Mackinac Island Winter Update – Vol. 1 11/09/2011

Hello from Georgia!  We’ve been home a little over a week, and we’re slowly settling into our “lake house” routine.  It seems strange to say “we need milk” and then have to get in the car and drive a few miles to the nearest store, instead of jumping on a bike and riding down the hill to  Doud’s Market  But, we’re adjusting, and the good thing about that is . . . we don’t have to ride the bike back UP the hill!

The weather here has been absolutely gorgeous – with temps in the high 60’s and low 70’s – and sunny, blue skies.  Ted and I are catching up with lake friends and enjoying our sun porch on the water.  It’s good to come home to my roots . . . . and to Georgia friends, porch swings, gnats (yes, they’re still here), and a yard already sporting dozens of deep holes Maddie has dug to dispose of all the moles that took over during her absence.  Those moles don’t stand a chance now that Madame Terminator is back.

So – what’s been happening on Mackinac Island since we’ve been gone.  Quite a lot!

  • Leanne Broder, the director of the island Recreation Department, escorted the last of the 4-H horses off the island last week to their winter home in Mackinaw City.  Now is the time to think about sponsoring one of these horses for the year.  A full year’s sponsorship is $2,500, but they will gladly except any amount donated.   Donations cover winter boarding, vet bills, shoeing costs, blankets, feed, supplements, and trailering.

Jody Barna stands with Blaze on the ferry ride over. On her left is Grey, with owner Trish Martin, and on her right is Wingdingo. another 4-H horse.

Prancer is a 4-H horse also. Here he and Blaze check out their new digs.

Little Gingersnap (on the right) is a 4-H pony who has been in Mac City a few months this summer, recovering from a digestive problem. Her pasture mate there has been Tom, the big brown Belgian cross in this pic. Here Prancer (on the left), who was Gingersnap's pasture mate on the island, came over to say "hi". Tom was having none of it, protecting his little charge from a horse he didn't know - even though Gingersnap did! Horses are such wonderful creatures!

  • As mentioned a couple of posts ago, McNally Cottage was in danger of being demolished, and this week it happened – and it happened fast.

A few days before "D" day, the island Fire Department practiced drills at McNally Cottage . . .

. . . and on Monday, in a matter of hours, the cottage was gone. I haven't seen the renderings for The Bicycle Inn, which will stand where McNally was, but Mary Slevin with the Tourism Bureau said in an interview it will be a beautiful building, in keeping with Main Street's other architecture.

Several days after the cottage came down, and during the excavation of the site, an ancient burial site was uncovered, and three almost complete human skeletons were discovered. Interlochen Public Radio interviewed several people on Mackinac Island concerning this discovery, and you can listen to or read the interview here: Very interesting!

The big news just before we left the island was the opening of the Lilac Tree Suites for New Years!  Ted and I have tossed around the idea of returning for that holiday, but right now no definite plans have been made.  For those of you looking to ring in the New Year on the island (hopefully snow-covered by then), you’ll have several choices for reservations:  The Lilac Tree, The Cottage Inn, Pontiac Lodge, Bogan Lane Inn, Harbor Place Studio Suites and Mission Point Resort. Of those, Lilac Tree and Mission Point are only open for that one holiday; the others are open year-round.  Year round restaurants are the Mustang Lounge and Cawthorne’s Village Inn, opening under new management December 1.

Two Photos of the Fort by Mary Slevin

Mary snapped this photo the afternoon of Halloween from Marquette Park. Boy, would Bear like a chance at those geese!

Mary threw in some special effects here and turned Fort Mackinac into something resembling a postcard from Ireland.

There’s a small chance that the island will see it’s first snow of the winter season later this week, but no accumulations are expected with this fast-moving storm.  I can just about promise you though that everyone who owns a snowmobile has already gotten them out of storage, tuned them up, and they are sitting on ready!  Come on, snow!!

That’s all I have for this week, friends  I’ve been saving some wonderful, beautiful, magnificent, awesome photos of Steve Fridley’s to use during these first updates.  Here’s three to end this post – the last one is today’s header.  Thank you, Steve!

Multi-color lights illuminate the Mackinac Bridges, and the town is bathed in the soft lights of evening.

Trinity Church under a blanket of fleecy clouds.

Just breathtaking.

Have a great week, and see you back here on Wednesday, Nov. 16.  God bless.


24 thoughts on “Mackinac Island Winter Update – Vol. 1 11/09/2011

  1. Beautiful pics! It’s an eerie thought knowing now that those staying in the McNally Cottage were sleeping above an ancient burial site :)…but as you said, very interesting!

