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Movies in the Tea Garden

Our Family Added Value Days package has always been a big hit with families looking to get away in August before the kids return to school.  With daily Ice Cream Socials, complimentary Children’s Programs, nightly family friendly movies, free golf for anyone 17 and younger, and half off golf for adults, this package has something for everyone.

This season, guests staying with us August 17, 18, and 19, will enjoy an added treat with movies in the Tea Garden.  Great Lakes Outdoor Cinemas will be showing Frozen, Despicable Me 2, and Lego Movie on the big screen (weather permitting of course). Sitting on blankets in the grass, watching movies together is the perfect time for creating treasured family memories.  Life can be hectic, and families can lose track of each other, so we strive to provide opportunities to bring you back together, to slow down, and enjoy each other.  Hopefully, we will see you at the movies this August!

Gardening with Guest Blogger Stacey Hirvela

Today’s Guest Blogger is Stacey Hirvela, marketing specialist for Spring Meadow Nursery.  Stacey is one of the guest speakers for the 2014 Grand Garden Show featuring Proven Winners.

Gardening rocks! There’s no better complement to a beautiful Michigan summer than a lush backyard, bursting with color and life (especially after the winter we had this year). For me, that means a mix of flowers AND vegetables – it’s the only way to satisfy my plant geek side and my foodie side. I’ve been growing vegetables in containers for most of my gardening life and I share my experience and ideas in my new book, Edible Spots & Pots, published by Rodale this past March. In it, I cover the details of growing edibles in containers and raised beds, sharing tips and tricks to set you up for a successful, beautiful harvest. For example, did you know that the secret to growing good cilantro like you buy at the grocery store is to grow more than one plant, and sow seeds regularly? Cilantro naturally has a very short life cycle, so to keep a continuous supply, you have to sow seed frequently. When your cilantro plant goes to seed, don’t just rip it out right away. You can let the seed turn from green to tan and sow it and grow more cilantro, or collect it and put it in a glass jar – it is the spice, coriander!

Because I work for one of the partners in the Proven Winners brand, colorful containers are pretty much a way of life. So in the book, I adapted the popular thriller-filler-spiller method of composing fabulous floral combinations to vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. The book includes over 30 “recipes” for gorgeous and edible combinations, plus all the information you need to mix up any herb or veggie that you like to grow into your own unique combo.

But I’m going to need to leave my container garden in the care of my husband (who fortunately loves to garden as well) when I head up to the Grand Hotel at the end of August for the Proven Winners Grand Garden Show. I am so excited to go back and enjoy the grounds of the Grand and all of the gorgeous private gardens on the tours. And, I get to do my favorite thing – talk about plants and gardening – for three whole days! Last year’s show was amazing, inspirational, and so much fun. I mean, who wouldn’t want to enjoy a cocktail on that legendary porch in the company of P. Allen Smith, Jon Carloftis, and Jack Barnwell – three of the nicest, funniest, most talented gardeners you’ll ever meet? I hope you can find someone to mind your garden and take the time to escape with us. It really is an unforgettable experience!

P.S. Master gardeners ( can earn 5 educational credit hours for attending!

Gayle McCracken Trunk Show

Mackinac Market will be hosting a Trunk Show July 9-19, with products created by Stampin’ Up distributor Gayle McCracken.   Gayle has been with “Stampin’ Up” since 2005 and has won awards for her designs.  What started out as a simple hobby turned into a wonderful way for Gayle to share her creative ideas by holding classes in her community.  She now has her products for sale at a local shop, and sells her creations at local events and craft shows.

For this Trunk Show, Gayle has created a variety of fun Mackinac Island specific pieces.  She offers custom note cards as well as memory books, photo albums, and craft bags.  We hope to see you there!




Shelbie, Grand Hotel’s First Female Coachman

For the first time in its long history, Grand Hotel has a female Coachman driving the Musser family’s Hackney horses.  Shelbie Mosley was raised on Mackinac Island and has been around horses her entire life.  Shelbie’s love of horses and other animals has driven her to pursue a career as a Veterinarian.  She is presently in her last year of pre-veterinarian studies at University of Findlay in Ohio, hoping to get into Michigan State University to further her education.

This is Shelbie’s fourth year working at the Grand Stables.  As a very young girl she remembers visiting the stables and falling in love with some of the very carriages she now drives.  The Hackney horses Shelbie drives are used to haul the Musser family to various Island functions, they also frequently pull our wedding carriage, and transport some VIP guests on special rides.

Hackney horses are known as the aristocrats of the show ring. They have a very high knee action, high head carriage, and are natural showmen.  The carriages that are used with these horses are over one hundred years old, and many have a great deal of history on the Island.  Shelbie considers this job not only a valuable learning experience, but a true life experience, and something she can use in her further career.


Fort Tea Room Receives Certificate of Excellence

We are pleased to announce that the Fort Tea Room has received the 2014 Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor.  This award is especially treasured because it is the result of Tea Room guests providing “Excellent” reviews time and time again on Trip Advisor.

