Mackinac June Visit – Last Day on the Island 6/25/15

The last day of our June visit to Mackinac was on Wednesday, and after spending the morning writing a Stonecliffe post, I hopped on a waiting taxi to meet Jill and Sue for lunch. Already on board the taxi were a couple from Kentucky and a lady with her daughter.  The daughter (I wrote down all the names and have somehow lost them – imagine that) was from Canada, and her mom was visiting her – in the states for the first time.  And that’s how . . .

. . . three moms (one from Kentucky, one from Saudi Arabia and me) spent a taxi ride sharing stories and cell phone photos of children and grandchildren.  The lady from Saudi Arabia didn't speak a word of English, but her daughter translated for us.  She was so sweet and funny and must have shown us a hundred photos of her family.  Only on Mackinac!

. . . three moms (one from Kentucky, one from Saudi Arabia and me) spent a taxi ride sharing stories and cell phone photos of children and grandchildren. The lady from Saudi Arabia didn’t speak a word of English, but her daughter translated for us. She was so sweet and funny and must have shown us a hundred photos of her family. Only on Mackinac!

We ate lunch at Millie's on Main and then took a long walk together - it felt just like old times!  So glad a stranger asked if he could take our photo so we could all be in the shot!

We ate lunch at Millie’s on Main and then took a long walk together – it felt just like old times! So glad a stranger asked if he could take our photo so we could all be in this shot in front of the lilacs!

I know the middle of June is well past “spring” in most places in the country, but with the high temps being only in the low 60’s, most of the island flower gardens haven’t been in the ground long.  But, Mackinac always manages to look beautiful for the Lilac Festival, and this year was no different.

The steeple of St. Anne's always makes a wonderful backdrop for the Main Street lilacs.

The steeple of St. Anne’s always makes a wonderful backdrop for the Main Street lilacs.

Hard to believe a couple of weeks ago, there were no flowers in these beds at all.  It's just another bit of Mackinac magic!

Hard to believe a couple of weeks ago, there were no flowers in these beds at all. It’s just another bit of Mackinac magic!

One of the new places to visit on the island - the Peace Garden behind the Richard and Jane Manoogian Art Museum . . .

One of the new places to visit on the island – the Peace Garden behind the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum in Marquette Park. 

What a great place for a little quiet time!

The garden represents the longstanding peaceful relationship between the United States and Canada since the end of the War of 1812.  Jack Barnwell and his crew did a beautiful job with the landscaping – what a great place for a little quiet time!

Jill had to leave us to go to work, and I needed to get back to Stonecliffe to start packing.  Sue walked with me as far as the Grand Hotel, and we decided to go out on the porch so we could photograph the tulips from above.

The entrance to the Grand!

The entrance to the Grand!

An awesome view past the geraniums on that long front porch.

An awesome view past the geraniums down Cadotte Avenue.

What an awesome landscaping achievement.  A pinwheel garden of tulips!

What an amazing landscaping achievement – a pinwheel garden of tulips!

Sadie's Ice Cream Parlor was doing a brisk business - even in the chilly temps.

Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor was doing a brisk business – even in the chilly temps.

Have any of my readers ever played chess with these life-size chess pieces?

Have any of my readers ever played chess with these life-size chess pieces?

Another view of the tulips from above. . .

Another view of the tulips from above. . .

. . . and one from eye-level.

. . . and one from eye-level.

I walked past the Grand to Four Corners and hooked a left onto Annex Road - which took me straight back to Stonecliffe.

I walked past the Grand to Four Corners and hooked a left onto Annex Road – which took me straight back to Stonecliffe.

What a fun, fun trip!  We can’t wait to get back in August for six weeks on the island! 

This will be the last post on Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog until we return to the island in August.  I’ll be back on Sunday on the To Be Clay blog (http://bree2015.wordpress.com) to catch you up on everything that’s been happening at the beach for the last couple of weeks.Hope to see you then!

God bless.

