Mackinac Island Springtime Memories 3/7/2011

One day last week I decided to go through all my camera cards from Mackinac Island and delete photos I knew I’d never use.  Big, big mistake.  The first card I inserted into the slot on the laptop just happened to be the first one I filled upon arriving on the island last May.  I was suddenly so homesick for my favorite rock that I almost lost my breath.  Scrolling through those photos was like taking that first week on the island each year and compressing it into a little mini-album of memories.  The wonderful thing is, of course, we will be going back in 10 weeks – good Lord willing – to begin another summer there.  But for that one day last week, I was back on the island during spring, and I began to think ahead to what awaits us there – come May. 

So please indulge me this one week.  No snow photos today . . . it’s all about springtime memories. 

First taxi ride up the hill after getting off the ferry. If I remember correctly, we took up the whole taxi that day - with luggage, boxes, groceries, dogs, a grill, Ted's golf clubs, new linens, and a beautiful oil painting done by our grandchildren that we couldn't wait to hang in the condo. We should have put everything on the dray, but we somehow managed to get it all on the carriage.

We opened our home, knowing that a couple of days later all the furniture we had bought with our condo was going to be replaced with something more "homey".

Two days later the new stuff arrived on the dray. Our original furniture found a new home with a neighbor . . .


. . . and a few hours later the condo "as I dreamed it" was filled with comfy recliners for Ted and I, a new couch, some new tables and lamps, and - our favorite - an electric fireplace with a flame that looks almost real.

First morning on the island. Maddie in her daddy's lap, Ted and I having one or two or three cups of coffee on the balcony, Bear lying at our feet with his nose poked out between the white spindles of the porch railing . . .

. . . all of us waiting to spot the first Carriage Tours buggy filled with tourists - coming up the hill to the Carriage Museum . . .

. . . where they disembarked, enjoyed looking at the antique carriages, had some refreshments, then loaded onto a three-horse hitch carriage to start the second part of their tour of the island.

When we arrive back on the island after months away, it takes me several days to get past the feeling that I'm seeing everything for the first time. Even though I pass each house and flowerbed hundreds of times each summer, it's all different each year. I can remember almost to the hour when I walked by this fencerow of tulips our second day back and saw the dove on the ground next to them. The way the sun was shining through the tulips was so unusual that day, and I remember thinking "someone should paint this".

Our first trip to town included a stop at Doud’s Market. Andrew and his workers had completed all kinds of renovations during the winter months.  We couldn’t get over all the great, fresh produce.  And it continued like that all summer.  We could walk in there and pick up fresh veggies for dinner, and the meat market and deli were to die for.  Doud’s announced this week that Doud’s would have 150 new items in the store this summer.  Can’t wait to see what they are!


First time of the season meeting Ted at the Pink Pony for a drink before dinner. That's Jacob and John, two of our favorite bartenders.



For the life of me I don't remember where I could have been to take this photo. I don't remember using it on the blog last year either - probably because my intent was for the church to be in focus and the trees to be out of focus . . . not vice versa. Anyway, I like it, and it's in that first week of photos. Hmmm . . . maybe at the top of Turkey Hill?

The Grand Hotel tulips were already in full bloom when we arrived last year. Each year the tulips are planted in a different design, and different colors are used. Can't wait to see what Mary and her crew have planned for this spring.


The lilacs bloomed early last year also.


Walking back up the hill that second day on the island, I was lucky enough to catch one of the barn workers washing down one of the carriage horses, before putting him in his stall for the night.


Sometime during that first week, Ted talked me into getting out of bed and going with him and the pups on an early morning walk, which included Pontiac Trail . . .


. . . a chance to capture the Straits of Mackinac in the beautiful morning light . . .

. . . and a May flowerbed already teeming with promises of what we'd have to look forward to over the summer months.


Lilacs at the Grand, the porch at the Grand, the flags at the Grand, the rocking chairs at the Grand. Ahhhhh . . . the Grand!


And just like coming home to the ri'vah, the best part of going home to Mackinac is seeing our friends. Jill was waiting for us when the ferry docked that first day, and Bear and I stopped off to see her at the Island Bookstore about 50 times that first week back.


We saw Anna every time we walked up the hill or down the hill. I wonder if she'll be back this spring.


I ran into Joan a few days after we arrived, as I was turning the corner at Cadotte heading home. She was pushing grandson Jordan downtown in his stroller. THIS is what I love most about Mackinac . . . the people, the small town atmosphere, meeting friends on the street.


Some hadn't arrived our first week back. Vince and Molly, who live here in the Little Stone Church parsonage, didn't get to the island until a week after we did. And I might not have run into Leanne, or Frankie, or Candy, or Mary, or Chris Ann, or Jennifer, or Tamara, or Nicole, or Bonnie until a few days after we arrived. But that's ok. I eventually saw them all downtown that first week at either the post office, or in Doud's, or on the street or walking up the hill home. And we stopped and chatted and caught up on a winter's worth of news. And it was is if we'd never left.

