An Invitation from the Governor of Michigan 7/23/09

Ted, Blake and I were invited by the Governor of Michigan to take a tour of her summer residence today, and we accepted her invitation. 
Oh, all right!  Everyone who visits the island in the summer gets the same invitation.  Every Wednesday from June through August, between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., you can tour the Governor’s Summer Residence.  And, it’s free!

We got up early and walked the dogs (a very short walk because we wanted to be at the Governor’s at 9:30 a.m. on the dot).  Blake  and Ted were going to Cheboygan grocery shopping after the tour, so Ted wanted to be there when the doors opened.

I had forgotten that you aren’t allowed to take pictures on the inside – bummer! So, we took some pics as we waited in line to go in, then I did the next best thing  – took pictures of the brochure! 

The home was built in 1902 for Chicago lawyer Lawrence Andrew Young and was later owned by the Hugo Scherer family of Detroit. In 1944, the Mackinac Island State Park Commission purchased the home for its original cost of $15,000, and since then, has provided the care and maintenance of the residence and surrounding gardens.  It was renovated and restored in 1996-97.  The home has eleven bedrooms, nine and one-half bathrooms and a full basement.  The interior features Georgia yellow pine (I knew there were some Georgia roots up here somewhere) and the exterior is constructed of Michigan white pine. 

Since 1945, Michigan’s governors have used this home to host important events with national and state leaders, including Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Ford, and George H.W. Bush, and governors from across America.  The house was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.  Michigan governors have a long tradition of sharing the home with the public, and the present governor, Jennifer M. Granholm (Michigan’s first female governor) continues that tradition.  Only the downstairs is open for the tour, but it does include that grand front porch overlooking the Straits of Mackinac.  What a view!

In the summer, you will see Gov. Granholm, her husband and children at the residence quite a lot.  They often entertain family and friends on the front porch, and we have often seen the governor, an avid runner, on the roads throughout Mackinac Island.  They have a degree of privacy here, and the home can easily be secured. 

We did get there on time, but a line had already formed at the side entrance, where Boy Scouts from Lansing, MI stood sentinel.




For the third morning in a row, early morning fog played havoc with my photography attempts.  This morning, looking through the porch to the Straits, the lighthouse was barely visible.  Regardless, the view from the residence’s location, has to be one of the best on the island.




Ted took my picture with Blake on the porch.  I suggested to Blake that after his last year in China he move to Michigan and run for governor.  Ted and I would be glad to “house sit” this beautiful home for him while he was away working for the state.


Shannon, who arranged our flag birthday surprise for Matthew, was selling brochures on the porch.  I asked her for a contact to get clearance to feature one of the scout troops in an upcoming blog.  Now I have to make that connection and see what we can work out.


The following two pictures came from that brochure.  I tried to take a “picture of a picture”, usually something that doesn’t work out too well.  But maybe you will be able to get an idea of just how beautiful the downstairs in this home is.  There are several pieces that are original to the house, including a tall case clock and a child’s high chair and tea cart in the dining room.  As governors have come and gone, they have brought personal items from their homes to add to the house and make it more “theirs”.  When a governor goes out of office, that piece is usually left because of the difficulty of moving furniture on and off the island.  So the house’s decor is a wonderful eclectic blend, and as you can see, it all works together just fine.


Look at that beautiful Georgia yellow pine.

Through the french doors of the dining room, you can see the sunporch, originally part of the front porch.

Through the french doors of the dining room, you can see the sunroom, originally part of the front porch.

 This picture of the side view of the residence was taken earlier in the spring on a clear day.  The second picture was taken today.




After the tour, Blake and Ted headed for the ferry, and I walked downtown for some final pictures of the harbor.  All the boats had come in, and some of them had already left the docks after a big night of partying.  Here’s the last picture from my “spot” – Monday a.m. and Wednesday a.m.




And here’s a few more for the sailors out there – or if you just love pictures of the water and boats and hard-working people who love to compete.

A crew member takes a few minutes' rest after a long sail.

A crew member takes a few minutes' rest after a long sail.

Masts and flags.

Masts and flags.

Cleaning up after the race.

Cleaning up after the race.

Business as usual for the carriage tours lined up below the fort.

Business as usual for the carriage tours lined up below the fort.


A worker rides through the marina asking if anyone needs gas, ice, lights, etc. before leaving.

A worker rides through the marina asking if anyone needs gas, ice, lights, etc. before leaving.

Leaving for the next port.

Leaving for the next port.

Other updates from yesterday:  1)  Blake’s lip is almost back to its normal size, and he has learned it’s best to keep your mouth closed when you are biking around the island.  2)  Bear is well. 


And just something I happened to see as I was turning the corner off Market Street going up Cadotte this morning.  Have no clue what these people were dressed up for, but it was an interesting sight.


NOTE:  Historical information and pictures of the Governor’s Summer Residence taken from the Mackinac Island State Park Commission’s brochure, The Michigan Governor’s Summer Residence, Mackinac Island, Michigan.


8 thoughts on “An Invitation from the Governor of Michigan 7/23/09

  1. I’ve wanted to tour the Governor’s cottage and daughter Paige wants to summer there—so I told HER that SHE needs to run for office! 🙂

  2. Loved the pictures. That last couple looks like they could have been from Laramie.

    So glad you and Blake have been getting some much deserved one on one time.


    • Thanks, Cathie. I refuse to count the days until he’s gone. He told me that he had been in touch with ya’ll, and what you are doing. What can I say except thank you. Ya’ll are the very best!

  3. Just got back to Fort Wayne Indiana. I miss the Island already 😦
    I can’t beleive I waited 48 years to visit!

    After owning a small Island myself about three years ago, I can remember waking up and looking out the front porch and seeing nothing but water.
    Your Mackinac Island is to die for! The VIEWS!
    I’ll be back soon 🙂

  4. Hi, Bree –
    I’ve been trying to locate a few photos of the Somewhere in Time event on Mackinac Island to publish alongside an article on the subject, and wondered if you might have any on your blog or elsewhere that we could use? You would get a print credit (Photo credit: you) next to the article.
    Please let me know?
    Thanks very much –
    Kristi Kates
    Contributing Editor
    Express Magazine

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