Special People, Special Place . . . 02/07/2010

Hal Borland, a former writer for The New York Times, once said, “To know – after absence – the familiar street and road and village and house is to know again the satisfaction of home.”  My readers are well aware that I have two homes – one at the lake, with ties to my southern roots, my family, my friends, and 61 years of history.  Then there is my heart’s home – this island. 

Returning here on Thursday afternoon once again filled the space in my heart reserved only for this village and these people.  Winter Festival is basically a community celebration.  In a place cut off from the mainland during the winter – unless you fly in and out – this small community of residents pauses for a weekend and celebrates what makes them special – their children, their bond with each other, their home on this island. 

This afternoon when we arrived at Turtle Park, I felt as if I was being welcomed home by family.  So many people who I had last seen at the end of October called out a “welcome back!”  They asked “Where’s Ted?”  They hugged me.  They chatted.  They made me feel that making the effort to travel to Michigan from Georgia for a four day visit was very special to them.  I wanted to tell them all that there was no effort involved – I had simply come to my heart’s home.

We have once again been outside all day.  It was two degrees when we awoke this morning, but luckily the winds have been calm.  We put on layer after layer (at last count we three girls had managed to pull on and zip up seven layers above our waists and three below).  We wore snow boots, wool socks, toe warmers stuck to the bottom of our socks, and hand warmers inside our gloves.  We were warm, but we also looked like inflated robots.  If we had tipped over, there is no way we could have ever gotten up without help.

Here’s our day in photographs – with captions.

Ice in the marina has broken into large pieces.

We left The Cottage Inn around noon. I kept hoping for a snowmobile ride, but Jill insisted we walk. I'm so glad we did.

At the foot of Fort Hill, Jill was already snapping photos. I think, between the two of us, we took more than 400 pictures today.

The trees are beautiful, standing against the white snow.

Dawn - trying to hide behind a tree. In seven layers of clothes!? I don't think so!

A fork in the road - but they both end at Turtle Park.

Pointing out the path Ted and I take through the woods to our condo.

Marge and Rich (and Joe Cocker) caught up with us toward the end of our hike. They were going to the Winter Festival also.

The Winter Festival was in full swing when we arrived.

One of the many activities was sledding - a favorite with the kids.

There was also snow golf . . . .

Human sled dog races - where the "sled dog" was blindfolded and had to mush around a marked route to shouted instructions from the person (or persons) on the sled . . .

Face painting for the children . . .

Broom hockey - a children's match and an "over the hill" match . . .

And then there's Bowling with a Frozen Chicken, the only game in which I participated. You are given a frozen solid, hard as a rock chicken, wrapped in cellophane. You have to hurl it toward the bowling pins at least a thousand feet away. I did not win or place. In fact, I never touched even one of those darn pins. By the way, the prize for the winner of that game was the frozen chicken.

The totem pole at Turtle Park is crowned by - what else - a turtle!

Me with Penny - one of Andrew and Nicole's sweet dogs.

Mike, who has been filming all weekend, talking with Karen from The St. Ignace News.

Jack, with his wife, owns the Cannonball Restaurant at British Landing. They were grilling hotdogs and brats for the crowd.

Chloe gets in a little sledding, making it all the way down the hill without a crash.

The crowd seemed to continue growing throughout the afternoon, tapering off around 3:30 p.m.

Dawn and I watched some of the games from the bleachers, which were facing the sun. A beautiful day!


An island friend's little girl - Madison.

Cute Miss Madison again.

We took a break from the festival, and walked over to Trillium Heights, a subdivision behind the Village.

We went by and visited for a moment with Don and his wife. Don and Ted work together at the Visitor's Center on the island during the summer.


Jill went back to the Festival, while Dawn and I started back downtown.

When Jill started back to town, she walked by the Fort Cemetary. Always a quiet, peaceful setting, today it was a study in beautiful tranquility.

White birch trees, white snow.

Dawn and I walked to town down Cadotte Avenue, past our condo. I will probably return tomorrow and go inside.

The last "to do" item on our agenda today was to find a patch of perfect snow and make a snow Angel. Dawn did it first . . .

. . . and then it was my turn. So funny! Getting ourselves up out of that snow was a sight to behold!

We were very happy to see The Cottage Inn late this afternoon. We had been gone from noon until almost 6 p.m.

Jill, bless her heart, ran to the Mustang and picked up a “pizza to go” for supper.  She left to help Leanne with some details for  the second day of the Winter Festival.  Dawn and I ate pizza, watched a movie (while I should have been blogging), and now, once again, everyone is sleeping as I finish writing.

It has been another wonderful day on the island – we could not have asked for better weather.  We have been plenty cold, but the winds have been calm, and the days have been so beautiful.  Tomorrow we have more Winter Festival activities.  There is a brunch planned at the school with pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes, biscuits & gravy, cinnamon rolls & fresh fruit. Oh, yum!  Dawn and I are helping run a silent auction table, and there will be bake sales, a cookie contest, turtle races, and the selection of photographs for the 2010 “Seasons of Mackinac” calendar.  The Superbowl is tomorrow night, with parties planned at both the Mustang and Patrick Sinclair’s Irish Pub.  A very busy day!

