I WAS a goofy kid of 8 when I first visited the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, a verdant, car-free isle nestled near the tip of Michigan’s mitten. But even then I recognized the storied 19th-century resort was something special. Stark white and sprawled on a bluff, the Queen-Anne-style pile seemed like an apparition from a bygone era—a universe away from the drab prairie-hugging bungalows of my Chicago suburb.
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