Somewhere in Time – On Mackinac Island 10/11/2011

I love the movie Somewhere in Time, and I loved it long, long before I had ever even heard of Mackinac Island, where it was filmed in 1979.  It is just about the most romantic movie ever made – maybe the most romantic.  The story is beautiful, Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour are beautiful, the clothes are beautiful, the music is beautiful . . . well, it’s just all so beautiful it brings tears to my eyes thinking about it.

You know the storyline.  The late Reeve plays Richard Collier, a playwright who becomes smitten by a photograph of a young woman at the Grand Hotel.  Through self-hypnosis, he travels back in time to the year 1912 to find love with actress Elise McKenna (portrayed by Seymour). But her manager William Fawcett Robinson (portrayed by Christopher Plummer) fears that romance will derail her career and resolves to stop him.

The annual Somewhere in Time Weekend was held at the Grand Hotel Oct. 7-9, and, as usual, attendees dressed in period attire to celebrate the movie, in company with celebrity guests who worked on the film—in front of and behind the camera. Fans started arriving on Thursday, and after a weekend of dinners, promenades, teas, luncheons, and reenactments, they happily boarded the ferries for home on Sunday.

I always try to take in at least one event so I can photograph the beautiful dresses and hats the ladies wear (the gentlemen are splendidly decked out also), and this year I planned to be at the Grand at 5:30 Saturday afternoon for a newly added event – a promenade on the Grand’s porch.  I left the condo around 3:30 and headed to town.  There are usually some attendees downtown in period dress, and it’s always fun to watch tourists, who don’t know what’s going on, do double-takes when they spot a Somewhere in Time couple.

As I passed the Grand, five beautifully dressed young ladies were leaving to go to town. Usually by the Somewhere in Time weekend, the weather is much colder, and the women have to cover their dresses with coats to go outside. This year the island was in the upper 60's throughout the weekend. Splendid!

It turned out these ladies were models on the island for a Somewhere in Time fashion show the next morning. When they stopped in front of Little Stone Church for photographs, I asked one of the other ladies with them if I could use their photograph on my blog. Not only did she say "yes", but she asked if I'd like to have my photograph taken with them. At first I said, "Oh, no, I'm not dressed appropriately." But after I thought about it for 2.5 seconds . . . .

. . . I said, "Sure, why not!"

This couple was just strolling along downtown with the rest of the visitors . . .

. . . and, as I turned up Cadotte toward the Grand, this couple was coming down the sidewalk.

By 5:30 I was inside the Grand, and the Somewhere in Time attendees were flocking to the porch and having photographs made throughout the hotel. This young man looked so much like the young Christopher Reeve that everyone wanted to have their picture made with him. He had been studying the movie, and had all Reeve's moves down precisely. Pretty awesome!

This lady was drawing quite a crowd herself out on the porch. Her entire outfit was a study in lavender, and she wore one of the largest (and most gorgeous) hats I saw that afternoon.

This handsome couple was enjoying some refreshments in the lobby before going outside.

I loved this couple - a very proper military gentleman and his lovely wife.

If you are familiar with Somewhere in Time, you will recognize this as Elise's dress, Elise's hair, Elise's feather in her hair. I really thought I WAS back in time, but when she turned around, it wasn't Elise. Bummer.

Young people and seniors - everyone of every age has fun at Somewhere in Time weekend.

The lady on the right is my friend Barb from the island. With her is a wonderful lady from Georgia Barb met at an earlier Somewhere in Time weekend. They've now become friends and look forward to seeing each other once a year at the Grand. Saw them both at Little Stone Church on Sunday morning also.

The other "largest" hat!

The Grand Porch was filled with ladies and gentlemen in vintage dress.

And yes, of course, there was music from that era.


What I always find so interesting when listening to these folks as they interact with each other is that their whole demeanor changes from modern to very, very proper. If you close your eyes and just listen, you would think you were actually "back in time" eavesdropping on the conversations of wealthy, genteel Americans on vacation at the Grand Hotel.


