Goodbye to the Big Guys 10/9/09

Here’s a promise – this is the last blog this year on horses leaving the island, but I just couldn’t let this group of “big guys” leave without writing about it.

On my way downtown this afternoon,  I walked over to the Carriage Museum, knowing  this was a clean-up day in preparation for closing down tomorrow.  I wanted to say goodbye to Denise, Kim, Judy, and several others before they left for the winter. 

The Carriage Tours are still running for a few more days, but they are bypassing the museum now, taking passengers through town, up Grand Hill, then on out into the woods.  The big three-horse hitch carriages are not being used at all for the rest of the season.

The museum was so quiet – no hustle and bustle of tourists lined up to buy doughnuts, popcorn, ice cream, fudge, souvenirs, or t-shirts.  Instead, all the store keepers were folding up left-over merchandise, cleaning out refrigerators, and covering items that would be left in the building over the winter.






 We all said “see you in the spring” and exchanged emails, cellphone numbers, and addresses.  Nearly all these workers are coming south down I-75 sometime during the winter, and I invited them to stop off and see us.  I hope some of them take us up on that.

I walked down Huron Road to Turkey Hill, the first time I had been downtown that way in a few days.  More beautiful trees!




As I walked down the hill by the golf course, there was a groundskeeper sitting on his mower, waiting for a golfer to play through, so he could finish manicuring the green.


I knew that a group of the big Belgian horses, which pull the three-horse hitch carriages and also pull the drays, had already left the island this morning.  Jill happened to be downtown when they came through and got some great pictures of them.  I was disappointed I had missed it, but thought, “well, I can’t see them all leave.”

Jill saw them first coming down Market Street.





From there, they turned down Astor Street, then onto Main, then into the Arnold Ferry Dock.


I love these next three photos that Jill took.  They show exactly how BIG these horses are and how attached they get to the people, like Nate, who take care of them over the season. 






I met up with Jill at the post office, and when we came out and looked down Market Street, there was another group of Belgians coming!

We rushed over to Main and watched them come down to the dock.






Once again, each barn worker was handling three or four of these massive animals at one time, but there never seemed to be anything but anticipation exhibited by the horses.  They seemed to know what was happening, as if they knew that the fun part of their year was about to begin.


I asked one of the Arnold Dock employees if I could go onto the ferry and take a picture of the horses on board, and he graciously allowed me to do that.  I went inside and walked up a couple of the steps leading to the second deck. The long ferry was filled with about 20 horses, standing quietly tethered to the railing running along the inside of the ferry.


As the Huron pulled away from the dock, the horses inside were peering out the windows as if to say goodbye to a long summer of hard work.  I bet they were already talking horsetalk among themselves, planning a BIG party at the farm after they arrived in Pickford.

Have a great winter, big guys.  See you next spring!




See you back here on Monday morning, good Lord willing, for a week full of October activities.   Mackinac Island is already preparing  for a good old-fashioned, fun-filled Halloween, and those leaves should be “almost” at their peak!  Have a great weekend!  God bless.

20 thoughts on “Goodbye to the Big Guys 10/9/09

  1. Great story on the horses leaving..I NEVER, ever get tired of seeing what you (or Jill!) get to see first hand on the island!
    Just love the close up pic. of the worker in the red cap with the four horses cosyied (is that a word??!) up so close to his head…looks as if they are leaning close to each tell him “Goodbye, see ya buddy, thanks for taking such good care of us”..sniff, sniff.
    Happy weekend Bree!

    • My sentiments exactly, Jane. It looked like they were each nudging him with their noses, letting him know they appreciated him looking after them all summer. A great photo by Jill!

  2. If this didn`t mean that you and Ted would soon be coming home, I`d be balling out loud. Great pictures. Love to Jill.

  3. Loved the pictures of the horses leaving the island. The two pictures of the horses looking out the windows look as if they are saying “until next year”. It’s what I’m saying as I leave the island every year.

    • Helen,

      So sorry I didn’t get to say “see you soon” in person. Have a wonderful winter, and we will see you when you return to the island in the spring. I’ve loved getting to know you this summer and look forward to good times next year, good Lord willing.


  4. Always love those horse pictures. The ones of the horse looking out the window are great. Wonder what they were saying to the guy in the red hat. If I get this sentimental when looking at pictures, imagine how Mr. Red Hat feels.

    Fall colors looking great.

  5. Some great pics, but always a bittersweet time of the year. You absolutely are correct in that the handlers and drivers do become attached to the horsies and vice versa; Nate is fortunate to be able to work with the big guys this winter so that wasn’t his last goodbye on the dock…

  6. Great pictures Brenda..glad we were there last week as we got one of the last carriage tours with the three hitch was great being there even in the cooler weather…looking forward to more October pictures next week!!

  7. This commentary and wonderful pictures of the horses were wonderful to read upon awaking this morning. Thanks for sharing. I will be on the island mid week around the 21st, and seeing the color progress on the leaves was of interest to me.

  8. thank you so much for what you do brenda, you know how much i love the island and its so wonderful to have you show it off for ALL of us.
    OK,now are you going to do this for us here on the island, letting us know about your your part of the world this winter? we will be very disapointed if you dont.
    even thou i will be iin sunfield, i will still need to see sunshine. you have started something! will miss you,
    bonnie lou

    • One of the highlights of the summer was meeting you and Don, Bonnie. And yes, there will be a Georgia blog. Stayed tuned for more info on that. When you get settled into your winter home, just come back here, and there will be a link to click to get to me in Georgia. Have a wonderful winter! And let’s do that “story” on you and Don next summer!!! You wouldn’t believe how many people have said, “when are you going to do the story on the caretakers?”

      Love you and God bless,


    • Hmmmm – good question. He’s a friend of a friend of a friend of Jill’s. I’ll ask. First he would have to have a camera, and second, he would have to have access to a computer. We’ll see.

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