September 7, 2016
Afternoon Tea at the
Mackinac Island Grand Hotel
As Grande Mariner approaches Mackinac Island, the magnificent Grand Hotel can be seen sitting proudly on the hill with its lively yellow striped awnings, thousands of red geraniums lining the porch and the dozens of American flags blowing gently in the breeze. It is one of the first destinations passengers desire to see, as they disembark our vessel. They look forward to sitting on one of the hotel's famous white rocking chairs, where they can overlook the Straits of Mackinac on the world's largest porch (660 feet to be exact) and watch as the horse drawn carriages make their way to and from the hotel entrance, dropping off the island's curious visitors. A national historic landmark and identified as Travel & Leisure's 500 World's Best Hotels, just a visit to the hotel is worth the trip. Since it opened July 10th, 1887, celebrities and politicians have stayed in it's eloquent rooms, decorated by the best New York designers of the time when room rates began at just $3 a night.
The Ballroom still hosts a variety of black tie affairs, with live bands and couples practicing their best fox trot. If you have been feeling rusty, dance instructors are around on the weekends to give you a quick lesson before the evening commences!
The famous American author Mark Twain lectured in the Grand Hotel in 1895, along with visits through the years from U.S. Presidents such as JFK, Truman, Ford, Bush, and Clinton. Hollywood wasted no time featuring the unique charm of the hotel in several films, such as Somewhere in Time starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Plummer and the 1947 film This Time for Keeps starring Jimmy Durante and Esther Williams (today the hotel swimming pool is named after her!)
After touring the hotel, Blount passengers sit down for an afternoon tea, a tradition the hotel has kept alive for over 100 years. In addition to drinking tea, guests can also enjoy sherry, champagne, finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and an array of pastries, all while listening to the sounds of a chamber music recital along side the lively dining room.
By Rachel Kampersal
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