Gardening with Guest Blogger Stacey Hirvela

Today’s Guest Blogger is Stacey Hirvela, marketing specialist for Spring Meadow Nursery.  Stacey is one of the guest speakers for the 2014 Grand Garden Show featuring Proven Winners.

Gardening rocks! There’s no better complement to a beautiful Michigan summer than a lush backyard, bursting with color and life (especially after the winter we had this year). For me, that means a mix of flowers AND vegetables – it’s the only way to satisfy my plant geek side and my foodie side. I’ve been growing vegetables in containers for most of my gardening life and I share my experience and ideas in my new book, Edible Spots & Pots, published by Rodale this past March. In it, I cover the details of growing edibles in containers and raised beds, sharing tips and tricks to set you up for a successful, beautiful harvest. For example, did you know that the secret to growing good cilantro like you buy at the grocery store is to grow more than one plant, and sow seeds regularly? Cilantro naturally has a very short life cycle, so to keep a continuous supply, you have to sow seed frequently. When your cilantro plant goes to seed, don’t just rip it out right away. You can let the seed turn from green to tan and sow it and grow more cilantro, or collect it and put it in a glass jar – it is the spice, coriander!

Because I work for one of the partners in the Proven Winners brand, colorful containers are pretty much a way of life. So in the book, I adapted the popular thriller-filler-spiller method of composing fabulous floral combinations to vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. The book includes over 30 “recipes” for gorgeous and edible combinations, plus all the information you need to mix up any herb or veggie that you like to grow into your own unique combo.

But I’m going to need to leave my container garden in the care of my husband (who fortunately loves to garden as well) when I head up to the Grand Hotel at the end of August for the Proven Winners Grand Garden Show. I am so excited to go back and enjoy the grounds of the Grand and all of the gorgeous private gardens on the tours. And, I get to do my favorite thing – talk about plants and gardening – for three whole days! Last year’s show was amazing, inspirational, and so much fun. I mean, who wouldn’t want to enjoy a cocktail on that legendary porch in the company of P. Allen Smith, Jon Carloftis, and Jack Barnwell – three of the nicest, funniest, most talented gardeners you’ll ever meet? I hope you can find someone to mind your garden and take the time to escape with us. It really is an unforgettable experience!

P.S. Master gardeners ( can earn 5 educational credit hours for attending!

Gayle McCracken Trunk Show

Mackinac Market will be hosting a Trunk Show July 9-19, with products created by Stampin’ Up distributor Gayle McCracken.   Gayle has been with “Stampin’ Up” since 2005 and has won awards for her designs.  What started out as a simple hobby turned into a wonderful way for Gayle to share her creative ideas by holding classes in her community.  She now has her products for sale at a local shop, and sells her creations at local events and craft shows.

For this Trunk Show, Gayle has created a variety of fun Mackinac Island specific pieces.  She offers custom note cards as well as memory books, photo albums, and craft bags.  We hope to see you there!




Shelbie, Grand Hotel’s First Female Coachman

For the first time in its long history, Grand Hotel has a female Coachman driving the Musser family’s Hackney horses.  Shelbie Mosley was raised on Mackinac Island and has been around horses her entire life.  Shelbie’s love of horses and other animals has driven her to pursue a career as a Veterinarian.  She is presently in her last year of pre-veterinarian studies at University of Findlay in Ohio, hoping to get into Michigan State University to further her education.

This is Shelbie’s fourth year working at the Grand Stables.  As a very young girl she remembers visiting the stables and falling in love with some of the very carriages she now drives.  The Hackney horses Shelbie drives are used to haul the Musser family to various Island functions, they also frequently pull our wedding carriage, and transport some VIP guests on special rides.

Hackney horses are known as the aristocrats of the show ring. They have a very high knee action, high head carriage, and are natural showmen.  The carriages that are used with these horses are over one hundred years old, and many have a great deal of history on the Island.  Shelbie considers this job not only a valuable learning experience, but a true life experience, and something she can use in her further career.


