A Mackinac Surprise for Good Friends 9/27/2011

Hi Friends!  I’m going to leave up the post below until Thursday morning, when I’ll have my first official “Fall Colors” post for you.  Until then, I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about the Great Turtle Shopping Week October 5-8.  This would be a great time to grab some friends and head up to the island for a couple of days of fun and savings on the Island.                                                                                                           

It’s kinda like a “sidewalk” sale – except it’s inside!  Hotels and restaurants will have specials going on as well.  There will be a Gallery Walk on Market Street, giveaways on Wednesdays, chocolate served in the shops on Thursday, late night shopping on Friday, and on Saturday – fall treats!

Some other fun things to look forward to will be cider & donuts at Doud’s Market, half-off admission to the Grand Hotel Wednesday-Saturday, entertainment at the bars, free gifts at Arnold Transit, and raffles and giveaways at the Tourism Bureau.  Mackinac Mittens will have a booth in the Lilac Tree Mall, and there’ll be a book signing at Island Bookstore (both of these events on Saturday).

Downtown shops will decorate their windows for fall, and shoppers can vote on the best one.  AND, there will be a scarecrow-making contest!  The slogan for the event is:  Indulge.  Shop.  Relax.  I love all three!
All you have to do to participate is stop by the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau and pick up a free VIP Shopping Pass,  Here’s the link to this brand new, fun event for the Island:  http://www.greatturtleshopping.org.

Come on up, and get your Christmas shopping done!


Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together!

When I heard from Pat Lanier that she was bringing another tour group from Albany, GA to the Grand Hotel – and in that group were two other friends I’ve known since the 1970’s – I began to try and think of something special we could do while they were here.  They were already scheduled for one of the Carriage Tours that are so good about “hitting the high spots” on the Island, but I knew there were a lot of other out-of-the-way places they’d never see because, 1)  the big carriages can’t go to those places, and 2) time restraints (they were only going to be on the Island two nights) would prohibit us walking or biking to all those places.

With special permission from Grand Hotel management, my wish to make their trip totally awesome was granted, and at 10 a.m. this morning, we boarded one of the VIP Grand Hotel carriages.  My second wish was for sunny skies, and that didn’t quite work out as well.  Instead of an open-air carriage, Ben Mosley, our driver, hitched the hackneys to a closed carriage, and with windy, cool weather – that threatened rain most of the morning – we were so glad he had the foresight to opt for us to be all snug and covered up.

I've known Joann Bates (far right) for many, many years because she, Ted and I were all employed in the Dougherty County School System in Albany. Pat Lanier, Sharon Whaley and I were all "young-marrieds" together, living in the same apartment complex in Albany, and starting our families at basically the same time in the 70's. That's 40 years of history! Whew!

The ladies, along with their entire tour group, enjoyed dining at the Grand on Sunday evening, then going into the ballroom to listen to the orchestra and watch the dancing.

I finally had to break down and tell Pat about the surprise plan so she could make arrangements with the other tour director to take care of her group while she slipped away. All Pat told Joann and Sharon was they weren't going on the Carriage Tour with the others, and to meet on the front porch at a little before 10 a.m. on Monday morning. Both Jill and Ted were there to take photos, and Ted's plan was to bike to each "spot" ahead of us so he could photograph us arriving.

Jill had already stopped off in the Grand stables to watch the hackneys be hitched to the carriage Ben had chosen for us.

When Ben pulled up, and the girls realized this was their surprise, there were a lot of happy squeals of "You've got to be kidding!" Here, Pat shakes hands with Ben, who immediately made friends when he said, "Welcome, YA'LL"!

Leaving the entrance to the Grand and . . .

. . . a wave from Sharon . . .

. . . before starting up the road in front of the West Bluff.

From the West Bluff, we traveled into the Annex, and that's where Ted met us for the first time and snapped this pic of us approaching.

Ben stopped a moment so we could all wave to Ted.

From the Annex, we rode through the woods and into the Village, turning in front of our condo, where once again Ted was waiting.

We rode through the woods once again up to the cemeteries, then turned toward Fort Holmes, the highest spot on the Island.

From Ft. Holmes we rode to Lookout Point, where Ted was waiting. In fact he'd been waiting quite a while. He thought we'd come there first and then go to Ft. Holmes, but we did it the other way around.

This was the first place we'd gotten out of the carriage, and everyone took a lot of pics of the scenery while I took pics of my friends!

Lots of applause for Ben and his patience (although he kinda looks like he was enjoying it as much as we were)!

He even took all of our cameras up with him on the driver's seat and snapped a photo of us with each one. You can really see some color change behind us (we were overlooking Sugar Loaf here).

Ted followed us down the hill from Lookout Point, then turned right to go back to the condo. We turned left and headed for Arch Rock.

The wind had really started to kick up by the time we arrived at Arch Rock . . .

, , , but that didn't stop us from going out on the lookout platform as far as we could to look at the shoreline below.

When we walked back to the carriage, we noticed Ben and the horses were drawing more attention than Arch Rock.

Our next stop was the East Bluff, and while we were stopped there, we walked over to Anne’s Tablet, one of my favorite places on the island, and one I wanted to share with my friends

From the fence overlooking the bluff at Anne's Tablet, it was again easy to see where the foliage is beginning to turn.

From there, it was just a few more steps to the Somewhere in Time gazebo.

