A rocking chair and the sunset on the world’s longest porch at Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel

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Looking for that weekend getaway to see the fall colors? Perhaps you’re making plans for next summer, looking for a truly unique experience. A small 7-hour road trip up the West coast (with plenty of places to stop along the way to admire the views of Lake Michigan) of Michigan, Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel awaits.

A National Historic Landmark, the Grand Hotel first opened its doors to guests in 1887 as a summer retreat, welcoming vacationers via steamer and boat. Quickly garnering the reputation of “America’s Summer Place,” it offers a unique experience unlike anything else in the world.

Doing so by whisking guests back to a bygone era of old-world charm with Afternoon Tea in the Parlor, dressing up for dinner, and enjoying the nightly dancing to the sounds of the Grand Hotel Orchestra.

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Perhaps the biggest tradition is snagging a rocking chair on the world’s longest porch, enjoying the front-row seats of the sun setting over the Straights of Mackinac.

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The experience is enhanced by the charm that is Mackinac Island, where cars are not allowed and people get around the island on horse carriage, and bicycles. Time moves a bit differently on the island, creating a truly unique experience for any wayward traveler.

Sunset on the world’s longest front porch

Like the island itself, the Grand Hotel is seasonal. April through October is open to guests and visitors and things slow to a close in November for the winter season.

Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island in Michigan. For more, follow @tomwgnchiago on Instagram.

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