With another stunningly beautiful day, we returned via ferry boat to The Grand Hotel for lunch. Here is a brief history of The Grand:
In 1886, the Michigan Central Railroad, Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, and Detroit and Cleveland Steamship Navigation Company formed the Mackinac Island Hotel Company. The group purchased the land on which the hotel was built and construction began, based upon the design by Detroit architects Mason and Rice. When it opened the following year, the hotel was advertised to Chicago, Erie, Montreal and Detroit residents as a summer retreat for vacationers who arrived by lake steamer and by rail from across the continent. The hotel opened July 10, 1887 and took a mere 93 days to complete. At its opening, nightly rates at the hotel ranged from $3 to $5 a night (equivalent to $79.97–133.28 in 2016).
In 1957, the Grand Hotel was designated a State Historic Building. In 1972, the hotel was named to the National Register of Historic Places, and on June 29, 1989, the hotel was made a National Historic Landmark.
Walking up the main stair entry there are many American Flags adorning the porch along with thousands of Pelargonium geraniums.
The dining room was beautiful with linen tablecloths and a waiter for every three tables. It was a buffet with a huge array of choices. Smoked trout, prime rib, salmon w/ hollandaise, fresh fruits, cheeses, pastas, on and on. And the desserts! To add to the already eclectic ambiance, an extremely talented pianist filled the room with period music. At one point during lunch I actually starting tearing up!
Mark and I enjoyed a leisurely lunch then made our way out to the patio. The Grand Hotel’s front porch is the longest in the world at 660 feet in length, overlooking a vast Tea Garden and the resort-scale Esther Williams swimming pool. We sat in the rocking chairs for a bit and strolled over to the memorial garden. Now up to the Cupola for a panoramic view and a cocktail. I spotted the enormous chandelier as Venetian Murano glass the moment I saw it! Stunning…. The bartender was very friendly and after getting our drinks we headed up the final flight of stairs to the top. The view was magnificent! We lingered a while and talked with a sweet mom and her daughter visiting from Louisiana, sharing traveling stories. As it turns out they are staying the KOA down the street from us.
Alas, nothing lasts forever, and the dog is surely crossing his legs back home, but we have one more thing to see before we head back. I have to find the “Is It You?” monument down by the water. We walked down through the woods as we had done previously and there it was just a few yards from the path. I’m a happy camper 🙂