First freigher of the week - coming through the pass - and blowing his horn to the harbor master.

Bear - doing one of his two favorites things on the island. #1: Playing ball under the shade trees in the big yard below the Carriage Museum . . .

. . . and #2 - posing for photographs. I truly think he knows that on the island when I "pose" him somewhere for a photograph, there are tourists all around me taking the same photo of him. I have a feeling there are people all over the world with a photo of Bear on one of their camera cards. He LOVES it!

Hope you enjoyed this little walk down nostalgia lane.  Ten weeks from today (Sunday, March 6) we’ll be heading north – that’s only 70 days – that’s only 1,680 hours . . . but, who’s counting.

Have a wonderful week, and God bless.

P.S.  Ok, ok . . . . . . ONE announcement and ONE snow pic:

You can now buy Mackinac Associate memberships for Mackinac State Historic Parks online! Membership includes a seasonal pass, discounts on museum store purchases, and newsletters (and more depending on your level)! For more information follow this link:

The photo is from Nicole of Little Luxuries on Mackinac.  Nicole and Andrew live year-round on the island (a little further up the hill from us), and they have the pleasure of enjoying the beauty that is Mackinac 365 days a year.  She took this a couple of days ago, while out romping in the snow with their four-legged babies, Charlie and Penny Lane. 


45 thoughts on “Mackinac Island Springtime Memories 3/7/2011

  1. Brenda, you are killing me-snow on the ground and you are showing pictures of tulips-can’t wait. Also, don’t throw out pictures! Always looking for images to paint-with permission, of course.

  2. I am so looking forward to your return. Although I am not ready for the snow to leave, I can’t wait for summer friends to return to the island. Wish you could be here in the winter. I know you would love it. Miss you both (and the dogs too!!)

  3. Thanks for the wonderful reminder that Spring will be here in Michigan soon. Looking forward to reading your stories once again in 10 weeks! It is almost like being there for us who can’t be. Thank you for this wonderful blog.

  4. Thank you so much for the wonderful reminder of the island in full bloom! Last August was my first ever trip to Michigan AND the island. I LOVED both! I wish I had found your blog BEFORE I went…I would have definitely made it an excursion to seek you out. I’m very jealous that you get to live there during the summer. How wonderful!!!

  5. You photo of the straits almost looks like it was taken somewhere else ………. is that ‘Loch Ness’ to the right …….. no, wait just a sail boat. What a different view.

  6. Those were beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your springtime photos and memories. Here in the southern Appalachians, we’re seeing some signs of spring as well which makes me very happy. 🙂

  7. AHHH Spring! I can’t wait! I remember a few of these pictures, especially the last one with Bear in the tulips…I used that as my desktop picture last year 🙂 In fact I still have it on my computer, hmmm, maybe I should switch from the horses in the snow back to Bear…I can almost smell those tulips now 😉

    Thanks for the memories…

  8. Thanks for the teaser of spring. After the winter we’ve had here in N. IN it’s good to be reminder spring will be here soon. Looking forward to hearing all about the island in 10 weeks.

  9. Brenda.

    Wow, I sure enjoyed visiting your condo and strolling around Mackinac Island. Could anything be more pleasant? Thank you, thank you, thank you. Did I say Thank You? I sure meant to.

  10. Brenda,

    I have a question. Is the blue building with the flags and the geraniums the post office? If you don’t mind, I want to copy it.

  11. Love the pics. Somehow just reading and seeing those pictures brings a sense of calm. We’ve been to the island every summer since 95, and can’t wait to go back. It’s been an extremely long winter here in NE Ohio. August can’t come soon enough for us!

  12. I’m so happy you put the card in your computer! This post is like a ray of Spring sunshine. This Michigander is ready for Winter to end this year. Thanks so much.

  13. Brenda,
    Thanks….just loved the pictures of the tulips and the white lilacs by the grand. It’s a teaser but that’s what I love about living in Michigan… you really appreciate the beauty of spring and all the seasons so much more after a long winter.

  14. We love Mackinac Island. My husband was there last year, but it’s been several years for me. So I really enjoy looking at your blog! Your photos are gorgeous. Must visit Doud’s Market next time. Of course, staying in a hotel, I won’t be doing any cooking. Nevertheless, as a cook, it would be of interest to me.

    Just recently discovered a movie made on Mackinac Island in the 1940s, This Time For Keeps, with Esther Williams. It’s a lovely movie, and it really shows a lot of the island.

    • Jean, you’re the second person who has recently mentioned This Time for Keeps! I have it ordered on Netflix, so I will be seeing it soon.

      • If you stay at the Inn on Mackinac, some of the TV channels are programmed that continuously play Somewhere in Time and This Time for Keeps over and over again. It’s kind of neat.

