Arts Weekend Theatre Program Announced

Rob RoznowskiToday’s guest blogger is Rob Roznowski, director of several film and theatrical productions, as well as Head of Acting at the MSU Department of Theatre.  

For nearly a decade the Michigan State University Department of Theatre has been official partners with The Williamston Theatre. The Williamston Theatre is mid-Michigan’s only professional resident theatre and operates under the rules of the Actors’ Equity Association. This unique partnership allows MSU students to work in various capacities at Williamston Theatre, including: design, acting, stage management and a variety of internships with the professionals at Williamston Theatre. We wanted to celebrate this exciting partnership with you at this summer’s 20th Anniversary of Arts Weekend at the magnificent Grand Hotel (June 27-29)!

Williamston Theatre’s Executive Director John Lepard (MSU BA Theatre), his wife, and Williamston Theatre Development Director Emily Sutton-Smith (MSU MFA Theatre) will perform A. R. Gurney’s LOVE LETTERS. The piece is comprised of letters exchanged over a lifetime between two people who grew up together, went their separate ways, but continued to share confidences. It will certainly provide an evocative, touching and frequently funny evening.

Grand Hotel audiences will also receive an extended sneak preview of the high-energy musical THE BIG BANG which opens July 10th at Williamston Theatre. (MSU Department of Theatre Chair, Kirk Domer, and Karen Kangas Preston, faculty, will be designing the set and costumes for this main production!) This hilarious musical is written by Boyd Graham and Jed Feuer and is directed by MSU Department of Theatre faculty member Rob Roznowski and stars Zev Steinberg (current MFA student MSU Theatre) and alum Matthew Gwynn (MSU BA Theatre).  This outrageous musical comedy highlights two wanna-be tycoons who are desperate to line-up funding for their new project – “The Big Bang”. They’ve set up a “backer’s audition” and you’re invited! With a cast of hundreds, the overblown extravaganza they’ve written is the biggest thing Broadway has ever seen and depicts the entire history of the world—from the formation of the planets right through the most important events—Adam and Eve! The Pyramids! Cher! This zany song-and-dance romp will leave you breathless!

Please join us as we celebrate the great partnership between the MSU Department of Theatre and Williamston Theatre at Arts Weekend at the Grand Hotel with two amazing evenings celebrating the captivating world of theatre!

The Making of Hudsonville Grand Hotel Pecan Ball Ice Cream

When producing Grand Hotel Pecan Ball, the Hudsonville Team begins by batching ice cream mix using locally-sourced fresh milk, cream and a sugar blend. Once the mix is prepared and cooled to the proper temperature, it is brought over to the production room where we start by then making our famous Original Vanilla ice cream in specialized ice cream freezers.

At this point in the process, our ice cream artisans then add fresh roasted pecans into the ice cream at the “Fruit Feeder”- a hopper that perfectly blends the pecans into the ice cream at a computerized rate to match our special recipe. As the ice cream and pecans travel to the cup filler, we also blend a special-recipe Grand Hotel fudge sauce into the ice cream.

 At the filler, the cup, ice cream and lid all come together as one. After each container is checked for the proper weight, coded with a manufacturing date and put through a metal detector, it immediately enters our deep freezing system.

From start to finish, each carton of ice cream is produced and travels into the freezer in under two minutes! This ensures Grand Hotel Pecan Ball is made as fresh as possible, and then frozen fresh to lock in a rich, creamy taste and texture as quickly as possible so it can be enjoyed by everyone!

Click here to see the official Press Release.

The Musser Suite is taking shape

It is time to share an update on the Musser Suite progress.  Walls are up, and images providing a peek at the final look are taking shape.   Carleton Varney is working hard on the interior design, choosing rich purples, greens and reds for the walls and furniture.

The construction crew is busy putting up walls and windows, and the Musser Crest has been created for the doors of the suite.  The view from this room is stunning, even in winter.  In warmer months, guests of the Musser Suite will be treated to the lush green of the Tea Garden, along with 180 degree views of Lake Huron and the Straits of Mackinac.

For information on Musser Suite availability contact our Reservations Department at 1-800-33 GRAND (334-7263).