Personal Note:  Please lift prayers for continued healing for our former neighbor and great friend Chief “Duck” Andress.  Duck cut off two of his fingers last week while working on his world-famous walking sticks in his shop.  He is doing great, but a few extra prayers never hurt!

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The Stonecliffe Adventure – The Rest of the Story 6/21/15

Having the opportunity to spend a few days at the Inn at Stonecliffe gave Ted and I a whole new Mackinac perspective.  When we lived on the island for six months out of each year, we – like most folks – got into our little comfort zones.  We’d go to certain restaurants, certain bars, certain shops, and certain areas of the island.  It wasn’t that we had anything against other places – we were just unfamiliar with them and – I guess – too lazy to give them a try.

Now that we’ve stayed at Stonecliffe – and eaten there – we’ve definitely added this gorgeous area to our comfort zone list.  We’ll be back later in the summer to have dinner and try out the fabulous new Sunday brunch they’ve recently added – as well as head up there in the evening for a drink on the patio or to watch the sun go down from Sunset Rock.

When I explore new places where I’ll be staying a few days, one of my favorite things to do is seek out cozy spots to read – or just to sit and be quiet for a few moments.  Stonecliffe is one of those places where “out of the way” spots are plentiful, and when you go looking for those special spots, you’re also bound to open doors to special rooms, special outdoor spaces, and special people!

The back porches of the Summer House Suites are cool and shady, and the ferry and freighter sound effects from the Straits add to the "Mackinac" experience.

The back porches of the Summer House Suites are cool and shady, and the ferry and freighter sound effects from the Straits add to the “Mackinac” experience.

I loved this little alcove on the second floor at the mansion.  Comfy chair and lighting through stained glass windows - perfect spot to curl up with a good book!

I loved this little alcove on the second floor at the mansion. Comfy chair and lighting through stained glass windows – perfect spot to curl up with a good book!

The Inn's staircase is a spiral masterpiece.  There are rooms on both the second and third floor, with the staircase winding up to the third floor through the turret.

The Inn’s staircase is a spiral masterpiece. There are rooms on both the second and third floor, with the staircase winding up to the third floor through the turret . . .

. . . . with stops along the way to look out on Stonecliffe's beautiful grounds.

. . . . with stops along the way to look out on Stonecliffe’s beautiful grounds.

This little nook on the first floor is all about Stonecliffe weddings.

This little nook on the first floor is all about Stonecliffe weddings, with albums filled with past wedding photographs.

My favorite "daytime" hidey-hole - a half-hidden bench beside the fireplace in the Inn's bar.

My favorite “daytime” hidey-hole – a half-hidden bench beside the fireplace in the Inn’s bar – a nice spot for journaling or to just get away.  And if you want to read, there’s a window seat on the other side of the fireplace which, on cool evenings, is filled with a crackling old-fashioned wood fire!

Not exactly a "hidey-hole", but the pool at Stonecliffe is awesome and was just being filled for the first time the week we were there.

The pool at Stonecliffe (as seen from a Summer House suite) is awesome and was just being filled for the first time the week we were there. . .

. . . and - like everything at Stonecliffe - the pool is just a stone's throw from an unbelievable view of the Straits!

. . . and – like everything at Stonecliffe – the pool is just a stone’s throw from an unbelievable view of the Straits!

A big surprise when this door was opened.  The resort has its own beauty salon - to the delight of all the wedding parties who stay there.  Hair and makeup stylists come up from town, and this room turns into "party central" in the hours before a wedding!

A big surprise when this door was opened. The resort has its own beauty salon – to the delight of all the wedding parties who stay there. Hair and makeup stylists come up from town, and this room turns into “party central” in the hours before the ceremony!  You see that big white hook in the upper left-hand corner of the room?  Yep – that’s for the wedding dress!

 

Trey

Trey and Matt are always ready to load luggage onto or out of the taxis, get everything up to your room, and help answer questions!

The kitchen at Stonecliffe is sparkling clean and highly efficient.  It's hard to believe that this was once a private family's kitchen space.

