While on Mackinac Island earlier this summer, I wrote several blog posts for Original Murdick’s Fudge and had a blast working for the wonderful Benser family and meeting both their regular and seasonal employees.  The Bensers chose to save this story and publish it on Patti LaPine’s 40th Anniversary of working for their company, and I wanted to share it with all of you tonight.

Congratulations, Patti LaPine, for your dedication and loyalty to the Benser family and to Original Murdick’s Fudge!

Patti and husband Bruce love Mackinac Island winters!

Patti and husband Bruce enjoy their winters on Mackinac Island.

http://www.originalmurdicksfudge.com/patti-celebrates-her-40th-anniversary-as-an-original-murdicks-fudge-employee/

 

Posted by: bree1972 | June 24, 2014

See You Back Here in Six Weeks! 6/24/2014

Hi Friends!

Just a note to let you know there won’t be any other new posts to this blog until Ted, Bear, Maddie and I return to Mackinac Island the week of August 18.

If you haven’t already done so, you might want to click over to Mike Forrester’s Mackinac Island Blog www.mackinacislandblog.com to read the guest post Mike asked me to write.  He put it up on Sunday, and it’s all about “Roads Less Traveled” on Mackinac.

See you back here sometime during the week of August 18!

God bless.

Posted by: bree1972 | June 19, 2014

Returning to Mackinac 6/19/2014

Through the water-splashed ferry windows, a glimpse of the Grand Hotel, the Iroquois, and the Chippewa.  Cyclists following the never-ending roadway circling the island.  Horse-drawn carriages standing on Main – suspended in time.  My heart beats more rapidly, and my feet do a happy dance against the ferry floorboards.  I am returning to Mackinac. 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

I woke yesterday morning at 4:30 to an empty bed. I laid there a few minutes, waiting for Ted to return, but when he didn’t, I rose and found him sitting in the dark sunroom with a cup of coffee.

“What are you doing?” I asked sleepily.

“Just woke up and decided to sit out here a while,” he said.

Instead of stumbling back to bed, as I’d usually do in such circumstances, I made myself a cup of coffee and joined him in the peaceful darkness.  Bear and Maddie were like “what’s happening – are we leaving again?”  But they soon settled with us on the porch and went back to what everyone is usually doing at that time of day – sleeping.

With back-to-back Michigan and Florida trips, we’ve added almost 2900 miles to the odometer in the last 2 1/2-3 weeks.  Add to that the trip Ted left on yesterday around 8 a.m. (a “guy” trip to an Atlanta Braves game – and probably the reason he couldn’t go back to sleep), and it all adds up to a hectic, exhausting, but ultimately very fun way to start the summer season!  Our everyday routine is a little out of whack, but once Ted gets home from Atlanta (today), I think we’ll get back to normal quickly . . . until we leave again.

I don’t even know where to start, so for this post I’m just going to hit the high points on the Mackinac trip.  On Sunday, I’ll catch you up on the beach house and what’s happening at the ri’vah!

MACKINAC ISLAND – MICHIGAN

Returning to the island as a visitor instead of a resident is a little disconcerting.  The “perks” of owning on Mackinac are plentiful, and having been privy to that, it’s a little hard to adjust to going back as a vacationer.  The biggest single adjustment was going from having a resident’s pass for the ferry to buying tickets – or books of tickets.   I confess I was very happy just flashing my pass to board a boat (or not flashing it because everyone at Shepler’s knew us.  Of course they still know us, and we now have much longer to chat as we tear those little stubs out of the book).  Buying tickets is fine . . . just different.  The second biggest adjustment was rephrasing our standard “we have a condo on the island” answer to the question, “Where are you staying?” to “We’re renting a condo here”.  Ok, ok, ok – I know I sound like a spoiled brat.  I know it. I accept it.  I will adjust.  Sigh.

What we didn’t have to adjust to was our welcome being any different.  Everywhere we went we saw friends, and we gave and received so many hugs during our stay that our mouths stayed permanently stretched into grins of greeting.  We loved, loved, loved seeing everyone, and as I mentioned a few blogs ago, it was as if we’d never left – or sold.  Friends are friends are friends, and we thank the good Lord everyday for those we hold in our hearts across this beautiful country of ours!