“Man in the City” comes to Mackinac Island

You may notice something a little different when you pass by the Gate House this summer.  That something is a little orange man standing on the roof urging you to look up.  Crooked Tree Arts Center located in Petoskey, Michigan is currently displaying 40 “Man in the City” sculptures on rooftops throughout Detroit, and Windsor, Canada.  As part of Crooked Tree Arts Center’s Detroit @CTAC exhibit, Northern Michigan will host approximately 20 of the sculptures over the summer months.

John Suave created the “Man in the City” project in 2008, and the sculptures have been exhibited on New York City’s Highline and on Governors Island.  The project creates a metaphor for life that transforms the skyline and encourages people to look around.  The purpose of looking around is to get people engaged in the discovery process, helping an individual gain a sense of place within the city.

The Man in the City will be watching next time you visit, encouraging you to look up, look around and discover something new.


Fort Tea Room Receives Certificate of Excellence

We are pleased to announce that the Fort Tea Room has received the 2014 Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor.  This award is especially treasured because it is the result of Tea Room guests providing “Excellent” reviews time and time again on Trip Advisor.

Located inside Fort Mackinac, the Fort Tea Room provides stunning views of Lake Huron, downtown Mackinac Island and Marquette Park, and The Jewel golf course.  Guests may dine outside under sunny yellow umbrellas, on the upstairs veranda, or inside, next to the real wood fire on a cool fall afternoon.

Open daily from 11 until 3, the Fort Tea Room is perfect for lunch, an afternoon snack, or just relaxing with an adult beverage or a refreshing lemonade while enjoying the view.  The menu includes soup, salads, sandwiches, personal pizzas, and if you are a Sloppy Joe lover this is the place for you! Piled high with oh-so-much deliciousness, it is a favorite of those who make the Fort Tea Room a summer tradition.

Next time you are on Mackinac Island be sure to include a trip to Fort Mackinac. After you have taken in a bit of history make a visit to the Fort Tea Room your next stop.  Daniel and his crew absolutely love it when new friends drop by.




A New Addition to the Grand Stables

The newest arrival at the Grand Hotel Stables is a Flandrau Wagonette Break (carriage). A Wagonette is a four-wheeled carriage with passenger seats running the length of the carriage and a high box seat for the driver and groom. It is equally appropriate as a formal summer drag or as a sporting and outing vehicle often times fitted with wine lockers, ice boxes and all the provisions for a picnic. This carriage is appropriately pulled by two, three, or four horses. A Wagonette was a favored carriage of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, to haul family and friends on less formal occasions.

Founder William Flandrau started the Flandrau Carriage Company in 1830 and ran it until 1868 when his son, A.S. Flandrau took it over and ran it through the 1900’s, in the mid 1870’s it was for a short time the largest retail carriage builder in the world. The company had a great reputation for extreme quality, which in a carriage of that day meant comfort, stability, durability, graceful contour and a thousand and one other little things.

President McKinley and Cleveland both preferred Flandrau carriages for their own use.

This carriage will be a great addition to the Musser Family’s carriage collection.

Summers at the Shore – Manoogian Art Collection

For more than 20 years Grand Hotel has had the pleasure of displaying select pieces of art from the private collection of Richard and Jane Manoogian.  ”Summers at the Shore” is the title of the collection displayed throughout the Art Gallery and Parlor for the 2014 season.  This selection of pieces depicts leisurely days spent seaside, as well as busy harbor images from the late 19th and early 20th century.  Mr. Manoogian was quoted in this week’s Town Crier on this season’s selected pieces, saying  ”We wanted to pick pictures that people visiting Mackinac Island and the Grand would like. Water, sailing, beaches; all the things that make Mackinac Island.”

Mr. and Mrs. Manoogian - courtesy Mackinac Island News and Views

On vacation many years ago Richard and Jane Manoogian visited Mackinac Island, they became so enchanted with the area that they purchased a cottage and became summer residents. Through their appreciation of art, they have not only enriched the guest experience within Grand Hotel, but also throughout Mackinac Island.

Two years ago the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum was opened on Main Street, Downtown Mackinac Island. The museum, located in the renovated Indian Dormitory,  features art by local artists as well as pieces of Mackinac history.

We are proud to showcase many beautiful pieces of the Manoogian collection at Grand Hotel, and we hope you have a chance to enjoy “Summers at the Shore.”


