Imagine a place where you could step back in time, where the pace of a little town aligns with the slow clip clop of horse hooves and calm, rippling waves of the lake. Mackinac Island, Michigan is the very picture you hold in your mind.
Located in Lake Huron, near the Straits of Mackinac (pronounced Mackinaw), it is accessible by ferry. Stunning views of the Great Lakes are all around you. As horse and buggy and bicycles are the only modes of transportation available on the small 8 mile radius island, everything moves at a slower pace. Experience the serene pleasures of waking up to the sound of birds, lapping water, and the ever present rhythm of horse hooves at a gentle canter as they carry passengers from place to place.
Victorian houses grace the streets at every turn. Some are still private vacation homes, some house businesses, and others have been turned into lovely bed and breakfasts or small hotels. Island House is one such hotel.
Island Hotel is the oldest hotel on the island, built in 1852 as a resort. Once located on the banks of Lake Huron, it was moved 300 feet back from the water for expansion and now overlooks the Mackinac Bay. The hotel has been lovingly restored and renovated and is a Michigan Historic Landmark.
Guests of this beautiful little gem will enjoy majestic lakefront views from the dining room and front porch, nightly bonfires, indoor/outdoor hot tubs, on site bike rentals, and historic charm at every turn.
The “crown jewel” of the island is the Grand Hotel. Widely known for the setting of the movie “Somewhere In Time”, The Grand Hotel has a following all of it’s own. This magnificent building boasts the largest front porch in the world at a glorious 660 feet long!
The red geranium is a common decor theme and 1,375 of these trademark flowers can be found in planters along the famous porch.
The sweeping grounds include lilac bushes, 18,000 tulips, fountains, walking paths, and of course, geraniums. Inside, the lobby boasts bold colors and patterns with great murals at either end.
Long formal dining rooms, gift shops, children’s play areas, “Somewhere in Time” memorabilia, incredible golf course, and a darling ice cream shop are among the many attractions offered.
The amenities seem boundless but the most impressive facet of this hotel is the transformation it makes each afternoon as they prepare for the formal evening which begins at 6:00. The red carpets going up to the main entrance are vacuumed, the brass on the railings is polished, all of the flags hanging from the porch roof are straightened to hang perfectly.
From 6:00 on, formal wear is required on the Grand Hotel property and the guests enjoy a slow paced meal served with an attention to detail that is rare. Truly this is a “grand” experience as only The Grand Hotel can provide.
The sweet little town itself offers gift shops, restaurants, and the absolutely ‘must-stop’, fudge stores. Rent a bike and ride the 8.2 scenic miles around the island, take in a round of golf, sight-see the Grand Hotel and other attractions in a horse and buggy or simply look for beach glass along the waters’ edge.
Whatever you choose to do or wherever you choose to stay on this lovely island, the tranquil, restorative influence will accompany you. Step back in time for a few days, visit Mackinac!