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These kids in town for a school trip posed endlessly for me, with not a single gripe. Of course, we continued to feed them free fudge during their photo session, so they were VERY cooperative!  :)

Another adjustment was “working” on the island.  Although Ted and I volunteered during our summers there, having a “real” job was a little different.  I stayed downtown a lot more than usual this trip – dashing in and out of the two Original Murdick’s Fudge shops on Main Street a few times a day, then combing the streets and boat docks for folks with Murdick’s bags.  I had no qualms at all about approaching total strangers and saying, “I’m doing some photography for Original Murdick’s Fudge.  Would it be ok to snap a few pics of you holding up your bag/fudge?”  I was never turned down.  Jill was amazed, and asked, “How do you get people to do that?”  I think it’s the Southern drawl, which I admit to pushing a little bit more into the syrupy range when begging for something!  I had a blast, and if you go to the Original Murdick’s Fudge Facebook page, you’ll see quite a few of my photos, with more to come.

You know one of the first places we visited was The Island Bookstore, which just keeps getting better and better each year.  How do they do that?

You know one of the first places we visited was The Island Bookstore, which just keeps getting better and better each year. How do they do that?  (Notice Ted is in jacket, and even though you can’t see it, Jill has on a few layers.)

 

The first day or so were pretty cold and rainy, so rainy we had to run onto a B & B's porch for shelter on one trip to town!

The first day or so were pretty cold and rainy, so rainy we had to run onto a B & B’s porch for shelter on one trip to town!

 

Have I mentioned how much we loved being in the Mission District?  We were out on the street more at dusk than we ever were living up the here.  You get some really amazing photos at that time of the evening.

Have I mentioned how much we loved being in the Mission District? We were out on the street more at dusk than we ever were living up the hill. You get some really amazing photos at that time of the evening.

 

Another "first stop was the new shop opened by friend Joan Barch's son, Jay.  His original pottery designs are flying off the shelves.  Ted ordered a coffee mug for me, and Jay and I talked about him designing a special set of "beach" plates for our Florida house.  He is quite the talented young man!

Another “first stop”
was Mackinac Mud Pottery, the new shop opened by friend Joan Barch’s son, Jay. His original pottery designs are flying off the shelves. Ted ordered a coffee mug for me, and Jay and I talked about him designing a special set of “beach” plates for our Florida house. He is quite the talented young man!

 

Guys night at the Pink Pony.  These friends got together practically once a day!

Guys night at the Pink Pony. These friends got together practically every day.  I’ve never heard so many reasons to “go to town.”

 

I discovered Chief "Duck" Andress sitting at the corner of Fort and Main Streets and plopped down beside him to catch up on what was happening in the village.

I discovered Chief “Duck” Andress sitting at the corner of Fort and Main Streets and plopped down beside him to catch up on what was happening in the village.

 

The really awesome thing about Mackinac is that no one really thinks about actually setting dates or appointments to see anyone.  You just know if you step outside, you will eventually see everyone you know . . . like Molly and her new team of greys, Dawn and Chico!

The really awesome thing about Mackinac is that no one really thinks about actually setting dates or appointments to see anyone. You just know if you step outside, you will eventually see everyone you know . . . like Molly and her new team of greys, Dawn and Chico!

 

This was taken just after they'd hung the flower baskets and a few days before the lilacs began blooming.

This was taken just after they’d hung the flower baskets and a few days before the lilacs began blooming.

 

Walking home to the Mission each evening gave me lots of opportunities to photograph St. Anne's at twilight.

Walking home to the Mission each evening gave me lots of opportunities to photograph St. Anne’s at twilight.  On this evening a Jamaican service was going on, and I wish we’d gone in.  It’s held around 9:00 p.m. one night a week – late like that because the Jamaicans are working all day.

 

Do you remember when the Indian Drum was on the Arnold Dock?  It's now in the Horse Corral, and doing a great business.  Love, love, love this place (tons of cute clothes), and Trillium Heights friend Rogene was working the day we went in!

Do you remember when the Indian Drum was on the Arnold Dock? It’s now in the Horse Corral, and doing a great business. Love, love, love this place (tons of cute clothes), and Trillium Heights friend Rogene was working the day we went in!

 

Imagine dray after dray of annuals arriving on the island at the docks . . .

Imagine dray after dray of annuals, which have just arrived on the island at the docks, . . .

 

Imagine watching dray after dray of annuals pass on the street and stop at cottages to drop off their summer gardens.  Here, Brigadoon and St. Anne's Cottage lawns are filled with flowers to be planted later in the day.