As at any party, modern or Victorian, the ladies always have something to gather and talk about.

I loved the dresses, but for me, it was all about the hats . . . .

This one looks like cotton candy surrounded by feathers!

I definitely think this one would win the hat contest at the Lake Blackshear Kentucky Derby party hat contest (my Georgia friends will know what I'm talking about).

This couple gets the award for "cutest". As a professional photographer hovered nearby, trying to snap the perfect picture of these two, the husband kept leaning down to whisper in his wife's ear, making her giggle. Loved it!

I loved that the Grand added this afternoon promenade to its event schedule for the weekend.  Usually the only promenade where everyone dresses up and “parades” around is after dinner on Saturday night – well after I’m in my jammies.  This was perfect!

I’m taking tomorrow off, but I’ll see you back here Thursday and Friday with some more wonderful Fall colors.  The island trees are changing fast now, and every day and every walk brings something new.  You’ll love it!  See you Thursday!

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27 thoughts on “Somewhere in Time – On Mackinac Island 10/11/2011

  1. I love it. June 27th is my anniversary, and we went to the island on our honeymoon, so it has a special place in our hearts. I love the ladies dresses and hats, but I find it so amazing how the ladies actually get their men to participate. Mine would run away screaming. 🙂

  2. We spent our honeymoon on the island over 43yrs. ago. Then spent many times at the island in our sailboat when the children came along. When our daughter was in 5th grade we were on the island for the filming of Somewhere in Time. My daughter was enthralled with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve. She became a theatre major at NYU and is now a theater director in NYC. Go figure. 🙂 The film is one of the reasons I keep coming back to the island…..a very romantic and endearing film that will be around for a long time.

  3. Looks like everyone had a wonderful time. The hats also remind me of the Ascot opening day scene in “My Fair Lady”. All the women are dressed beautifully and men, handsomely.

    Thank you again for sharing a piece of the island with us, Brenda.

  4. Lovely hats and outfits! I’m glad the weather was so nice that no one had to cover up such pretty outfits. Such a wonderful movie. My hubby and I liked walking around and finding those plaques where different scenes from the movie were filmed also. Happy Tuesday!!

  5. What a wonderful post! What a great way to start my day off – by reading about the Somewhere in Time Gathering on the Island.

    I loved all the ladies in their hats and the stories about the people. Especially that older couple who were giving the photographer so much trouble. LOL! Thanks for sharing it all, Brenda!

  6. Well I’m glad that someone else feels the same way that we do about the movie! I can’t even begin to count how many times we have watched it..over and over and over….I’m surprised the DVD still plays. LOL. They need a SIT trivia night at the Pony, but not till we are there! 🙂

  7. Like you, I absolutely adore the movie. My sister and I used to watch it over and over. One day I was reading the credits, trying to figure out where they’d made the movie, and I read for the first time Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. I was 13 then. Many years later my husband asked me what I wanted to do for our 10 year anniversary and I told him about the movie. Much to my surprise, he knew where Mackinac Island was and had been there when he was a little boy. We’ve now been there four times together and would love to spend an entire summer on the island one day. I love the movie, love the music – we even had the theme song played at our wedding. Thank you for sharing your pictures – it makes me want to pull out the movie and watch it again!

  8. Thanks for the great shots (GRAND shots??) – again, for those of us who can only wish to be there, you provide a fantastic report. I can’t get over the variety of ages in attendance. I saw some of the photos on The Grand’s facebook page and there seem to be folks from 5 to 95. Amazing. Enjoy your day off!

  9. Oh those hats! Is there really a ship on the huge white feathered one? That’s just amazing… Someday I’ll have to see all of this in person. My bucket list keeps getting longer and longer just by reading your blog! But that’s a very good thing as it gives me lots to plan for and look forward to.