The kitchen at Stonecliffe is sparkling clean and highly efficient. It’s hard to believe that this was once a private family’s cooking space.

The huge laundry room in the Summer House Suites handles the linens for both properties.  This is Tyiana's third season at the resort (she works at several positions there).  She is the only person I've ever seen fold a fitted sheet into a perfect square!

The huge laundry room in the Summer House Suites handles the linens for both properties. This is Tyiana’s third season at the resort (she works at several positions there). She is the only person I’ve ever seen who could fold a fitted sheet into a perfect square!

I poked my head into an office door and met these two hard working ladies -  Intern Extraordinaire Margaret McGovern and Sales Manager Becky Miller.

I poked my head into an office door and met these two hard working ladies – Intern Extraordinaire Margaret McGovern and Sales Manager Becky Miller.

I can't end without reintroducing you to Stefanie Congdon, who was the lady who invited me up to write about Stonecliffe.  Little did I know that Bree's Mackinac Island Blog played a small part in Stefanie's arrival on Mackinac.

And I can’t end this series without reintroducing you to General Manager Stefanie Congdon, who invited me up to write about Stonecliffe.

A huge thank you to Stefanie and her gracious staff for making our stay at The Inn at Stonecliffe a magical few days.  We were treated like royalty, fed well, and made to feel like family.    But – that’s the way every guest is treated at Stonecliffe.  I saw it over and over again in the days we were there – all the special touches, the attention to detail, and the time being taken to answer questions, make suggestions, and ensure each guest feels special.

Martin Buber said, “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”  When we started our Stonecliffe adventure, I thought I knew what we’d find – a magnificent family home rich in history, beautiful in design, and filled with the luxurious trappings of an island paradise.  We found all of that . . . and we also found many of the “secret destinations” at Stonecliffe.  It will all keep us returning to this special spot over the years, and I encourage you to go and discover it all for yourself.  Don’t be bashful about roaming the halls and walking the grounds. The Stonecliffe experience is another part of Mackinac that will reach out and grab your heart . . . and not let it go.

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Mackinac June Visit – Monday Afternoon/Tuesday 6/18/15

 

Being on Mackinac for a few days refueled my engines in so many ways.  First, it got me away from the oven that Florida has become in the last week or two.  Although the thermometer just topped 90 today for the first time this summer, the humidity makes it feel infinitely hotter.  Bear and Maddie can’t even take their normal walks out to the intracoastal dock anymore because the wood on the walk-over is too hot for their paws.  They just put on their brakes and refuse to move.  So – I was more than delighted to dig out a sweater and jacket for the island highs – only in the 60’s!

Second, it was wonderful to see so many island friends!  On Mackinac you can hardly turn a corner without seeing someone you know, so we spent a lot of time catching up on a year’s worth of news.

And third – for me – it was a homecoming.  No matter where else we go, I believe Mackinac is always going to be my ultimate destination on this earth. The island recharges my spirit in some unfathomable way that defies explanation.  I feel energized when I’m there – able to climb hills, walk miles and miles, leap small buildings in a single bound – well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but you get my drift.

After meeting with Stefanie on Monday morning and getting a tour of beautiful Stonecliffe, I grabbed the shuttle to town, planning to meet up with Ted, who had already borrowed a Stonecliffe bike and was out exploring.  I don’t think I’ve mentioned that I’ve been having some back issues for a couple of weeks, so biking was out of the question for me on this trip.

Since this was the noon shuttle, a stop at the barns for a team change was on the schedule.

Since this was the noon shuttle, a stop at the barns for a team change was on the schedule.

Cadotte Avenue over a horse's back!

Cadotte Avenue over a horse’s back!

My first stop was the Island Bookstore.  Jill was out on an errand, but Tamara and Emma were there - all smiles!

My first stop was The Island Bookstore. Jill was out on an errand, but Tamara and Emma were there – all smiles!  Coming into that store is like opening a door to a favorite room in your home . . . familiar, comfortable, cozy – and filled with folks you can’t help but love.

