10 Grand Things You Might Not Know

Since 1887, Grand Hotel has been a defining feature of historic Mackinac Island, where horse-drawn carriages and bicycles are the preferred modes of transportation. Here are 10 things you never knew about Grand Hotel that make it a true American icon.

1. No two guest rooms are alike

Every one of Grand Hotel’s 390 guest rooms has its own unique character, artfully decorated by Carleton Varney of Dorothy Draper & Co. Inc. in New York City. Varney is also known for his design consultancy at the White House.

Hotel Room

2. Five U.S. Presidents have visited Grand Hotel

Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton have all experienced the elegance and unique atmosphere of Grand Hotel.

3. Grand Hotel is a third-generation family business

Taking over for his father, R. D. Musser Jr., President Dan Musser III currently handles all-day-to-day operations of the world’s largest summer resort.

4. The world’s longest front porch

At 660 feet long, no other hotel in the world can match it. That includes relaxing in a rocking chair while enjoying stunning views of the Straits of Mackinac.

Porch

5. Grand Hotel maintains over 125,000 flowers

More than one ton of flower bulbs are planted each fall to create the many gardens on Grand Hotel grounds. Varieties include 25,000 tulips, 15,000 daffodils and more than 5,200 geraniums, the hotel’s signature flower.

Garden

6. You can find Grand Hotel Somewhere in Time

This 1980 classic film starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour was filmed on location at Grand Enthusiasts of the film meet every year in October to celebrate the cinematic secrets of the timeless classic and meet cast members. In fact, Jane Seymour is planning on attending this year.

7. A pool named for a star

The Esther Williams swimming pool at Grand Hotel was named for actress Esther Williams, star of the 1947 movie This Time For Keeps, filmed at Grand Hotel.

Architecture Photography by Michigan Photographer Don Johnston

8. The legacy of Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor

Scottish Terrier Sadie, owned by hotel proprietors Amelia and R.D. Musser, Jr., was awarded Best in Show at the 2010 Westminster Dog Show. Named for this much-loved dog, Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor features Grand Hotel Pecan Ball Ice Cream, inspired by the hotel’s signature dessert and made using Michigan’s own Hudsonville ice cream.

Ice Cream

9. More than 6,000 pounds of pecans are used annually

Fresh pecans are a necessity for Grand Hotel’s signature dessert. Made with vanilla ice cream and Grand Hotel’s original fudge sauce, more than 60,000 balls are served each season.

10. A grand way to golf

Grand Hotel’s award-winning golf course, The Jewel, is the only course in the world where players are transported between the front and back nine via horse-drawn carriage.

Learn more or make reservations at grandhotel.com or call 1-800-33GRAND.

What is your favorite thing about the Grand Hotel?

Don’t want to leave Spot at home? No problem at these dog-friendly Michigan destinations

When it comes to road trips, Michigan is a dog owner’s best friend. Bring the pooch to an array of pet-friendly hotels, restaurants and hiking trails. Below are some dog-friendly things to do and see in Michigan.

On the ferry to Mackinac  Island!

On the ferry to Mackinac Island! Photo by Sarah Cunning.

Upper Peninsula

Mackinac Island State Park – a landscape characterized by high limestone bluffs, beautiful vistas of sparkling water and vibrant forests – is a family friendly destination (Spot included). Visit Fort Mackinac and visit the state historic parks with your dog by your side. Pet-friendly lodging is available on the island at Mission Point Resort.

Marquette's North Beach is Bella Mae's favorite dog friendly spot!

Marquette’s North Beach is Bella Mae’s favorite dog friendly spot! Photo by Sharon Matulewicz.

With trails all throughout the Upper Peninsula, there are plenty of places to walk or run with your dog. There’s plenty of room to walk on the 24 miles of Lake Superior shore at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. The park near Ontonagon contains more than 25 trails, from flat and smooth to hilly and rugged. Westmore Landing in Marquette offers scenic hiking trails for you and your pup to adventure. The Upper Peninsula has numerous pet-friendly motels, cabins, cottages and resorts.

Lake-loving owners and their canines are welcome aboard the Isle Royal Queen IV ferry for sunset cruises in Copper Harbor. Motor past Great Lakes freighters and lighthouses while listening to stories about the Keweenaw as the sun dips below the Lake Superior horizon.

Northern Michigan

On your way to the U.P., stop at Ruff Life Pet Outfitters in Petoskey to find your dog gear for the outdoor lifestyle in Northern Michigan. If you’re heading to Charlevoix, visit Mt. McSauba beach which includes a short wooded trail that leads to the sand dunes and is a locals favorite.

The same natural attractions that make Traverse City such a popular place for outdoor recreation – miles of forest trails, wide open spaces and long beaches, make it a popular destination for dogs and the people who love them. Many local hotels and resorts (and even a few restaurants) are dog-friendly, although it’s always smart to check ahead and understand the rules and conditions that can sometimes apply. Other pets may require special consideration and stronger restriction. But if you’re a dog owner, you’ll find Traverse City a very welcoming place. Here is a list of more than fourteen friendly places in Traverse City.

West Michigan

Take a trip to Grand Rapids – fur-babies welcomed! With plenty of pet-friendly places to stay, there are no worries finding the perfect one for your needs. Stop by Hillcrest Dog Park , an off-leash park, to let loose. With two fenced in areas for large and small dogs, the park is perfect for everyone. When it’s time to grab some chow, you and your dog are both welcome at One Trick Pony. While you enjoy your meal, your dog can relax with a water bowl and a special marrow bone to snack on.

