Mackinac Island Off-Season Update – Volume XIII – 1/31/2011

Mackinac Islanders definitely got into the winter spirit this past week.  Jeannette Doud reported in her column in The St. Ignace News we are experiencing some real January winter weather.  January 20, we received several inches of new snow, and January 22 we had a good old-fashioned blizzard, dumping an additional eight inches of snow, with frigid temperatures.  Sunday morning, January 23, the temperature dipped to 13 below zero.

In Greg Main’s latest letter, snow and ice is the big topic also:  “The bitter cold air which many of you to the west of us have been enduring for some time now, has finally reached the island.  For the first time this winter, actual air temperatures have been below zero at times, with wind chills dropping to the face-stinging, eye-watering, finger-and-toe-numbing levels. 

Along with the colder air, we’ve also received much-needed snow.  We’ve piled up enough this past week to allow good grooming of ski trails again and for snowmobiles to sufficiently pack down a good base on the streets.  For most of the day on Thursday, snow fell in large flakes, ever-so-slowly flittering down, resting and building up on any and all objects.  It was the type of light, fluffy snow that could easily be swept away by the wave of a broom or hand without even touching it.  Currier and Ives could not have created a more wintry scene.  As beautiful as it was to see, it also wreaked havoc with flights to and from the island.  Just before noon, Thursday, visibility diminished to the point of stopping all flights.  Those people who normally make such round trips every day, were stranded here.  Not only were there ‘regular’ flyers, but several tourists were here as well, among them was a crew from the Sy-Fy channel show, “Ghost Hunters”, who had been here all week trying to capture anything and everything paranormal at several places around the island. 

Our annual Winter Festival will be upon us the weekend of February 4 -6  and it will also be homecoming weekend for Mackinac’s school.  Beaver Island will be the opponent and given the festivities planned for that weekend, perhaps many of them will be able to stay a bit longer on Saturday to take part in  some of the indoor and outdoor events.  We should have plenty of snow, but yours truly is hoping for warmer temperatures, at least for Saturday at Great Turtle Park.

 As I was watching the early news on t.v. Wednesday evening, a bright yellow light suddenly burst through the windows, lighting up the apartment.  Looking out, I saw not only a very unique sunset but a great photo-op as well.   While I’ve seen sun dogs encircling the sun before, it has always been while the sun was still high in the sky and not so close to the horizon as in this case.  As such, I’ve never seen a setting sun emitting such a brilliant shade of yellow, nor have I seen that distinct tear-drop shape.  If there had been more clouds, the beam of light shooting from the top of the sun would have been clearly visible as it arched to the left (in the photo) and tried, very hard, to form a rainbow of colors as it seemed to touch down on the horizon.   A group of swans, seemingly unaware or unimpressed with what I was enjoying, were lazily floating about, bobbing tails-up every now and then.  What a great way to end a winter day on the island  . . . . .or anywhere, for that matter.      

This photo and the one following are Greg's awesome photographs of the sun set he describes above.

Traditionally, the last week of January and the first week of February are the coldest of the year so we may be in store for more of what we’ve been experiencing for a couple more weeks yet.  As much as I’ve wanted to get out on the ski trails this past week, I also want to be able to enjoy it and not freeze in the process, so I haven’t been anywhere other than around town lately.  It’s very quiet here, even more so since the ferry service ended, which is how we like it.   That’s what winter is all about on Mackinac Island, time to relax and re-charge the batteries.  Until next time, take care!  Greg

Greg mentioned the SyFy Channel’s “Ghost Hunters” in his newsletter.  One of the places they were filming on the island was at Mission Point Resort, seeking answers to reports about the hotel’s famous ghost, Harvey.  The show’s head investigator, Jason Hawes, and 15 other crew members took part in the show.  The decision to film during the winter gave the crew time, uninterruped by tourists, to look more thoroughly into the stories of Harvey that have been reported year after year at the resort.  They filmed many winter scenes on the island, spoke to many people who had been eye-witnesses to Harvey’s activities, and spent two nights in the resort doing investigative work.  No air date has been set, but I’ll keep my ear to the ground and let you know when the show will be on. 

Jeannette Doud mentioned in her column that people often ask “What do you do on Mackinac in the wintertime?”  Here’s the schedule she gave out:

  • Mondays:  Game Night at St. Anne’s Hall; Euchre League at the Mustang Lounge; Archery at Mackinac Island Public School
  • Tuesdays:  Bingo at the Community Hall
  • Wednesdays:  Craft Night at the Mackinac Island Public Library
  • Thursdays:  Joan Barch’s Exercise Class at Mackinac Island Public School
  • Weekends:  Basketball games at the school
  • Sunday afternoons:  Dart-ball at the Community Hall

As you can see, the islanders stay busy all winter long!

The Grand Hotel has come up with a theme-based weekend at the very beginning of the season.  On May 13-15, the Grand will celebrate the majesty of the Titanic.  It was April 10, 1912, when the “unsinkable” ocean liner made its first and final voyage, and this spring Grand Hotel will turn back time for a weekend – becoming the doomed craft to celebrate the mystery and romance!  Attendees will take the roles of actual Titanic passengers, their lives in the hand of fate!