. . . being dropped off at summer cottages all over the island.  Here, Brigadoon and Anne’s Cottage lawns are filled with flowers to be planted in their gardens later in the day.

 

This is where we'll be staying for six weeks in August/September.  Excited!

This is where we’ll be staying for six weeks in August/September. Excited!

 

The white sails of a boat from Robinson's Folly.

The white sails of a boat from Robinson’s Folly.

 

A glimpse into a hidden backyard garden.

A glimpse into a hidden backyard garden “somewhere” on the island.

 

Bear's favorite grass to roll in?  Horse poop fertilized Mackinac grass, of course!

Bear’s favorite grass to roll in? Horse poop fertilized Mackinac grass, of course!

 

There was a 7-hour power outage one of the days we were there, and downtown just practically shut down.  The shops closed, and so did some of the restaurants, although a few offered cold plates and sandwiches!

There was a 7-hour power outage one of the days we were there, and downtown just practically shut down. The shops closed, and so did some of the restaurants, although a few offered cold plates and sandwiches!

 

White bleeding hearts.  Don't think I've seen these before - only the red.

White bleeding hearts. Don’t think I’ve seen these before – only the red.

 

There were no tulips at the Grand Hotel this spring, but Mission Point more than made up for it.  I fell in love with their endless gardens of tulips - all pink!

There were no tulips at the Grand Hotel this spring, but Mission Point more than made up for it. I fell in love with their endless gardens of tulips – all pink!

 

I happened by Original Murdick's fudge shop one evening just after they'd tucked the electric blankets over the marble table tops.  This ensures the marble isn't too cold the next morning for the first batch of fudge.

I happened by Original Murdick’s fudge shop one evening just after they’d tucked the electric blankets over the marble table tops. This ensures the marble isn’t too cold the next morning for the first batch of fudge.

 

Lilacs . . .

Crabapple blossoms . . . 

 

Lilacs . . .

Lilacs . . .

 

Lilacs . . . (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Lilacs . . . (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

 

Lilacs! (Photo: Katy Rise)

Lilacs! (Photo: Katy Rise)

Being back on the island was awesome.  The mixture of scents, noises, sights, and tastes can be conjured up only one place on earth – and that’s Mackinac!  Best of all though was . . .

Talking over the fence in the Mission - being neighborly in the good, old-fashioned way!

. . . talking over fences – being neighborly in the good, old-fashioned way . . .

 

. . . walking home from church down lilac-framed paths . . .

. . . walking home from church down lilac-framed paths . . .

. . . sitting on the front porch with the pooches . . .

. . . sitting on the front porch with the pooches . . .

 

. . . and hanging out with good friends - old and new (Sue, Molly, and Jill).

. . . and hanging out with good friends – old and new (Sue, Molly, and Jill).

It was an awesome trip, and we can’t wait to get back up there in August!  In the meantime, there will probably be another couple of trips south, and on Sunday I’ll catch you all up on the beach house progress.  Here’s a peek . . .

Our little neighborhood at dusk.

Our little neighborhood at dusk.

 

Our house, with the beginning of the second floor balcony and the sky balcony above that.

Our house, with the beginning of the second floor balcony and the sky balcony above that.  We were hoping the siding would be on, but we missed that by a few days, and the day we left the windows and doors were going in.

 

 

Bear - hanging out in the kitchen.

Bear – hanging out in the kitchen.

 See you back here on Sunday!  God bless.

 

Posted by: bree1972 | June 11, 2014

Home Sweet Ri’vah 6/11/2014

We’re home!  We’re home!  We drove into our carport around 4:00 this afternoon, and two very tired humans, with two very excited pooches, breathed a sign of relief we’d all made it safely home once more.

It must have been raining a lot since we've been gone because the grass is that shade of green it gets in the summer when the rain has been plentiful and the sun has been less than scorching.

It must have been raining a lot since we’ve been gone because the grass is that shade of green it gets in the summer when the rain has been plentiful, and the sun has been less than scorching.

This will be a very short stay for us at the ri’vah this week.  The washer and dryer are both going strong, and I’m just taking things directly from the dryer and placing them back into the suitcase.  We won’t pack as much this time, as we’ll only be gone three nights, but Ted and I both have appointments tomorrow so I’m trying to get most of it done tonight.