I found Ted, who had left his bike up at the Fort Mackinac offices (on the back side of the fort).  The plan was to walk up and get his bike, and he'd walk/bike with me back to Stonecliffe.  There was music playing we were walking through Marquette Park (it was Lilac Festival Week, and there were all kinds of activities going on)

I found Ted, who had left his bike up at the Fort Mackinac offices (on the back side of the fort). The plan was to walk up and get his bike, and he’d walk/bike with me back to Stonecliffe. There was music playing in Marquette Park (it was Lilac Festival Week, and there were all kinds of activities going on).  This lady was videoing her husband dancing in front of the lilacs.  The man had some serious moves . . . so cute!

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A broader view of Marquette Park and all the lilac trees.

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One good thing about living in a two-story house is that you get a good dose of aerobic activity each day, and that comes in handy on Mackinac!  I usually have to stop several times going up the ramp in front of the fort, but this time it was a relatively easy climb – and the higher you go, the better the view!

One view from the ramparts of Fort Mackinac,

One view from the ramparts of Fort Mackinac, looking across Marquette Park out to the Straits . . .

. . . and another looking straight up Main Street.

. . . and another looking straight down Main Street.

We walked through the fort and over to the State Park offices, where we picked up Ted's bike.  Our trip back to Stonecliffe was over ground on familiar we could have both navigated it blindfolded.

We walked through the fort and over to the State Park office, where we picked up Ted’s bike. Our trip back to Stonecliffe was over ground so familiar we could have both navigated it blindfolded.

One leg took us past the Surrey Ridge Carriage Museum.

One leg took us past the Surrey Ridge Carriage Museum.

. . . . where nothing had changed.  Carriages filled with excited visitors pull up and empty. The visitors spend time looking at the vintage carriages, checking out the shops (lots of sweatshirt sales that day), and grabbing a snack.  Then they board a larger carriage out back for a narrated ride to most of the island's main tourist attactions.

. . . . where carriages filled with excited visitors pull up and empty. The visitors spend time looking at the vintage carriages, checking out the shops (lots of sweatshirt sales that day), and grabbing a snack. Then they board a larger carriage out back for a narrated ride to most of the island’s main tourist attractions.

The woods we passed through were lush with vegetation.  Although the trillium was mostly gone . . .

The woods we passed through were lush with vegetation. Although the trillium was mostly gone . . .

. . . the Lady Slippers were still blooming in several areas.

. . . the Lady Slippers were still blooming in several areas.

And then, of course, there were the lilacs!

And then, of course, there were the lilacs!

We spent Tuesday morning hiking around the Stonecliffe area and enjoying the cool weather.  I wrote another blog that morning, and early in the afternoon Ted left for town.  The annual Community Foundation celebration was that evening in Turtle Park, and Ted had volunteered to help cook (something he did for several years when we had our condo).  Around 4 p.m. I set out on foot for Turtle Park, hoping I'd get to see friend Denise at Surrey Ridge

We spent Tuesday morning hiking around the Stonecliffe area and enjoying the cool weather. I wrote another blog that morning, and early in the afternoon Ted left for town. The annual Community Foundation celebration was that evening in Turtle Park, and Ted had volunteered to help cook (something he did for several years when we had our condo). Around 4 p.m. I set out on foot for Turtle Park, hoping I’d get to see friend Denise at Surrey Ridge.  Sure enough she was there, and we had a great visit!

The Community Foundation celebration is always a great event, and we got to visit with so many of our friends from the "Village" - where our condo was located.

The Community Foundation celebration is always a great event, and we got to visit with many of our friends from the “Village” – where our condo was located.

Ted rode the dray back to town with the cooking crew, and I set off walking back to Stonecliffe, walking down trails that we'd use practically every day.  I'd stop occasionally and just take in the sounds of the birds and the wind rustling through the trees.

Ted rode the dray back to town with the cooking crew, and I set off hiking back to Stonecliffe, walking down trails that we’d use practically every day in our summers there. I’d stop occasionally and just take in the sounds of the birds and the wind rustling through the trees.  I love the Mackinac woods more than any other part of the island. It’s in those woods I find the peace that makes the island so special to me.

