Spring has finally (almost) arrived in south Georgia. Our weekend has been spent outdoors – walking, working in the yards, boating, and playing with the dogs. Rain moved in on Sunday, and cooler weather came with it. But, that’s ok. We’re getting there!
Signs of spring were making an appearance on Mackinac Island last week also. Jeannette Doud reports that on March 15 it was 60 degrees on the island. She says robins have been spotted, the pussy willows are starting to bud, and Trish Martin has snowdrops and crocuses blooming in her yard. Jeannette is still saying there will be another snowstorm!
Islanders celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on March 13 with a dinner at the Community Hall. Tim Leeper, fresh from his cross-America bike ride, was the main chef, and he and his helpers served a delicious dinner.
Island openings: The Gate House Restaurant – April 23; the East Wing of the Grand Hotel – April 23; Horn’s Bar – April 16; and the Yankee Rebel – April 29.
I received another newsy letter from Greg Main, which I’ve included below, along with some great photos he shot on March 14. One is below, and another one is the header for this post. Thanks Greg!
From Greg: “In a typical season, there are several signs we look for once the biting cold of winter has waned, and it’s a given that Spring is nigh. Besides the rivers of slush, cascading down the length of Cadotte Avenue and rounding the corner at Market Street, besides the rapid reappearance of lawns, landscaped gardens and knee-high shrubbery, besides the piles of sand, which are applied to our walkways each winter for added traction and has recently been wind-whipped into various piles decorating the sidewalks and shop entrances along Main Street, besides the cigarette butts and myriad pieces of construction material blighting the downtown corridor, besides the sights and sounds of Cardinals and Black-Capped Chickadees echoing along the bluffs and besides the annual scraping of the streets by the State Park plow in an effort to hasten the departure of those stubborn areas of ice on our roadways, the one sure sign that Spring is nigh is the posting of the first ferry schedule for this season.
With rumors circulating around the island most of the past week that Arnold Transit might start running soon, several days of persistent east winds, strong at times, apparently beat against the ice in Moran Bay with enough force to help break it up, prompting phone calls from Arnold to various places around the island on Thursday that ferry service will begin for this season as of tomorrow morning (Monday, March 15). Despite the lack of both an ice bridge and abundant snow this winter, the time seems to have passed rather quickly – for me, at least.
As a result of the scraping of the streets, most of the island’s roads are open for biking, with only a few areas (ski trails and a short section of road along the northern shore) still a bit tricky. I’ve made a few trips around the island the past two weeks to re-acquaint myself with favorite summer time places, to reminisce about seasons past and look forward to spending time at each place again as the weather warms. I haven’t much to pass along with this email other than the discussions which took place during the City Council Meeting last week.
Representatives of the “Save Our Island” group were in attendance to request a joint meeting with Council members regarding the formation of Historic Districts on Mackinac. Due to their ‘expert’ in such matters not being able to be here on Wednesdays, they were looking to set up a meeting on a Friday. A definite date wasn’t agreed upon at that time, but both sides hope to be able to get together before we get too far into April. Once again, a telephone conference call took place with attorneys Mike Cavanaugh and Tom Evashevski and Karen Gould from the St. Ignace News regarding some amendments to the new ferry boat franchise. Specifically, “regular ferry service” and “extended ferry service” needed to be clearly defined, and Arnold Transit agreed to provide Sunday service throughout the season, regardless of how long they are able to run. In years passed, Sundays were cut out if the ferry continued running after New Years Day.
Council had written a letter to the Coast Guard a few weeks back regarding their help with keeping the ferry channel open should conditions exist in which the ferry could run. According to the letter, Mayor Doud stated that it sounds as if . . .”all we have to do is ask.” While I’m all for the ferry running as long as possible, the ice bridge is also a welcomed escape along with being a much faster and cheaper way to get to the mainland via snowmobile. So, let’s say there’s still 4-6 inches of ice remaining to the bridge come March 12th or so, and it’s still cold enough to maintain this thickness, and people are still crossing regularly. The Coast Guard cutter could easily eliminate that amount of ice, clearing the way for ferry service to begin on the 15th as per the new agreement. What happens? Does someone (the Mayor?) request them to break up the ice at that time? What about those people who don’t want to spend money for boat fare yet and prefer to cross the ice? What about those people who want the ferry to start running sooner than later? Just thinking ahead.
Not much else for now. Until next time, I hope all is well with everyone wherever you are.”
Just before sunrise, looking down from the fort.
The “winter that never was” officially ended with the arrival on the island of the first boat of the season Monday, March 15, at 8 a.m. Islanders stood waiting on the Arnold dock, ready to catch the first boat off. Rates haven’t changed for this year – still $24 for a round trip for adults. I’ve also heard that a few horses have begun arriving – geez I wish I was there to see them come home for the summer. Patience, patience.
Are you ready to go to the island? Have you been wanting to stay at the Grand Hotel? Want a deal – here it is! Both the 42-room Millennium Wing that was added to the hotel’s east end prior to the 2001 season and the Masco Cottage, which was added prior to the 2003 season will be available April 23-May 4, 2010. Rooms in the Millennium Wing will be available for $175* per room per night, and the four-bedroom Masco Cottage will be available for $800 per night. A complimentary breakfast, along with a hotel tour will also be included. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be available at offsite locations. *Subject to Michigan 6% sales tax.
Ok – I know what you are saying, but believe me – this is a DEAL! The least expensive room at the Grand during the season is $240, and – are you ready for this – the Masco Cottage nightly rate during the season is $3,150. I know, I know. I almost choked the first time I heard that also. The Masco is beautiful – and BIG! It sleeps eight, and breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in that rate, as they are with every room rate. Here’s a couple of Masco images just to get you dreaming of being able to stay there!
That’s all I have for today. My surgery is Wednesday, the 24th, and I hope to be home on Friday. I won’t promise an update for next Monday (March 29), but just in case, please check back. If not, I will work on one for the following Monday.
Now is a good time to go back and read some of the posts in the archives from last summer. I promise they will get you in the mood to purchase those ferry tickets online and plan that summer trip. Oh my gosh! I forgot to tell you. Ted won two round trip tickets on Shepler’s Ferry this week. They had a contest asking Facebook readers to name the six “F’s” of Mackinac Island. Ted was the first person to send them in correctly. They are (just in case you are ever asked this question): Fort, Fishing, Fur, Faith, Fudge, and FUN! I personally could add a few more – what about Ferry, Festival, Freighter – or FEET!
Thanks for all the well wishes and promised prayers for me this week. I am so blessed to have you all in my life. See you back here, good Lord willing, on April 5 (if not before). God bless.