After lunch on Sunday, Cathie and I started out again for “Sightseeing-Part II”. We left the condo and started down the hill toward town, but veered off onto Annex Road. Our ultimate destination was Pontiac Trail, but I was taking Cathie the “long” way. The Annex is an area of the island with beautiful homes and beautiful flower gardens. It meanders around to Pontiac Trail, which runs along the West Bluff. This is the same path Ted and I follow most mornings when we are walking the dogs before breakfast. The homes are large and striking, but it is the landscaping that makes them unique.
When we reached Pontiac Trail, we had to go single file down the path, which sometimes is only 30″ wide. The view from along the trail is breathtaking, so Cathie got a great shot of Round Island, and I took a picture of her photographing the columbine (her second favorite flower) on the ledges over the trail. Walking with Cathie is like having a botanist along – she knows the names of flowers and trees and bushes – I know a petunia – that’s it.
We came off the trail onto the West Bluff with its beautiful “cottages”, most of which were built in the late 1800’s by wealthy businessmen from Chicago and the Midwest. They and their families came to the island in the summers, drawn by the clean air and cool summers. The cottages were each built for around $5,000, and today they sell for at least one million dollars. For the most part, they are occupied only during the summers.
We made the turn back toward the house and walked on the road behind the West Bluff. On that road, you are able to see the stunning stables that go with each house. The horses who live in such luxury are brought onto the island each summer and leave again in the fall. They pull the family’s private carriage or provide mounts for family members.
As we neared the road where we would turn to go back up the hill, we passed a corral holding McGyver, a very friendly horse. The sign posted on his corral fence stated: “My name is McGyver – I will work for food.” We petted him, wishing we had put a carrot in our pocket, or at least a sugar cube.
Cathie and I took two 3-hour walks on Sunday. By evening, we were two tired and happy women. I felt like I had made a new best friend, and I hope she feels the same way.
On Wednesday we will all leave the island on the first ferry and drop off the dogs in Mackinaw City. We are going to the Les Cheneaux Islands, about a 45-minute drive from the island. We are planning to return to the location of Cathie and Ted’s grandparents cottage, where they would spend their summers as children. The house is no longer there, but we hope to at least be able to see the land that it once occupied. It will, I am sure, be a very nostalgic day for both of them.