I came out once again at Surrey Ridge and paused long enough to snap a photo of the Grand Hotel stable . . .

I came out once again at Surrey Ridge and paused long enough to snap a photo of the Grand Hotel stable . . .

 . . . and the horse corral nearby - larger now than it was when we lived there in the summers.

. . . and the horse corral nearby – larger now than it was a couple of years ago.

And . . . for the first time since we sold  . . . I was able to look up the hill and photograph our condo without shedding tears.  Well, maybe just one or two.

And . . . for the first time since we sold . . . I was able to look up the hill and photograph our condo without shedding tears.   Ok, ok . . . maybe just one or two.

Our last full day on the island was Wednesday, and that story is coming soon.  But first, tune in Sunday for one more post about Stonecliffe – its hidden nooks and crannies and what goes on behind the scenes to ensure your stay is perfect!

God bless.

Give Me Just a Little More Time (Please!) . . . . 6/14/15

So much to tell!  So much to show!  How to even begin?!

Our four days on Mackinac Island were filled with so much activity it’s hard to even know where to start!  Ted and I have been going non-stop since we got home, and our oldest son, Jason, flies in late this afternoon to visit for a few days.  So . . . .

I’m going to continue my little “vacation from blogging” a few more days, with the promise I’ll be back hopefully on Thursday (Jason leaves on Wednesday), with tons of photos and stories from our trip.  There will also be at least one more blog post on Stonecliffe within the week!

Hope everyone is doing great, and I’ll see you back here in a few days!  I promise it will be worth the wait!

Here’s a little hint of things to come . . .

Boarding the ferry for our trip from Mackinaw City to the island!  Notice we traded our shorts and flip-flops for jackets and rain gear!  No complaints from me on that!

Boarding the ferry for our trip from Mackinaw City to the island! Notice we traded our shorts and flip-flops for jackets and rain gear! No complaints from me on that!

Hanging out with Sue and Jill - two of the sweetest ladies I know!

Hanging out with Sue and Jill – two of the sweetest ladies I know!

Beautiful Main Street during Lilac Festival Week.

Beautiful Main Street during Lilac Festival Week.

Tulips at the Grand!

Tulips at the Grand!

A breath-taking view around the spiral staircase at Stonecliffe!

A breath-taking view around the spiral staircase at Stonecliffe!

Stay tuned  . . . there’s much more to come!

God bless. 

The Stonecliffe Adventure Continues – Day 3

On Earth there is no Heaven, but there are pieces of itJules Renard

I’ve used that quote before when speaking of Mackinac, because – to me – there are more “pieces of Heaven” within the shorelines of this small island than anywhere else on earth.

And this week I discovered another one.

The Inn at Stonecliffe and the Summer House Suites are both beautiful in their own unique ways.  Stonecliffe – the mansion – is full of history.  To walk the halls of this 112-year-old building brings up images of ladies in long and elegant Edwardian-era gowns, broad hats, and Gibson-girl hairstyles.  Just around the corner – in the Summer House Suites – history takes a backstage to pastel colors and a distinctly summer cottage vibe. Whichever one you choose, you will be welcomed with enthusiasm and treated like royalty.

But it’s not just the physical facilities that equal “piece of Heaven” in my book.

When your taxi or shuttle pulls through the stone gates, and you get your first glimpse of the the venue where Stonecliffe stands, I'm betting a little gasp escapes your throat.  Photographs on the internet and in brochures don't do it justice.  You have to be here to get the full impact.

When your taxi or shuttle pulls through the stone gates, and you get your first glimpse of the the venue where Stonecliffe stands, I’m betting a little gasp escapes your throat. Photographs on the internet and in brochures (and on this blog page) don’t do it justice. You have to be here to get the full impact.

Viewed from the front door, the grounds are expansive and

Viewed from the front door, the grounds are expansive and perfectly manicured.  When we biked up here years ago with our grandchildren, we took some beautiful photographs of them standing beside some of these gorgeous old trees.

