Walk With Me 10/29/2011

Thursday and Friday have been surreal.  At times the hours spiraled past so rapidly I had no awareness of the work I was doing – until I’d stop for a moment and see the result – bags packed, linens washed, beds remade, two boxes shipped home – and much more.  I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot, but Ted has worked three times as much, and what he’s done is the really hard, messy stuff – carrying his kayak back up the hill on his bike (wish I’d been around to photo that), cleaning and forcing four bicycles up two flights of stairs to the top floor, taking the first load of luggage over to the truck – and much, much more (and all on a bad leg he’s not had a single chance to rest).  We still face a day of general cleaning (on Saturday), but the hard part is behind us.  We’ll mop and vacuum and dust and clean bathrooms.  Piece of cake.

At other times these last two days the hours slowed down – creeping by in slow motion – my senses aware of every moment, every scene I passed, every word someone spoke.  With the exodus of the Grand employees, the island takes on a completely different feel.  Except for a few workers who will continue to come to the island as long as they can get here on the ferries, it’s mostly the islanders who are left- that hearty, almost 500-strong group who will hunker down and pray for lots of snow (so snowmobiles can be used) and really cold temperatures (so the Ice Bridge will make, allowing them to travel by snowmobile from the island to St. Ignace).

In the midst of the packing and cleaning, we’ve found time to walk around a couple of hours – both Thursday and Friday – and what I saw through my camera lens is what I offer for Saturday and Sunday.  It’s a different Mackinac than you’ve been seeing all summer and fall.  Come on . . . walk with me.

Even though the Island Bookstore sign reads "Closed" . . . .

. . . . Tam will still be working a few more days - doing inventory and boxing books.

At the Pink Pony, all the chairs are piled on top of the tables . . . . .

. . . . and the bar is empty (I think Brian is going to have that second chair from the middle inscribed with a plaque that reads: "Reserved for Ted" before next season).

Ted - outside the closed Pony, talking with Bobby and Roy.

Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island is closed, but I ran into Nicole a little later, and she said her store would be open some during the winter - for Christmas Bazaar weekend, during Christmas, and during Winter Festival.

Thunderbird Gifts is all locked down. Someone asked today why the windows are papered, and I asked that question downtown. Two reasons really - 1) if merchants leave stock in the stores, the sunlight through the windows could fade themerchandise, and 2) if work is being done on the inside of the store during the winter, it makes for a good "surprise" in the spring when the paper comes down.

Remember me saying the Grand moves its administrative offices downstate during the winter? These two Budget rental trucks (which came over on a freight ferry) are being loaded from drays filled with everything the Grand will need to operate during the winter.

Two of a few businesses which will be open and always busy during the winter are the Post Office . . . .

. . . and the bank (where the flag is flying).

Last day open at Nephew's on Mackinac . . . . still some bargains to be had.

And - oh my goodness - last day sale at Joann's Fudge - $4.00 per slice!

Jesse's Chuckwagon was already done . . . . .

. . . and so was Martha's Sweet Shop.

Walking toward the boardwalk, we passed the closed Lakeview Hotel. The only person on the street was a man sweeping up, after smoothing out a spot of uneven sidewalk . . . .

. . . . which is being done in many places all over downtown.

The lovely Iroquois Hotel is closed . . . .

. . . . and the gardens leading to The Carriage House Restaurant are accented by a giant pumpkin.

Through the windows of the Windermere Hotel, the white sheet-shrouded furniture is visible. I wonder if they painted the hotel to blend with that gorgeous tree!

The Round Island Passage Light looked close enough to touch from this angle at Windermere Point.

We made a stop at the library (open during the winter Tuesday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.). We had a ton of books we'd read this summer that we added to the used books the library sells.

Another shot of the empty streets from the west end of Main Street.

The beautiful old McNally Cottage. Unless a miracle occurs, this building will be torn down beginning November 1. Planned to replace it is a three-story hotel.

Cindy's Livery Stable is closed. It's strange to go by there and see the door closed and no saddled horses waiting in the side lot.

The Cloghaun Bed & Breakfast, closed and ready for winter.

Looking down Market Street through the empty windows of La Galerie.

When I stopped to take this pic of Doc Al, our island veterinarian, I asked him (again) if I might write a story about him next summer. He just smiled and said, "We'll see." He's a shy one, our doc.

At the closed Gatehouse, they were having an impromptu hamburger cook-out for the employees - that's one way to clean out the freezer!

Snowmobiles are returning on ferries from St. Ignace, where some are stored during the summer.

One place absolutely not closed is the island school. Lots of bikes there by the playground.

I wonder if the famous island ghosts play tennis during winter nights, while ghostly spectators watch. Remind me to go on the Midnight Ghost Tour next summer. THAT should be an interesting post!

The last time I will photograph the big trees further down the hill. They were removed the next day - so beautiful and regal - but old, diseased, and a danger to people and horses whenever the wind blew. They'll be replaced by the same beautiful Maples planted last fall when the first of the diseased trees were removed. Pics tomorrow of the new, wide-open boulevard leading to the Grand.

All the Grand horses have left the island, and I walked inside the old stable one more time . . . .

The Grand omnibuses were parked and polished, and the antique carriages were lined up side by side. By the time we return in the spring, the new stable up near us will be open.

The horse barns - all closed up.

Are you tired yet?  I hope not!  Join me tomorrow, and we’ll do a little more walking!

44 thoughts on “Walk With Me 10/29/2011

  1. OMGosh! Loved my walk..even though I have walked some of these roads before, I could walk them a thousand times more and always see something different. Thank you Brenda for taking me with you. Can’t wait for our next walk. 🙂

  2. I’ve always wondered what the island would be like when the “fudies” leave and now I have a good idea. You did lots of walking to get all the pictures. Thanks for doing that so you could share with your friends.
    I’ll be thinking of you, Ted, Maddie and Bear on Sunday as you begin you travels back south. Have a safe trip.

