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!
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? (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!
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 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 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.
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.
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!
Imagine dray after dray of annuals, which have just arrived on the island at the docks, . . .
. . . 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!
The white sails of a boat from Robinson’s Folly.
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!
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.
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.
Crabapple blossoms . . .
Lilacs . . .
Lilacs . . . (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)
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 fences – being neighborly in the good, old-fashioned way . . .
. . . walking home from church down lilac-framed paths . . .
. . . sitting on the front porch with the pooches . . .
. . . 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 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.
See you back here on Sunday! God bless.