degree temps. You can also bring a recording device to aid in your songwriting, and bring lots of paper and writing utensils, your laptop or tablet, anything that you use to write with. You’ll be using them a lot! You’re also free to bring any food items, beverages, etc., as well as your own bicycle (Shepler’s has a nominal fee for bringing bikes to and from the island on the ferry boats).
Q: What else is there to do on the island?
A: There’s a lot to do on Mackinac Island. We’d recommend checking out the MITB’s website (listed on our suggested links) and do some research. But, there’s horseback riding, golf, hiking, biking, art galleries, museums, and most of the retail shops will be having their end-of-the-season sales in mid-October, so you can score some great deals on Mackinac Island souvenirs, apparel, gifts and more. There’s also a ton of history to be explore on the island too, over three centuries’ worth. Check out the state park’s website (http://www.mackinacparks.com/parks-and-attractions/
mackinac-island-state-park/) for more information on historical attractions. There are also a number of bars/restaurants that feature entertainment at night. We’re planning an open mic night for Friday night (not mandatory), but Thursday and Saturday nights, we definitely encourage you to get out and experience Mackinac Island’s nightlife and local entertainment. It can be quite entertaining….;)
Q: I’ve been writing songs for a while, but have never performed in front of anyone before. Do I HAVE to perform my song/songs in front of people?
A: NO. Our Friday Night Live open mic night and Sunday Song Day performances are optional. You don’t have to do a darned thing other than write. Actually, you don’t even have to do that. ALL workshops are optional, ALL performance opportunities are optional.
Q: I have dietary restrictions. Can they be accommodated?
A: In your registration form, please clearly and fully describe any dietary restrictions/allergies you may have, and the Murray Hotel will do their best to accommodate them. There will also be many other food options available at the Murray Hotel, and elsewhere on the island (at an additional cost). HOWEVER….the Murray Hotel does make fudge (like many businesses on Mackinac Island), and uses nuts in their kitchens, so if you have a severe nut allergy, you should NOT plan on eating the meals prepared for participants that are included in the price of the workshop package. Again, there are many, many other food options on the island.
Q: Will there be cell phone service and internet/WIFI available?
A: Cell service on the island is quite good. Many businesses feature free WIFI, and WIFI is available at the Murray Hotel.
Q: What if I miss the last boat over to the island from Mackinaw City or St. Ignace?
A: Boat schedules are somewhat sparse in the fall, so be sure to get to the dock at least 1/2 hour (or more) in advance to park, drop off your luggage, and get your bearings. If you DO miss the last boat, there is air service from St. Ignace (in the U.P. on the north side of the Mackinac Bridge) by Great Lakes Air. However, flights are by reservation only (http://www.greatlakesair.net/906-643-7165). Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until the first boat in the morning. The LAST boat on Thursday, October 16 from Mackinaw City to the island is at 6:30 PM.
Q: If I get there early, can I check in early?
A: Check-in at the Murray Hotel is at 3 PM, but if you want to get to the island earlier in the day, you’re welcome to drop off your luggage/belongings for holding at the Murray. If your room is ready early, they’ll also check you in as soon as it’s available. Our Welcome Reception/Meet & Greet on Thursday, October 16 is at 8 pm. And, on Sunday after checkout (11 am), you can also leave your luggage/belongings at the Murray if you want to tool around the island some more.