We split the driving duties this trip, something we should have been doing for years, but my husband thinks I drive too slow (In a 70 mph zone, I drive 75-78.  Does that tell you anything about how fast he drives?).  Anyway, Ted got to rest a little and take a few naps on the road.  Maybe we’ll continue this sharing the driving thing now!

We’re both looking forward to getting to Florida on Friday and going to see our new house.  I can’t believe the last time we were there the foundation wasn’t even poured, and now you can stand on the second floor.  We’ll be doing our electrical walk-through Friday afternoon, so we’ve been thinking about where we need outlets.  Y’all chime in if you have suggestions for outlets in places they don’t normally go – I know we’ll probably forget something. 

Jordan’s dance recital is Saturday afternoon, and the rest of the time we’re just going to pretend we’re on vacation, put up some beach chairs in the sand, and soak up the salt air and sunshine! 

We’ll be back on Monday, the 16th, and I’ll get back to my blogging routine on Thursday, June 19.  I can’t wait to show you all the photos from Mackinac and talk about our trip!

There’s one photo I just have to show you today though.  Jill sent it to me yesterday. 

On Tuesday afternoon at 6 p.m., Mackinac Island's replica of the Statue of Liberty was reinstated on her brand new pedestal at the Mackinac Island Marina.  It's so amazing that American Legion Post 299 raised every cent of the money needed for this project with donations from people and businesses - mostly in $10 and $20 increments.  Kudos to Paul Wandrie, Sr. for his dedication to this project and his patriotic spirit!

On Tuesday afternoon at 6 p.m., Mackinac Island’s replica of the Statue of Liberty was reinstated on her brand new pedestal at the Mackinac Island Marina. It’s so amazing American Legion Post 299 raised every cent of the money needed for this project with donations from individuals and businesses – mostly in $10 and $20 increments. Kudos to Paul Wandrie, Sr. for his dedication to this project and his patriotic spirit!

Thank you once again for your travel prayers, and let’s meet back right here on Thursday, June 16th.  Be ready for TONS of Mackinac goodies and news from the beach house!

God bless.

Posted by: bree1972 | June 10, 2014

11 Hours on the Road 6/10/2014

Hi Everyone!

Just a quick note to let you all know we’ve reached Richmond, KY after 11 hours on the road.  We are tired and achy from the car, but glad to be over half-way home.

Ted is still very sore, but seems to be feeling ok – or as ok as anyone can feel after that many hours in a vehicle.  He did let me drive about 1/4 of the way, so you know he isn’t in top form yet – because that would have never happened if he was.

We plan to be on the road again by 8 a.m. Wednesday morning and, good Lord willing, home by late afternoon.  We’ll have two nights in Georgia before leaving for Florida to attend Jordan’s dance recital and check on the new house!

I’ll post another short note tomorrow night to let you all know we made it safely home – then I’m going to take a little break from blogging for a week or so (I’ll let you know tomorrow night when I’ll be back).  I have so much to talk about from our Mackinac trip and SO MANY more photos to share, but I need to give my brain (and my body) a little rest first!

Bear and Maddie have been real troopers, but they’re ready to get home and get back to normal – at least for a couple of days!

Thank you, thank you for all the safe travel prayers you lifted today and for those you will lift tomorrow.  Love y’all!

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Mission Point Resort is surrounded by thousands of pink tulips this spring!

God bless.

Posted by: bree1972 | June 7, 2014

Mackinac Photo Night 6/7/1948

It’s been an interesting couple of days.

Yesterday Ted had a pretty nasty bike wreck, bruised his ribs (well, they’re at LEAST bruised, but since he refused to go to the Medical Center to get them x-rayed, we’re just going by how much he’s hurting), bummed up both knees . . . you get the picture.  It was a really freaky accident.  We learned long ago to always carry a couple of bungee cords with us in our bike baskets to hold things in from the grocery market, bookstore, etc.  When your basket is empty, you wrap the bungee cords tightly around your basket so they’re not dangling into your front wheel.  Ted had done all that correctly.  For some reason though, as he came down a hill (not a big hill, a little one), one of the bungees popped loose, dropped into his spokes, froze the wheel, and over the handlebars Ted went.  It was his worse wreck ever, but he was so fortunate he didn’t land on his head, which was helmet-less.  Bad, bad idea . . . and yes, we know better.

