Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Grand Anniversary at The Grand Hotel

My parents just celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary and we recently spent a spectacular vacation together as a family at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.

This magnificent hotel is celebrating it's own 125th Anniversary this summer, so it seemed perfectly suited for our 4 day/3 night getaway.  My parents splurged and chose this intimate family get together instead of a party to honor the milestone and I'm so glad that they did.  We all absolutely had the time of our lives!

Typically, my family visits Mackinac Island each year for a quick day trip including the always awesome ferry ride, lunch, fudge shopping, and an energizing bike ride around the island.  Regular "fudgie" type stuff.  But to actually stay on the island, overnight, at the most historic hotel in the State of Michigan was treat for us like no other.

I really got the feeling that this trip was going to be different on the "taxi cab" ride up the hill.  The dark red horse-drawn Grand Hotel carriages are truly special and my daughter and I got to ride up front with the driver.  "The pace of the island moves at the same pace as the horses...slow and steady," he told us.

I instantly felt the transformation as we watched the beautifully adorned black beasts work their way towards the property.  Ahhhh, vacation!

As far as the hotel goes, everything is top notch and first class.  Our rooms had private balconies with views of the Governor's Mansion, the golf course, and the main street leading down to town with the water behind it.  WOW!

The porch is perfect with the white rocking chairs, as expected, but the real surprise is the inside of the building.  The decor features an eclectic mix of striped wall coverings and dog-patterned draperies with a myriad of furniture styles that all come together in a perfect blend of timeless genius.
Here's my suggestion: if you see a strangely placed and oddly upholstered sofa or chair, don't question it.
Just take a moment, relax, and sit down on it!  It's amazing how everything just "works" here.

We spent our days on Mackinac Island doing everything!  The ten of us would eat breakfast together each day and then head out separately for daily adventures of golfing, sightseeing, swimming with sno-cones, bocce ball, shopping, and investigating.  We stacked rocks on the beach, polished off sundaes at the afternoon ice cream social, and conquered our fears at The Haunted Theatre.

But the place really transforms into another world at nighttime.  It was soooo cool to see the island empty out each evening, as the day-tripping tourists headed across the water and left us with the peaceful feeling of dramatic seclusion. 

We biked the island the first night, visiting Arch Rock and Skull Cave, under the moon and the stars and the BATS!  So many BATS!  The second night, a rain storm kept us trapped in the hotel and provided us with the most entertaining electrical display we've ever seen with lightning shooting sideways across the sky!  The third and final night found us walking under a full moon and playing glow-in-the-dark Putt Putt down in town at the Mission Point Resort before heading back up the hill to our sanctuary.

Although it made packing for the trip a challenge, I loved dressing up with the kids to head down to a formal dinner in the dining room each evening.  Our waiter, Winston, expertly served us adventurous 5-course meals while my Mom and Dad entertained us with stories of their courtship and their early days of married life.  Perfect.

Congratulations Mom and Dad, and thank you for the best family vacation we've ever had.
The time we spent together on this trip was precious.

And thank you to The Grand Hotel. 
You provided a better backdrop for our family's celebration than any of us could have ever imagined.

If you can, try to stay here at least just once...it's unforgettable!

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