Upon docking at Mackinac Island, we caught a four-legged taxi to The Grand Hotel. No cars are permitted on the island, which means work horses abound on the island. The Grand Hotel driver wears a black top hat, tall leather black leather boots, white breeches, and a burgundy-colored waistcoat with tails. The carriage itself has large wooden spoke wheels, windows, and is pulled by a pair of black horses decked out in black leather gear.
The horses’ clip-clop-clip-clop up and down the hills of the winding streets finally depositing us in front of The Grand Hotel’s steep red-carpeted steps. Schepler’s Ferry transported our baggage via horse-drawn carriage to the hotel prior to our arrival on the island. Shortly after checking in, our bags appeared outside our room door.
This was our third stay at The Grand Hotel; as a result, our room had been upgraded to a Category III Lake-View room. Two four-poster canopy beds coördinated with the brightly flowered wallpaper supplied a cheery greeting upon our arrival. Dorothy Draper’s protégé, Carleton Varney, the hotel historian informed us, decorated each of the 385 rooms differently in 19th century fashion. Each paint color is unique to The Grand Hotel.
The large geranium-motif carpet runs throughout the hotel [the geranium is the signature flower of The Grand Hotel]. In each bathroom, small bars of pink geranium-scented soap greet the guest, as does rosy geranium-fragranced body lotion. The lake vista, the brightly splashed wallpaper, comfy beds, and scent of geraniums wafting through the air calmed the senses.
We decided to partake of formal tea time in The Salon. My daughter chose a glass of pink champagne, and I the dry sherry. Our server, who was dressed in a crisp black and white uniform replete with a white headpiece à la 19th century servants, displayed before us a tasty repast of salmon, crab, ham, and turkey each served on crustless bread cut in the shape of hearts, circles, and rectangles. Another plate was laden with sweets and fresh cream. The tea itself was full-bodied.
We strolled around the grounds overlooking the Tea Garden where enormous greenery has been trimmed to resemble animals. A large fountain bubbled away as workers scurried to set up for a wedding to take place overlooking the fountain.
The promise of a fine weekend loomed large.
Ciao for now.