1903 Grand Hotel
Railroad Convention Buttons

The year 1903 had Teddy Roosevelt in his second full year as our President, the Wright Brothers made their first flight in the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, James Jefferies defeated John Corbett to become the heavyweight-boxing champion, and Ford Motors incorporated under Henry Ford. Detroit Tigers 28 year-old outfielder Jimmy Barrett led the American League in bases on balls and on-base percentage, but the Tigers would finish 25 games behind the Boston Americans, and missed a chance to be in the first ever World Series.  None of those events would be more memorable to Grand Hotel Manager Henry Weaver than the train wreck he experienced on Mackinac Island that year.

On December 10, 1902, the executive committee of the American Railway Master Mechanic’s Association and the Master Car Builder’s Association met at the Iroquois Hotel in Buffalo, New York to decide where the two organizations conventions would take place the following year. Delegates representing hotels from Put-in-Bay, Ohio; Mackinac Island (presumably Henry Weaver); Manhattan Beach, New York; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Denver, Colorado; Niagara Falls, New York; Atlantic City, New Jersey and Saratoga Springs, New York presented their proposals for the conventions at their locations.  The committee then met to discuss their options and agreed to an informal ballot. The results were Mackinac Island, 9; Manhattan Beach, 2; and Saratoga Springs, 1.

Commercial Law
League Ribbon

The committee discussed their options further and then called for an official ballot with Mackinac Island gaining 10 votes to Saratoga Springs 2 votes. Mr. J.T. Chamberlain of the Master Car Builder’s Association called for a unanimous decision that Mackinac Island be chosen as the place for the conventions and the motion passed. Grand Hotel would be the headquarters for the Master Mechanic’s convention on June 17, 18, and 19, and the Master Car Builder’s convention on June 22, 23 and 24.

Henry Weaver, who was also the manager of Planter’s Hotel in St. Louis, was not off the hook. He had booked the Ninth Annual Convention of the Commercial Law League of America for July 27-31, and was expected to accommodate 400 of its members including commercial lawyers from every state, and all Canadian provinces. To lose out on all three conventions would be a tragic loss for Mackinac Island and Grand Hotel. Weaver learned from his mistakes, mustered his resources, and welcomed League President A. H. Weed and his delegates in July. The Pequa (OH) Daily Call reported on July 28, that “the convention was opened with a meeting of the executive committee at the Grand Hotel, a reception and a large party was a feature last night.”The League enjoyed their time at Grand Hotel in 1903, returned in 1908 and made Grand Hotel a celebrated location for many future conventions throughout the 20th century. Numerous organizations would go on to have conventions under the watchful eye of Henry Weaver who never forgot the Great Mackinac Island Train Wreck of 1903.

20th Anniversary MSU Arts Weekend

Today’s guest blogger is Kelly Salchow MacArthur, Associate Professor of Studio Art and Co-Coordinator of Graphic Design. Kelly will present Graphic Design: Elevated, sharing her experimental three-dimensional work in graphic design, as well as related work of her students’ during this year’s 20th Anniversary of Arts Weekend (June 27-29).

Graphic design is ubiquitous—a part of modern life at every turn. We see it in the form of corporate logos, traffic signs, event posters, movie titles, packaging, store interiors, magazine advertisements, bus schedules, phone apps and websites. Sometimes these messages grab our attention, but many times they are absorbed without much thought. As a graphic design educator, I challenge my students to create meaningful and ethical experiences with the tools of visual communication. The visual elements of color, image, line and shape can be combined to establish beautiful and memorable work—ultimately contributing to society.

But what happens when dimension is added to that list of tools? Most graphic design is presented on a flat surface (either in print or on screen). With the incorporation of volume, a whole new set of opportunities emerge—such as tactility, materiality, environmental space, and sequential experience of steps, amongst others. I came to this realization through my longstanding interest in architecture and industrial design. Over the past ten years, I have grappled with ways to fold such spatial inspiration into my graphic design practice.

Bringing my creative research into the classroom has been equally exciting, as I have cultivated assignments that position students to think in ways not common in graphic design studio classes. Each semester I am surprised and impressed by what these talented students develop.

