I grew up in Michigan before we transplanted to California many years ago. [Okay, not that many…]

We lived in the LP (Lower Peninsula), just under an hour outside of Detroit. My Grandma lived in Alpena, and every summer my Dad would drive us up there for a week or longer. I loved summers in Alpena, because it also meant we would visit Mackinaw.

Mackinaw City on the northernmost tip of the Lower Peninsula is connected to the Upper Peninsula by the famous Mackinac Bridge: This five-mile suspension bridge is the third longest in the United States, and 12th longest worldwide.

Mackinac Bridge [Photo courtesy Danny O’Rourke]

I remember once as a child, Dad parked the car as he decided whether or not to make the drive: The winds were blowing fiercely and we watched the bridge sway and lightly billow above the waves of the Straits of Mackinac.

There are so many wonderful memories of visiting Mackinac City and the Bridge. But the one memory I’ve yet to make is staying at the Grand Hotel.

Have you seen the movie Somewhere in Time starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour? It was filmed at the Grand Hotel. It’s such a romantic, historical location. Such a beautiful movie. I highly recommend it!

So imagine my jealousy I mean jealousy I mean thrill for Danny and his family when I heard they were making the drive across the Bridge to take the Ferry (cars aren’t allowed on Mackinac Island). I begged for a plane ticket photos and they obliged. Until I get there myself… I’m living vicariously through their story and these photos.

“Let’s see. What did I like best? That’s easy. Sitting on the world’s longest covered porch (660 ft) in a rocking chair, sipping a beer and looking out on the Straits of Mackinaw. It wasn’t a terribly relaxing weekend (a LOT of walking) so that brief respite was delicious.
I would take Mackinaw Island in the fall over any other time of year. First off, the rates are much lower. It’s also much less crowded. And the colors. Oh, the colors.
Laura and I marveled at the fact that we’ve been all over the world, but this was only her second time on the island. And she’s never seen the other side!
The smells are awesome. Whether it’s the ubiquitous fudge shops, the many restaurants or just the crisp, clean smell of fall. Even the horses leave an odor that makes you smile and think “Pure Michigan.”
My favorite island sound? The clopping of hooves. Hearing it right outside your hotel window is magical. It made me wonder if there is a relaxation cd with that sound. I would love to fall asleep to that every night.
The shops are so eclectic ( I bought juggling pins in one, a green Guinness soccer jersey in another) so there’s something for everyone.
And whatever form of recreation you prefer, it’s all there. Walking, biking, hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, golf. No cars, skateboards or roller blades, though.
I could go on (haven’t even talked about history which is, for my money, the richest part of the island) but I won’t.”

Grand Hotel [Photo Courtesy Danny O’Rourke]

After arriving at the Hotel, they checked into their room

Room 366, Grand Hotel [Photo Courtesy Danny O’Rourke]

With a stunning view of the Straits.

Straits of Mackinac [Photo Courtesy Danny O’Rourke]

Even the hallway is ambient.

Hallway, Grand Hotel [Photo Courtesy Danny O’Rourke]

Being the sometimes-food-blogger that I am, I craved details on their indulgences.

Big Porch Ale from the Cupola Bar [Photo Courtesy Danny O’Rourke]

They teased me with their breakfast menu.

Breakfast at the Grand Hotel [Photo Courtesy Danny O’Rourke]

The world’s longest porch, at 660 feet in length, offered them an opportunity to relax in the quiet atmosphere.

World’s Longest Porch [Photo Courtesy Danny O’Rourke]

This stunning view off the porch shows the lengthy drive.

Porch View, Grand Hotel [Photo Courtesy Danny O’Rourke]

As automobiles aren’t allowed on the Island, the preferred methods of travel are walking, bicycling, and even these gorgeous horse-drawn carriages.

Horse-Drawn Carriage [Photo Courtesy Danny O’Rourke]

This time of year, the Island’s natural beauty comes alive with autumn leaves coloring every horizon.

This image was taken from inside the Cupola Bar. The seating reflections make it look like there are displays in the trees.

Mackinac Island, MI [Photo Courtesy Danny O’Rourke]

This gorgeous view of St. Anne’s Church encompasses the surrounding beauty as well.

St. Anne’s Catholic Church, Mackinac Island [Photo Courtesy Danny O’Rourke]

I specifically asked them to capture the Rooms featured in Somewhere in Time: 117 and 416. To my dismay, there is no Room 117 but Room 416 has since been designated as the Somewhere in Time Suite.

Exterior, Room 416 [Photo Courtesy Danny O’Rourke]

Somewhere in Time Suite [Photo Courtesy Danny O’Rourke]

The Hotel itself is simply stunning. It’s been a haven for commoners and celebrities alike for over a century.

The Grounds, Grand Hotel [Photo Courtesy Danny O’Rourke]

Surrounded by natural beauty and kept in a fashion reminiscent of Days Gone By, the Grand Hotel is definitely on my List.

The Lawn, Grand Hotel [Photo Courtesy Danny O’Rourke]

The Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island [Photo Courtesy Danny O’Rourke]

And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!

You may also enjoy reading:
Dear Michigan…
Destination: Mission Inn, Riverside, CA
Dear Amy, I’m Just So Sorry For Your Loss.



The Real Reason I Didn't Write Today
"What's the Word?" Wednesday: October 24, 2012
Sweeten my tea and share: