The Lady on the Hill – As She Sleeps

Some Fun Grand Hotel Facts 

Grand Hotel’s Front Porch is the world’s largest at 660 feet.

The 5,000,000th guest in Grand Hotel history checked in on June 26, 2006.

It takes 500,000 gallons of water to fill Grand Hotel’s swimming pool, which was named for actress Esther Williams who starred in the 1947 movie This Time for Keeps, shot at Grand Hotel.

The 1980 film Somewhere in Time, starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour and Christopher Plummer, was filmed on location at Grand Hotel.  The movie now has a huge following, with a fan club that meets at Grand Hotel each October.

Five U.S. Presidents – Clinton, Bush, Ford, Kennedy and Truman – have visited Grand Hotel.

Each season, more than 83,000 pounds of prime rib, 23,500 pounds of ham, 83,500 pounds of potatoes, 3,000 pounds of carrots, 14,000 pounds of strawberries, and 6,500 pounds of pecans are served to Grand Hotel’s dining guests (and all of that came over by ferry and was delivered to the Grand Hotel by horse-drawn dray).

One ton of bulbs are planted in the fall, including 25,000 tulips and 15,000 daffodils.

More than 125,000 bedding plants (annuals) are used to create the many gardens on Grand Hotel grounds.

The Grand’s famous Front Porch flowers include 2,500 geraniums – the hotel’s trademark flower – in 260 planting boxes with seven tons of potting soil.  More than 5,200 geraniums can be seen in all its flower beds combined.

– – – – – – – –

One day during our stay on the island during Christmas Bazaar, Jill, Sue and I traipsed up the hill to Grand Hotel to visit Patrick, Sue’s son.  Patrick is the Human Resources Manager at the Grand and one of only a handful of employees who stay on the island and work year-round at the hotel.  With Patrick’s blessing, we roamed around the huge hotel for a couple of hours, getting a “during winter” look at how the Lady on the Hill spends her quiet days – while the 130,000+ tourists who visit her overnight during the season are at home planning their next stay!

The Grand Hotel kitchen is massive . . .

Grand Hotel kitchen.  It is massive . . .

. . . and flows on and on over hundreds and hundreds of square feet. Each day the kitchen staff, which numbers close to 100, serves as many as 4,000 meals per day.

. . . and flows on and on over hundreds and hundreds of square feet. Each day of the summer season the kitchen staff, which numbers close to 100, serves as many as 4,000 meals per day.

At the close of each season the Grand Hotel staff covers the majority of the furniture with crisp white sheets.

At the close of the season Grand Hotel’s staff covers the majority of the furniture with crisp white sheets.

Workers gather for lunches brought with them from home. In the winter, the majority of the hotel is dark, and only a small area is heated.

Workers gather for lunches brought with them from home and warmed on microwaves in the lobby. In the winter, the majority of the hotel is dark, and only a small area is heated.

Sue, Jill, Sue and I stand with Jennifer King, the Grand Hotel's General Manager.

Sue, Jill, and I stand with Jennifer King, Grand Hotel’s General Manager.  Jennifer is another year-round worker at the hotel.  Over Jill’s shoulder . . .

. . . is the entrance to the Grand Ballroom.

. . . is the entrance to the Grand Ballroom.

From the lobby we wandered up and down halls on all floors of the hotel.  Since I wrote nothing down, I’m not going to be able to tell you much about the rooms you’ll see (except for the little I remember).  What you MUST remember is that you’re seeing the rooms as they are now – in the winter – without linens on the beds, with furniture covered (and some removed for upholstering or cleaning), and some pieces moved from where they would be in the summer when guests are staying there each night.

dddd

It bears repeating that designer Carlton Varney was in charge of the complete renovation of Grand Hotel, and every room is decorated differently.  Varney toured the hotel grounds before he started the project and vowed to use the colors found in the gardens in each room and in the public areas.

I'm alwayscaptivated by the colors Varney uses together. He is a master when it comes to his choices.

I’m always captivated by the colors and patterns Varney uses together. He is a master when it comes to his choices.

I included this and the next photo just so I could show you the beautiful matching furniture in this room . . .

I included this and the next photo just so you could see the beautiful matching furniture in this room . . .

. . . I love all the carvings of

. . . I love all the carvings of the cupids and flowers.

The Presidential Suite is located in the center of the hotel, with a balcony over the front porch overlooking the Straits of Mackinac.

The Presidential Suite is located in the center of the hotel, with a balcony over the front porch that overlooks the Straits of Mackinac.  This is the living room, and the wide, open door leads into one of two master bedrooms.

One of the Presidential Suite bedrooms . . .

One of the Presidential Suite bedrooms . . .

. . . and looking from a bathroom into the other one (at the opposite end of the living room).

. . . and looking from a bathroom into the other bedroom (at the opposite end of the living room).

The walls are covered with presidential portraits, like this one of John F. Kennedy.

The walls are covered with presidential portraits, like this one of John F. Kennedy.

The rooms above are light because there were windows to the outside. As you can see, the hallways in the winter are another story entirely.

The rooms above are light because there were windows in those rooms. As you can see, the hallways in the winter are another story entirely.

One of the Cupola Suites. One or two bedrooms. . .

One of the Cupola Suites. One or two bedrooms. . .

. . . and attached parlors, with window seats up those small flights of stairs.

. . . and attached parlors, with a window seat up that small flight of stairs that looks out over Grand Hotel’s pool to the Straits.

The Musser Suite . . .

The Dan Musser Suite . . .

. . . with deep purple as the accent color . . .

. . . with deep purple as the accent color . . .

. . . interesting one-of-a-kind pieces . . .

. . . interesting one-of-a-kind pieces . . .

. . . and surprises wherever you turn.

. . . and surprises wherever you turn.

The thermostat in the Musser Suite, showing the temperature in the hotel.

The thermostat in the Musser Suite, showing the temperature in the hotel.

 We had a lot of fun exploring, and we joked about taking a selfie of the three of us propped up on one of those beautiful beds.  We sure were glad we didn’t do that though because as we were leaving we passed the hotel security office.  Inside sat a security guard, surrounded by two walls of TV monitors, showing every corner of the hotel.  He grinned at us as we left, giving us a little wave.  We knew right then he’d been watching us throughout our entire visit.  SOOOO glad we didn’t climb on one of those beds!

As we were going out, guess who we saw . . .!

My great friend, Duck Andress, who was our across-the-street neighbor on Mackinac was hard at work

My great friend, Duck Andress, who was our across-the-street neighbor on Mackinac, was hard at work in the basement of Grand Hotel, working his magic in carpentry.  Duck built most of the boxes that house the geraniums on Grand Hotel’s front porch.  If you remember, Duck lost two fingers last year while working in his shop at his house.  Hasn’t slowed him down one bit.  So good to see you, Duck!

NEWS FLASH

When last week’s St. Ignace News arrived, I was a little reluctant to flip the pages.  Any other week I would have happily turned until I found Jeanette Doud’s column (which also appeared in the Mackinac Town Crier) and then settled down to read all about the happenings on the island .  Since Jeanette’s death there has been some concern among my readers about the column continuing.

But  . . . all is well, and the column continues on in VERY capable hands!

Jeannette's daughter, Mackinac Island Mayor Margaret Doud, will continue the column!

Jeanette’s daughter, Mackinac Island Mayor Margaret Doud, is continuing the column!

If there is any one person who loves the island as much as Jeanette did, it is Margaret!  So rest easy. The comings and goings of people, freighters, dogs, birds, and ducks (if you’re a fan of this column, you know what I mean), as well as all the other important island news, will continue on in Margaret’s very capable hands.  Yeah!!!

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21 thoughts on “The Lady on the Hill – As She Sleeps

  1. Bree … Thank you for that walk through the Grand Lady and braving the temperature at 44 degrees. She is definitely very different during the winter months. I am one of those INSITE followers for Somewhere in Time and just love going back to the island. Cannot wait till she opens again in the Spring.

  2. Thanks for the tour! The dark hallways seem very eerie looking. Reminds me a bit of the Overlook Hotel from the movie The Shining. Thanks for taking us along.
    So happy Mayor Doud is continuing Jeanette’s column. I always enjoy reading the happenings on the island.
    As always, can’t wait to see what comes next! 😊

  3. Thank you so much for sharing..I had been waiting to read about when you went through the Great Lady. I loved the pics! Enjoy reading your blog very much. I saw you up on the island last summer but didn’t want to disturb your walk with your dog and hubby:)

  4. Love the pictures of the”behind the scenes” at the Grand and love how every room is different! There is so much I love about the Grand…would love to be able to stay there again some day.
    🙂

  5. I loved taking the tour thru your pics! I have always wondered about the rooms. I love the colors in the fabrics. It would be like sleeping in a garden in some of them. Glad that the column will continue…..always wonderful when you “keep it in the family” and one generation takes over first he one before them.

  6. Ditto, ditto, ditto. It’s splendid! What fun to be able to poke around and see the views from those top rooms, too. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Thank you for giving us a sneak peak of the Grand during its winter slumber. Absolutely beautiful!!
    So glad that Margaret is going to continue the column. She will be great!

  8. Thank you!!! It took me back quite a few years. Although so many things have changed since I worked there as a young girl, much is the same. I remember April at the hotel, the constant chill in the air, everyone hard at work and getting ready for opening. Little did I know I was experiencing the time of the Island I would love the most. The peace, community and exploration of places most don’t get or take the time to see. The Village, unknown bike paths and discovering if you flew down the west bluff fast enough you could make it all the way home without peddling. Youth!
    Gail
    ♡♡♡

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