Behind the Scenes of A Grand Design
By: Tiffany Amber Stockton
Ever since childhood when I first saw the film, Somewhere in Time, starring Jane Seymour (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) and Christopher Reeve (Superman), I dreamed of visiting Mackinac Island (pronounced Mak-i-naw). If you want to step back in time and experience a little of life in the past, Mackinac Island won’t disappoint.
Once the writing bug bit me, I searched for a good story to set on Mackinac. It took two years after sending the story to my agent before I received a call telling me I’d just sold the book to Abingdon’s Quilts of Love line. I paused then replied, “That’s great, but there isn’t any quilt in that story.” She told me she’d added the quilt in order to submit it for consideration.
I now had to rework the entire premise and add in a quilt to be a unifying theme. And I needed to do it in less than 6 months. Not easy for someone with zero quilting experience. The closest I’d ever come to a quilt was purchasing one in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, when I was in college. I don’t even know how to sew much more than buttons and a straight line.
But, I consulted a friend who quilted as a hobby and wrote the book. The story once called Adventure Island became A Grand Design and released August 2014 from Abingdon.
Hike the Island
Mackinac Island is vehicle-free, and transportation is limited to bicycles, horses, or walking. Utilizing your footwear allows you to take things slowly and investigate anything that piques your interest.
There are miles of trails and wonders to explore, and your imagination can run wild. Libby relishes the fun of experiencing everything she can, while Alyssa prefers to curl up with a good book and take life a bit slower. In one poignant scene in my book, Scott and Alyssa take a walk along the rocky shoreline while Ben and Libby go for a swim. From their vantage point at the northwest corner of the island, they can get a glimpse of the Mackinac Bridge.
Tour the Grand Hotel
In 2003, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the Grand Hotel to its elite list of “America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations.” At 660 feet (more than two football fields), it’s the longest porch in the world. In summer, it is festooned with 2,500 brightly blooming red geraniums. Scott works here and proudly recites this information as part of his tour guide duties. The hotel itself is one of the primary focal points of activity in many scenes in A Grand Design, including a feature of a fairly new ice cream parlor built on the southeast corner of the Grand.
Ending Your Visit
The island can become very busy during the peak summer months, and long lines develop during meal times. If at all possible, plan activities around these times so you spend less time waiting and more time exploring this treasure of an island. Wherever you go, take the time to savor the rich culture and unique history captured within this time capsule destination.
1) Where would you love to go if you could have your choice of any destination?
2) When was the last time you let a fear (either big or small) keep you from enjoying something life had to offer?
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Congratulations to Karen Gervais, who won a signed copy of A Grand Design!