Mackinac Island Off-Season Update – Volume XXIII – 4/11/2011

Header:    The photo in the header is one Jill took last season of Martha’s Sweet Shop.  I heard from Loretta (who owns Martha’s) this week, and she’s back on the island for the season.  Everytime I look at this photo, I start craving the Sweet Shop’s cinnamon rolls.  YUM!

Five weeks to go.  I sat down on April 4 and listed all the days left until we leave for the island.  At that time there were 42.  Then I wrote something down next to each day – in a lot of cases, more than one thing was noted.  When I finished, I had filled a couple of legal pages with chores and errands to accomplish before locking the doors to the lake house for the summer. 

Those of you who know me well by now know I do silly things like that – make lists, accomplish a task and cross it out – it’s the only way, at my age, I can remember everything I have to do.  So far, six days worth of items have been crossed off, which mostly  involved weeding all the flower beds in our yard and cutting back some overgrown shrubbery.  Unfortunately, it also included something that wasn’t on the list – a second bout with poison ivy.  The first bout was nearly three weeks ago, and it came from Bear, after a grooming session.  I knew it had to come from Bear because I hadn’t been out in the yard, and the places where the rash erupted were contact points with Bear when I’m brushing him.  That told me that the vine – which I am highly allergic to – was somewhere in our yard, and Ted and I started our search.  We found it last week – right AFTER I grabbed hold of a pesky plant trailing up our fence behind Ted’s mancave and right AFTER that same plant brushed against both my bare arms as I stuck it into my yard garbage bag.  And sure enough – Bear runs behind that shed everyday and sometimes even rolls around back there.  Thank goodness I was wearing gloves and long pants –  but the arms are a disaster.

Geez – how did I get off on that when you came here to hear the latest from Mackinac Island!  Here’s what I’ve got for you this week.

Good news!  Shepler Ferry’s Sacre Bleu made it out of the St. Ignace harbor Monday, April 4, for its first trip to the Island and will make the run four times daily the first few weeks of spring.  Shepler’s also launched the ferry Capt. Shepler into the water in Mackinaw City this week, although the ice is still too heavy to make a run from there.  Shepler’s planned service from Mac City will begin April 22. 

The Capt. Shepler got a brand new coat of paint over the winter. Looking good!


If you happened to be in Mackinaw City earlier this week, you might have caught the seasonal procession of Shepler’s luggage carts. They’d been brought out of storage and were heading to the ferry dock. A sure sign that Spring has arrived!

I noticed on the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau Facebook page this week that someone asked about pet-friendly lodging on the island, and the Tourism Bureau had a ton of helpful information for all us pet lovers who wouldn’t think about leaving our “babies” at home while we’re on vacation.  Mackinac is very pet-friendly, and lodging that welcomes four-legged visitors is available at Mission Point Resort, Harbour Place Studio Suites, Mission Street Cottage, Park Place Suites, and Sunset Condos.  Many restaurants allow access to their outdoor seating areas to well-behaved dogs.  Here’s a list:  Bistro on the Green and Lake Side Market Patio at Mission Point Resort, The Carrige House Veranda at the Iroquois Hotel, The Dog House at Windermere Point, The Gatehouse at Grand Hotel, The Grand Stand at the Jockey Club, The Ice House at Island House Hotel, Mary’s Bistro, Mr. B’s, and Chillin & Grillin’ Waterfront Cafe.  Dog-friendly attractions include the Carriage Tours (small dogs are free if they sit in owner’s lap/dogs that take up a seat are charged the child’s rate) and Jack’s Livery “Drive Your Own Buggy”.  Of course, at Carriage Tours and Jack’s Livery, only horse-friendly dogs are allowed.  Dogs are also welcome at Fort Mackinac – just be aware that some dogs might be frightened by the occasional cannon firing at the fort.  Dogs are not allowed in either of the Butterfly Houses – for some reason dogs have a tendency to attack the butterflies – but there are tie-outs available outside both these attractions.  Dogs travel free on all ferry lines and on Great Lakes Air.  Oh – always remember to have your dog on a leash at all times, and please CLEAN UP after your dog.  We carry poopbags with us every time we leave the condo with Bear and Maddie.  Making a habit of having them available means you don’t have to scramble around looking for a plastic bag if your pooch goes potty on the sidewalk – and yes, it happens.  Finally, petsitters are available.  Just ask your housekeeping staff or any of the college students who work on the island.  Remember, they’re away from home and THEIR pets, and would love to pick up a few bucks for an evening of cuddling and walking with YOUR pet. 