I hope that you can attend the presentation on Saturday, June 28, and see how these concepts have evolved in my work—subsequently informing the education of the next generation of MSU design alumni.

Musser Suite Construction Update

Construction on the Musser Suite is moving right along.  Soon, (when it is warmer) Carleton Varney will be moving in to work his magic, and make everything beautiful.

If you have any questions about this new suite, please contact our Reservations Department at 1-800-33 GRAND.   We will keep you updated on the progress being made by the crew.  For now, we hope you enjoy these photos.

Spending winter on Mackinac Island through the eyes of a Grand Hotel Photographer

Living and working on Mackinac Island has always been an exciting and rewarding experience. Thanks to the non-stop flow of travelers visiting the island, no day on the front porch of the Grand is ever the same. After six years of working as a photographer for Grand Hotel in the spring, summer, and fall months, I decided to take on the challenge of living on the island during the icy winter.

Traveling on the island in the warm months typically takes longer since your only modes of transportation are foot, bike, or horse-drawn carriage.  A snowmobile on the other hand, is like getting around on a jet ski – which is actually pretty exciting. What usually takes me a few hours to do in the summer, like a trip to the grocery store, can be done in 15 minutes! Sure, this is normal for mainland folk, but to an islander this type of convenience is never taken for granted.

Working as a photographer in the winter has its challenges. To get the shots you’re looking for, a lot of time is spent scouting out locations. With temperatures as low as the -20′s, being outside for long periods of time can be quite difficult. While shooting, I stuff my gloves and boots with hand warmers, and after I’ve set up my tripod, I try dancing around a bit to keep the blood flowing to my toes. Many layers are needed to keep your digits warm; it usually takes me a good 25 minutes just to get ready to go outside. Luckily the photos are always worth freezing for!

A main attraction here in winter is the Ice Bridge that forms over the lake connecting the island to St. Ignace on the mainland. Dozens of people journey across the 3 mile ice bridge when weather permits on their snowmobiles to enjoy the island. The combination of below zero temperatures and calm winds allows the bridge to form over the moving water below. If you are one of the brave souls to venture over, you can reward yourself by visiting Cawthorne’s Village Inn. Many people gather at the Village Inn to get together, warm up over some drinks or enjoy a nice meal.

Since the island is surrounded by ice, and I’m a chicken who’s not about to cross the Ice Bridge, flying is my only option. The flight is only about 15 minutes long, and depending on the wind, can be a bit choppy. The site of Grand Hotel covered in snow, and the sheets of ice surrounding the Mackinac Bridge are beautiful enough to make up for it. Just another exciting part about living on the island in the winter. It’s cold, but the beauty, and excitement of the adventure always makes it worth it!

The New Musser Suite

In honor of R.D. Musser, Chairman of Grand Hotel, our first one bedroom suite, appropriately named the Musser Suite, will open for the 2014 season.   Mr. Musser was a part of Grand Hotel for more than 60 years, and we are excited to share this beautiful room, built in his memory.   Located on the 4th floor, the Musser Suite is the first phase of a project that will result in the hotel’s architecture closely resembling its historical, early 1900′s appearance.

The suite will be decorated by Carleton Varney of Dorothy Draper & Company.  It will feature a king bed, wet bar, and a separate parlor area with spectacular views of the Mackinac Bridge, as well as the Straits of Mackinac.  Contact our Reservations Department at 1-800-33 GRAND with any questions, and to check availability of our newest suite.

Below are a few photos of the current construction, we will share more as construction progresses.


Grand Hotel Annual Spring Needle Arts Seminar 2014

This Spring Grand Hotel will host its 5th annual Needle Arts Seminar with many well-known experts from the United States, Canada, and Australia. Join others who love quilting, knitting, and embroidery all while enjoying the hospitality of Grand Hotel, America’s Summer Place located on Mackinac Island. Meet, hear lectures and take classes from Sarah Fielke, Susan Carlson, Bonnie Hunter, and Lucy Neatby. All these award winning teachers are acclaimed both nationally and internationally for their books, patterns, original works of art and some for fabric designs.

