WE HAVE A WINNER for the “Mystery Spot” contest at the end of this post. The winner is Susan, who lives in Colorado now, but is a Michigan native. Her correct response was “the Post Cemetery”. Scroll to the bottom for the full photo of the Mystery Spot.
What a busy week it’s been so far!
It’s taken me a while to get into the swing of the slight change in formats this summer. As you know, I haven’t been posting only one photo each day, but I promise that some days I will. But, as I always find on the island, there is just so much going on it’s hard to stop with one pic. When I find a spare moment at the condo, I sit down at the laptop and start “sketching out” what happened that day. By doing that, when Thursday and Sunday evenings roll around, I’ve practically gotten these in-depth posts written, AND I haven’t forgotten half of what we did! It’s working out well for me, and I hope it is for you as well.
Ted and I were up early on Monday to take the short walk through the back trails to the Post Cemetery for the Memorial Day service there. We somehow timed it a little wrong and arrived just as the service was ending, so I stood to the side of the road and watched as the fort interpreters left the cemetery and started back to Fort Mackinac.
I hate that we missed the ceremony, which is always so moving. There was a really good crowd gathered for so early in the morning - it seems to grow a little each year.
As we approached the Post Cemetery, we heard Taps being played by one of the soldiers and then the rifles firing in salute. The interpreters represent the U.S. Army's 23rd Regiment of Infantry, who served at Fort Mackinac in the 1880's.
As in years past, one of the lady interpreters laid a wreath at the grave of a soldier buried there.
A fun surprise! Attending the service were Elaine and Paul, blog readers from Yale, Michigan, whom I met last summer for the first time. They come to the island often, and it was good to see them again.
We had intended to go straight back home, but started walking and talking to someone (we seem to do a lot of that) and ended up going on into town. Fog hung over the Straits Monday morning, but even in the fog, Mackinac is beautiful.
We picked up a newspaper while in town, then went back to the condo. A couple of hours later we walked back down for the 11:30 Memorial Day service at Veterans Park.
This official city service is so impressive - hosted by local veterans. Here, Mayor Margaret Doud is speaking.
Talk about a crowd! All the seating was filled, and the crowd overflowed into the streets. By the way, the gentleman in the Naval uniform is Dr. Vincent Carroll, the minister at Little Stone Church. He offered one of the prayers that morning.
One of the special parts of the ceremony is the presentation of a wreath to a Mackinac Island mother whose son or daughter has served in the military.
Mackinac Island veterans are members of the Chapman St. Onge Dankowski American Legion Post 299.
As the service was drawing to a close, the first group of Boy Scouts for the season arrived on the island. Having reached the location of the service, they stood in silent attention as the final prayer was offered by Ste. Anne's priest Fr. Jim Williams.
At the end of the service, all the flags on the island were simultaneously raised once again to full-staff. At the Veterans Park, the U.S. flag flies with the POW/MIA flag, and flags for all six branches of service are displayed.
Before we left town, we checked out the bike auction behind the Stuart House Museum. There were some really nice bikes up for auction, and they all seemed to be surrounded by some serious looking bidders. All of these bikes were collected throughout the previous summer (lost bikes that were found by someone else and turned in, but never claimed by their owners, bikes bought by island summer workers and then abandoned when they returned home, etc.). It's a great place to pick up a nice second-hand bike.
We ended the day with another walk late Monday afternoon – this time with Maddie and Bear – to the West Bluff.
We passed this horse corral filled with wildflowers on the way down Cadotte. There have always been a couple of horses kept here in years past, but maybe they just haven't made it back from their winter R & R.
We reached the West Bluff just as a newly married couple was riding off into the sunset - followed closely by their wedding photographer. Awwwww . . . .
Of course we walked Pontiac Trail while we were up on the bluff. New owners have been renovating this beautiful cottage for a couple of summers, and it looks as though they are just about finished - another grand lady restored to her original beauty. Are you wondering what the view is like from up there . . . .
. . . . here it is from Pontiac Trail directly below the house. From higher up on that porch, you could see even further. Wow! Talk about a place to drink coffee! Full views of the ferry traffic back and forth from Mackinaw City and St. Ignace, full views of the freighters coming through the cut . . . awesome!
On Tuesday we rested, and watched the weather all day. Reports of severe thunderstorms, high winds, and hail were forecast to move in around 5 p.m., and we were supposed to go over to Mackinaw City for a party on the 6 p.m. ferry. Shepler’s hosts a cast and crew party for their employees once a month during the season, and as “honorary cast members” Chris Ann and I and our hubbies were invited – and you know we never turn down free food! We were seriously afraid we wouldn’t make it because of the weather, but when we started down to catch the ferry, the weather still looked ok except for the wind, which was blowing like crazy.
The party was set up under the big white luggage tent on the Shepler dock, with grills going strong cooking up hamburgers and hotdogs and all the trimmings. I dove into my handbag for my camera, and guess what . . . . no, I didn’t forget the camera . . . I forgot the camera CARD . . which was still in my laptop at home. Do you see me kicking myself? So – no pics of the party – but let me just say that it was so much fun! We met a bunch of Shepler folks – both immediate family and their huge extended family of friends and workers. The food was great, and the fellowship was wonderful. We crossed back to the island on the 7:30 ferry – again in strong winds, but no rain or hail. I think the big storm went north and south of us – seeming to split into halves, with the Straits and Mackinac Island in the relatively calm center.
