Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Faye and I walked east past Marquette Park, the marina, and the Manoogian Art Museum, which used to be the Mackinac Island Indian Dormitory until it became the Mackinac Island Public School for nearly a hundred years. We continued walking past the Bay View Inn, the Island House Hotel, originally built in 1852 with the east wing added in 1895 and the west wing added in 1912, Ste. Anne’s Church, the Old Mission Church and many residences. As we walked along, I noticed a mourning dove sitting on a picket fence, no more than three feet from me. Apparently, the bird was welcoming us to the Island because it looked at us but never left the fence. Faye took a picture and we continued our walk.
When we arrived back at the Chippewa, Brenda & Ted, Jill, Lora and Sarah were already there. It was only a short time until the Town Crier reporter, Stephanie Fortino, walked in and the surprises for the day really began. Stephanie started the interview right there in the lobby. After a short time, Brenda said the taxi was ready. The “taxi” had turned into a beautiful carriage from the Grand Hotel, pulled by a team of the most beautiful high-stepping Hackney Horses and with Ben Mosely, Grand Hotel Stable Manager, as the driver. He later informed me that Hackneys are born with that high-stepping gait.
Ted rode shotgun with Ben, and Brenda, Stephanie, Faye & I climbed into the carriage. Jill, Lora and Sarah left to ride bicycles out to Arch Rock and we were off down the street just as though we were celebrities. We went through town and up Cadotte Avenue to the Grand, but instead of going on by the east end, as we had done the day before, Ben drove in front to the West Bluff with its very impressive Victorian summer cottages, which are actually mansions from that time period. Continuing on, he drove us through Hubbard’s Annex, which is more wooded and with homes that are more modest, but not much less impressive. I had never been in the Annex before.
From there we went on through the woods to the cemeteries, where Ben turned left to go up to Fort Holmes. As we arrived, those who were already there stopped looking at the gorgeous scenic views and turned their attention to the beautiful carriage and horses, with the elegantly dressed driver. I hope Fort Holmes will be restored in the future. There isn’t much left except the berm, which used to be covered with timbers, and the entryway to the fort. Was it from the fort that we looked down on Sugar Loaf Rock? I don’t remember, but I know we did it.
After about a half hour at Fort Holmes, we rode the short distance to Point Lookout, and it certainly is a lookout. The views cannot be described. I just know they were awesome. Of course, that’s true all over the Island. (Note from Brenda: Lowell, Sugar Loaf was viewed from Point Lookout.)
Then it was on to Arch Rock, where Jill, Lora and Sarah met us and Stephanie continued the interview. Actually, the interview never really stopped during the whole carriage trip. The metal viewing platform that was new in the 1950′s is still there and looks as strong as ever. I showed the others where I thought the little Curio Shop had been located where I worked so long ago. I’m sure I was about right.
After more pictures and a lot of talk, at least on my part, it was time to start the last leg of our wonderful carriage ride. Jill, Lora and Sarah rode their bicycles, promising to meet us at the Grand Hotel. On the way we went by the back of Fort Mackinac, the summer residence for Michigan’s governor and the Horton’s condo. (It always seemed odd to me that for so many years there was no Governor’s mansion in Lansing, the capital city, but there was a summer residence on the Island.)
When we arrived at the front steps of the Grand Hotel, it was time to leave the carriage. Thank you Ben, Brenda & Ted for one of the great treats of life for Faye and me. By the way, Magic Jill was at the Grand to meet us and take pictures.
Then it was up the steps and into the hotel, where we, including Jill, had lunch and a very good lunch it was. Of course, I guess my review of the lunch doesn’t mean much. I once complimented Faye on something she had made. He answer was, “That’s no compliment. you’ll eat anything.” Well, I do like to eat.
After lunch, Lora and Sarah, who had lunch in the Tea Room at Fort Mackinac, joined us and we went up to the Grand Hotel Cupola. Once again, we could see the beautiful (I wish there were more synonyms for beautiful) views of the island, the water and Mackinac Bridge. Then we went down to Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor and Lora treated all of us. Thank you, Lora. I don’t remember what the others had, but I had Raspberry and yes, it was very good. I’ll give it a 10 for Brenda.
