The Grand Coachman

At the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Ben Mosley is the head coachman — and so much more.

Mackinac Island, Island Icon, Ben Mosley
Mackinac Island State Dock has 76 slips for yachts up to 150 feet length overall.Robert Stephens

Ben Mosley came to Mackinac Island in 1984 as a summer employee. He’s been living on the island full time since his wedding in 1987.

“I married a girl who was born and raised here. In other words, I didn’t really have a choice,” Mosley says with a laugh. “There’s a lot worse places to get stuck, let me tell you.” Mosley begins his day at a quarter to 6, feeding the horses. Once that’s done, he heads to the cafeteria to feed himself and do his morning paperwork. From there, his days vary quite a bit.

Ben Mosley, Island Icon, Mackinac Island
Ben Mosley came to Mackinac Island in 1984 as a summer employee and fell in love.Robert Stephens

One of the major parts of my job is to haul VIPs. We use very ornate, Victorian-era carriages that are over 100 years old, and they are pulled by high-stepping Hackney horses.

VIPs can be anything from friends of the owner to potential large-group clients or even celebrities.

We also entertain in our stables. We have convention groups that come to the island. They'll have receptions here quite often. We've even had weddings in our stables.

I am also assistant chief of the fire department. Being on a small island with a limited number of people, you have to wear a lot of hats. There are a lot of places that volunteers are needed to make the community work.

In the fall, our colors would challenge anywhere in the world, especially with the lakes in the background. It's easy to say it's one of the prettier places there is.

To have the contact with horses, to brush and groom a horse — I get paid to basically play with fancy horses and drive fancy carriages. What's Winston Churchill's old saying, 'The outside of a horse is a good thing for the inside of a man'? It's true. When you work with horses all the time, it's very therapeutic.

When I haul people around, they're already on vacation. They're having a good time. I take them and show them around, and they remind me how cool the place is that I live.