  2. Exciting and eerie news for sure. I believe they said something about digging a hole on the lake side across from the demolition? Is that right and if it is what is the purpose of that? Also, will the Island Bike Shop be back next season?… is the use of their lot just temporary? Sorry for all the questions 😉

    Beautiful pictures Steve!! Love the one with the bridge in the background. Almost looks like the town is sitting right under the bridge.

    • All good questions, Hilde, but I don’t have the answers. The Island Bike Shop is owned by the same person who is building the Bicycle Inn, so I would think the bikes would stay where they are. Maybe someone on the island who reads this can answer your questions, and I’ll be doing some research also.

    • Hilde, I was surprised just how close the bridge looked too from that angle at night. I’ve taken photos of the Lighthouses before to where the angle, time of day, etc made them look as if they were just feet from the shore.

  3. Love all the pictures, Steve. I can imagine that a lot of these old buildings might be sitting on top of ancient burial grounds. You have to figure when people did pass away they were buried somewhere and the old cemeteries (or burial locations) have to be in different areas on the island. We’ll never know unless other buildings are torn down.

    Also Brenda I know that Madame Terminator will show those moles whose boss and clear them out of your backyard.

  4. Oh my-Mary’s fort photo is just beautiful. Hauntingly so…
    Steve’s pics remind me of a Terry Redlin painting-very, very nice.

    Sad to see McNally go-Main St will look quite different without it. I’ll bet the excavation crew was a bit surprised at the discovery. What did they do with the remains, I wonder? Guess I’ll go read the interview and find out!

  5. Great pictures once again! Very exciting about their burial finds. We have Indian Mounds here in Madison, WI. They are protected now. I bet Maddie and Bear were so relieved to be able to just run around the yard! That is a long trip for dogs. (and people!) We are getting our first snow right now as I write – its the big fluffy ones. Hopefully we will not have any accumulation – but one never knows!

  6. Hi Brenda,

    Beautiful pictures! Thank you for keeping us connected to the Island during the off-season. Sure would love to visit during the winter, but will have to wait until Spring. Love you GA posts. You definitely have the best of both worlds.

  7. Loved the pix of the Fort and the one of the church with the soft clouds….just gorgeous…thank you. Very interesting about the burial grounds. We are expecting our first snow here tomorrow also. Would love to go the Island for New Year’s also….maybe some day.

  8. It is so good to hear from you. I have stayed a week in January for the past 2 years and absolutely love it. The quietness of the island is just magical. If you have the chance it is definitely worth the effort. Have a great day!

  9. I definitely think you and Ted should make a winter trip! So you can show those of us who can’t!! 🙂 Great information and pictures, Bree, thanks for keeping us up to date!

  10. Love the bridge picture. Would this have been taken from the east bluff? Just wondering. Aren’t burial grounds protected from being built on? Lots of questions on this one. What happens with the remains and are they checking to see if anything or anyone else is there? I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some “hauntings” in the future.

  11. Brenda,

    The others have said it all, but I must add my two cents worth. It is an extremely interesting post and I sure like the pictures, especially the views of the Mackinac Bridge and Round Island from Mackinac Island.

    Two questions in one: Was the picture with the fire trucks in it taken close to the Hoban Street intersection, and if so, what is the building with the stairway beyond the trucks? If it’s what I think it is, it used to be the theater where I made and sold popcorn.

    • Hi Lowell! You caught me at the computer. Yes, Hoban Street is just another half block from McNally Cottage, and the building with the steps is where the Haunted Theatre is now. So, yes, that is probably where you sold popcorn!

      • That’s it. Thank you, Brenda. I sure am glad I have you to post what jogs my memory. One evening when I was doing my popcorn thing (1955 or 1956), I looked out toward where the Mackinac Bridge was being built and I couldn’t tell where the sky stopped and the water began. It was sunset time and both were completely lavender, or maybe I should say Lilac. Anyway it was an awesome sight. I’ve never seen anything like it since then.

  12. No offense, but I think the McNally cottage was more in keeping with the architecture of Main Street than anything new will be. Some of the newer buildings are indistinguishable from New England, which also used to look slightly different than it does now in popular places.

    • Lots of efforts were made to save it but even with a year moratorium on demo, the city dragged its feet on establishing a historic district. Mackinac Island could very likely lose its national historic status from the loss of this building. It was one of the last 2 contributing to the islands status.

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