So – he’s all bruised and sore, but trying his best to be a trooper because today is my birthday, and he didn’t want to put a damper on that.  Bless his heart, he’s walked the dogs with me and rode into town on his now “fixed” bike (it’s actually one of the bikes we sold with our condo, but the new owners insisted we use them while we’re here) to pick up a couple of things at Doud’s.  The bike now has a new chain and a new fender and an “almost” perfectly straight basket.  In the meantime, I’ve been back and forth to town several times working on fudge stories and photographs and once to pick up Bear’s halo collar from the Shepler dock because yes, he now has a hot spot . . . in exactly the same spot on his face where the last two have been.  I put the halo in the car at the last minute before we left Georgia, but didn’t bring it over with us on the ferry.  All it took was a phone call, and a Shepler worker got it out of the car and sent it over on a boat to be picked up at the ferry dock on the island.

After all that – and after possibly the fastest decision-making moment of our entire married life – we both used our heads and decided against a big birthday dinner out tonight.  We stayed home, had pizza delivered from Island Slice Pizzeria, and it was lovely – a quiet dinner in the kitchen with the lights low and the dogs snoring on the floor.  Now Ted’s watching TV/reading the paper and trying to stay awake till bedtime!

And I’ve decided to post a few photos!

The baskets are up!  The baskets are up!

The baskets are up! The baskets are up!

 

Pretty bikes all in a row.

Pretty bikes all in a row.

 

The beautiful and stately Harbor View Inn.

The beautiful and stately Harbor View Inn.

 

The opening day of the 2013 Lilac Festival was Friday, and the island is filling up with visitors.  There was a 5K race this morning!

The opening day of the 2014 Lilac Festival was Friday, and the island is filling up with visitors. There was a 5K race this morning, and the Lilac Queen and her court were announced this afternoon.

 

Loved this almost-hidden wicker chair on someone's front porch.  Great place to people watch!

Loved this almost-hidden wicker chair on someone’s front porch. Great place to people watch!

 

Tulips in front of the Island House.

Tulips in front of the Island House.

Bikes

Bikes fill the racks on Fort Street.

 

Amazed children watch the fudge makers in Original Murdick's Fudge.

Amazed children watch the fudge makers in Original Murdick’s Fudge.

 

A Grand Hotel bus waits under a tree at the Windermere Hotel.

A Grand Hotel bus waits under a tree at the Windermere Hotel.

 

Met some blog readers from Cadillac, MI on the boardwalk.  They're staying on the island the whole week!  That's Gerry, Julie, Glenna, and Greg!  I love my readers!

Met some blog readers from Cadillac, MI on the boardwalk this afternoon. They’re staying on the island the whole week – lucky folks! That’s Gerry, Julie, Glenna, and Greg! I love my readers!

 

Also got to chat a moment with one of my favorite artists - Mary Lou Peters - all dressed up in lilac in celebration of the festival.

Also got to chat a moment with one of my favorite artists – Mary Lou Peters – all dressed up in lilac in celebration of the festival.

 

We're loving this walk along the shore in front of Mission Point each day!

We’re loving this walk each day along the shore in front of Mission Point!

 

Beautiful Small Point Inn - looking like a gingerbread house peeking out over the lilacs.

Beautiful Small Point Inn – looking like a gingerbread house peeking out over the lilacs trees.

 

I think this little girl had just been in a wedding.  Maddie found her totally scary.  I think she thought she was some kind of new type of human.  She was so cute.

I think this little girl had just been in a wedding. Maddie found her totally scary. She just couldn’t figure out exactly what she was – but she was sure cute!

 

Mission Point is a riot of pink tulips!  I just stuck my camera into the middle of them and click the shutter.

Mission Point is a riot of pink tulips! I just stuck my camera into the middle of them and click the shutter.

Ok – that’s enough for tonight, I think.  Ted’s downing more aspirin, and we’re hoping to attend church tomorrow morning to hear the new Little Stone Church minister.  Two more days on the island . . . 

SAM_1446.2

Posted by: bree1972 | June 5, 2014

Back on Mackinac 6/5/2014

My face is so sore from grinning all day – every day – since we arrived on Sunday afternoon, I will probably have to have face therapy when we get back to Georgia.  At first it was a little rainy, then a little windy, then a little chilly – but we couldn’t care less.  We have been on a permanent Mackinac high, and it could snow for all we care – wouldn’t faze us a bit!

