Guest Blogger & Grand Hotel’s Master of Grounds, Drew Butterfield

Grand Hotel Head of Grounds, Drew Butterfield
M E E T   D R E W
Hello everyone!  I’m Drew Butterfield, Director of Grounds at Grand Hotel.
I grew up on 100 acres in a tiny town called Okeana, Ohio. I’ve always loved working and being outside.
While studying Accounting and Finance for 3 years at Miami University in Oxford, OH I was never certain it was the right fit for me and the future I wanted. The summer after my junior year at Miami I started thinking about making a change and was offered a job working on a golf course and loved it. That fall I transferred to Ohio State (GO BLUE) and studied Turfgrass and Landscape Management. 
Grand Hotel

I orginally fell in love with Mackinac Island for the first time in 2003 while working a summer job for three months. After graduating from Ohio State in 2004, I  spent 1 year at a Country Club in New York, and then 3 years at The Grand Traverse Resort in Traverse City. In 2008 I saw the Golf Course Superintendent position open up at Grand Hotel and immediately knew I wanted to apply. I have now been with Grand Hotel for 11 seasons. The first 5 seasons I spent working as the Golf Course Superintendent, and the last 6 as the Director of Grounds. My responsibilities include over seeing the Grounds and the crew, (roughly 25 crew members and about 166 acres total). Each year I’m responsible for ordering approximately 60,000 annuals designed by our team- Grand Hotel’s Vice President, Mimi Cunningham, Julia Viel, Head Gardener, and Dr. Bob Shutski, Associate Professor of Horticulture at Michigan State University. 

Captured by Drew – days like this remind me how special the grounds at Grand Hotel are. 
The part of this position I enjoy most is planning for projects that can improve the grounds at Grand Hotel, especially for our guests. A few of my most recent projects include the newly constructed restroom on the golf course, The Jewel, Gardens, Hummingbird Nook Garden, and the Secret Garden. It is my goal to offer full season interest- meaning whatever season you choose to visit Grand Hotel you will find beauty throughout our grounds in every season, and always something a little different. Also these garden projects continually give guests something new and exciting to see every year. This is what I love most about being Director of Grounds at Grand Hotel.
Looking up from the Tea Garden
Tulips in bloom – there are more than 60,000 bulbs to be planted in fall, which includes over 30,000 tulips. 

The Hummingbird Nook was an empty space with dead trees and debris located mere steps away from the main road. Our garden crew filled it with a weeping Katsura tree that now fills the space with the aroma of cotton candy in the fall. Also filling the space are hundreds of perennials, a looping flagstone path, as well as an antique stone bench for people to sit down and enjoy the hummingbirds and butterflies that frequent the hidden nook.

BEFORE: Hummingbird Nook 


AFTER: Hummingbird Nook 

Now, the Secret Garden is probably my favorite project and something I had been thinking about since 2015. I decided to split the Secret Garden into 2 very different sections; one full of perennials and the other dedicated to a spring flower bulb display, which will then be removed to make for an ever changing annual garden year after year. 

BEFORE:  Secret Garden
BEFORE:  Secret Garden 

I initially decided to clear this area out to utilize for a section of our Haunted Woods Trail in 2015. Where some may remember a few fun witches!

This enormous area was filled with, dead trees, stumps, logs, brush as it was a compost site for decades. It took me weeks worth of nights to clear the area out, while leaving all the good compost as a perfect base for the future planting. After seeing it as a blank space, I started dreaming up ways to use the incredible space. Now the Secret Garden will provide guests with a new experience each and every season.

BEFORE: Secret Garden
Planting of over 8,000 Hyacinth Bulbs
AFTER: Secret Garden
AFTER: Secret Garden

The Secret Garden – 8,000 Hyacinth Bulbs create the illusion of a river flowing to Grand Hotel. The project included the planting of more than 8,000 Grape Hyacinths to form the purple river, with over 1,000 daffodils and tulips to line the river’s edge.

See my interview with 9&10 News featuring the Secret Garden here!

Another view of the Secret Garden in August 
Another view of the Secret Garden in August

Grand Hotel has also been committed to establishing multiple large areas filled with milkweed to help with the monarch butterfly population. We have really noticed a difference in the last few years!

Monarch Butterflies enjoying Grand Hotel’s plentiful gardens.

Pictured below is The Jewel restroom project where we planted dozens of hydrangeas and butterfly bushes.

BEFORE: Grand Hotel Golf Course Restrooms and Gardens


AFTER: Grand Hotel Golf Course Restroom and Gardens

We continually stay in the off season to complete projects. Our season is so short that many projects need to be accomplished in the winter in order to not have a negative effect on our guests experience.

This Garden Wall construction was completed in 2015 and lines the Tea Garden fountain with beautiful stonework. 

