Oh my goodness! It’s been a week since I’ve written, and the days have been so full it seems more like a month! Over the last eight days, Ted and I (and Bear and Maddie, of course) have enjoyed fun days at Black Lake with Sue and Terry (and Brinkley and Ruby), spent two nights on Mackinac, eaten well (with not nearly enough exercise to make up for it), and slept like babies. The weather has been AWESOME, with daytime temps in the 70’s and nights in the high 50’s and low 60’s. Sleeping with all the windows open is SO peaceful, and the few times it’s rained during the night the sound of raindrops on our little cabin’s roof is like having someone sing us a lullaby. Dreamland!
When the Grand Hotel invited me to write a guest blog about the Woods Restaurant, the invitation included an overnight stay at the Grand – something Ted and I had never done. When the Woods blog is published on their website, I’ll make sure everyone gets a link; but in the meantime, I’m excited to share our stay at the Grand and the rest of our island visit!
I can always count on Jill to meet the ferry when we arrive on Mackinac!
We arrived on the island a day early so I could go to a fun “girls only” porch party on Tuesday night. After checking into the Lilac Tree Suites and Spa (our first stay there also – highly recommend!), our first stop was the patio at the Chippewa for lunch. I’ve always loved that “Real World/Mackinac Island” sign – makes me know I’ve arrived at a place where worldly current events can be temporarily ignored!
After the porch party I met Ted back at the Pink Pony (imagine that) to listen to Myk Rise sing and play guitar. The Pony is always THE spot to be for an entertaining evening.
On Wednesday morning we slept in (no dogs to take out and feed!), then just walked around downtown – chatting with friends we’d see on the street, checking out a few new shops (and favorite old ones), and waiting for check-in time at the Grand.
As many times as we’ve walked or ridden up this hill on our bikes or by taxi, it was never with the purpose of staying at the Grand – but on Wednesday it was!
We checked in and followed the bellman to our room . . . .
. . . and what a room it was! When Carlton Varney, president/owner of Dorothy Draper & Co. Inc., one of the oldest established interior design firms in the United States, was commissioned to totally redecorate the Grand Hotel in the 1970’s, he vowed to incorporate every color in the magnificent Grand Hotel gardens into his design. The hotel, whether public spaces or private rooms, is a testament to how Varney – also known as “Mr. Color” – fulfilled and continues to fulfill that design.
Our room was spacious and beautifully decorated, and when we drew back the drapes across one side of the room . . .
. . . this was our view! A screen door opened onto our second floor balcony, and when we stepped outside . . .
. . . the wonderful view of the Straits of Mackinac and the West Bluff expanded.
As I began to unpack what I planned to wear that evening, a knock on the door sounded, and there stood a Grand staff member with a beautiful bouquet of flowers . . .
. . . and a gift basket of wine, wine glasses, fruit, cheese and crackers – compliments of the Musser family. Talk about making a girl feel special!
Our evening at the Woods was fantastic (more to come on that in the future on the Grand Hotel blog page), and we were back in our room early enough to watch the last rays of sunset from our balcony.
A group of late-night diners head out to the Woods on the shuttle . . .
. . . and a lone ferry approaches the turn toward St. Ignace.
We were up early for breakfast, served in the Main Dining Room, and a treat for the eyes as well as the palate!
After breakfast, with a couple of hours to spare before we were to check out, we walked through the parlor and out onto the porch. Carlton Varney’s touch is seen everywhere . . .
. . . and the colors he incorporates make for that “WOW” factor wherever you look. To the left is the entryway to the Grand Hotel Ballroom where an orchestra plays nightly for dancing, and to the right is the entrance to the Audubon Wine Bar.
No matter how many times we’ve stood or walked or rocked on the Grand front porch, it never fails to impress!
At 660 feet, it is still the longest front porch in the world, and every inch is lined with flowerboxes filled with live, brilliantly red geraniums.
We truly hated to check out Thursday morning, but leaving was made easier when I got to visit with sweet friend Molly McGreevy, who rode her bike down to the Grand to say hello.
Molly looks awesome!! In her own words: “I’m almost halfway through chemo. If I hadn’t been delayed by the staph infection and subsequent kidney failure brought on by antibiotics, I would have been done with chemo last month. But, I have to count my blessings as I did get better and so far I’ve had relatively mild side effects. Other than fatigue and being short of breath sometimes, I feel pretty good.” So glad to share this happy news!
It was going to be 5:30 before we could pick up Bear and Maddie at the kennel, so after ferrying back to the mainland, we took a chance and rode by Burton Nelson’s place in Mackinaw City. Burton’s wife, Chris Ann, was a dear, dear friend who lost her battle to pancreatic cancer on March 4, 2013,and the last time we saw Burton was at her memorial service that summer.
Burton is living fulltime now in their little cottage by the bridge that Chris Ann loved so much. Although he’s had some heart problems in the last couple of years, he’s doing great now, and we had a wonderful visit reminiscing about Chris Ann and chatting about what he’s been doing since we last talked. LOVED seeing him!
FUN AT BLACK LAKE!
We have another eight days here at Black Lake with the Conlons, and we’re looking forward to each of them. Whether we’re reading in the swing by the lake, floating off the sandy beach,
. . . taking the pooches for walks through the woods . . .
. . . enjoying 5 o’clock Happy Hour, or just hanging out in the cabin, the last two weeks have been filled with relaxation, fun, good food, and great people!
Oh – Terry and Ted have been on a couple of memorable kayak adventures, but that’s a story for another day!
Leaving the Red Bridge on the Black River and hoping to find their way back to Black Lake. Three hours later they did!
See you back here soon! God bless.