Sarah Fielke is a leading quilt designer who will travel all the way from Sydney, Australia. Sarah has been a passionate stitcher ever since her mother first taught her to sew 30 years ago. Having taught quilting and sold quilts for several years she co-opened her first quilt shop, Material Obsession in Hunters Hill, where she could work and teach her passion every day, surrounded by inspirational and colorful modern fabrics. Sarah inspires quilters to be more creative, find their own style and to step outside their comfort zone. Breaking down “Quilting Rules” was the highly popular theme for her first two co-authored ground breaking and successful quilt books now published in four languages – Material Obsession One; Contemporary Quilt Designs, and Material Obsession Two; Shared Inspiration. Her first solo book, Quilting:  From little things is a journey of discovery. It can be challenging to master the many different quilting techniques and this book provides an accessible way to try out new colors, textures and methods, and in the process build upon quilting skills.

As an avid fabric lover (and owner of a considerable stash!), Sarah started designing her own fabric collections. She launched her first fabric collection with Lecien, Japan called “From Little Things” in October 2010, which is in quilt shops now. This collection is all about the start of inspiration – from little things, big things grow. Sarah has always loved to draw and use colour, and it is from the seeds of her childhood doodles that this fabric collection has grown. She hopes it will inspire quilters to grow their own quilts from her colourful and whimsical ideas. Sarah’s second collection, St. Ives, will be released worldwide at the International Quilt Market in Houston, 2011. Sarah continues to publish patterns for magazines around the world including Down Under Quilts, Quilters Companion, Quilting Arts and Quilters Newsletter magazine. She appears regularly in quilting features in high profile home magazines worldwide.

Sarah’s schedule:
Day: Friday
Project: Geese Around the World

Geese Around the World

Class Level: Beginner and beyond
½ Day Quilt Class: 1 pm – 4pm
Quilt Size: 13.5”
Description: A dolly quilt from Quilting from little things… The geese here are flying in a circle, creating a whirling pattern. If you try this and like foundation piecing, this pattern would make a wonderful larger quilt.

Day: Saturday
Project: String-Sane or Ups & Downs
Class Level: Confident beginner & beyond You Choose!
1 Day Quilt Class: 9 am – 4pm
Quilt: 73.5” square Block: 9”- Quilt: 90”
Description: Enjoy Sarah’s lively, fun filled class where she enjoys having students work on a quilt they choose. String-sane is more advanced piecing but a little homework gets everyone off to a good start. Ups and Downs is fun for all.

Day: Sunday
Project: Step Down Piecing
Class Level: Beginner and Beyond
1 Day Quilt Class: 9 am – 4pm
Quilt Size:15.5” square
Description: A quick and easy pieced quilt featuring different size blocks of various novelty fabrics pieced in a staggered arrangement. Finish the quilt in class and then take it to Sarah’s hand quilting class on Monday morning to learn decorative quilting or just take it home and quilt it later.

Day: Monday
Project: Hand Quilting with Style
Class Level: All
½ Day Quilt Class: 9 am – 12pm
Description: Learn the techniques Sarah uses to not only quilt her quilts but also to add color, style and interest to her pieces. Bring your finished piece from Sunday’s class or something from home to get a start on hand quilting.

Days: Tuesday/Wednesday
Project: Hanging Lanterns or Whirly Gig

Class Level: Intermediate/Advanced You Choose
2 Day Applique Class: 9 am – 4pm Tuesday and Wednesday
Quilt: 87.5 x 95.5” Quilt: 63.5” square
Description: You decide the quilt you wish to work on in this two-day applique and piecing class. Sarah will teach her needle-turn applique that she is known for and loves. You will get a good start on a quilt and have time to learn all that Sarah so generously shares.


Susan Carlson from Harpswell, ME has been creating images with fabric since 1983. Her experimentation has led her to a fabric collage method that she has been sharing with others since 1994. Those classes have been taught throughout New England and the rest of the U.S., and internationally, including Canada and New Zealand.

Susan has written two books, Free Style Quilts and Serendipity Quilts. She is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. Her quilt “Peace, Love, Tie-Dye, Save the Whales” won best wall quilt at AQS Des Moines in 2012. My quilt “Dixie Dingo Dreaming” won first place in the “Good for You” special exhibit at the 2011 Houston International Quilt Festival.