Located inside Fort Mackinac, the Fort Tea Room provides stunning views of Lake Huron, downtown Mackinac Island and Marquette Park, and The Jewel golf course.  Guests may dine outside under sunny yellow umbrellas, on the upstairs veranda, or inside, next to the real wood fire on a cool fall afternoon.

Open daily from 11 until 3, the Fort Tea Room is perfect for lunch, an afternoon snack, or just relaxing with an adult beverage or a refreshing lemonade while enjoying the view.  The menu includes soup, salads, sandwiches, personal pizzas, and if you are a Sloppy Joe lover this is the place for you! Piled high with oh-so-much deliciousness, it is a favorite of those who make the Fort Tea Room a summer tradition.

Next time you are on Mackinac Island be sure to include a trip to Fort Mackinac. After you have taken in a bit of history make a visit to the Fort Tea Room your next stop.  Daniel and his crew absolutely love it when new friends drop by.




A New Addition to the Grand Stables

The newest arrival at the Grand Hotel Stables is a Flandrau Wagonette Break (carriage). A Wagonette is a four-wheeled carriage with passenger seats running the length of the carriage and a high box seat for the driver and groom. It is equally appropriate as a formal summer drag or as a sporting and outing vehicle often times fitted with wine lockers, ice boxes and all the provisions for a picnic. This carriage is appropriately pulled by two, three, or four horses. A Wagonette was a favored carriage of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, to haul family and friends on less formal occasions.

Founder William Flandrau started the Flandrau Carriage Company in 1830 and ran it until 1868 when his son, A.S. Flandrau took it over and ran it through the 1900’s, in the mid 1870’s it was for a short time the largest retail carriage builder in the world. The company had a great reputation for extreme quality, which in a carriage of that day meant comfort, stability, durability, graceful contour and a thousand and one other little things.

President McKinley and Cleveland both preferred Flandrau carriages for their own use.

This carriage will be a great addition to the Musser Family’s carriage collection.

The digital folks just call it #MPC14

Jamie Michaelson, President of SMZ Advertising gives us a glimpse of what it is like to spend time at the Detroit Regional Chamber Policy Conference.

I just returned from the Detroit Regional Chamber Policy Conference on Mackinac Island. (#MPC14) This was my second year at the event and my first as a guest at the wonderful Grand Hotel. The weather was picture-perfect and the energy level was high.

It isn’t possible to summarize the entire conference in the space of a short blog post, but believe me, there is great optimism about the future of Detroit and the state of Michigan.

I am not actively engaged in state or local politics. For me, in addition to meeting with current clients, the policy conference was an opportunity to connect with business people we hope to work with at some point in the future. Similarly, it was great to sit in on the keynote and work sessions. I could say they were “nice” but that wouldn’t cut it at this conference. Governor Snyder made it very clear he doesn’t like – and we don’t have time for – nice meetings. We need to get things done and not be afraid of meetings with some tension and strong points of view.

The people who made the trip to Mackinac are dedicated and enthusiastic about advancing our state. The negative definitely took a back seat to the positive. (I was reminded that when riding a horse carriage it’s also best to take the back seat.)

Beyond the half pound of fudge I consumed, the following are a few tasty highlights of the conference:

While running the island loop a woman passed me running the other direction and she was having an animated conversation on her cellphone. These conference participants take connection seriously. On that same run I caught up with a gentleman I’d never met before. Turns out we live near each other and he runs one of the state’s largest law firms. Everywhere I turned was seemingly a bright spot.

Mayor Duggan spoke about how he’s working to rebuild Detroit. Not by tearing it down but by fixing up abandoned homes and making serious headway by installing 500 streetlights each and every week through 2015. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel when Mayor Duggan speaks.

Master storyteller Malcolm Gladwell addressed transformation and was honest by admitting right upfront that we Michiganders know more about the subject. Gladwell had the audience gripped with his global examples of the concept of transformation. Gladwell stressed, “the only advantage the underdog has is to out hustle the competition. It’s not about being perfect, but about getting things done.”

If you haven’t attended the Mackinac Policy Conference and are considering it the thing to know is don’t leave right before the Bourbon Night event. I did and from the looks on Twitter maybe I made a mistake. Oh, something to look forward to next year.

I must sign off with kudos to the tireless Grand team who make it look easy hosting a three-day event for over 1,700 people. Wonderful work, all!

Modern Technology in Surprising Places

Sure, we are going to be 127 this July, but keeping up with today’s technology is a priority at Grand Hotel.

Recently we have installed 20 charging station lockers in the phone booths located across from the Concierge desk in the Parlor.  Each locker holds and has charging cords for, old and new version iPhones and iPads, Android system tablets,  phones, and Blackberries.   Multiple phones or devices can be placed in one locker as long as they use different chargers.

Guests choose a locker and set their personal combination.  Items can be left safe and secure for as long as required, and if additional adapters are needed for devices not listed, these can be supplied as well.

We anticipate the charging stations to be a useful convenience for those guests who have forgotten or misplaced their charger.  Though we know, that never happens on vacation, right?







The Musser Suite – By Carleton Varney


Last week before the official opening of the 128th season Carleton Varney of Dorothy Draper and Company the interior designer for the entire hotel who has been working with the family since 1979 visited Grand Hotel to decorate and furnish our brand new one bedroom suite, the Musser Suite in honor of R.D. Musser, Chairman of Grand Hotel. Mr. Musser worked at Grand Hotel from 1951 until he passed away in April of 2013.