All the clouds and showers and wind disappeared this morning, and it was one of those sunny, crystal clear Michigan early summer days.  There’s been very little indoor time – all we’ve wanted to do is get outside and enjoy every minute.

There’s so much to talk about!  I’ve been very busy with my free lance work with Original Murdick’s Fudge, and for those of you who’ve been checking their web site each day for blog postings, just please be patient.  I’ve submitted one already, and it should go up soon.  I’ve also submitted quite a few photographs for them to use on their Facebook page.  Those will begin posting soon also, so please go to their Facebook site and “like” it, so you’ll be notified of activity there.

Ok . . . what have we been up to – besides work?  So glad you asked!

We’ve spent an unbelievable amount of time just talking to friends!  You know Mackinac.  A walk to the Island Bookstore turns into a three-hourSAM_1242 meet and greet trip.  It’s so much fun seeing everyone again after being away all winter.  Ted and I have felt so much love this week we are totally blown away.

We arrived on the Island in time for Ted to help out again at the Community Foundation Celebration in Turtle Park last night.  Bob Benser and the crew from the Chippewa Hotel are in charge of the food each year, and Ted has joined the crew for two years now.  They packed up a dray in front of the hotel yesterday afternoon, stopped at the Grand for more equipment and supplies, then rode to the park to set everything up and start grilling.

Coolers full of food, a grill, and other necessities - waiting for a driver!

Coolers full of food, a grill, and other necessities – waiting for a driver before heading to Turtle Park.

 

Over a hundred folks gathered for hamburgers and all the fixins'!  The kids enjoyed pony rides and games, and one lucky child won a new bicycle!

Over a hundred folks gathered for hamburgers and all the fixins’! The kids enjoyed pony rides and games, and one lucky child won a new bicycle!

 

Bob Benser

Bob Benser makes sure the food table is stocked and chats with a community member, as Rich Lind looks on.

Since Ted rode up early on the dray, I was in charge of the afternoon dog walk and feeding.  With the celebration scheduled to start at 5:00, I knew I’d have to leave downtown by at least 4:30 to get to the park.  As usual things didn’t go as planned, and I walked out the door at 4:50.  I started off, dialing the taxi stand as I walked.

Once again, Dean answered the phone.

“Dean, it’s Brenda Horton.”

“Yep?”

“You have any taxis headed up toward Turtle Park?”

“Nope, don’t have a thing.”

Big – very big – dramatic sigh from me.

“Where are you, Brenda?” Dean asked, and I could just see him shaking his head, wondering why I don’t plan just a little ahead for things like this.

“In front of St. Anne’s.”

“Sit down on the steps at St. Anne’s, and I’ll get something to you.”

Yeahhhh!  Two minutes later I’m on a taxi headed up toward the top of the island.  I arrived in plenty of time to eat and enjoy all the festivities . . . and talk, talk, talk!

I walked home alone, leaving Ted helping with clean-up.  I confess . . .  I could not walk by the condo.  I took a path through the woods that brought me out at Surrey Ridge, where I turned down the hill without ever looking up toward our old place.  Just couldn’t do it.

The woods are full of Trillium!

The woods are full of Trillium!

 

The Grand Hotel and Carriage Tour Stable and Carriage Museum looks beautiful against all the springtime green!

The Grand Hotel and Carriage Tour Stable and Carriage Museum looks beautiful against all the springtime green!

 

The corral was full of horses, but I liked the way this one looked standing alone under a beautiful white-blooming tree.

The corral was full of horses, but I liked the way this one looked – standing alone under a beautiful white-blooming tree.

 

How many times have I walked this road . . . . too many to count.

How many times have I walked this road . . . . too many to count.

 

Around the next curve.

Around the next curve.

 

Looking through the trees, across the Grand Hotel Golf Course to the Straits.

Looking through the trees, across the Grand Hotel Golf Course to the Straits.

 

The back porch of the Governor's Summer Residence (no one was home).

The back porch of the Governor’s Summer Residence (no one was home).

 

A crow stands guard atop the gate at the top of Fort Street.

A crow stands guard atop the gate at the top of Fort Street.

 

I will never, never, never tire of this view.

I will never, never, never tire of this view . . .

 

. . . or this one!

. . . or this one!

 

The ticket booth at the lower level of Fort Mackinac - at the bottom of Fort Hill.

The ticket booth at the lower level of Fort Mackinac – at the bottom of Fort Hill.

