As the thermometer begins to dip here in the midwest, I can't help but reminisce about some time I spent last summer on Mackinaw Island, Michigan at the famed Grand Hotel. The famous historic landmark is located on a small island between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. The hotel has been frequented by past presidents, luminaries, dignitaries,  and celebrities alike. The hotel has taken some flack for charging visitors a $10 fee for visiting the property.

The Grand Hotel contains the longest porch in world measuring approximately 660 feet in length while overlooking an expansive tea garden. The porch area hosts vacationers, concertgoers, along with the those attending the Annual Mackinac Policy Conference.

As you make your way through the main corridor and up a few stairs you end up at the main level of the hotel containing restaurants, bars and numerous seating areas. Once at the crossroads, you see my personal favorite, the Audubon Wine Bar to the right, a luxuriously comfortable seating area straight ahead and more seating areas to the left for everyday conversation.

The Audubon Wine Bar provides a relaxing atmosphere to enjoy the finest wines from Napa Valley, the greatest cognacs from France along with the finest single malt scotches from Scotland. The plethora of wall to wall books provides a very comfortable clubby feel without the usual ostentatiousness accompanying watering holes of this magnitude.  One final note, this place serves the best Truffle fries in the entires state, if not, the country. Do not leave without sampling these culinary delights.

As you leave the bar after ingesting your favorite cocktails, a short walk out the door leads you to another area for the ultimate relaxation. Enormous, plush couches await adorned with priceless chandeliers above.

The final destination on this wonderful journey through the Grand Hotel takes us to the top floor to the Cupola Bar which provides breathtaking panoramic views of the Straits of Mackinac. As is the case throughout the hotel, the customer service is second to none and the worn "no" is non-existent. This is a definite stop while visiting the hotel and will provide memories that last a lifetime.  I am already anticipating my return visit next spring.