“Corn Nutty Professor”
Story Behind the Name
Corn nuts are the official snack food of UTR (at least, until someone buys that sponsorship package).So when we hit the road for Jackson, a spilled bag of corn nuts got Tom thrown out of the UTR mobile with Eric and Jim. Then he hopped the Amtrack with a duffel bag filled with Corn Nuts, those spilled, and that’s what got him thrown off the train, just in time to hit Jackson. NOTE: Corn Nuts are easier to vacuum up than sand, but it feels like a waste of salty, corny goodness.
Most of us are used to seeing Michigan’s beautiful Mackinac Island in the summer when everything is green and lots of fudgies are having tons of family fun in the warm summer sun, but we decided to hop on the ferry, brave the winter winds and find out what it’s like for the five hundred people who actually live on the island year round.
On the blustery boat ride over, we were lucky enough to run into the Mackinac Island girls’ high school basketball team. While we were going on an adventure, they were simply going home. In just a few short minutes, these kids told me how much they truly love living on the island. You’d think that nowadays, kids that age would feel isolated or cut off from modern pop culture, but with the Internet and today’s modern modes of communication and transportation, these kids are as connected as anybody. Probably more than me!
Once we got onto the island, what surprised me was how different this place is when all the tourists are gone and the traditional fudge and souvenir shops close down for the winter. The island turns back into a small community. But lucky for the locals, if you still want a good meal out, the Mustang Lounge and Cawthorne’s Village Inn are open year round.
An even bigger surprise for me was the fact that even though motorized vehicles are normally not allowed on the island, in the winter, things get real, all bets are off and the snowmobiles are on. It’s how the islanders get what they need during the long, cold winter months. It was so strange to see entire families go zipping by in the snow on their snowmobiles.
As for Mackinac Island in the winter, if you want to meet the real people of the island, this is the best time to go there. Sure it’s cold, but life in Michigan is an adventure. And besides, the warm welcome you get will totally make it worth the trip.
This was my very first trip to Jackson, and after spending some quality time there, it won’t be my last. The city’s that walkable size I love. There are plenty of great shops and eateries, and the classic big city architecture you’ll find makes you feel like you’re in a place where cool things happen.
So, if you’re looking to get locked up in a classic Michigan experience, take the Jackson Historic Prison Tour. And if you’re looking for a cool Michigan city to explore, take the train to Jackson. Or drive. It’s totally up to you.