  10. In 1979, I was in 8th grade and my class had traveled to the island for the day. We were lucky enough to see Christoper Reeve waiting to film a scene in a house east of main street. We eagerly waited for his autograph but had to rush down to the ferry docks to make the trip back to the mainland. I did not manage to get an autograph but I have several photographs of him! It was (and still is) an extra thrill to know I was there when the movie was being made…I get such goose bumps watching the DVD. Sigh!

  11. I too am a huge fan of the movie to say the least. I too a teenager when they made the movie and Christopher Reeve was “the one” everyone was intrigued with, including me. It was big news in Michigan when they did the filming, it was in our local paper and was a huge deal. From that moment on, I knew where I wanted to get married, and I did! I always wanted to come for the SIT weekend. Thanks for all the detailed pictures.

  12. My husband and I went to Mt Rushmore for the past 5 days and the cabin we stayed in did not have internet so I was going into “internet withdraw”! I told my husband that I was missing your blog and all the updates. Love changing of the color pictures earlier this week and these hat pictures! The 5 models look like they are having a lot of fun and you look great in your “modern” attire!

  13. It’s so nice the Somewhere In Time weekend is moved up earlier in October. I always felt like these people traveled so far and most of the island is closed for winter by the end of October when the weekend originally started.

    Interesting on the ladies that were models for the fashion show, their dresses are of Civil War vintage 1860’s which still is in the Victorian era but not depicted in the Somewhere In Time weekend which is early 1900’s. I wonder if they were showing all the styles within the Victorian era?
    I do Civil War reenacting so the dresses caught my eye.

    Pat Steele
    Vernon, MI

  14. Brenda,

    What an interesting blog today, especially the pictures of the hats. I wish ladies wore hats today. I really like them. My grandfather, Henry Amacher, owned a general store in the little town of Cullom, Illinois in the 1890s and the early 1900s until the teens. Of course, being a general store, it sold “everything,” including millinery items, which were made in the store. Somewhere, I have a picture of the ladies making those beautiful hats. Maybe I was born 75 years too late.

  15. Thanks for this update. I feel like I was part of the weekend. I read your blog all the time and I feel like I’m on the island with you. So again thanks.

  16. I feel like I was on Mackinac Island for the SIT weekend. Thanks so much for your blogs. My favorite thing to do when I come home from work is to go to my computer to read Bree’s Blog. It’s been a wonderful summer and I’ll be reading you all winter too.

  17. Just stumbled upon your blog, it is wonderful. I will be back! I originally was looking for information about the Round Island Lighthouse, and saw your comments on the Somewhere In Time weekend too. My daughter and I have been there for the past five years. I had loved the movie and decided we needed to go. What a wonderful weekend plus we had the “best” weather ever! It is special to watch the movie in The Grand Hotel even though the ending never changes. And during the weekend there is a tour that walks through all the spots where the movie was filmed on the island. Thank you so much for the beautiful pictures. Looking forward to next year.

  18. I have loved Somewhere in Time since I saw it in the theater in 1980. That movie holds a very special place in my heart. It is one of the reasons I have spent a week every summer in the area since 1997 and I visit the Grand every year. One of these years, I am going to make it to the Grand for this weekend.

  19. Love these pics. “Somewhere in Time” is just a magical movie. This movie is what made me discover Mackinac Island when I found out where it was made. Visiting the Grand Hotel was like an out of body experience. It is THE reason that made me want to visit, and when I finally stepped off the ferry this July, I looked at my husband and said, “I’m sorry. You are just going to have to deal with me for awhile. I am absolutely giddy!” All those familiar things I saw from the movie were wonderful, but everything else we discovered made me absolutely fall in love with it. I would love to come back for this weekend one year. I have known about it for years!

  20. We were at the “Grand Hotel ” at this marvellous event this year ,may be our 8th or 9th visit. we are the couple dressed in our “Titanic” attire
    and yes we were having fun.(we travel from the UK just for this weekend).
    You also showed two rich american men chatting on the porch,well one is an English freind of ours the other is an American ,we all met at a Somewhere in time weekend as far back as 1993,and have remained freinds ever since.

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