Norman F. Kruse Park in Muskegon is a win-win when traveling with your pooch. With a section of beach designated to man’s best friend, it is a great spot to soak in the sun at Lake Michigan – including picnic areas for the family and space for your pup to swim.

 

Teddy on the Kruse Park dog beach in Muskegon

Teddy on the Kruse Park dog beach in Muskegon. Photo by Stephanie Branam.

Another option is one of the many pet-friendly parks in Grand Haven. Pups are welcome to run freely on the southern beach area at Kirk Park. The park features acres of dunes, woods and hiking trails with scenic dune overlooks. Dogs are also welcome at East Grand River Park and Mulligan’s Hollow. Venture just outside Grand Haven to Coast Guard Park in Ferrysburg for off leash fun. On leash options abound, with bike paths, the boardwalk and North Ottawa Dunes. Grand Haven offers many pet-friendly lodging options for the family as well.

East Michigan

Head to Frankenmuth, Michigan’s little Bavaria, for a welcoming vacation. Visit Hund Platz Dog Park, designed for dogs, includes dog agility equipment your furry friend is sure to love! You’ll find great toys for your pet at Hello Cats and Dogs, complete with a “Barkery.” Frankenmuth has a variety of dog-friendly lodging options available.

From the Riverfront and pet-friendly shops, to welcoming lodging, Metro Detroit is an ideal destination. You’ll find everything you need to have a successful trip with the pup. Your canine pal can loll at your feet while you dive into seared salmon or a hanger steak sandwich on the patio of Detroit’s Fountain Bistro in Campus Martius Park. During warm months, the south lawn of the downtown park gets covered with sand, so pups can roll around while masters sip cocktails at the adjacent Beach Bar and Grille.

These are just a few of the many places to bring man’s best friend on your trip to Michigan. Click here to find more dog-friendly destinations in Michigan. Check out our past pet-friendly blogs for more travel ideas. Where is your favorite place in Michigan to take your dog?

Ten Beautiful Pure Michigan Campsites like No Other

With summer in full swing and Independence Day right around the corner, now is the perfect time to take an idyllic Pure Michigan camping trip! Escape the hectic city life, spend quality time with family and develop a new found appreciation for Mother Nature at one of these beautiful and fun campsites.

Photo courtesy of Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park

Photo courtesy of Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park

Tahquamenon Falls State Park – Take in the sights of one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi at Tahquamenon Falls State Park. The Upper Falls stretches 50 feet high and more than 200 feet wide, deservingly making it a must-see attraction. But with more than 40 miles of hiking trails, 13 inland lakes and approximately 20,000 acres of natural area, there’s more to love about the park than just its majestic waterfall.

Tahquamenon Falls – Photo courtesy of Michigan Nut Photography

Porcupine Mountains State Park – Be sure to bring a map when traveling in the “Porkies” to help navigate the state park which is the largest of its kind in Michigan, comprising 60,000 acres. Take your pick from a variety of campsites including modern, rustic and yurt lodging. Enjoy scenic waterfalls, trek across miles of hiking trails, or feel the sensation of stepping back in time as you explore the ancient Porcupine Mountains. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – Explore the enormous sand dunes by taking a guided tour or wandering on your own. Swim at one of the park’s many beaches or take in the sweet smell of maple syrup while walking through a lush beech-maple forest. Adventurous kids can take part in a “rescue mission” of shipwreck survivors at the Maritime Museum.

SleepingBear

Sleeping Bear Dunes – Photo courtesy of Neal Weaver Photography

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – Behold the beauty which lies in the park’s dramatic, multicolored sandstone cliffs. Hike alongside comely wildflowers and ride the waves of Lake Superior in a kayak. For another priceless view of the lake, travel atop the Au Sable Light Station towering 87 feet above ground. Wilderness State Park – Participate in a host of recreational activities including hiking, fishing and biking across 10,500 acres of campground. Enjoy 26 miles of beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline and watch amazing sunsets over pristine water. The air is so clean here that breathing is a kind of luxury.

Wilderness State Park – Photo courtesy of Pearsons Cottages

Ludington State Park – Lace up your hiking boots or grab your bike and hit the camp’s 18 mile trail for personal encounters with wildlife. Set sail across the picturesque Lake Michigan or soak in the sun along the sandy shoreline of Hamlin Lake. You also can catch folk musical artist Mark Dvorak at the park’s Amphitheater this Fourth of July weekend.

Lakeport State Park – Take pleasure in a wide variety of outdoor activities. From canoeing to shooting hoops to tossing horseshoes – there’s something for everyone. Gaze into the unbridled waters of Lake Huron and take comfort in modern amenities offered at one of 250 campsites.

South Higgins Lake State Park – Take a swim in the crystal-clear Higgins Lake or grab a metal detector and try your luck searching for hidden treasures along the shoreline. Experience tranquility and observe wildlife while traveling the camp’s nature trail.

Sleepy Hollow State Park – Watch in quiet amazement the unspoiled beauty of the park’s natural habitat that’s home to more than 228 species including the Blue Jay and Bald Eagle. Walk along trails which take you through prairie grasses, hardwood forest and stands of pine trees.

Huron – Manistee National Forest – Get lost in the peacefulness of Jack Pine trees and fall in love with miles of sparkling rivers and streams. Have a quality canoeing experience along the Pere Marquette or catch fish from the Benton Lake. Take delight in examining the forest’s remarkable ecological features including dry sand prairie remnants, coastal marshlands, dunes, oak savannahs, fens, bogs and marshes.

What are you favorite campsites for a weekend getaway? Let us know below!