From the back of the property you get a good vision of how much fun children would have romping around on a beautiful summer day.

From the back of the property you get a good vision of how much fun children would have romping around on a beautiful summer day (that white tent is used for wedding receptions).

The backyard of the Summer House Suites is a garden of birch trees and lilacs.

The backyard of the Summer House Suites is a garden of birch trees and lilacs.  I’ve walked out there too many times to count this week, just to photograph the lilacs.

On a clear day, you can see forever . . .

On a clear day, you can see forever . . .

. . . or concentrate your thoughts on just one - impossibly beautiful - flower.

. . . or concentrate on just one – impossibly beautiful – flower.

For an added special experience, stroll down to the back of the property and out past the apple orchard . . .

For an added special experience, stroll down to the back of the property and out past the apple orchard.

Hang a right at the end of the trail and walk along the cliff.

Hang a right at the end of the trail and walk along the cliff.

After a less-than-five-minute walk, you'll come to these stairs.  Climb them.  And once again . . .

After a less-than-five-minute walk, you’ll come to these stairs. Climb them to Sunset Rock.  And once again . . .

. . . you can see forever.

. . . you can see forever.  Sunset Rock is a much-loved spot (lots of marriage proposals happen here).  Many island visitors (and locals) will hike up to watch the sun go down – but if you’re staying at Stonecliffe, it’s only a very short walk away!

If you really want to be adventurous, you can try and find the Grotto.  Located on the grounds of Stonecliffe, it’s another romantic spot where proposals and weddings take place on a regular basis.  You have to find the hidden pathway to the Grotto . . .

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. . . but that’s up to you!

I can’t believe our time here is coming to a close.  We’ll eat dinner downstairs tonight, and tomorrow morning we’ll be on the 9:30 ferry back to the real world.  It will be after dark before we make it home to Florida, but that’s ok.

These few days at Stonecliffe have refreshed my batteries.  The weather has been cool (in the 60’s), we’ve hiked and biked all over the island, and we’ve been pampered by an excellent staff.  What a way to celebrate a birthday . . . or any day!

P.S.  I’ll take a little break from the laptop when I get home, but stay tuned in the next few days for one or two more posts about Stonecliffe.  There was just too much to cover for the time we were here, and I don’t want you to miss anything about this special place.

AND – there’ll be a post or two about what was happening on the “rest of the island” while we’ve been visiting!

God bless.

The Stonecliffe Adventure Continues – Day 2 6/9/15

After publishing the blog on Sunday evening, it was after midnight when my thoughts finally turned toward getting some sleep. But . . . I was still “wired’ from the excitement of being on the island and seeing a lot of our friends – not to mention a surprise birthday party.  I just knew once I was in bed I was going to toss and turn for the hour or two it would take to come down off the high of an exciting day.

I turned off the lights and slipped under the covers . . . . and instantly felt as if I had entered a luxurious cocoon.  Hands down – the most comfortable mattress and the softest, sweetest smelling linens I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing away from home.  I actually fought sleep for a few moments just so I could relish how good that bed felt . . . and then I was drifting off – embraced by warmth and softness.  On Mackinac.

Monday morning we awoke to fog . . .

. . . . and I shot this photo past the geraniums blooming outside one of our room windows.

. . . . and I shot this photo past the geraniums blooming outside one of our room windows.

We walked downstairs for breakfast (which is complimentary to guests).  Brian is the breakfast chef and does an amazing job of keeping guests well-nourished for active days on the island.

We walked downstairs for breakfast (which is complimentary to guests). Brian is the breakfast chef and is doing an amazing job keeping us well-nourished for active days on the island.

I have to stop and tell you a short story about our dinner here the first night.  Ted is pretty much a “snob’ when it comes to ordering a steak at a restaurant.  His philosophy is he can always cook one better himself at home.  But, Sunday night he decided to order the bone-in rib-eye at the Inn’s Cudahy Chophouse Restaurant.  Well, he enjoyed that steak more than I’ve ever seen him enjoy a restaurant’s steak before.  When the chef came out to speak to us, Ted told him his “snob” story and said, “That steak was a dining experience!”  High praise from my husband indeed!

