Weekly Wonders! 6/3/2011

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 brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com.  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 brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.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.


The fence surrounds the family graves of one of the Fort Mackinac commanders in the Post Cemetery.


19 thoughts on “Weekly Wonders! 6/3/2011

  1. Ahhh! What a great week! (Sorry, no donuts here, only pizza! – I’m cheating and checking it out this evening!) I can’t wait for some more story about the airport. And I’ve fallen in love with that photo looking down Fort Street in the fog!!

    Tell me, I think I’m noticing that your are posting a little earlier in the evening this year. Perhaps because of the change in schedule, or something else. But my question is, how is your fancy face mask (forgotten his name ~ sorry) adjusting to Island life? Are you going to bed earlier? sleeping better? etc?

    • Well, Irene, now that you ask . . . the schedule change is allowing me to finish the posts much earlier (higher speed internet is helping also), and I post it just before I go to bed – whenever that may be. Dear ole Dudley and I (Elmo got pitched after two nights) have taken a vacation from each other since we’ve gotten to the island. I just needed a break. In fact, Ted asked me this morning when I planned to start up with Dudley again, and I answered “soon”. I know I’ve got to do it because I already find myself sleeping more during the day. I guess I think I can get away with that more here because I don’t have to drive, but I don’t want to let it build up again to sleeping all day. That and the fact that my blood pressure was lower than it’s been in years at my checkup just before we came north is ample reason to get back with the program. And I will . . . soon.

  2. Another treasure from Bree……I’m so grateful that you included the Memorial Day services. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve only had the pleasure of attending the service on the island once and I found it so moving and meaningful; I still have the prayer sheet that was handed out the year I went and carry it with me to Remembrance Day services (November 11) here. Looking forward to the rest of Bree’s fabulous summer adventures.

  3. Excellent post! I had a bowl of oatmeal instead of donuts though… Glad the ‘little horse mystery’ is solved. Hopefully you’ll see lots of her this summer and we’ll get to see a photo of her with the pony cart!
    The plane photos are quite awesome-I have a friend who is a pilot for the Masco Corp-ie the Manoogian family and I think one of his planes was at the airport. Hi Phil!!!
    Enjoy your weekend and hope you have great weather. It’s been crazy down here in Ypsi; 90’s one day and 70’s the next. I’ve got the Dexter-Ann Arbor 5k on Sunday so I’m hoping for 70’s…..

  4. Great post Brenda! Always love hearing about the Memorial Day services on the island especially the one at the cemetary. I also love how they present the wreath to a mother on the island. Well, sounds like the cute little horse is not really a horse, of course 😉 Would love to see more pictures as she “grows up”. Some of those planes look a little big to be landing on the island. I’m kinda surprised, but then I don’t really know alot about planes. They sure are pretty thought, especially the Avanti. Enjoy your weekend, and I could swear, I can almost smell that lilac! 🙂

  5. Hi Brenda! Thank you for my Daily Dose of Mackinac. How fascinating to see that airport in action! I could have set there all day and watched the planes fly in and out! I’m looking forward to your upcoming lilac photos (I know there will be some 😉 ). The last time i was on the island was during 2006’s Lilac Festival and it was beautiful!

  6. So glad you are back on the island. What an awesme blog. The airport pictures were great. Not everyone gets out there. Miss Minnie is beautiful. Hope you can get a picture of her with the cart, someday. Please don’t give up on “Dudley”. You really need him. Have a great weekend.

  7. I have to confess, I did have a donut this morning while reading the blog!! Right here at my desk…loved seeing the info. on the airport. We found the airport quite by accident when we were there in October. Someone did come in while we were there!! How beautiful to see the carriage waiting! Was glad to see the Memorial Day events…..how often we forget those who fought for our freedom. My father was General Patton’s house manager and chef and traveled all over Europe with him – what stories he had to tell!!!! Have a great week-end!

  8. Loved the pictures of the memorial day service. One of the girls who participated in the service and works as an interpreter at the fort is very special to us as she dates our son, who has also in years passed worked at the fort as an interpreter. Mackinac Island is such a wonderful and beautiful place!!!

  9. Well, #1, I loved the airport story/pics. #2 – The little pony is just precious! #3 – I like the mystery spot contest….my question is, will you also announce the location as well as the winner so in case we don’t know where it is, we will know and can add it to the “bucket list” of places to see on the Island? I have a list going and will be there in Aug. to cross some items off the list! Oh, by the way, you are on my list to stop by and meet you.

    • As soon as I get the emailed correct answer, Karen, I post the winner’s name AND the correct answer at the top of the “Mystery Spot” blog. Then if you scroll down to the bottom of the post, there will be a full photograph of the mystery spot. All of that should be posted now on the blog since we had a winner pretty early this morning. Glad you liked all the pics today! I just found out I’ll be working Tuesdays this year at the Stuart House Museum downtown on Market Street – beginning June 7 – so from then through the middle of October, you can always find me there on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Come on by!

  10. Great post, as usual. Loved the photos, always love fog scenery, as long as I don’t have to drive in it!

  11. Brenda, loved the senery you showed from the house, your always amazed by them and wonder just what is in there. Sitting in chair looking out one of those windows and wondering what the view would be. Great story!

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