Friday, July 31, 2009

Dessert at the Grand Hotel - Mackinac Island

If you are on a diet, you may want to avoid this post! Here are dessert pictures from our 2 meals at the Grand Hotel. We tried everything but the Caramel Apple Bread Pudding - how did we miss that one? It was great to travel with friends who rotate the goodies around the table so you get a bite of everything!

Chocolate Chip Creme Brulee - loved the "stained glass" wing on top!

Milk Chocolate Ricotta Cheesecake

Lemon Tart - more like a lemon meringue pie, very tart and yummy!

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart - pretty, but just tasted like chocolate cake

Pecan Ball - Ice Cream, Pecans, Fudge Sauce - you could make this at home. Loved the cute dish they served it in.

Donna even asked our waiter to get us some of the chocolate covered strawberries off the kids buffet!

Raspberry Sorbet

And we even checked out the cheese course which was very nice!

And now I need to get on the exercise bike and atone for my dessert eating sins!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dinner at the Grand Hotel - Day One

The dining room at the Grand Hotel is classic and lovely. The long room is lined with mirrored pillars along the walkway. The windows look out over the porch and the lake. There is live music while you dine. And after 6 pm, ladies are expected to be in dresses or nice pants and men must wear a suitcoat and jacket. Although staying at the Grand Hotel is a splurge, it does include dinner and breakfast, and there is no tipping. The menu is very gourmet, but they have a buffet for children that features kid friendly dining. The china is beautiful!

There is a three day rotating menu. Here is the menu from day one:

We started with some sparkling juice. For an appetizer I had this creamy escargot and artichoke pastry. This was good, but I decided escargot tastes better when swimming in butter and garlic! Gail had the smoked salmon which I thought was very good.
My soup was the Forest Mushroom Soup with wild rice. This was lick the soup clean good!

The salad was very pretty! It had vine ripened tomatoes and celeriac. Interesting taste, not my favorite though.

My main entree was Korean Beef Ribs with shitake mushrooms. This was very good and the portion was huge! Actually, I wished the portions were a bit smaller, because it left very little room for dessert! My friends had the lamb and the Cajun Whitefish (spicy!). I did feel like the presentation on all three plates was very similar - the same vegetables piled on the side.

I don't have a picture, but the breads were wonderful, especially the wheat rolls with currants!

And then there was the desserts, which merit another entirely new post!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Grand Hotel - Mackinac Island

Welcome to the Grand Hotel. Built in 1886, it is a charming place to experience a bit of what traveling and lodging was like long ago.

Come clip clopping up the flag lined entrance avenue.
Up the red carpeted steps.

Across the beautiful white porch - the world's largest porch, and yes, it costs 10 dollars to tour the hotel and sit on the porch if you are not a guest!!

Into your beautiful room. Each room has unique old fashioned decor. (Every room we peeked into was different!) The colors of the hotel rooms remind me of sherbet.

And if you are lucky you will have a room with a lovely lake view. You can fall asleep as the horses clip clop by your window. (Sorry to repeat myself, but clip clop is the most common sound of the island.)

And if you are really lucky, you can watch the lighthouse from your window as it catches the last bit of light at dusk.

Nighty night, from the Grand Hotel!
(pillow chocolate)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Exploring Downtown Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island is located in Lake Huron near the Mackinac Bridge which connects the upper and lower peninsula of Michigan. It covers 3.8 square miles and is filled with charming historic buildings as well as beautiful natural areas. No motor vehicles (other than emergency vehicles and snowmobiles) are allowed on the island. So exploring the island is either done by foot, horse, or bicycle. Although it was cool and cloudy when we arrived, we were grateful that it didn't rain.

Downtown is both charming and touristy! Every other shop sells fudge and the rest of them sell t-shirts! The aroma of chocolate fudge is one of the first things you notice as you walk down the street. And the aroma of the horses is the second thing!