A photo I snapped of someone's basset hound a couple of summers ago on the 4th of July.

My friend Mary, the Director of Grounds and Golf at the Grand Hotel, arrived on the island last week to begin spring work.  With the early opening for the Grand set for April 22, staff is arriving earlier this year so everything will be picture perfect when that first Grand visitor arrives on the island.  Mary emailed me the following pics:

The snow fence is still in place around the Grand Nine of Jewel Golf Course, and the grass is still a long way from turning green. In fact, there are still patches of snow here and there on the island.


The tulips are just beginning to break ground in the flowerbed along Cadotte Avenue.


Inside the Grand, some new paint is going on . . .


. . . and some new carpet is going down.

That’s all I have for this week from the island.  I’ll be back next Monday, good Lord willing, with more spring news.  Have a great week, and God bless.

17 thoughts on “Mackinac Island Off-Season Update – Volume XXIII – 4/11/2011

  1. Sorry about your bout with poison ivy Brenda…hope it goes away soon. At least now that it’s been found and taken care of, you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Love seeing pictures of inside the Grand Hotel. Everyone there take such good care of her. Capt. Shepler’s is looking pretty spiffy too. Nice new coat of paint, love it!

  2. Thanks very much for the dog-friendly info! We’ve been wanting to bring Pixel with us when we visit but found conflicting information in some of the websites that list hotels/motels that allow pets. I’m going to print this post out and stick it on the fridge! I can personally attest to the Gatehouse being ok with dogs-friends of ours had their goldens with them when we were up last September and we went there for lunch. The server brought each dog their own bowl of water, so they got to have ‘cocktails’ with us!

  3. Glad to see the activities going on right now – we will be there on the week-end of May 6th to celebrate my husband’s retirement and 60th birthday! Hard to believe. We always go to Mackinac Island in the Fall so this will be exciting going in the Spring instead! Sorry about the poison ivy – that is really nasty stuff to get rid of!! Take care of yourself.

  4. Thank you So much for all the wonderful dog tips. We are one of the most dog friendly areas in the nation. I have guests ask almost everyday if we have any “dog friendly” restaurants. Suttlers keeps a list. Now I have a more Complete list on my Blackberry thanks to Bree’s Mackinac island blog.We will be HOME on the Straite of Mackinac today.

  5. Thanks for the beautiful pictures. What memories of our five days at the Grand! Is Martha’s Sweet Shop next door to the Taxi office? YUM!

    • Martha’s is further down the street – almost across the street from the Island Bookstore. I think you’re thinking about Marc’s Double Oven. I love Marc’s fresh-baked breads, but Martha’s cinnamon rolls are the BEST I’ve ever tasted.

  6. Bree,
    Your excitement adds to my anticipation! We have property just S.E. of Cheboygan, and although we have a few years before we retire and can’t go up there for the whole summer, I look forward to the time we do get to spend during the summer months. We’ll be up at Easter and I just can’t wait!! Love your blog and your pics. I’ll be counting down with you!

  7. Hi Bree! Thanks for the update! Great pictures also! Do you have any idea where they find that beautiful carpet for the Grand? Its pretty cool!

    • Oh geez, Kellie – lots of folks throughout the winter have helped me out. I’m constantly scanning FB and getting permission to use photos from the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau and Mackinac State Historic Parks. Both have graciously allowed me to use some of their work on the winter updates. Shepler’s Ferry is also a great resource – especially now that they’ve started their 365 Day Project – posting a photo a day. Then anyone I know who happens to go to the island for whatever reason. Mary (from the Grand) took some shots for me this week, and I have a reader from downstate with relatives on the island who went up once and sent me photos. Then there’s a couple of year-round islanders who have also helped me out. Other readers who have visited the island during the year have shared their photos also. AND – now that YOU are there . . . need I say more??? People have been wonderful to me – without them there would have been no winter updates. It’s been so much fun to write – but I am ready to get up there and report and photograph IN PERSON!

  8. Love to read about Mackinac Island. I also love the pictures. We have had some great times visiting there with our Grandchildren. Their first stop had to be the Magic Store!

  9. Pingback: Island House Hotel - Airline Tickets, Cheap Hotels, Vacation Packages & Travel Deals – Airline Tickets, Cheap Hotels, Vacation Packages & Travel Deals


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