“Somewhere In Time” is a romance movie that starred Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour and Christopher Plummer, while “This Time for Keeps” is a musical that starred Esther Williams and Jimmy Durante; and what they both have in common is that they were filmed in part at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan. In fact “Somewhere in Time” is still so popular among its die-hard fans that they have conventions at the hotel and they dress in clothes of the film’s periods, whereas the hotel has the “Esther Williams’s Pool. Which leads us to the Titanic, which is a name of a film, as well as a fabled ocean liner that sunk on her maiden voyage; and this is what brought us to the island. The Grand Hotel was having a “Titanic Weekend” which included a themed interactive dinner theater and lectures, and they even requested that the guests would enjoy themselves more if they dressed for the theme of the weekend. Now as a side bar, I should mention that dressing is de rigueur for the Grand Hotel as proper dress is required for all guests after six, including that gentlemen must wear coats and ties, and ladies must refrain from trousers. Now if you know my Bride and me, then you know that this is not a problem as we always dress like this when we are on our holidays.
Getting to the hotel was a nail biter, not only for the travel time of four plus hours, but then one had to factor in the ferry ride to the hotel, and then the additional time waiting for our luggage to arrive by horse drawn-wagons. We just made it to the ferry with only minutes to spare, and then we waited what seemed ages to get our luggage to change into the theme of the weekend.
We arrived at the “Boarding Party” just in time and received our Boarding Passes. My Bride discovered that she was the wife of the President of the Grand Trunk Railway and she was traveling with her husband, daughter and son-in-law, that she lived in Montreal and had First Class accommodations. While I found out I was a married stock-broker from New York City returning from a business and pleasure trip to England also traveling with First Class accommodations. Thankfully we had both selected our boarding passes from two different piles, depending on one’s gender, and we both had First Class tickets, as we were dressed for that style of travel.
As we went up the stairs to the Boarding Party, we were first stopped by two employees of the ship, one to check our tickets and the other a nurse who flagged us through, because we were First Class, but she was checking other grades for lice before they could board the ship. When we walked in to the room, we met the Captain of the Titanic and we were announced by one of his key staff. The majority of the people were dressed for the occasion, which did make it feel more special. I was surprised at the quality of some of the period clothing and accessories that one saw, later on, I found out that some of the guests were part of the Theatrical Cast, but there were some guests that had done this for the third time at the Hotel and by that time had really gotten into the theme of the party.
At this party, there were a couple of tables arranged with cheese and crackers, fresh fruit and vegetables. There was also a bar set up with liquor, beer and wine. All of the wines that evening had the Grand Hotel label. The offerings were Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Moscato; these were all private labeled, but produced by M. Trinchero of California. We decided to try the non-vintage Grand Hotel Blanc de Noir Brut Sparkling Wine and it was wonderful, in fact we did enjoy several glasses of it, and later I discovered when I took an empty bottle up to our room for the label that it was produced by L. Mawby Vineyards of Suttons Bay, Michigan. This happens to be a winery that we have visited a couple of times, and my Bride has visited a few times more. All of this was a prelude to our dinner and then a filming of “A Night to Remember.”