Tea Garden Stone Wall Construction
Tea Garden Stone Wall Construction
Tea Garden Stone Wall Construction 

I love fall on Mackinac more than any other season! With that being said it will come as no surprise to hear that I have been looking forward to the planting of bulbs. This fall we will plant more than 65,000 bulbs throughout our grounds! Julia Viel has some new design ideas for the tulip display in front of the hotel, and I have been thinking about the new design the Secret Garden all season long! The new display in the secret garden turned out so perfectly this season that it will be tough to beat, but I have some new ideas that will allow guests to experience the display in a whole new way and am really looking forward to it.

The annual planting of tulip bulbs in the fall season.

The crew and I plant over 10,000 tulip bulbs every October.


We will begin renovation projects throughout our gardens and golf course immediately following the closing of the hotel. We all put our ideas together and see what we can dream up for next season! We’ve already got plans in the works for some expansions of current plantings, as well as a few completely new installations!

When I leave for three months this winter, I plan on visiting other historic properties, attending seminars, and visiting with our growers. This is the perfect time to be on the lookout for new inspiration and ways to improve the grounds at Grand Hotel for our guests.


Thank you for your interest in Grand Hotel’s beautiful gardens.  Feel free to leave any ideas you may have in the comments below or ask me a question and I will follow-up with another blog!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more updates, news and upcoming events at Grand Hotel.

New Gifts available at Mackinac Market!

Mackinac Market’s newest additions.
Klassics by Kurtis- Grand Hotel Winter Scene Ornament

Each year Grand Hotel works with local artists and artisans to collect one of a kind gifts to feature at Mackinac Market. This year we are excited to add a selection of hand painted ornaments highlighting the seasons at Grand Hotel by Klassics by Kurtis. The artist behind Klassics by Kurtis is Curtis J.Posuniak, a Michigan native who enjoyed an extensive career as a concert pianist for over nineteen years. Through the tradition of European mouth-blown glass, Curtis merges the craftsmanship of the past with a vision toward the future. Klassics by Kurtis is able to present ornaments which are both unusual and “old-world” in quality. These treasures will become Christmas keepsakes that will surely become family heirlooms.
Klassics by Kurtis- Grand Hotel Summer Scene Ornament

We love the Golden Horse & Carriage Ornament created custom by The Charleston Mint Company. The Charleston Mint has nearly forty years of experience, specializing in creating elegant and luxurious custom made ornaments.
Gold Horse & Carriage by The Charleston Mint.

The Needle Point Clubhouse designs fun Grand Hotel themed needle point kits.
These kits let you follow a Grand Hotel pattern to create beautiful hand-made ornaments yourself. Each kit features a different design including, Grand Hotel Side, Bicycle with Geraniums, and Ice Cream Cones. Kit includes a 4” circle design intended to be an ornament but could also be an inset for a pillow or another project. Painted on 18 mesh canvas by The Plum Stitchery, all the threads needed to stitch the piece, a set of two needles, and needle threader.
Grand Hotel Needle Point Kit by the Needle Point Clubhouse .
Grand Hotel Ornament made by the Needle Point Kit by the Needle Point Clubhouse .


Enjoy wonderful and creative images from all the talented kids that stay with us at Grand Hotel! After submitting images for the Grand Hotel Kids Calendar Contest, winners were selected and their images featured for each month to make up the 2019 Grand Kids Calendar.
2019 Grand Hotel Kids Calendar.


No need to write a postcard back to the friends and family, they’ll all know you had a wonderful time at Grand Hotel when you bring home this Grand Hotel Postcard Tote Bag!
Grand Hotel Postcard Tote Bag


Take home the fresh scent of Grand Hotel’s signature flower with these Grand Hotel Geranium Scented Soy Candles. Available in a variety of sizes.
Grand Hotel Geranium Scented Soy Candle- 11oz.

Now you can bring home your very own piece of handcrafted, fully customizable Grand Hotel furniture. Offered exclusively through Grand Hotel. Introducing The Grand Hotel Collection by Kindel Furniture Company. Located in Grand Rapids, MI, Kindel Furniture has been creating custom pieces with Carleton Varney, President of Dorothy Draper & Company and Grand Hotel Designer, for more than 20 years.
The Grand Hotel Collection by Kindel Furniture is exclusively available at Grand Hotel.

This memory globe is a custom designed one of a kind creation. The interior is hand carved and hand painted. The outside is hand blown glass, and the satin lined box is an elegant way to safeguard your collectible.
Grand Hotel Christmas Memory Globe
Grand Hotel Christmas Memory Globe Detail


Let Grand Hotel help you check off your Christmas list this year with all of these great gifts now available at Mackinac Market and online at Grand Hotel’s online store. 

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for news and upcoming events at Grand Hotel.