    • Jean, Though I enjoyed Somewhere in Time I think I liked This Time for Keeps even better. It was nice that they stayed true to how the island really is. Did you notice the backward ways that they went from the dock to get to the ‘Corner Cottage’ at the bottom of the hill on Market Street? They even go as far as St. Annes church in the opposite direction.

  15. Ahhhhhh! Your springtime photos are a breath of fresh air (and sunshine). I LOVE all the illuminated tulips, but right now even the dandelions look beautiful in that bright-green grass. The picture of St. Anne’s through the cedars makes me think you were standing near Anne’s Tablet when you took it.

    • You think it’s St. Anne’s? I thought it was the back of Little Stone Church because the next few pics on the camera card are near the bottom of Turkey Hill, looking across the golf course. I really think it’s Little Stone Church – just at an angle that it’s seldom photographed from.

      • I sit corrected. After enlarging your photo, I could see a lot more detail of the church. Definitely NOT St. Anne’s. I found pictures of the other churches on the island and compared them to the one in your photo. They’re all unique, but only the Little Stone Church has those little venty things along the top of the roof. 🙂

      • LOL – I thought I was going crazy. You aren’t the only one who said it was St. Anne’s!

  16. Hi Bree,
    I remember these photos and reading the blog you wrote about your arrival last year. I especially remember the photo of Maddie and Ted on the porch and that comfy looking sitting room. Can it be a mere 10 weeks before you return?

  17. The first week back must be such a treat to you (and Bear) greeting all your friends. Such good energy for all and even the island.

  18. So great to see the picture of Maddie on Ted’s lap again. Partially because of how much we enjoy reading about your adventures with Maddie and Bear, we took the plunge and adopted a (not so) little four-year-old standard Dachshund (Dee Dee).

    Although Dee Dee won’t be joining us, we’re getting very excited for a trip to the island in June during the Lilac Festival week. We’ve lost count of the number of trips to the island in the last 30 or so years, but this will be our first in the last few years!

    • Oh my gosh, Dave, how wonderful (I hope!!!). Yeah, the standards are quite a bit larger, and I think Maddie is a “little” miniature. Maddie had a run-in this morning with a stranger dog, and she’s nursing her dignity right now – along with a black eye.

      • My wife’s family had dachshunds, so we are well aware of the fact that they are a “big dog” in attitude!

  19. That picture of the church through the cedars is Little Stone Church. It looks to me like you were standing at the top of Turkey Hill…actually on Huron Rd. before you get to Turkey Hill, by #6 green. I can tell because there is an old crabapple tree that we have to trim all the time and part of it is in your picture too!

    • Thank you, Mary. A couple of readers about had me convinced I didn’t know what I took a picture of. But since the next few shots on my camera card were the border collie chasing the geese on the golf course, I pretty much knew I had been coming down Turkey Hill.

  20. I loved the spring pictures Bree!! For a second I thought it was May already! I can’t wait to you and Ted get back to the Island! It will be soon though. I also loved the picture from Nicole. Very nice! Have a great week Bree!

  21. I really enjoyed your photos. I worked on the Island the summers of ’97 & ’98 in college. I started bringing my family there a few years ago. As you described those first photos I knew exactly the emotions you were feeling. There is something so special and quaint about the Mackinac Island and it really has so much to do with the “little” things. I can’t help but wonder about the location of that picture of the church. At first I thought it looked like the area behind Mission Point but that can’t be right. You don’t see trees with those types of branches/foliage aren’t everywhere so that would of been a good clue if you had not figured out it was Turkey Hill.

  22. WOW! I have loved reading all the comments today. I think everyone was ready to see something besides SNOW! I loved also that there were a lot of comments from readers who had never written before – so good to hear from you, and I hope to hear from you again soon. All those spring memories sure got me in the mood to get back to the island. Hoping all of you are planning a trip this summer. If you do, look me up. As far as I know I’ll be working again once a week at the Stuart House Museum – don’t know what day yet though. More on that later. Love, love love my readers!

  23. Pingback: Mackinac Island Springtime Memories 3/7/2011 « Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog « ChrMoosejaw's Musings

  24. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve been having quite the rough time at work lately and your latest photos both here and on the Blackshear blog have really made me feel better. I miss the nice weather sooo much and am very, very sick of the snow, ice, and rain here in Ypsilanti and everywhere else in Michigan lately. So, thank you again-I will gaze longingly at your photos and remember we’ll be back in a few months ourselves.

    • Having a “rough patch” myself lately, Annie. That’s why I thought a little springtime would brighten my outlook – and maybe some of my readers also. From the comments from the these blogs, I guess we’re all pretty much on the same wavelength right now . . . tired of gray and brown and ready for sun and color! Hope your week gets better. God bless.

  25. Loved your trip down memory lane. So good to see the flowers today (another dark/rainy day with snow on the ground). I remember when you were choosing furniture for the condo and the stories leading up to the move across the lake from the furniture store(s)! That was so interesting! I can really feel your anticipation to get back up there! You’ll be back on the road before you know it!

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