By Mary Anna Violi | @MaryAnnaVioli
The long-awaited vacation finally came to pass. Two years of no summer vacation had taken a toll. Last summer’s thwarted trip to Kentucky’s thoroughbred horse and whiskey trails was due to my egregious back issues that resulted in my staying home ingesting copious amounts of prescription pain pills. All the pain, plus more in other forms, had only whetted the appetite for this summer’s holiday. This summer’s vacation sounded grand, in part because I indulged in staying at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, one of my favorite places. At The Grand, the tenor is as relaxed or as active as one chooses. High Tea, mandatory dressing up for dinner with men and boys in suits or sports jackets, and women and girls in dresses or skirts, dining in the elegant Salle a Manger with its five-course dinner menu, overlooking the world’s longest porch and the Straits of Mackinac, is a sublime experience. After dinner dancing in The Terrace Room to a live jazz band helps work off The Grand Pecan Ball dessert.
I quickly adapted to The Grand’s rhythm. What I didn’t adapt to was the oppressive heat and humidity like I had never experienced in previous stays up north in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In fact, I opted for revisiting The Grand because the weather appealed more than that of Charleston, NC’s in August. Even wearing a long-sleeved linen shirt and straw hat I got sunburned on the ferry ride from St. Ignace to the island. After purchasing SPF 50 sunscreen, I ventured out in the 90 degree heat with its 97 percent humidity for a walk along the shore. My apparel choices were Capri pants topped with a long-sleeved white shirt and my stylish, yet practical straw boater hat. I returned to The Grand resembling Sebastian the Lobster from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” Generous amounts of lotion applied to the affected areas, which were many, helped, sort of. Still, I refused to let sunburn sabotage my vacation.
In an effort to avoid further sun, I stuck to The Grand, which is filled with boutiques, art galleries, events, and a new retro-ice creamery [I highly recommend the root beer float]. There is even now The Grand Sushi [very tasty] next door to The Grand’s Gatehouse eatery at the foot of The Grand’s hill. Rocking away while reading in the white rocker on The Grand’s Porch, and ordering a drink from The Geranium Bar relaxed me. My heart felt lighter than it had in the past year. More High Tea and champagne, listening to one of the harpists from the Ginger and Spice Duo, dressing for dinner, dancing the night away after dinner all combined to make the days pass much too quickly.
Meandering through Petoskey on the return trip, exploring the Serendipity Boutique and the Horizon Bookstore and Cafe in Cadillac, deciding to dine at the Clam Lake Brewery, enjoying the lakefront, and staying the night in Cadillac, helped soothe the sad heart that had bid adieu to The Grand Hotel. Upon last night’s late return home, after looking at myself in the mirror, I realized I had sun poisoning. This explained the fever, chills, nausea, and overall weird feeling I had. In spite of the pain and discomfort, I would not have exchanged the days at The Grand Hotel for anything. Dreams of The Grand next autumn warm my heart and strengthen my resolve. Bring on the aloe vera gel and ibuprofen to heal my fair skin!
Ciao for now.