The suite features a bedroom with a king bed, seating area, wet bar, and separate parlor with spectacular views of the Mackinac Bridge and Straits of Mackinac. The Musser Suite is located at the West end of the 4th floor of the hotel in current attic space that runs the entire length of the front of the building. This suite is one of seven that will be completed over the next few years as part of the Cupola Suites.

With the final touches in place Mr. Varney has shared his design inspiration below in this week’s blog.  Mr. Varney also has additional information on

To see more pictures and reservation information please visit



The Grand Hotel – now into its 128th year – has added the Musser Suite, a living room/one-bedroom suite with a view over the Great Lakes and magical Mackinac Bridge.

This has also been the year of the publication of my book, Decorating in the Grand Manor, a design memoir I have dedicated to the memory of Mr. R.D. Musser, Jr. – a friend with whom I shared many years creating new ways to make Grand Hotel the finest summer resort in America. Today, I am happy, and fortunate, to be working with Dan Musser III, a gentleman trained in the wonderful world of hospitality, moving forward with new ideas and projects that will add glamour as well as ingenious contemporary standards to Grand Hotel’s standard of excellence.

I, in my 50 years of decorating, have always enjoyed working with the resorts that are privately owned, where every detail is carefully considered.

The Musser Suite has been styled to be one of the finest decorated projects of my career. the walls of the parlor have been upholstered in deep, rich, lilac purple damask and the carpeting, custom-woven in Connemara, Ireland, is a rich cream, scarlet red, aubergine and chartreuse open plaid. Draw draperies on the bay windows include sheers of a white silk stripe and over-draperies of aquamarine-like blue under valances of cream damask and lilac silk.

Furnishings in the suite are a medley of French designs with comfortable seating covered in floral print, combined with azalea red velvet and malachite green. The suite includes a wet bar/service area in the entry foyer as well as a king-size bedroom with walls covered in malachite and green wall covering and a white, tassel-design, wooden carved bed trimmed with soft lilac.

The suite combines the luxury that the Grand has always offered its guests – damask walls, custom designed carpets, crystal fixtures – with the simplicity and comfort of today. Deep cushy sofas, king size tassel detailed bedding and amenities, service bar, along with the beauty of color that Mr. Musser has always said represents the Mackinac Island style.
The Lilac Festival has always been a highlight of the summer season on Mackinac and for the Musser Suite, all the lilac colors have been incorporated, from deep purple to lavender and white.
Memorabilia from the collection of the late Mr. Musser is used for wall art and appointments.

It’s an amazing and elegant addition to Grand Hotel that I am sure you will enjoy staying in as much as I enjoyed decorating it.

Carleton Varney



Arts Weekend Theatre Program Announced

Rob RoznowskiToday’s guest blogger is Rob Roznowski, director of several film and theatrical productions, as well as Head of Acting at the MSU Department of Theatre.  

For nearly a decade the Michigan State University Department of Theatre has been official partners with The Williamston Theatre. The Williamston Theatre is mid-Michigan’s only professional resident theatre and operates under the rules of the Actors’ Equity Association. This unique partnership allows MSU students to work in various capacities at Williamston Theatre, including: design, acting, stage management and a variety of internships with the professionals at Williamston Theatre. We wanted to celebrate this exciting partnership with you at this summer’s 20th Anniversary of Arts Weekend at the magnificent Grand Hotel (June 27-29)!

Williamston Theatre’s Executive Director John Lepard (MSU BA Theatre), his wife, and Williamston Theatre Development Director Emily Sutton-Smith (MSU MFA Theatre) will perform A. R. Gurney’s LOVE LETTERS. The piece is comprised of letters exchanged over a lifetime between two people who grew up together, went their separate ways, but continued to share confidences. It will certainly provide an evocative, touching and frequently funny evening.

Grand Hotel audiences will also receive an extended sneak preview of the high-energy musical THE BIG BANG which opens July 10th at Williamston Theatre. (MSU Department of Theatre Chair, Kirk Domer, and Karen Kangas Preston, faculty, will be designing the set and costumes for this main production!) This hilarious musical is written by Boyd Graham and Jed Feuer and is directed by MSU Department of Theatre faculty member Rob Roznowski and stars Zev Steinberg (current MFA student MSU Theatre) and alum Matthew Gwynn (MSU BA Theatre).  This outrageous musical comedy highlights two wanna-be tycoons who are desperate to line-up funding for their new project – “The Big Bang”. They’ve set up a “backer’s audition” and you’re invited! With a cast of hundreds, the overblown extravaganza they’ve written is the biggest thing Broadway has ever seen and depicts the entire history of the world—from the formation of the planets right through the most important events—Adam and Eve! The Pyramids! Cher! This zany song-and-dance romp will leave you breathless!

Please join us as we celebrate the great partnership between the MSU Department of Theatre and Williamston Theatre at Arts Weekend at the Grand Hotel with two amazing evenings celebrating the captivating world of theatre!