We met Justin, the front office manager, who is a wealth of information on Mackinac Island.  Those beautiful stained glass windows are original to the mansion.

We met Dustin, the front office manager, who is so nice and will do anything to make your stay more enjoyable. Those beautiful stained glass windows are original to the mansion.

 

Halfway through the morning, the fog had lifted, and our room view became spectacular!

Halfway through the morning, the fog had lifted, and our room view became spectacular!

A little history . . . .

The mansion was originally built in 1904 as the private  residence of Michael Cudahy (Michael and his brothers started the Armour Cudahy meat packing plant in 1887), his wife and seven children.  When he purchased the 150 acres of land, he became one of the largest landowners ever on Mackinac.  He choose renownede architect Frederick Perkins (designer of the Governor's Mansion) to fulfill his visions of astunning West Bluff mansion.  When the construction was completed it became the largest private home on Mackinac Island.  The property is now owned by Bob and Mary Claire Pulti.

The mansion was originally built in 1904 as the private residence of Michael Cudahy (Michael and his brothers started the Armour Cudahy meat packing plant in 1887), his wife and seven children. When he purchased the 150 acres of land, Mr. Cudahy became one of the largest landowners ever on Mackinac. He choose renowned architect Frederick Perkins (designer of the Governor’s Mansion) to fulfill his visions of a stunning West Bluff mansion, and when construction was completed, Stonecliffe became the largest private home on Mackinac Island. The property is now owned by Bob and Mary Clare Pulte.

Stefanie Congdon (Stonecliffe’s General Manager) and I met at 10:00 for a tour of the mansion and the Summer House Suites.

The mansion's bar was recently renovated, creating an intimate setting (complete with roaring fire in cooler weather) with little nooks and crannies that just beg you to settle in with good friends and enjoy a delicious libation.

The mansion’s bar was recently renovated, creating an intimate setting (complete with roaring fire in cooler weather) with little nooks that just beg you to settle in with good friends and enjoy a delicious libation.

There are 16 guest rooms in the mansion featuring views of the Inn's expansive grounds, the Mackinac Bridge and the surrounding Straits of Mackinac.  The Mackinac Room is considered the Honeymoon Suite, with a huge 4-poster bed . . .

There are 16 guest rooms in the mansion, featuring views of the Inn’s expansive grounds, the Mackinac Bridge and the surrounding Straits of Mackinac. The Mackinac Room is considered the Honeymoon Suite and has a luxurious 4-poster bed . . .

. . . an awesome view of the bridge and Straits of Mackinac and a beautiful 3-sided mirrored vanity that I can just image wedding photographers using as a prop for a beautiful photo of a

. . . and an awesome view of the bridge and Straits of Mackinac.  There is a beautiful 3-sided mirrored vanity that I can just image wedding photographers using as a prop for a beautiful photo of a bride, seated in her dress just before the ceremony.

Because the Inn is at full capacity, we were only able to slip into a couple of rooms where guests had checked out - so I'll share our room - The Woodcastle!

Because the Inn is at full capacity, we were only able to slip into a couple of rooms where guests had checked out – so I’ll share our room – The Woodcastle!

My view as I type!

My view as I type!

All the mansion rooms are large, furnished beautifully, and equipped with private baths, television, and wireless internet.

Stefanie and I walked on over to the Summer House Suites and happened to run into and talk with Doug and Jean Hyatt from Purvis, Mississippi.

The Hyatts had grabbed the last room available at Stonecliffe and asked for some directions for a long bike ride.  They had arrived by motorcycle from Wisconsin and crossing off several locations on their

The Hyatts had grabbed the last room available at Stonecliffe and were asking for some directions for a long bike ride. They arrived by motorcycle from Wisconsin (they trailered their bikes from Mississippi to Wisconsin) and were crossing off several “bucket list” locations in the area. I love that Mackinac Island was on their list!

