It does not get any better than today – it just doesn’t. In fact, the day was so perfect, as I sit here trying to think of how to tell you about it, I’m still wearing the biggest smile ever. Let me just say, dear readers, you did good with those prayers!
Lowell and Faye were already waiting in the lobby when I bounced in at 9:30 – a good 30 minutes before “the surprise”. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that another blog fan – Lora - is on the Island this week, staying at another hotel with her niece, Sarah. She, Lowell, and Faye have been trying to get together for a few minutes since the Greene’s arrived, but every attempt had failed. So this morning Lora and Sarah came down to the Chippewa to see everyone off on the Grand Hotel VIP carriage.
I snapped this shot of Lowell and Lora in front of the Chippewa’s elevator door.
Soon our reporter from The St. Ignace News/Town Crier arrived – Stephanie Fortino. She went along with our little “fib” about ordering a taxi to take us to Arch Rock for her interview with Lowell.
Ben told me he would pull the carriage up in front of the Visitor’s Center and wait for a signal to pull down in front of the Chippewa. When Ted saw him go by, he and Jill walked down and said we were all in the lobby. As soon as Ben started moving, we told Faye and Lowell their “taxi” was outside. Oh my gosh, I wish you could have seen their faces!
We all climbed on, including Ted, who got to ride up top with Ben. I honestly think Faye and Lowell were speechless for a few moments.
Off we went through downtown. Now, when a vintage Grand Hotel vis-à-vis carriage, pulled by two majestic Hackney horses (named Jester and Joker) start high-stepping through the streets, it stops traffic, bikers, and pedestrians!
We drove up Cadotte and turned in front of the Grand Hotel. Faye and Lowell finally just shook their heads in wonder and started laughing. It was great!
We traveled up the West Bluff in front of the summer cottages, with Lowell talking to Stephanie and Ben occasionally giving some history on what we were seeing. Stephanie, bless her heart, had a hard time writing while riding in the carriage, so she finally pulled out her recorder.
As we road through the Annex, which Lowell had never seen, he entertained us with stories from his teenage years on Mackinac Island in the 1950′s.
We stopped in a shady spot for a photo . . .
. . . then Ted climbed back up in the driver’s seat he was sharing with Ben. They sure did chatter a lot up there, and I tried to listen to Lowell with one ear and their conversation with another. (To be honest, I think they occasionally veered off the subject of island history.)
We turned up the hill next to the cemetery and headed for Ft. Holmes . . .
. . . where we made our first official stop. There were several people at Ft. Holmes already, and with the arrival of the Grand carriage, they all immediately stopped looking at the view and wanted photos of Ben and the horses.
They are very photogenic.
Lowell said Ft. Holmes had changed quite a bit since he visited there. Where grass creates the walls surrounding these gates now, there once were timbers.
Lowell and Faye at Ft. Holmes.
The interview really never stopped. With each new spot, Stephanie would ask more questions, and Lowell would tell more stories.
Lowell and Faye at Lookout Point.
While Lowell was being interviewed, Ted was entertaining Faye.
Our last stop before the end of the tour was Arch Rock, where Lowell worked so many years ago. Lora and Sarah rode their bikes out there to meet us.
Lowell showed Stephanie where the Curio Shop was at Arch Rock . . .
. . . and the reporter got a photograph of Lowell and Faye.
Jill also met us at Arch Rock and snapped this one of Ted and I with Ben.
From Arch Rock, we headed back to the Grand . . .
. . . but we weren’t faster than Jill on her bike. She had time to park the bike, get up on the porch, and shoot this photo of us pulling into the Grand driveway. I’m telling you – she is the energizer bunny!
We all thanked Ben for a fabulous tour . . .
. . . then went inside for a wonderful lunch at the Grand.
Since Lowell, Faye, and Stephanie had never been to the Grand cupola, we took the elevator to within one floor of the top, then took the stairs the rest of the way. Lowell said the view was worth every step.
I love this photo.
Our last stop was Sadie’s for ice cream. By the way, flavor #3 was Triple Peanut Butter Cup, and on a scale from 1 to 10, I give it a 10. Tasted like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – with chocolate chips.
Again, it was just a perfect day. Even the weather cooperated – sunny blue skies, no wind, and low 60′s. We grabbed a taxi downtown and were dropped at the Chippewa, where we collapsed on a sofa in the lobby and talked about Wednesday. It is so hard to believe their days here have flown by this quickly!
I’ll be meeting them at the Chippewa Wednesday morning in time to get down to Shepler’s for the 11 o’clock ferry. But that’s a story for tomorrow.
A huge thank you to the Musser Family, Grand Hotel, Jennifer King and Ben Mosley for inviting the Greene’s to experience this special day on the Grand carriage. Awesome doesn’t even begin to describe it!
Have I mentioned it was a perfect day . . .