Susan’s Schedule:

Days: Friday/Saturday
Project: Cutting Loose

Cutting Loose

Class Level: All skill levels
1½ Day Quilt Class: 1pm – 4pm
Description: This class combines aspects of my earlier classes (Somethin’ Fishy and Somethin’ in the Air) with my evolving techniques of fabric collage. Cutting Loose demonstrates a looser approach to the piecing and assembly of a wall quilt. Emphasis will be placed on the collage piecing process. Patterns or templates will not be used. Instead, students will sketch their design onto a foundation fabric and fill in the design with fabrics of their choice. This encourages playfulness, serendipity, and a willingness to “cut loose.” Due to time constraints, students need to choose simple, whimsical designs such as fish, butterflies, or other bugs. If needed, designs will be available from Susan for a small fee.

Days: Sunday/Monday/Tuesday
Project: Fabric Images

Fabric Images

Class Level: All
3 Day Quilt Class: 9 am – 4 pm
Description: Create a fabric collage quilt of your own chosen subject using Susan’s innovative layering/collage method. Individual design, fabric selection, construction, borders, and quilting will be discussed. Class size is limited to give students the extra attention toward each of their unique subjects.

Lucy Neatby will be visiting from Novia Scotia, Canada where she has been knitting since she was 17. She title’s herself as a technical knitter who loves to find out why things work. Her approach to design is heavily influenced by whatever technique is currently absorbing her. Lucy’s designs and patterns are almost technique samplers aimed at introducing a variety of skills within a project. She loves to teach knitting skills and to enhance knitters’ understanding of yarn and stitch structure. “Making your stitches smile is all important to me” she says. To read more about Lucy visit her Happy Stitches blog.

Lucy’s Schedule:
Day: Saturday
Project: Seeing Double-Clearly

Class Level: Intermediate/Advanced
1-Day Knit Class: 9 am – 4pm
Description: Gain a deeper understanding of your knitting. Try a wide variety of types of Double Knitting (DK) to produce two-sided fabrics. Make a voyage of discovery, starting with tubular knitting on straight needles, creating tubes within tubes and the options they present. Establishing positive/negative patterning on a double faced fabric and structural changes and opportunities this creates. Manipulation of yarns for efficient work. For channels for cords and a wondrous pocket, we will go from DK to single knitting and back again and then quilt and stuff the layers for warmth and decoration. Other techniques will include a condensed bind off and shaping basics within DK. Introduction to shapings, both increases and decreases.

Days: Sunday/Monday/Tuesday
Project: Venus Rising Cardigan

Venus Rising Cardigan

Class Level: Intermediate/Advanced
3 Day Knit Class: 9 am – 4pm each day.
Description: The most versatile cardigan you will ever make. The Venus Rising Cardigan is an fascinating one-piece, sideways-knit construction which involves a number of sophisticated techniques to give a superb fit for all sizes and figures. It is both interesting to knit, yet not complex, and due to the needle size it is speedy and very slick to finish. All of the techniques will be practiced on a baby version of the cardigan.We will use the Navaho knitting technique to create a triple strand yarn from a single ball and how to exploit this for either colour purity or blending. Beginning at the right sleeve cuff and using the one long circular needle method (or dpns if preferred) we will work the sleeve using uniform paired increases and running yarn markers and create a sleeve head with short-rows in the round. Once the sleeve is completed we will make a two needle tubular cast-on for the side ‘seam’, smoothly incorporate the sleeve and then shape the body using short rows and incorporate bust (optional on a baby garment), shoulder and hip shapings. Marker yarns will be used extensively to allow for easy matching of the second side. Provision for the front and back neck openings will be made with waste yarn before reversing the shapings to create the left side. Waste yarns will be used to hold the stitches on the left side ‘seam’ for subsequent grafting.
The central waste yarns will be removed to allow for the creation of the back of neck detail and then the front band and buttonholes applied.