 

Market Street at twilight.

Market Street at twilight.

 

At the bottom of Fort Hill I ran into a group of Village friends.  So good to see them!

At the bottom of Fort Hill I ran into a group of Village friends. So good to see them!

 

Our castle for the week - in the heart of the Mission District.  We love it!

Our castle for the week – in the heart of the Mission District. We love it!

 I could keep going, but it’s midnight, and my eyelids are closing between each word.  More to come as the week goes on, and I’m sure I’ll still be writing about this week after we get home.  We are so blessed to have this opportunity to be here right now, and I love being able to share it with all of you.

God bless.

Oh. Oh. Oh!  Guess what happened today????!!!!!

The first lilacs of the season bloomed . . .

The first lilacs of the season bloomed . . .

. . . at the Mackinac Island Marina!

. . . at the Mackinac Island Marina!  Just in time for the Lilac Festival which begin June 6!

 

 

When the Benser family invited me to come up and do some free lance writing for their Original Murdick’s Fudge blog, I was 1) flattered; 2) excited; and 3) on board immediately!  You know me . . . if it means a trip to magical Mackinac Island, my luggage is packed, and I’m on that midnight train from Georgia (ok, ok – we take I-75 and drive a Ford).  Nevertheless, I jumped at the chance to come north before our planned visit in August, and we arrived Sunday afternoon to swarms of midges on the Mackinaw City side (NOT on the island), chilly breezes, and the always-exciting bluster of activity on Mackinac’s Main Street.

During our 1100+ mile ride up, I had a lot of time to think about what writing for a fudge company could mean.  Ted and I know the Benser family personally (they own Original Murdick’s Fudge shops on Mackinac Island and on Martha’s Vineyard) and are owners and co-owners of several other businesses on the Island.  Our connection with them originally was through the Chippewa Hotel, where we stayed for several summers before we bought our condo here.  Through the years, my admiration for this family has grown exponentially.  They have those rare qualities of business acumen, attention to detail, and professionalism that any successful business must possess.  But they carry it one step further and team successful business strategies with the human elements of a caring spirit, a love of the Mackinac experience and tradition, and a network of “family members” who have been with Original Murdick’s Fudge since it was purchased by the Bensers in 1969.  You can read the story of that transition by clicking on “Our Story” www.originalmurdicksfudge.com/about-us.

We’ll be on the Island for the next few days (through June 9th), and while we’re here, I’ll be posting photographs and fudge stories pretty much continuously to the Original Murdick’s Fudge blog site www.originalmurdicksfudge.com/blog.  I hope you’ll join me there for nine days of fudge adventures, and hey – if anything you read or see here makes you think you JUST CAN’T STAND IT FOR ONE MORE MINUTE, AND YOU HAVE TO HAVE SOME FUDGE RIGHT NOW, all you have to do is go online and order you up a batch at www.originalmurdicksfudge.com.

Gee, I wish there was a “scratch and sniff” option on blog posts.  Wouldn’t it be awesome to just lean into your laptop screen – or hold your iPhone up to your nose – and breathe in the aroma of F.U.D.G.E.

Let’s go to Mackinac!

A little rain on the streets set everyone's mind to fudge . . . Original Murdick's Fudge!

A little rain on the streets turned everyone’s mind to fudge . . . Original Murdick’s Fudge!

 

Take five hungry boys from Grand Rapids, place Original Murdick's Fudge samples in front of them, and watch the smiles begin!

Take five hungry boys from Grand Rapids, place Original Murdick’s Fudge samples in front of them, and watch the smiles begin!

If you’re on Facebook, please go to the Original Murdick’s Fudge Facebook page and join that group.  Lots of information and specials there, and they’ll be using some of my photos over the next few days also!

 

 

Posted by: bree1972 | June 1, 2014

My Heart is Home Tonight 6/1/2014

As tired as we were when we hit the parking lot at Shepler’s Ferry, as aggravating as the huge swarms of midges (black, non-stinging insects that hatch, mate and die within a 10-day period just after the Great Lakes thaw, and it warms up a bit) were on the dock at Mackinaw City, and as crazy as it was to have to haul our sweatshirts and jackets out of the totes before we boarded the ferry, I was still grinning like a kid on Christmas morning when we boarded the ferry.  As we pulled into the dock on the Island, I looked out and saw Jill standing there waiting with her camera, ready to capture our arrival – just like she’s done for the last six summers.