After exploring a bit downtown, we headed out to Arch Rock. Gail and Donna had their bikes, but I wasn't ready to hop on a bike yet after my biking accident. (I'm still struggling with some pain when I bend, grip, or pull, and my arm is still crooked when I try to bend it straight. And yes, I'm a bit worried about further injury!) Anyway, I enjoyed hiking and photographing wildflowers while they did some riding. And then I went through downtown and stopped in every little fudge shop and had a little fudge sample at each - oh that was very wicked and great fun!!!

One other fun thing that we enjoyed while downtown was seeing some of the sailboats finishing the Chicago to Mackinac boat race (on Monday morning).

By mid afternoon we headed up to the Grand Hotel to check in for our for our 2 days of old fashioned luxurious living. Next time I will share some of the delights of the Grand Hotel!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Heading to Mackinac Island

One of the things that has been on my "bucket list" was to stay in the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Last weekend, my friends Donna and Gail and I splurged to spent two nights in this beautiful historic hotel.

We drove up north on Friday afternoon and spent the night in Mackinaw City. We got up there just before sunset and took some pictures of the bridge and the lighthouse before dark.

We stayed at the Thunderbird Best Western Motel. (Yes, quite different from the Grand - we decided to save on the lodging on Friday night!) The hotel was fine for overnight - the beds were comfortable but the room smelled very musty and the sliding window didn't lock. Oh, yes, and they claimed to have free wifi but I never could find the signal for the network that said was available. Breakfast was included, and they had yummy make-your-own waffles!

On Saturday morning, we stopped at the visitor center and they helped us locate a coupon for a 3 person discount for the Star Ferry. The service at the ferry was fantastic! They helped us tag our luggage and bikes and had a golf cart to bring us back to the boat dock after parking our car. The journey over to the island takes about 15 minutes. The jet boat has a cool spray of water that comes out the back of the boat as it zooms you over to the island.

The lighthouse at the mouth of the harbor at the island.

And of view of the hotel as the ferry pulls into the island.

I will be posting more pictures of our trip over the next few days so stay tuned!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Completed Yellow Vintage Sheet Quilt

I finally finished this little mini quilt that I made out of vintage sheets. I love the cheerful colors. The flowers are lavender from my garden.

I plan to use it for a table quilt in my dining room.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Vintage Sheet Top - Simpicity 4589

Well, I dipped into my stash of vintage sheets again to sew up this little top from one of my favorite sheets. I've been wanting to do this ever since I saw how Creative Kismet made her top a while back. It only took a couple hours to put this together. I think maybe I needed one size bigger - it feels a bit snug in the hips and arms, but other than that I am happy how it turned out.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Vintage Fabric Soldered Charms with Pineapple Quartz

Another charm necklace! This one uses some yellow fabric from some vintage hankies. I paired the charms with some leftover pineapple quartz from some other projects and a floral glass bead.

It goes nicely with the bracelet that I made a while back.

And here's the "hanging around" webcam view:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Joining with Clever Educators at the Apple Distinguished Educator Institute

Sometimes my creative life overlaps with my life as an educator and I just have to share! I just got back from 5 amazing days in Orlando at the Apple Distinguished Educator Summer Institute. I joined with 150 of the most creative educators in the the country to learn about the latest ideas in education and technology. We met at Full Sail University and enjoyed using their high tech facilities to stretch our knowledge and skills.

During the five days we had the opportunity to tour Full Sail and talk to many of their students. We took some specialized classes and had fascinating presentations from Jayson Witmore and from Ray Zahab about the Impossible 2 Possible. One of the most unique opportunites that we had was a photo shoot with Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Bill Frakes. Yes, I felt like America's Next Top Model!

Apple always feeds us well at these conferences! We had lots of great desserts - loved these little mini parfaits in shots glasses!

And isn't this the most unique presentation for a salad?

Part of the institute was working on a small group project on personalized learning. My group was the best - we worked on developing a model for training elementary teachers in Challenge Based Learning. One of the highlights was working in the green screen studio - I haven't laughed that hard in a long time!

Here is the video that our team developed to introduce our project - Ann and Linda rocked at putting this together!!

And here is the outtake from our filming - probably no one else will find this funny, but it left us rolling!

My complete set of images from the institute are here at Flickr. My deepest thanks to Apple Computers for putting together another incredible learning experience!


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