After the ice cream treat, Ted went to the condo to check on Bear and Maddie. Jill, Lora and Sarah returned downtown on their bicycles and Brenda took Stephanie, Faye & me in an actual taxi back to the Chippewa. If I remember correctly, that was when Stephanie left us to go to St. Ignace. Brenda sent us to our room and she went home. (Note from Brenda: Hmmmm. I can’t seem to remember “sending Lowell and Faye to their rooms”, but if Lowell says I did, it must be true!)
Wednesday, June 5,2013
Once again we were up early. We had our coffee, ate our breakfast and packed everything in preparation for going home. About 8:30 we walked down Main Street to the Windermere Hotel where we had a nice visit with Margaret Doud. As I’m sure most of you who read Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog will know, Margaret Doud has been the mayor of Mackinac Island for the past 31 years. She and her mother, Jeannette, are the owners of the Windermere Hotel. It was Jeannette’s mother, Ella Chambers, in whose house I lived during the summers of 1954, 55 & 56, and for whom I worked at the Arch Rock Curio Shop during the summers of 1955 & 56.
After our visit and having my picture taken with the mayor, we walked back to the hotel. On the way we stopped in one of the fudge shops and bought three big slices of fudge. Isn’t that what everyone does when they visit the Island? If I remember correctly, Brenda, Ted and Jill were already in the lobby when we arrived. We brought our luggage down and after checking out, arranging with Josh Carley to take it to Shepler’s Ferry Dock and having my picture taken with Josh and Archie Horn, all of us walked to the dock. Because we were a little early, we waited on the street out of the wind, While we were waiting, who should we see coming down the street but Brad Chambers. Brad lives in the same house I lived in long before he was born. Of course, it was Brenda who knew him and she introduced us. That was nice to have a short visit with him.
When it was time to board the ferry, with our VIP tickets (can you imagine that?) we went to the head of the line and were able to sit in the back of the boat because the water was rather choppy. Ted left us there, but Brenda and Jill went with us to Mackinaw City. When we got there, they insisted that Faye & I wait in the warm tent while they took our luggage to the car and brought it to the front for us. While we were waiting, I heard someone say that’s’ Capt. Shepler over there, so I went over to the ticket booth where he was to thank him and have a short visit with him. We looked to where Brenda and Jill were and saw that they couldn’t get the trunk open. (Now, this a secret between you and me. All they needed to have done was press the little picture of a car with an open trunk that is on the remote, which they had on the key ring.) Anyway, they decided to put everything in the back seat. We saw it when Brenda drove up with the car. At the time, I thought I would transfer everything to the trunk when we stopped later, but I didn’t do that.
After our good-byes , we left Mackinaw City and headed for Cheboygan, fifteen miles southeast along the Lake Huron shore. On the way, we stopped at the roadside park on the lake where my picnic loving mother once took my brother, sister and me for a very early Good Friday picnic. It was cold and there were ice floes in the lake, but it was fun. I took a couple pictures and we continued to Cheboygan, where we drove by a few places that were familiar to me from my teenage years. Then we drove a few miles south to visit a lady who was a neighbor back then and is now 100 years old. I really shouldn’t say old because she looked and acted younger than I do. We visited for about an hour and headed for home.
When we arrived home and were unloading the car, what did we find but another surprise underneath everything in the back seat. Brenda & Ted had given us two more books, “Wish You Were Here, An Album of Vintage Mackinac Postcards” by Steven C. Brisson and “Above Mackinac” with pictures by Robert Cameron and text by Phil Porter, a book that I had admired at Ted & Brenda’s condo.
The first surprise may have been on Ted & Brenda, but the last surprise certainly was on Faye & me.
A Few Extra Photos
Let me conclude by saying it was such a wonderful trip. We could not have been treated better by anyone with whom we had any contact on Mackinac Island, especially Brenda & Ted Horton and Jill Sawatzki. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35b), so I’m sure everyone who had anything to do with making our trip so memorable has been blessed because I know Faye & I sure were. I just wish there was some way to thank Brenda for arranging “The Trip of A Lifetime” for Faye and me.
Brenda, you are a gem! Southern charm, personified, right here in Michigan on our own Mackinac Island! And yes, Charlie, she truly is amazing!
Note from Brenda: Those of us who were in on the planning of Lowell & Faye’s trip to Mackinac are truly the ones who were blessed. Seeing their delight on every street, at every corner, and with each new adventure shared was all the thanks any of us needed.