Bonnie Hunter visiting from Winston-Salem, NC is passionate about quilting, focusing mainly on scrap quilts with the simple feeling of “making do”. She started her love affair with quilting in a home economics class her senior year of high school in 1980 and has never looked back. Many of her designs were licensed through the Butterick Pattern Company, translated into 7 languages and sold around the globe through fabric stores. But quilting has always been Bonnie’s first love. She has been machine quilting since 1989 and professionally long arm quilting for the public since 1995, retiring in 2009 when she no longer had the time due to her teaching, traveling and writing schedule. She has been featured in magazines both for her quilt patterns and articles she has written on scrap management and using that stash to its full potential.
Dedicated to continuing the traditions of quilting, Bonnie enjoys meeting with quilters, teaching workshops and lecturing to quilt guilds all over the world, challenging quilters to break the rules, think outside the box, and find what brings them joy.

Bonnie also writes a regular column for Quiltmaker Magazine entitled “Addicted to Scraps” with the main intention to help you to put various aspects of your own Scrap Users System to good use.

To learn more about Bonnie visit her Quiltville blog and follow her Quiltville Friends Facebook page.

Bonnie will also be doing a lecture at Saturday’s cocktail reception titled “Adventures with Leaders and Enders”. Lecture is complimentary with a Friday night hotel stay and open to everyone for a fee of $25.

Bonnie’s Schedule:
Day: Saturday
Project: Crab Apples

Crab Apples


Class Level: All
1 Day Quilt Class: 9 am – 4pm
Block Size: 8”
Quilt Size 70”X 70”
Description: One of Bonnie’s beautiful scrappy quilts. Make your own grove of crabapple trees from 1.5” scraps.


Tulip Fields

Tulip Fields



Day: Sunday
Project: Tulip Fields
Class Level: All
1 Day Quilt Class: 9 am – 4 pm
Description: Small strings and crumbs are precious pieces and so much can be done with them. The base unit for the tulip blocks are string pieced and added to the patchwork to complete each “flower” with solid red making the tulips pop with color.

Day: Monday/Tuesday
Project: Scrap Crystals
Class Level: All
Block Size: 12”
Quilt Size: 75”X 90”
2 Day Quilt Class: 9 am – 4 pm
Description: Featured in Bonnie’s newest book, More Adventures with Leaders and Enders, and first taught on an Alaskan cruise in 2013. This is one of Bonnie’s scrappy quilts using colors
inspired by Alaska in August. Though large, the quilt can be made with fewer blocks with excellent results.

Details on how to reserve space in any of these seminars or package details can be found on our website or by contacting the event coordinator, Jackie Compton. Her email is You may also download the event brochure here. The package include accommodations, a full breakfast, Grand Luncheon Buffet and five-course dinner daily, Friday and Saturday Evening Receptions and Lectures, and a special discount on Ferry boat tickets to the island departing from Mackinaw City or St. Ignace, MI. Don’t worry getting to Grand Hotel is easy. After a 25 minute ferry boat ride from Mackinaw City or St. Ignace you will arrive at the boat docks where your luggage is transported for you by horse and carriage. From there you can take a Grand Hotel Taxi to the hotel or enjoy a leisurely 10 – 15 minute walk through downtown up Grand Hill. Air transportation can also be arranged and details can be found on the Getting Here page of our website.

We look forward to seeing your inspirations shine through this Spring at Grand Hotel.

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year To Give Grand Hotel Gifts!

We are sure that most of you are well on your way with Christmas and Holiday shopping, and we want to let you know we are here to help you buy for the Grand Hotel fan on your list.     We have several new items as well as several returning favorites on our website under the Shopping tab.  If you are thinking of something “Grand Hotel” that you do not see on our shopping page, call 517-349-4600 and speak with Suzie Ashley.  She may just be able to help you find that perfect gift.


For those of you looking for stocking stuffers we have Grand Hotel History, and the 125th Anniversary Celebration on DVD and Blu-Ray, Coffee Table and Recipe Books, Geranium Handsoap, Shampoo, and Conditioner, and of course Grand Gift Cards.  Grand Gift Cards can be purchased by calling 1-800-33 GRAND (334-7263) and are good toward room reservations, merchandise, services, food, and beverage.   Get yours now and make the holiday’s Grand!