The Summer House has 31 suites decorated in a classic summer cottage style with a little light Victoria thrown in for good measure.  They are equipped with a full size cleeper sofa, mini refrigerator, microwave oven, coffee maker, TV and wireless internet.

The Summer House has 31 suites decorated in a classic summer cottage style with a little light Victoria thrown in for good measure.

 They are equipped with a full size cleeper sofa, mini refrigerator, microwave oven, coffee maker, TV and wireless internet.

They are equipped with a full size sleeper sofa, mini refrigerator, microwave oven, coffee maker, TV and wireless internet.

There are even a few two-bedroom suites . . .

There are even a few two-bedroom suites . . .

All of the suites are beautiful, and I love the the summer cottage look!

. . . . which makes them nice for families with children.  I love the the summer cottage look!

Oh my goodness! I have SO MUCH more to share, but I think I’ll stop right here for now.  In the days ahead there will be posts on . . .

. . . all the Inn's beautiful little secret spots and charming nooks and crannies . . .

. . . all the Inn’s beautiful little secret spots and charming nooks and crannies . . .

. . . a

. . . a “behind the scenes” look at what it takes to keep Stonecliffe running on a daily basis . . .

. . . and, of course, a post about the pure beauty of the property where the Inn and the Summer Suites are located.

. . . a post about the pure beauty of this awesome vacation destination . . .

. . . and, of course, a post or two about

. . . and, of course, a post or two about “the rest of the island” – from the fort . . .

. . . to Surrey Ridge . . .

. . . to Surrey Ridge . . .

. . . to the lilacs!

. . . to the lilacs!

Stay tuned . . .  there is much more to come!!

 

The Stonecliffe Adventure Begins 6/7/15

We got up at 3:00 a.m. this morning, drove to Daytona Beach airport, left on the 6:00 a.m.flight, stopped in Atlanta, Detroit, and our final destination (by plane) Traverse City.  Every single flight left on time and arrived early.  WHEN is the last time you heard of THAT happening.  We were picked up by wonderful Mackinaw Shuttle, and two hours later we were at the Star Line Ferry dock!

Best Birthday Ever! There are no words to describe how special this day has been. Friends were waiting at the ferry dock to cross with us, and when we reached the island there were friends waiting to greet us there. Then we all walked down to the Pink Pony for an impromptu birthday party! Topping that off were all the birthday greetings and well wishes from family and friends on Facebook. Thank you, thank you to everyone for making my birthday so special. My cup truly runneth over. I love you all.

As you can see, we traded flip-flops and shorts for jackets and socks!

As you can see, we traded flip-flops and shorts for jackets and socks!  Do you think I could smile any bigger?

Pink Pony Party!

Pink Pony Party!

Sure makes a girl feel special!

Sure makes a girl feel special!

We finally headed up to The Inn at Stonecliffe by taxi around 7:00, surrounded by the kind of fog that anywhere else would make you say “Yuk”, but on Mackinac just makes you want to stand out in it and let it soak into your skin.

Our room is beautiful, and our dinner was delicious (more on both in the next few days).  Tomorrow I’m meeting Stephanie for a tour of the mansion, the Summer House Suites, and the gorgeous grounds where both these properties stand.

As we waited for our food to arrive tonight, I walked outside onto the Lakeview Portico with my camera.

Looking across the Lakeview Portico into The Cudahy Chophouse.

Looking across the patio into The Cudahy Chophouse.

The fog was thick and getting thicker.  From the Straits of Mackinac the sound of the foghorn floated across the grounds, and I had to lower the camera and blink back tears.

The fog was thick and getting thicker. From the Straits of Mackinac the sound of the foghorn floated across the Stonecliffe grounds, and I had to lower the camera and blink back tears.

I love this island.  I love it whatever the weather and whatever the season. In any other place I would say “What a dreary day,” but on Mackinac I say, “This is Mackinac, with fog.”

There’s a difference, and I know some of you understand exactly what I mean.

God bless.