After publishing the blog on Sunday evening, it was after midnight when my thoughts finally turned toward getting some sleep. But . . . I was still “wired’ from the excitement of being on the island and seeing a lot of our friends – not to mention a surprise birthday party. I just knew once I was in bed I was going to toss and turn for the hour or two it would take to come down off the high of an exciting day.
I turned off the lights and slipped under the covers . . . . and instantly felt as if I had entered a luxurious cocoon. Hands down – the most comfortable mattress and the softest, sweetest smelling linens I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing away from home. I actually fought sleep for a few moments just so I could relish how good that bed felt . . . and then I was drifting off – embraced by warmth and softness. On Mackinac.
Monday morning we awoke to fog . . .
. . . . and I shot this photo past the geraniums blooming outside one of our room windows.
We walked downstairs for breakfast (which is complimentary to guests). Brian is the breakfast chef and is doing an amazing job keeping us well-nourished for active days on the island.
I have to stop and tell you a short story about our dinner here the first night. Ted is pretty much a “snob’ when it comes to ordering a steak at a restaurant. His philosophy is he can always cook one better himself at home. But, Sunday night he decided to order the bone-in rib-eye at the Inn’s Cudahy Chophouse Restaurant. Well, he enjoyed that steak more than I’ve ever seen him enjoy a restaurant’s steak before. When the chef came out to speak to us, Ted told him his “snob” story and said, “That steak was a dining experience!” High praise from my husband indeed!
We met Dustin, the front office manager, who is so nice and will do anything to make your stay more enjoyable. Those beautiful stained glass windows are original to the mansion.
Halfway through the morning, the fog had lifted, and our room view became spectacular!
A little history . . . .
The mansion was originally built in 1904 as the private residence of Michael Cudahy (Michael and his brothers started the Armour Cudahy meat packing plant in 1887), his wife and seven children. When he purchased the 150 acres of land, Mr. Cudahy became one of the largest landowners ever on Mackinac. He choose renowned architect Frederick Perkins (designer of the Governor’s Mansion) to fulfill his visions of a stunning West Bluff mansion, and when construction was completed, Stonecliffe became the largest private home on Mackinac Island. The property is now owned by Bob and Mary Clare Pulte.
Stefanie Congdon (Stonecliffe’s General Manager) and I met at 10:00 for a tour of the mansion and the Summer House Suites.
The mansion’s bar was recently renovated, creating an intimate setting (complete with roaring fire in cooler weather) with little nooks that just beg you to settle in with good friends and enjoy a delicious libation.
There are 16 guest rooms in the mansion, featuring views of the Inn’s expansive grounds, the Mackinac Bridge and the surrounding Straits of Mackinac. The Mackinac Room is considered the Honeymoon Suite and has a luxurious 4-poster bed . . .
. . . and an awesome view of the bridge and Straits of Mackinac. There is a beautiful 3-sided mirrored vanity that I can just image wedding photographers using as a prop for a beautiful photo of a bride, seated in her dress just before the ceremony.
Because the Inn is at full capacity, we were only able to slip into a couple of rooms where guests had checked out – so I’ll share our room – The Woodcastle!
My view as I type!
All the mansion rooms are large, furnished beautifully, and equipped with private baths, television, and wireless internet.
Stefanie and I walked on over to the Summer House Suites and happened to run into and talk with Doug and Jean Hyatt from Purvis, Mississippi.
The Hyatts had grabbed the last room available at Stonecliffe and were asking for some directions for a long bike ride. They arrived by motorcycle from Wisconsin (they trailered their bikes from Mississippi to Wisconsin) and were crossing off several “bucket list” locations in the area. I love that Mackinac Island was on their list!
The Summer House has 31 suites decorated in a classic summer cottage style with a little light Victoria thrown in for good measure.
They are equipped with a full size sleeper sofa, mini refrigerator, microwave oven, coffee maker, TV and wireless internet.
There are even a few two-bedroom suites . . .
. . . . which makes them nice for families with children. I love the the summer cottage look!
Oh my goodness! I have SO MUCH more to share, but I think I’ll stop right here for now. In the days ahead there will be posts on . . .
. . . all the Inn’s beautiful little secret spots and charming nooks and crannies . . .
. . . a “behind the scenes” look at what it takes to keep Stonecliffe running on a daily basis . . .
. . . a post about the pure beauty of this awesome vacation destination . . .
. . . and, of course, a post or two about “the rest of the island” – from the fort . . .
. . . to Surrey Ridge . . .
. . . to the lilacs!
Stay tuned . . . there is much more to come!!