Nearly thirty-five years ago a movie aired on HBO that captured my already vivid and wild imagination – Somewhere In Time with Christopher Reeve and my Hollywood/English sweetheart, Jane Seymour.
It’s a cult classic movie by definition – it didn’t do well in the box office receipts but when it aired on HBO it caught fire with lost romantics – much like The Princess Bride (another family favorite) and over the years, it’s reputation and following grew.
Aside from Jane Seymour’s beauty and elegance, the movie captured not only a passion that passed through and bridged time but it captured the essence of a turn-of-the-19th-century lifestyle at The Grand Hotel – a summer retreat for the wealthy aristocrats of the midwest.
The idea of retreating at The Grand Hotel stuck with me as much as the movie. Family vacations were not part of my childhood – we couldn’t even afford a “staycation”. Once my parents divorced, vacations were even further out of reach and certainly weren’t family trips.
But twenty years ago, Julie and I made the trip with my mother and step-father to visit the island. We camped out in tents on the mainland and created some great early memories. We talked of one day returning to stay at the hotel.
And this trip – well, it wasn’t quite our goal yet – as part of an RV pass-by. Once again, we were able to meet my mother and step-father for a 20-year anniversary campout – this time both in RVs. And we spent quite a bit longer around the hotel soaking up the air.
And our timing? Flawless. It was mid-Summer, Friday evening – we expected crowds. Nada. It was as peaceful as could be.
The hotel now charges $10 per non-guest to walk the hotel deck and lobby and I was prepared to pay it – it’s worth it to me. But when we reached that point, nobody was collecting. It seems after 5p, they give up and the small crowd wasn’t worth tracking it. So we had a great freedom to roam the grounds and capture it in all of it’s beauty.
And while that may on the surface seem like a loss for the hotel, it only furthered our passion to come back during a summer and stay an extended weekend or even a week. During my last photoshoot of the hotel in the evening, we met a daughter, her two daughters and her mother who spend an extended weekend every summer. Earlier in the day, we were able to see/hear a wedding and the father of the bride give a great toast.
So Mackinac Island has it all – rest and peace, romance and family. Somewhere in time, we’ll be back and complete our ultimate goal.