I will not be blogging Sunday or Monday nights.  With the activities of the day, the Superbowl, packing to leave on Monday morning, and spending Monday night in Atlanta (after a late arrival on Delta Monday evening) I won’t be writing the final chapter of our winter adventure until I return home.  You can read all about it right here on Wednesday morning.

Thanks so much for all your wonderful comments.  Some have made me laugh out loud and some have brought tears to my eyes – all have touched my heart. Have a wonderful week – see you Wednesday morning.  God bless.

22 thoughts on “Special People, Special Place . . . 02/07/2010

  1. When I saw the sun on the snow this morning, I knew you would have a wonderful day!! Such fun!

    And you DO have photos in the contest? I can’t wait for November, and seeing the new calendar with your photos in it!

  2. Thank-you again for all the beautiful pictures of the island all covered with snow. I’ll return on Wednesday to read about all that has happened today and tomorrow. Take care and safe flights home.

  3. Awesome! My hubby & I have always visited in the Fall but it looks like such fun we may have to switch and come for the winter fun!

  4. Beautiful pictures as always Brenda and so much fun!. I’ll be here with Mary on Wednesday to read the rest of the story. Enjoy the rest of your time on the island (I know you will), and have a safe trip home.

  5. Thank you Bree for your wonderful blog and pictures. Although my husband and I are newbies to the island’s magic (vacationing there every year for the last five years), it’s my ‘heart place’ too. Thank you for taking me there today through your words and pictures!

  6. I have enjoyed ALL of your photos and comments about your “trip back home”. Once again I have to say you have the gift of writing what you are thinking and have it be JUST what most of us think! I especially loved the snow angels (you should have tried to get a pic after…) AND the comment about getting up afterwards was exactly what happened to ME the last time I did that!! Kudos (sp?) for hanging in there for all the events at the park…..we never stayed all afternoon like that! SO–safe travels, and will be looking forward to your final “leg” of the trip.

  7. I’ve very much enjoyed my vicarious trip to Mackinac Island these past few days. I can see and feel the cold. But tell us: What does it SOUND like? Do the snowmobiles make a racket, or are they more or less quiet? One thing I love about the island is how it sounds during the summer – the horses clopping along, no engines. So what does it sound like now, in the winter?

  8. WTG on the snow angels! Dawn and you look like experts. :o) Enjoy the rest of your weekend and safe travels on your return home to all of you.

  9. The snow angels were great ! It’s great to see all the things you are doing. Enjoy the rest of the time you have on the island and a safe trip home.

  10. The weather seems to be cooperating for your visit. The winter festival sounds like fun and your pictures (and Jills) are beautiful. The cemetary in the snow is truly beautiful. Be safe and have fun and an uneventful trip home.

  11. Beautiful pictures. I just love your blog. It makes me so happy to read it and see the pictures! Where is your hat? Its cold up there!! Looking forward to Wednesday to read the rest of the story!! Safe travels! Michelle

  12. I would so love to visit Mackinac for the festival sometime. At least I can have a virtual visit along with you. Thanks and have a safe trip home.

  13. Just so BEAUTIFUL Bree!, the stories, the pixs, ALL of it! The Dixie Chicks (& Jill) have provided us all with such a fantastic winter get-away vacation..have enjoyed each & every tidbit you have shared. THANK YOU so much!!

    Am so very glad you gals have had perfect weather thus far, with beautiful sunshine for seeing the snow covered sites you so wanted to experience.

    Wishing you SAFE travels homeward — and that you stay healthy after enduring all that cold & snow..with your thin southern blood!! Loved your snow angels!!

    thinking of you,
    Jane in MinneSNOWta (5″ & the white stuff is still falling today..another 8-10″ maybe??Ughhh!)

  14. Nice to read your blog again!!! I just heard the news report tonight on the terrible accident this weekend!!!!!! I AM SO SORRY!! 2 deaths! Did you know these people or were they visitors??? What road were they on? I thought back to my walk on Pontiac Trail — I don’t think snowmobiles could drive down there but it must have been some sort of a steep type of trail. Oh my — my prayers will be with those families tonight.
    Thanks for posting have a safe trip home.
    LOVE Shannon

  15. So glad the weather co-operated for you! Great pictures as usual. You gals looked like you were having a ball from the first time I saw you on the web-cam! I had to laugh at all of you and so glad you had a safe trip there.

    Have a safe trip home, prayers for all of you.
    Judy, Ann Arbor

  16. Brenda ….. what great pictures of the Winter Festival! I was really looking forward to being there, but just wasn’t able to this year. But next year ….. I’m already making plans to be there! Just wanted you to know how much I enjoy your pictures and your writing. It really brings the Island to life. I hope we get the chance to meet when my wife and I return to Mackinac this summer. Best wishes, and welcome home!

  17. Thank you so much for your blog! As crazy as it sounds, I have become obsessed with your blog and am currently going through all of your posts from the very beginning. I am dying to come back to Cheboygan so that we can make another trip to the island!

  18. Great coverage of your trip to the Island..”almost” as good as being there!! I am not an outside person in the winter but it sure looked like fun…we are getting our first measurable snow here in lower Michigan..started early this morning and is suppose to snow until tomorrow early evening..with about 10-12 inches when it’s done..that is plenty..so thankful I can stay inside and enjoy it through the picture window!! 🙂 Did you happen to see Alyssa while you were there??
    Thanks again Bree for a wonderful story and photo show of the festival!! Praying for safe travels…God Bless!!

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