Marilyn Foster: Mackinac Island is the jewel of Lake Huron |

Marilyn Foster: Mackinac Island is the jewel of Lake Huron

Marilyn Foster

Sometimes we overlook the many wonderful and historic destinations we have in our great country. While the call to visit London, Paris, Rome or some other famous world-class city beckons, we forget that many travelers from all over the world come to visit our USA and marvel at our many wonderful destinations.

One such destination that might not be known to many in the west is Mackinac Island, the true jewel of Lake Huron, featuring one of the grandest hotels in the U.S. Built in 1886, the 397-room Grand Hotel is of the same genre as the Jekyll Island Club in Georgia — or closer to home — the Hotel del Coronado on Coronado Island in San Diego. There are only 315 hotels recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Grand Hotel is one of the hotels that speak to us of earlier times before automobiles and the onset of the impersonal “drive-in” hotels/motels where every room is the same no matter the destination. Each room at the Grand Hotel is unique and decorated in the era of the late 1800s. The character of the hotel will capture your imagination and transport you to an earlier era.

As stated on the hotel website, “The Grand Hotel beckons guests to a bygone era of old-world hospitality and charm. Experience the tradition of Afternoon Tea in the Parlor, dressing up for dinner, nightly dancing to the sounds of the Grand Hotel Orchestra and sitting in a rocking chair on the world’s longest porch with views of the Straits of Mackinac.” Sounds wonderful to me.

The Chamber has put together a Collette Vacations trip departing on June 12, 2020, beginning in Chicago and ending in Dearborn, Mich., that will delight those who love history, incredible scenery and the opportunity to stay at one of the finest hotels still standing in America. The weather should be perfect.

Though Mackinac Island will be the highlight of the forthcoming tour, where you’ll have the chance to go back in time before automobiles and just ramble by foot, bicycle or horse and carriage to take in incredible sights that just might have missed that travel bucket list of yours, there’s plenty on this tour that will delight you visually and historically as you travel the shores of the Great Lakes.

We begin our tour in the toddlin’ town of Chicago. Frank Sinatra sang, “This is a free and easy town, brassy, breezy town where they don’t do things like they do on Broadway.” We’ll be here for two nights and there is time planned to enjoy this city at leisure.

Then on to Traverse City on Lake Michigan. This city is the “cherry capital of the United States” and known for its perfect climate for growing grapes, thusly called the land of the vineyards — a surprise to those of us in the west! Then it’s on to Charlevoix to see the fairy-tale mushroom houses before taking the ferry to Mackinac Island to begin the time at the Grand Hotel where we will have dinner both nights in their grand restaurants. Exploring the island and hotel will keep us busy!

Then it’s on to Frankenmuth, known as Little Bavaria, boasting the largest Christmas store in the world!

The tour ends in Dearborn to visit Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum, a perfect ending to this heritage tourism adventure. It was around the time the Grand Hotel was built that Henry Ford was experimenting with his first automobile, called the Quadricycle, unveiled in June 1896.

To receive $100 per person discount on this great trip, you’ll have to book by Dec. 12. Don’t miss out on this seven-night trip to see for yourself how diverse and historic our country truly is. Call the Chamber at 775-882-1565 to learn more or stop by 1900 S. Carson St.

I wish each of you a happy holiday season and many days of good travel in 2020 and beyond.