Mackinac Island, Michigan


Let's start by getting the pronunciation of 'Mackinac' out of the way... it's pronounced 'Mackinaw'.

Mackinac Island is situated at the very northern part of Michigan.

The charm of Mackinac Island is accentuated by the fact that motorized vehicles have been banned on the island since 1898 leaving the bicycle, the horse and your feet as transportation options on this beautiful island nestled between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Ferry service runs from St. Ignace and Mackinaw City, Michigan on the hour.

Who knew that there would be a one hour time change as we traveled over the Michigan border from Wisconsin? Not us. We caught the last ferry within minutes of its departure.

Arriving on Mackinac Island during a brutal rainstorm wasn't all that bad. Being from Dallas, we hadn't seen rain in months so we were good with a little water but having luggage to lug, we hailed a cab... drawn by a couple of horses.
 Ahhhh, What a vision. Mackinac, how cool are you?

After arriving at our hotel, we geared-up for the rain and headed out to dinner at a little place called "Millie's on Main". Intrigued by the ad campaign throughout Wisconsin and Michigan for "Pasties" I had to experience one for myself. Sure enough, it was on the menu. Again, a pronunciation problem. Do I ask for a "pay-stee" or a "pass-tee". There was a difference and I was sure it would be huge. It's "pass-tee", said the friendly waitperson. Noted.

After calling it a night we were up early the next morning and set out on foot to explore the island

Walking through town, we couldn't help but notice that there was certainly a lot of horse (ahem) poop to dodge. But I guess that's part of the deal... manure vs. exhaust fumes. You pick.

The Grand Hotel

Schlepping up to the fabulous, ritzy and oh-so-proper "Grand Hotel" we approached the hotel entrance.

Signage made the dress code clear; after six pm, gentlemen were to wear a coat and tie, ladies were to be in dresses.

Before six? I think anything goes. A ten dollar admission fee was required to enter and it was well worth it. The fee helps with crowd control.

They say you have got to have dinner here but we travel light and were not suited for the evening dress requirement. Also, if you're in the right outfit, there is a live band nightly, cocktails and dancing.
The Geranium Room is the site of where I forced my sweet husband to enjoy afternoon tea with me. He reluctantly complied and it was lovely. Tea, teensy lady-like sandwiches, petit-fours and (this part cheered him up) sherry and/or champagne. He had both.
The most beautiful horses and livery service on the island. The drivers are suited formally, complete with top hats but the creepiness formal factor is enhanced when combined with shiny, dark enclosed carriages. 
View from the 4th floor bar
The garden. Try your hand at Bocce Ball, enjoy the horse and carriage topiary, the colorful geraniums and people watching.
The hotel lobby is covered in green and white stripes. A little busy but it worked.

A Lesson Learned...

With my shoulders back and my head held high, I rode The Grand Hotel's elegant elevator in my hoodie, sneakers and blue jeans looking for the 'heart' of the hotel - the restaurants, lounges, galleries and such. Surrounded by those in Dolce and Gabbana, Dior and the like, I refused to let them see me sweat.

When asked for my desired floor number, I confidently chose... "one, please" - like I knew where I was going. Strangely, it was then that I noticed 'P' level was between floors one and two. How odd that parking would be located between the main and second floors... My sweet husband piped up by saying "I think we want "P". With a side-glance and hint of smugness I said "Oh Honey, I believe that's Parking". With that, the doors opened on "P" and a smartly dressed fellow-rider turned towards me as he was exiting the elevator and said,  "It's the Parlor Level - I made the same mistake myself when I got here".

I suppose there is no reason to have a parking level on an island without cars, really.

The moral to this story is... "If you're in The Grand Hotel elevator on Mackinac Island and you don't know where you're going. Choose 'P'."

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