Photo of Mr. and Mrs. Manoogian courtesy of Mackinac Island News and Views.

Sharing the Spring Needle Arts Seminar Experience

Today’s guest blogger is Beth Michelson.  Mrs. Michelson shares her experiences while staying with us for the 5th Annual Spring Needle Arts Seminar in late April and early May.   For those interested in experiencing the needle arts at Grand Hotel, Diane Nerheim, Owner of Needle Point, Inc.  joins us July 20-24, for a Mackinac Island Summer Stitch-In.  We hope to see you then!

My husband and I just returned from opening weekend at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island where, along with a friend, I attended the 5th Annual Spring Needle Arts Seminar. We drove easily along I-75 with little traffic and watched the thermometer on the car steadily fall as we progressed north. I had anxiously watched the weather reports and followed updates on Shepler’s Ferry website for the week prior to our departure and had worried if the seminar might be cancelled due to weather. But just like the skies part for a big baseball game, the icy straits parted for the knitters. We crossed the Mackinac Bridge to St. Ignace to catch the ferry but then had to backtrack to Mackinac City as ice had blown into the harbor at St. Ignace, changing the departure plans. Feeling like we had conquered a bit of an adventure, with a smooth ferry trip behind us, and our luggage due to be delivered directly to our room, we walked unencumbered up the road to the beautiful Grand Hotel.

I have been to Mackinac Island twice before but this was my first stay at the Grand Hotel. What a treat it turned out to be! It is a resort like no other. The grandeur of the building and its eclectic decorating, combined with elegant service, delicious and plentiful food and an overall ambience of times-gone-by made our weekend there special.

On Saturday I attended a knitting class on Double Knitting taught by Lucy Neatby, a self-proclaimed technical knitter. Lucy is a colorful person, from her tie-dyed hair to her purposefully mismatched boots. She presented the complex method of Double Knitting using a combination of videos, demonstrations with over-sized needles, and personal attention. She gave us an enormous amount of information yet moved us through the six hours of instruction with ease. Her knitting style is technical, her teaching style is organized and her personal touch is what made it so enjoyable. Lucy shared many personal stories and created a lovely, relaxed atmosphere in which to learn and knit. Our class was held in the Pontiac Room, a half circle room that crowns the long main dining room. It is an intimate room blessed with a round of large domed windows, and as the rain fell throughout the day we often remarked on how the setting could not have been better.

On Sunday morning, we awoke to clear skies. My husband and I ventured out for a long hike on deserted, peaceful roads. It was crisp, clear and beautiful. As we passed by several “cottages” and horse drawn carriages we speculated about what it might be like to winter on the island and wished we had a bit more time to explore the island and The Grand. Before checking out we did make some time to sit on the famous porch and appreciate the weekend.


Modern Technology in Surprising Places

Sure, we are going to be 127 this July, but keeping up with today’s technology is a priority at Grand Hotel.

Recently we have installed 20 charging station lockers in the phone booths located across from the Concierge desk in the Parlor.  Each locker holds and has charging cords for, old and new version iPhones and iPads, Android system tablets,  phones, and Blackberries.   Multiple phones or devices can be placed in one locker as long as they use different chargers.

Guests choose a locker and set their personal combination.  Items can be left safe and secure for as long as required, and if additional adapters are needed for devices not listed, these can be supplied as well.

We anticipate the charging stations to be a useful convenience for those guests who have forgotten or misplaced their charger.  Though we know, that never happens on vacation, right?







Happy Mother’s Day

Today we share a Grand family tradition from Mackinac Island resident Jason St. Onge and his mother Deana.

“I started taking my mom to the brunch back when I was in high school.  We didn’t realize it had become a tradition until after about 7 or 8 straight years of enjoying the annual brunch.  Every year we would see some of the same folks that also shared in the tradition, and certainly some of the same waiters. I Could not tell you how many times Glenn “Brother B” Bulgin has been our server.”

“Since my folks retired and moved south, getting mom here on this day has sometimes been a challenge, but for 25 straight years we have never missed this Mother’s Day tradition at Grand Hotel.”

We are proud to be a part of so many family traditions and always love hearing about them.  Thank you Jason and Deana, for sharing your story, we hope you enjoy your day.