Posing for Jill before the ferry ever cut its engine.

Posing for Jill before the ferry ever cut its engine.

 

It feels so good to be back!

It feels so good to be back!

 

We took a taxi to the cottage we're going to call home for the next nine nights, unpacked, and walked back downtown to have a bite to eat at the Pink Pony . . . where else?  Jill joined us, and we spent the first 15 minutes saying hello to lots and lots of friends who were in the Pony also!

We took a taxi to the cottage we’re going to call home for the next nine nights, unpacked, and walked back downtown to have a bite to eat at the Pink Pony . . . where else? Jill joined us, and we spent the first 15 minutes saying hello to lots and lots of friends who were in the Pony also!

 

We took a taxi to the cottage we're going to call home for the next nine nights, unpacked, and walked back downtown to have a bite to eat at the Pink Pony . . . where else?

We walked back to the Mission District around 9:30, just as the lights were coming on around the marina.

Fort Mackinac against a slowly darkening sky.

Fort Mackinac against a slowly darkening sky.

 

So pretty . . . and so different to be walking home and NOT climbing the hill!

So pretty . . . and so different to be walking home and NOT climbing the hill!

 

A little glimpse of our "digs" for the next nine days.  Awesome!

A little glimpse of our “digs” for the next nine days. Awesome!  As you can see, Bear is OUT!

It feels strange to be here and not be residents any more, but everyone is sure making us feel like we’ve come home.  About an hour after we arrived, we discovered we left my pillow and Maddie’s bed on the taxi.  Ted called the taxi office, and Dean answered the phone.

Ted:  “Hey, Dean, it’s Ted.”

Dean:  “Left a pillow and a dog bed on the taxi, didn’t ya?  We got it right here for ya.”

My heart is home tonight.

Posted by: bree1972 | May 31, 2014

Heading North . . . 5/31/2014

After leaving at 6 a.m. instead of the planned 4 a.m., we didn’t get as far as we were planning today.  We’ve stopped in Wapakoneta, Ohio at a dog-friendly Best Western we’ve stayed in once before.  We are all very T.I.R.E.D. of the car! 

We’ve chowed down on Taco Bell tacos (in the room because we can’t leave the dogs alone, and it’s too hot for them to stay in the car while we eat).  Soon we’ll take them on a long walk somewhere, and hopefully find a patch of grass I can let Bear off the leash so he can chase the tennis ball for a while.  As usual, he’s spent the day without sleep, wedged between the passenger and driver seats – making sure Ted is following the right route north.

Our only break from the ordinary has been discovering we forgot Maddie’s harness.  We stopped at a Pet Smart in Richmond, KY.  In we all went.  Ted walked down the endless aisle of leashes, collars, and harnesses, grabbed a harness, tried it on Maddie, declared it a good fit, and away we went to the cash register.  Two minutes . . . tops.

At the next rest area we discovered the harness was too big when Maddie stepped right out of it in the grass.  We tried adjusting it, but to no avail.  Too big is too big.  I got on my iPhone and tracked down the next Pet Smart along our route.  We pulled off at the right exit, but before we found the Pet Smart, we found a Petco.  In we all went.  A precious little sales girl got in the middle of the floor with Maddie and snapped her into harnesses until she found the right fit.  She explained in detail how it worked, showing us the marked “head”, “right leg”, “left leg”, and “tail” tags on the harness.  Then she fed them treats.  Maddie and Bear begged to stay with her!  I’ll take the PetSmart harness back when we get home and get a refund. 

No matter how many times we make this trip, I always take the same photos.  The only thing that changes are the colors, makes, and models of cars in the lanes ahead of us and how many bugs are splattered on the windshield . . .

Downtown Atlanta, with the Olympic Torch towering above Centennial Park . . .

Downtown Atlanta, with the Olympic Torch towering above Centennial Park . . .

 

The Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee . . .

. . . the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee . . .

 

. . . the skyline of Cincinnati . . .

. . . the skyline of Cincinnati . . .

 

. . . and the Ohio River.

. . . and the Ohio River.

We’re hoping to leave by 8:00 in the morning.  Good Lord willing, and with about seven more hours of driving, we should be on the ferry to the island the middle of the afternoon.  Woo Hoo!

Thank you for all the safe travel prayers.  Sure would appreciate a few more of those tomorrow for the rest of our trip.

God bless!

 

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