We had nothing planned for Wednesday. Ted was scheduled to start working his volunteer job at the Mackinac State Historic Parks Visitors Center on Thursday, so we just hung around the condo, except for the required doggie breaks outside. In fact, I was at my laptop working on this post when my cell phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, and almost didn’t answer – but thank goodness I did!
It was Dennis Bradley, Assistant Manager of the Mackinac Island Airport. Last summer I asked Dennis to please give me a call if there was a day when the airport was having lots of traffic. And he had remembered! Arriving on Wednesday were government leaders, business owners, and others to attend the Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference at the Grand Hotel, and it seems like most everyone arrived by plane. Our little airport was hopping!
I rode my bike out to the airport (about a 10-minute ride), and when I got there one of the Grand Hotel carriages was waiting under the portico.
- Ben, who has spent so much time this week exercising the hackneys, finally had them harnessed up to one of the wagons they are intended to pull – a Grand VIP carriage.
I walked into the airport lobby just as a family was entering from the plane parking area. Dennis told me the gentleman was Robert Schostak, Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party. Being my usual shy self, I followed them out, introduced myself, and asked if I could get a photograph for the blog. Mr. Schostak asked me where I was from (the accent always gives me away), and I told him Georgia. He graciously agreed to be photographed.
Back inside, Dennis said, “Before someone else arrives, you’ve got to go out and get a photo of a couple of planes. One is probably the largest we’ve ever had land here, and the other one is just a really neat plane.” (Remind me to go back out to the airport this summer for an in-depth story on how the airport actually operates, but today I was there for the planes!)
East apron. On a busy summer weekend, it's not uncommon to find the airport apron filled with private planes owned by island residents who fly in and out during the year. But these are not those planes. These are all corporate, state, and chartered planes which had arrived carrying VIP's for the Detroit conference.
West apron. A few of the planes would be staying at the airport for the 3-day conference, but some simply landed, delivered their passengers and their luggage, and immediately flew out again.
Dennis was pretty sure this was the largest jet to ever land at Mackinac. Airport . . .
. . . but the one that really caught my eye - and his - was this one!
As I was snapping photos, the pilot walked up - ready to take off . . . and asked if I'd like to go inside and take a look around! Are you kidding me!!
Well geez! Talk about cushy comfort! The pilot explained this was a Piaggio P180 Avanti - made in Italy. I'm standing in the door and shooting toward the rear of the plane. You can see the pilot (who's really up front) reflected in the mirrow at the back.
Looking into the cockpit . . .
OK, Frog . . . this one's just for you! (Frog is my adopted brother-in-law who is a retired Delta pilot.)
On Thursday Ted went to work from noon to 4, and I walked downtown to pick up the mail and do a little shopping. And that about covers the week except for these random notes:
The lilac blossoms are beginning to open! They have a ways to go before every bush is blooming, but each day more and more beautiful color is being seen. The Lilac Festival is June 10-19. I predict it's going to be a glorius one, with the lilacs at their peak.
The mystery of the "small horse" is solved! After taking this photo Wednesday evening of someone leading her across our lawn, I made some inquires today, then went directly to the owner. It's the Ben Mosley family (you remember Ben is the Grand Hotel stable manager and our condo caretaker). His wife fell in love with the pony a few weeks ago, and now she is a permanent resident of the island. And a "pony" is what she is - a registered Hackney pony (a smaller version of the Grand Hotel's Hackney horses). They are calling her Miss Minnie, although her official name has "Mackinac" in it. She is three years old, about two years from being full-grown. Ben says she will only grow "up" another two inches, but she will become much more muscular. She is already trained to harness, and the Moseley's are planning to refit the family's antique pony cart for her to pull. And now we all know!
Have you finished that second donut yet? I’m almost done, but I have a new feature to preview tonight. Each Friday I will be posting a photograph of something on the island. Some will be relatively easy to recognize – some not so much. The object is to be the first to identify where the object is located. When you think you have the answer, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
. I’ll check my email several times a day, and as soon as we have a winner, I’ll post the winner’s name at the top of this blog so you can stop guessing. Is there a prize for the winner – yes there is; but the prize is secret, and the only ones who will know what it is are the winners. To be fair, I’m asking residents of Mackinac Island to please NOT guess. This is just for readers who don’t live here . . . but would like to!
I’m going to start off with an easy one . . .
Where on Mackinac Island is this tree growing through this fence?
Again, please email your answers to me at email@example.com. PLEASE DO NOT ANSWER IN THE “COMMENTS” SECTION OF THE BLOG.
All righty then! The coffee has to be cold and the donuts eaten! See you back again on Monday morning with all the weekend happenings, and I’ll have a pic or two for you on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Whew! My fingers are tired! Have a safe and fun weekend. God bless.
MYSTERY SPOT ANSWER
The fence surrounds the family graves of one of the Fort Mackinac commanders in the Post Cemetery.