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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 carletonvarney.com.

To see more pictures and reservation information please visit grandhotel.com

Enjoy!

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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!

The Making of Hudsonville Grand Hotel Pecan Ball Ice Cream

When producing Grand Hotel Pecan Ball, the Hudsonville Team begins by batching ice cream mix using locally-sourced fresh milk, cream and a sugar blend. Once the mix is prepared and cooled to the proper temperature, it is brought over to the production room where we start by then making our famous Original Vanilla ice cream in specialized ice cream freezers.

At this point in the process, our ice cream artisans then add fresh roasted pecans into the ice cream at the “Fruit Feeder”- a hopper that perfectly blends the pecans into the ice cream at a computerized rate to match our special recipe. As the ice cream and pecans travel to the cup filler, we also blend a special-recipe Grand Hotel fudge sauce into the ice cream.

 At the filler, the cup, ice cream and lid all come together as one. After each container is checked for the proper weight, coded with a manufacturing date and put through a metal detector, it immediately enters our deep freezing system.

From start to finish, each carton of ice cream is produced and travels into the freezer in under two minutes! This ensures Grand Hotel Pecan Ball is made as fresh as possible, and then frozen fresh to lock in a rich, creamy taste and texture as quickly as possible so it can be enjoyed by everyone!

Click here to see the official Press Release.

The Musser Suite is taking shape

It is time to share an update on the Musser Suite progress.  Walls are up, and images providing a peek at the final look are taking shape.   Carleton Varney is working hard on the interior design, choosing rich purples, greens and reds for the walls and furniture.

The construction crew is busy putting up walls and windows, and the Musser Crest has been created for the doors of the suite.  The view from this room is stunning, even in winter.  In warmer months, guests of the Musser Suite will be treated to the lush green of the Tea Garden, along with 180 degree views of Lake Huron and the Straits of Mackinac.

For information on Musser Suite availability contact our Reservations Department at 1-800-33 GRAND (334-7263).

 

 

 

THE GREAT MACKINAC ISLAND TRAIN WRECK OF 1903

1903 Grand Hotel
Railroad Convention Buttons

The year 1903 had Teddy Roosevelt in his second full year as our President, the Wright Brothers made their first flight in the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, James Jefferies defeated John Corbett to become the heavyweight-boxing champion, and Ford Motors incorporated under Henry Ford. Detroit Tigers 28 year-old outfielder Jimmy Barrett led the American League in bases on balls and on-base percentage, but the Tigers would finish 25 games behind the Boston Americans, and missed a chance to be in the first ever World Series.  None of those events would be more memorable to Grand Hotel Manager Henry Weaver than the train wreck he experienced on Mackinac Island that year.

On December 10, 1902, the executive committee of the American Railway Master Mechanic’s Association and the Master Car Builder’s Association met at the Iroquois Hotel in Buffalo, New York to decide where the two organizations conventions would take place the following year. Delegates representing hotels from Put-in-Bay, Ohio; Mackinac Island (presumably Henry Weaver); Manhattan Beach, New York; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Denver, Colorado; Niagara Falls, New York; Atlantic City, New Jersey and Saratoga Springs, New York presented their proposals for the conventions at their locations.  The committee then met to discuss their options and agreed to an informal ballot. The results were Mackinac Island, 9; Manhattan Beach, 2; and Saratoga Springs, 1.

1903
Commercial Law
League Ribbon

The committee discussed their options further and then called for an official ballot with Mackinac Island gaining 10 votes to Saratoga Springs 2 votes. Mr. J.T. Chamberlain of the Master Car Builder’s Association called for a unanimous decision that Mackinac Island be chosen as the place for the conventions and the motion passed. Grand Hotel would be the headquarters for the Master Mechanic’s convention on June 17, 18, and 19, and the Master Car Builder’s convention on June 22, 23 and 24.

Henry Weaver, who was also the manager of Planter’s Hotel in St. Louis, was not off the hook. He had booked the Ninth Annual Convention of the Commercial Law League of America for July 27-31, and was expected to accommodate 400 of its members including commercial lawyers from every state, and all Canadian provinces. To lose out on all three conventions would be a tragic loss for Mackinac Island and Grand Hotel. Weaver learned from his mistakes, mustered his resources, and welcomed League President A. H. Weed and his delegates in July. The Pequa (OH) Daily Call reported on July 28, that “the convention was opened with a meeting of the executive committee at the Grand Hotel, a reception and a large party was a feature last night.”The League enjoyed their time at Grand Hotel in 1903, returned in 1908 and made Grand Hotel a celebrated location for many future conventions throughout the 20th century. Numerous organizations would go on to have conventions under the watchful eye of Henry Weaver who never forgot the Great Mackinac Island Train Wreck of 1903.

20th Anniversary MSU Arts Weekend

Today’s guest blogger is Kelly Salchow MacArthur, Associate Professor of Studio Art and Co-Coordinator of Graphic Design. Kelly will present Graphic Design: Elevated, sharing her experimental three-dimensional work in graphic design, as well as related work of her students’ during this year’s 20th Anniversary of Arts Weekend (June 27-29).

Graphic design is ubiquitous—a part of modern life at every turn. We see it in the form of corporate logos, traffic signs, event posters, movie titles, packaging, store interiors, magazine advertisements, bus schedules, phone apps and websites. Sometimes these messages grab our attention, but many times they are absorbed without much thought. As a graphic design educator, I challenge my students to create meaningful and ethical experiences with the tools of visual communication. The visual elements of color, image, line and shape can be combined to establish beautiful and memorable work—ultimately contributing to society.

But what happens when dimension is added to that list of tools? Most graphic design is presented on a flat surface (either in print or on screen). With the incorporation of volume, a whole new set of opportunities emerge—such as tactility, materiality, environmental space, and sequential experience of steps, amongst others. I came to this realization through my longstanding interest in architecture and industrial design. Over the past ten years, I have grappled with ways to fold such spatial inspiration into my graphic design practice.

Bringing my creative research into the classroom has been equally exciting, as I have cultivated assignments that position students to think in ways not common in graphic design studio classes. Each semester I am surprised and impressed by what these talented students develop.

I hope that you can attend the presentation on Saturday, June 28, and see how these concepts have evolved in my work—subsequently informing the education of the next generation of MSU design alumni.