Weekend highlights include a period fashion show, seminars with Titanic-ologists and other Edwardian themed events.  Costumes and reproductions of Titanic artifacts will be on display, as well as a special screening of James Cameron’s “Titanic”.

The weekend’s centerpiece is an interactive dinner theatre event entitled “The Last Night on the Titanic”, featuring the same eleven-course meal served to the First Class passengers as the last meal on that fateful night.  It promises to be an elegant evening of gourmet food, wine, and music, with VIP’s like Molly Brown and John Jacob Astor among those at Titanic’s last supper.

At the end of the night, the collision will take place.  Guests will find out if they “survived”.  I can’t believe we won’t be there yet when this is going on!  Our plans are to leave for the island on May 15, so we will just miss it!  Hmmmm . . . I wonder if Jill will be there yet to take photos????

I’m sorry I don’t have many photos tonight – in fact I only have two more:

Mackinac Island is the backdrop for this photo, which shows the headlights of several snowmobiles as they cross the Ice Bridge from the island into St. Ignace.  Thanks to Mackinac Properties, Real Estate, and Rental Facebook Page.



This is Cleo, best buddy of Alyssa, a friend of ours who lives on the island.


I’ll close with this video from 9 & 10 News: , and if you’re interested in reading about my second night at the Sleep Center, following my sleep apnea diagnosis, you can click here:

Have a great week, and I’ll do my best to have more pics for you next week.  God bless.

11 thoughts on “Mackinac Island Off-Season Update – Volume XIII – 1/31/2011

  1. The picture of the sun dog and swans reminds me of a song Helen Reddy sang in a Disney kids movie called, Pete’s Dragon. It’s called “Candle in the Water”. I think the song was referring to her always being there for the romatic lead, but the picture really does look like a candle sitting and glowing in the water. It will be a great picture for the Island calendar.

    I’ll be your candle on the water
    My love for you will always burn
    I know you’re lost and drifting
    But the clouds are lifting
    Don’t give up you’ll have somewhere to turn

    I’ll be your candle on the water
    ‘Till ev’ry wave is warm and bright
    My soul is there beside you
    Let this candle guide you
    Soon you’ll see a golden stream of light

    A cold and friendless tide has found you
    Don’t let the stormy darkness pull you down
    I’ll paint a ray of hope around you
    Circling in the air
    Lighted by a prayer

    I’ll be your candle on the water
    This flame inside of me will grow
    Keep holding on you’ll make it
    Here’s my hand so take it
    Look for me reaching out to show
    As sure as rivers flow
    I’ll never let you go
    I’ll never let you go
    I’ll never let you go…

  2. WOW! That’s all I can say about those sun set pictures! They are amazing..truely beautiful! Thanks Greg for sharing those.
    I heard about the Titanic at the Grand. I would have loved to go to that. Loved the movie and what the Grand is going to do just sounds so cool.
    Like I keep saying…I would love to spend some time on the island during the winter. 🙂

    • Oh and I almost forgot. Ghost Hunters is a favorite show of my daughter and I and I can’t wait to watch the episode from the island!

  3. Thanks for the update Bree!! That sounds really cool about the titanic! Also that picure of Gregs sunset was so bright I was squinting! Have a great week Bree!

  4. The sunset pictures looks so perfect you would think it was painted. How lucky to capture such a beautiful image. I can see why Greg has so many photos published in the Island calendar. Thanks!

  5. Those pictures are amazing. I have a question for you and hopefully you will be able to answer it or someone on the island will. My sister-in-law said that she read an article in a magazine (she doesn’t remember which one!) and doesn’t have it any more. But the article talked about a “gnome & fairy garden” somewhere in the woods on Mackinac Island. Do you know if this is true and if so, where it is? We are going up to Mackinac Island to celebrate my husband’s 60th birthday in early May, and thought maybe this could be our “mission”!!! Can you help?

    • Jeani, I’ve checked with two folks who live on the island (and have for years), and no one knows anything about a “gnome and fairy garden”. Sorry I couldn’t help.

      • Bree, aside from all the little gardens we made for our fairies in the dells in the woods when we were little, the only thing I can think of is the Stonecliff sunken garden. I have always thought of that as a special place for elves and gnomes, although I may be the only one to think so!

        The photos are magnificent! Like Barb says, they bring back wonderful memories.

  6. I was enjoying your pictures and as I scrolled down…there was Cleo!! She is loving her first winter and very happy to take a ride or dig in the snow! Thanks so much for giving me a little glimpse into my daughter, Alyssa’s (Cleo’s owner) life on the Island!

    • Glad to do it, Lori. I know Alyssa is enjoying being on the island during the winter. We’re really beginning to count the days before we leave again.

  7. I know what they mean about the island in winter. We were up there before snowmobiles, and when you went skiing or walking in the woods, you could hear every squirrel or bird moving, and every drip off a tree branch. You could hear the trucks crossing the bridge when you were closer to the west end of the island. It’s incredibly beautiful! Thanks for reminding me of that.

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