Back in the carriage, we rode slowly down Mission Hill, down Main Street, over to Market, and turned back toward the Grand Hotel.

And who was there waiting to catch us as we came up the hill? Jill!!

Pulling in front of the Grand . . . just look at those high-stepping horses!

Unloading . . .

. . . one more group shot with the carriage and the horses . . .

. . . and a big THUMBS UP for Ben.

We finished our adventure with a walk downtown, where a turn down French Lane happened to put us in the path of Mayor Margaret Doud, who graciously posed with us.

We turned right at the end of French Lane and walked by the beautiful Windermere Hotel . . .

. . . then crossed the street to photograph the lovely gardens at the Iroquois Hotel.

Jill - who would always prefer to be behind the camera - not in front of it.

By the time we finished lunch at the Yankee Rebel, the much anticipated rain finally arrived. We parted company when the Georgia girls caught a Grand bus back up the hill, Jill went to work, and I caught a taxi home.

My friends and the rest of their group will be on the 10 a.m. ferry out Tuesday morning – a much, much too short trip.  I hope they can all return soon to our beautiful Mackinac when they can stay longer.  They saw a lot today, but they’ve only scratched the surface of what the Island has to offer.

As we were walking today, Joann asked me if I ever have to pinch myself to realize I really live in all this beauty every day.  My answer was this: “I do, and I know how blessed we are.  But, like every place you spend a long time, you begin to take it for granted.  Having friends come who have never visited makes it all new again.  I love that!”

Come back soon, friends, and safe travels home.  We loved you being here!


21 thoughts on “A Mackinac Surprise for Good Friends 9/27/2011

  1. Almost felt like I was a part of your group there for a minute, loved the carriage ride and what a great surprise for your friends! How sweet of Ted to get there first for pictures. Bet he got a good workout in 😉 Great pictures by the way, both Ted’s and Jill’s and I ditto everything that Chris Ann said.

  2. What a wonderful friend you are!! We should all be so lucky. What is the story behind Anne’s Tablet? Have always wondered. Looks like you had a great time with some special friends. The Annex is one of my favorite places!

  3. Ben Mosley seemed like to a good sport to drive such a fun group around! Nothing like a little hen fest! Ted seems like he is pretty athletic. Is he one of those annoying people who exercise on a regular basis while the rest of us enjoy a comfty sofa? Ha! Ha!

    • LOL Yvonne! Ben is wonderful (he is also our caretaker here at the condo). He’s a year-round resident, a neighbor of ours in the village, and knows this island inside out. He answered so many questions yesterday on the tour, and you are right – he was a very good sport! And yes, Ted IS one of those annoying people who exercises all the time – of course, up here, that’s pretty much a part of our daily routine. One trip up and down our hill takes care of our aerobics for the day!

      • You look like you stay in good shape also. I am always happy when I come back from Mackinac without GAINING weight. I seem to get my exercise in while biking but the great restaurants are so darn tempting! And lots even think about the fudge. YUM!

  4. I am so incredibly happy that Pat, Sharon and Joanne got to be with you and Ted and see the surreal beauty there even if it was for just a short time. I’m even a bit envious. You and Ted are very blessed to be a part of Mackinac. And we are all blessed because you, in turn, so generously share your blessings with us. Thank you!

  5. What a very special treat for your friends!! And many thanks to Ted and Jill for documenting it (and allowing you to simply enjoy it!)!

    I really miss the Island this time of year. Just spent a while looking at the Chippewa cam, watching the boats come in . . . .

  6. Bree, I have been trying to say hello to you for three years now. I stop at the bookstore – I stopped twice this trip at the Stewart House and generally just keep my eyes peeled for you. I’ve met Jill once at the bookstore (I have the two Shelties) but have never met you and have just about given up. Monday I WAS AT ARCH ROCK AND TOOK PICTURES OF THE GRAND HOTEL CARRIAGE YOU ALL WERE IN! The funny thing is that while I was at The Grand’s gift/flower shop before going up to arch rock I saw Jill walking past toward the barns out back and told my partner “Jill from Bree’s blog just went past.” I never saw anyone in the carriage at arch rock just the driver waiting. I must have went up to the lookout when you all got back in and pulled away. Maybe next year.
    I love your blog and read it everyday. I just got home from 10 days in a cabin on a lake near Petoskey. Can’t get enough of Northern Michigan.

  7. Looks like fun!! Mom said it was wonderful!! I am so jealous that you are wearing COATS and JEANS…we are still sweating down here in south GA!!! Thanks for taking good care of them!

    • Please get rid of that heat before we come home in November, Heather! Highs here on Saturday are supposed to be in the 40’s. We had the best time on the carriage, and they got to see a lot of things they wouldn’t have seen in the short time they were here. You and your family should come up next summer!

  8. The start of such a beautiful time on the island! My grandparents will be headed up there Sunday and coming home Wednesday. I am very jealous! Your pictures at the Windermere and Iroquois are my favorite, that part of town is the nearest and dearest to me. Can’t wait to return next year!

  9. You are the best friend ever! What a wonderful, memorable time you all must have had-it must have been so much fun to share Mackinac in such a special way. The photos are lovely-great job to all the photographers who participated!

    And to Scot-I share your situation as I’ve met Jill in the bookstore and have had an ‘unknown close encounter’ with Bree at the finish line of the 8 mile race a few weeks ago. Next time!

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