  3. I think I have to agree with Downstate Barb! The opening of the island is always so exciting!! But I am really glad you took us on this walk Brenda..now I can see what our granddaughter Alyssa sees every day that she is there through the winter. Have you seen her lately?? She is moving into town from what her mom relayed to me. Looking forward to the next post!! Thanks again for sharing with us!! God Bless!!

  4. Thank you for taking the time and inviting us all to walk with you.

    Where is the cottage that is coming down? So sad. It looks beautiful.

    Safe travels to you and your trip mates!

  5. Brenda, thank you so much for another amazing season of stories and photos. I so enjoyed the final walk around the Island. Thank you for allowing me to tag along with you. Have a safe journey home!

  6. Great photo essay, Brenda! Everything is starting to tuck up and hunker down for the cold and wind and snow that’s bound to come. When the summers are as busy as they are on Mackinac, it seems as thought the island (and her people) need this quiet time to rest up and remember who they are!

    So, what’s left open? Doud’s, the drugstore, Horn’s, the VI. . . Harrisonville didn’t have anything that I remember back in the olden days (aka my time).

    I think you might get drier weather for Sunday’s travelling. Still sending thoughts and prayers your way for a fun, safe trip.

  7. I can imagine that the Islanders think it is a “ghost island” at this time, but they might like the quiet for awhile. (At least until the Winter Festival time)

    It’s nice to see the place getting ready for winter, but like the others I love seeing it come alive in the spring. And just think, it is only 182 days until the early opening of the Grand Hotel 🙂

  8. Thanks for the beautiful walk. I’m so sad to see the “cottage” torn down. Another piece of history lost, and the landscape changed yet again. I’m so disappointed in the developer, Hopefully they will put a facade on the new building that will be appropriate for the Island. Safe travels to all, thanks for a wonderful summer.

  9. It seems so sad and final, yet I know the year round residents must be drawing a breath happy to have their island back to them for the next few months.
    Be careful driving!

  10. I know the folks in Georgia are waiting for your return. What a blessing to have good friends in both locations.

    Speaking of ghosts. Who is that in the second floor window of the Iroquois? Hmm.

  11. Madame, you never cease to amaze me – as busy as you are packing and packing and packing some more, you take the time to bring us along on a wonderful walkabout. Thanks so much. Hope you get to partake of a ghost walk next season – I wanted to when we were there in May, just didn’t have the chance – next time, I REALLY want to do this. The Mission Point Ghost Hunters episode was on again the other night – that will have to do for my Mackinac ghost fix for now. We shall now continue to watch the mackinaclive website – soon it will be time for the lighting of the Christmas tree. That night, we must all be sure to gather ’round our computers and share the event together – even if it’s only virtually. I see the view of the Main Street has changed somewhat – the camera location has moved. It’s nice that we get to peek in to the island now & again. Take care Brenda.

  12. Brenda,

    I thought I asked this question last night, but I must have forgotten to click the “Post” button: On what street is Cindy’s Stable located? The street in the picture didn’t look familier to me.

    Thank you.

  13. Brenda, wow…I actually was getting teary eyed, girl you are good….I really hope I can make it up there next year….But will see you and Ted this spring….have a safe trip back to Georgia…

  14. The photo of the bikes in the school yard is so very sweet. They have such a lovely playground right “on” the lake!! Thanks for the great walk! Have a wonderful trip back home. God bless you all.

  15. Wonderful pictures of an Island many never see. I’ve always wondered if I’d have the “cajones” to spend an entire winter there! The Islanders are, indeed, a hardy lot! Be safe as you travel south!

  16. I hope you have a restful sleep tonight on your final night on the island and enjoy your trip south with Ted and your beautiful “furry children”. Hopefully the “furry children” ride well. Our dog Bear is a great rider. He just hopes in the back and looks at us as if he is saying “Okay let’s get going!”

  17. I know Ted is thrilled about last minute packing and we will think about him while we enjoy a Georgia/Florida tailgate party in 80 degree weather.
    Be safe coming home and we will see you Monday.

    • He’s so happy to be packing he’s been “whistling a happy little tune” all morning :). He’ll be all done with “his part” by game time and tucked away in the loft yelling for GA at the top of his lungs. If it was warm enough here to have the windows open (it’s 41 at noon), he’d be scaring the taxi horses as they come by! Have fun, tell everyone hello, and we’ll see you soon, good Lord willing.

  18. THIS is the Island I remember. And no, it doesn’t seem ’empty’ to me – it seems relaxing. Love the pics – I’ll be thinking of you as you start off tomorrow.
    I stayed up praying about the McNally Cottage the other night – when I realized how close we were to Nov. 1st. It’s very sad to see greed get in the way of common sense! And how I won’t know anything about what is happening until some time after Christmas (the Dec 15th Town Crier will take two weeks to get to us in L.A.!)

  19. That was absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much for taking the time to share those pictures with us. Have a safe trip back to Georgia!

  20. Wow! Really enjoyed these pictures. We stay at Windermere every Labor Day week so we (Patti and I) liked the picture of the side yard. Thank you so much for sharing. Mel, Cincinnati.

  21. I don’t know how you keep doing it but you’ve captured ‘my’ island as it looks in my head. I think I’ll be re-reading this post quite a few times over the winter…

  22. Son-in-law Carl AGREES the Chuckwagon was best burger on the island — had heard it was and he was determined to get to it during our rainey week there, and said he was not disappointed.

  23. I love the island. I took some great pictures that I blew up into posters for our home. I would love a winter scene. Does anyone have any winter shots they could email me? The island warms my heart.

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