Re: [Seniormemoirs] Elaine's recent trip to Mackinac Island (Love, Beauty, Nature & Fun)
- Elaine,I loved your memoir of your trip. It sounded like so much fun. See you next month!Dolores
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From: Elaine Procida <etpci527@...>LOVE, BEAUTY, NATURE and FUNElaine ProcidaJune 4th to 10th 2007I know exactly when the tour changed to something special. It was the second day, and we had arrived at the dock where we were to board Shepler�s Hydroplane boat for our trip to Mackinac Island. We had about 1� hours in which to get some lunch and check out the local shopping before boarding the boat. When we left the bus we were all mentioning how the weather had turned so chilly and windy. Since we had only been allowed our overnight bag the previous night, most did not have a jacket.After getting something to eat, I saw some of our people in a shop and decided to go in and join them. I saw they were looking at some warmly lined windbreakers. I liked what I saw as they were attractive with alternating colors such as blue with white trim, brown with tan trim (my favorite) and various other combinations with the name Mackinac Island, Michigan on the front. When I saw the price of $19.99, I purchased one and then the others did likewise. As we exited the store smiling wearing our bright, new windbreakers we met others and when they saw what we had, they all wanted one. We laughed and took pictures of our different colored windbreakers as we bonded and the tone of the trip was set. Since I was the first to purchase the jacket, I was sort of looked on as the �leader.�When we boarded the boat to Mackinac Island I went below but then I changed my mind and said I was going to the open top deck I learned (very fast) what a Hydroplane is like and after a couple of minutes, ran back down dripping wet from the water the boat kicks up, giving the others a good laugh at my predicament. I loved the ride and would go back just to take that boat ride again. Then, we reached the Island.As soon as we arrived I had the feeling that this place was different. It just felt like we were stepping back into another time and place. Of course, the clap, clap, clapping of the horses up and down the streets set the tone (& smell). We boarded our carriage and were on our way to the famous, beautiful Grand Hotel, which opened its doors in 1887. I think the best way to describe the experience is �fairy tale extravagant.� From the towel that is place alongside the bed in the evening (to step on with bare feet) to the four course luxury meals, I felt like I was back in the �old south� days of plantation life. But the real charm of the islands is the beauty: the homes, the flowers, the landscaping and the view of Lake Huron. The hotel also had music and entertainment in different rooms. But what comes to my mind the most is �walking.� It was a delight to explore the island on foot with beauty and nature to feast my eyes on as I walked. I would have gone even further but I often found myself walking through lonely areas alone.We spend two nights at the Grand Hotel and then were off to our second stop, which was Frankenmuth. While I had some idea what Mackinac Island would be like, I had no idea what to expect from Frankenmuth. I found the two to be delightfully different. The main difference for me was where the Grand Hotel gave the impression that more was better and no concern was given to being wasteful, Frankenmuth which was built and maintained by people of German heritage, was �everything you need but not one bit extra.� For example, where the maid at the Grand Hotel came into the room in the evening to remove any towel that looked like it had been used, turn down the bed spread and leave a piece of chocolate, The Bavarian Lodge gave you a set of towels and encouraged them being used more than one time. What really made me smile wa s only one small bar of soap and small bottle of shampoo, no pen next to the phone, small clock and, my favorite, only one package of sugar for my coffee. But, if you were to ask me which I preferred, I would say the Bavarian Lodge. I hate waste and Bavarian Lodge is my style.We spend two nights at Bavarian Lodge and the high light for me was the entertainment each evening. The morning of the second day I was having breakfast and sitting alone at a table. The waitress asked if it would be okay for someone to sit with me as they were full, and I said sure. So this older man who was dressed more like a teenager sit down and said hello. I was not sure what to make of him as he was dressed kind of strange and I had the feeling I had seen him before someplace. He told me he was an entertainer and I did not think too much of that but it turned out he was actually a well known accordion player and singer named Dick Contino and I do remember seeing him on television. He gave a very good performance. Of course, I told the others I had �breakfast� with him and that enhanced my importance further. (smile)Another adventure I have to mention: The group went by bus to Bronner�s Christmas Wonderland, which is billed as the world�s largest Christmas store. We were to spend two hours there and while it was a very large, interesting place, I did not have any interest in staying more than 15 minutes and then decided to walk back to the Bavarian Lodge. It was about two miles and I made it back with no problem and then went up to my room to use the bathroom. When I got off the elevator I knew how many doors down my room was and I noticed the door was open so assumed the maid was in there as she was. I went in and said �this is my room and I am just going to use the bathroom.� She gave me a scowl and walked out and I went into the bathroom. Coming out, I went into the bedroom and�. It was not my room. I got out of there real fast. What had happened was I was correct in the number of doors down but that was a different elevator at the other end of the hall. Anyhow, the people had a good laugh when I told them about it.We also had a wine tasting party in which I managed to get drunk without drinking (I have a picture to prove it) and a pretzel making party in which we made our own soft pretzel and got to eat it too. Of course, I have pictures of this too complete with a mesh cap on my head.After the two days at Frankenmuth, it was time to board the bus for the journey home with a stop on the way at the Henry Ford History museum where we saw famous old cars, planes and trains. All in all I enjoyed the trip very much. While the long bus ride was tiring at times, the all around pleasures of the trip made up for it. I especially enjoyed the way the people all bonded and the feeling of �family� that was there. I think the most important things in life are Love, beauty, nature and fun and this trip had all four.
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