Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Somewhere in Time

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Somewhere in Time

Article excerpt


Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Esther Williams!" You can almost hear that introduction in the wind when you stand by the serpentine- shaped pool built for that aquatically inclined actress at the Grand Hotel. It was 1947, and she filmed "This Time for Keeps" at the Grand and in various locations around the island on Lake Huron.

Mackinac (pronounced Mack-in-awh) and the Grand have hosted presidents, captains of commerce and filmmakers for more than a century. John Jacob Astor's profitable American Fur Co. was headquartered there. Built in 1887 of white pine, the Grand is the world's largest summer hotel, and it is celebrating its 125th anniversary as "America's Summer Place."

This picturesque island has been the setting for other films as well. "Somewhere in Time" with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve was filmed there in 1980. Evidence of their stay is all over the family owned Grand and in shops on the island. There is a "Somewhere in Time" weekend in which everyone dresses in period costume.

Even without the clothes, it is easy to imagine what Mackinac was like when Victorian industrialists ruled the leisure class. Except for a few more fudge shops, very little has changed. Horse and buggy or bicycles are the favored mode of transportation. No motor vehicles are allowed, and the Victorian cottages, stables and clip- clop of horses all combine to conjure simpler times.

When you approach the island by ferry, the Grand dominates the vista (it boasts the longest porch in the world). At the dock, horse- drawn taxis are available to take you to your cottage or hotel. If you stay at the Grand, you will find a stagecoach driven by a man in top hat and tails waiting to retrieve you. The walk back to Main and Market streets from the Grand is easy enough, or you can rent bikes on the property. …

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