Mackinac Island Winter Update – Vol. 16 – 3/21/2012

Spring is breaking out all oh-oh-ver!  Oh wait!  That lyric begins with “June”, not “Spring”!

Here in Georgia, it might as well be June.  Temps are in the high 80’s already, Azaleas and dogwoods and crabapple trees are in full-bloom.  It’s beautiful,  but all of that is supposed to happen toward the end of April – not March!

Our yard in Georgia this week (these azaleas are usually blooming Easter weekend).

Same thing on Mackinac Island – well, not azaleas, but warm temps.  Two weeks ago 14 inches of snow covered the ground.  Today on Mackinac it was 66.  Sixty-six! It wasn’t 66 last year when we arrived on the Island mid-May!

Ok – it is what it is.  I have a feeling Georgia is only going to get hotter, but hopefully, this is truly just a few crazy days on the Island, and then the weather will return to normal.  If not, I’m seeing an air conditioner in our future this summer.

I have a few news items today, a few photos, and one totally awesome video . . .

The Island is coming out of its winter lull and about to crank up and get ready for the season (I’m wondering if everyone has their snowmobiles in storage yet, or are they keeping them around a little longer to see if a spring snow surprises everyone).  For sure, bikes are already out and about (they’ve been out and about most all winter), and hotels are already planning spring specials!  Like these two . . .

What about an early June getaway to The Island House? June 1-3 you can stay for $99/night plus tax, and that includes breakfast in the 1852 Grill Room (that's 50% off the regular price). Make your reservations online and use promo word "JUNE". By the way, The Island House's opening weekend is May 4-6!

Ever thought about staying at the Grand Hotel BEFORE IT'S FULLY OPEN? You can do it April 27-May 3. Explore the hotel on a daily tour with the hotel historian, or sneak a peek on your own. Accommodations available in many of the Grand's newest rooms, including the Millennium Wing, as well as the grandest of all, the Masco Cottage. Continental breakfast included, and dining is available at The Gate House for luncheon and dinner.

Where can you find other specials?  It’s so simple!  Go to OR (for the very best last-minute deals and immediate island news) go to: and “join”!  It’s fast, it’s simple, it’s free, and each time some great special is available, you will KNOW ABOUT IT immediately!

Ferry news!  Shepler’s Ferry began it’s Island service from St. Ignace on March 15.  It’s the Sacre Bleu that’s running now, but on April 1 (maybe sooner), the fast ferry will be back in business.  Shepler Ferry service from Mackinac City will begin April 23.

The Sacre Blue's first trip to the Island, after a very short winter break. Can't wait to see all that Island "brown" begin to turn Island "green"!

Once again . . . . RESIDENT FERRY PASSES must be purchased BEFORE MARCH 31!

Here’s a few “springtime” photos from the Island . . .

Lake Huron waters at the Island marina are turning green for spring! (Photo: Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau)

Flowers are beginning to break through the cold earth at Harbour View Inn (Photo: Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau) . . .

. . . and what is this? Tulips starting skyward at Mission Point Resort. (Photo: Mission Point Resort)

A view of Lake Huron this week from the platform at Arch Rock. (Photo: Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau)

My favorite photo this week. Beautiful Round Island Passage Light in the glow of the sun. (Photo: Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau)

I’m hoping everyone reading this is already planning a trip to the Island this season.  Just in case you were wondering about the many festivals held during the summer, here’s a list:

  • Lilac Festival:  June 8-17
  • Festival of the Horse:  August 8-12
  • Mackinac Music Festival:  August 14-16
  • Mackinac Island Fudge Festival:  August 24-25
  • Restaurant Week:  September 23-29
  • Great Turtle Shopping Week:  October 1-6
  • Halloween Weekend:  October 26-28 (includes Great Turtle Half Marathon Run/Walk)

You'll see several of these beautiful Friesians (this one ridden by Maryanke Alexander) and every other breed of horse on the Island at this summer's Festival of the Horse!

Can’t think of anything else for this week . . . except that promised video.  It was compiled from many sources and features interviews with Islanders, Island residents and loads of imagery and insight into what makes the Island so special.  This is a vintage video and is about 30 minutes long (watch when you have enough time to enjoy without interruptions). Interviews include Mayor Margaret Doud, Scottish immigrant Agnes Shine, Mackinac Island Police Chief Otto Wandrie, Grand Hotel musician/clarinetist Bob Snyder, writer/professor/biographer John McCabe. Fudgemaker Harry Ryba and media guru Bill Rabe.  You will love it!

One more thing.  I’ve been giving a lot of thought this week to the coming season on the Island and how to showcase this summer.  I’ve read and reread all of your excellent suggestions from last Fall, and I think what I’m planning is going to be fresh and just different enough to be . . . different.  More on that in the weeks ahead, but gosh, it’s less than 8 weeks before we’ll be heading north again.  Can you believe it?

Have a great rest of the week, and thank you for all the Happy Anniversary wishes for Ted and I on St. Patrick’s Day.

God bless.

P.S.  I think next week we’ll start calling this the “Mackinac Island SPRING Update”!

18 thoughts on “Mackinac Island Winter Update – Vol. 16 – 3/21/2012

  1. WooHoo…did I tell you that Spring is my favorite season of all!!! I am loving this weather and everything that is coming with it. Can you see this big smile on my face? Love that photo of Maryanke and all the specials going on. Wish we could go on more then one trip to the island..we’d be there in a minute!

  2. Talk about strange weather, it’s been over 80 for several days here in NW Ohio, and maybe 85 tomorrow! Our magnolias and forsythia are blooming their heads off. The daffodils are out now, the crocus are mainly gone already. I’m not sure they had even broken ground this time last year! It’s gone straight from winter to summer, skipping the pretty little spring. Traverse City was over 80 degrees yesterday, too.

    Looking forward to the video. Thanks!

  3. Thanks Bree for all the Island updates. Always look forward to your posts. What will happen to the Festival if the lilacs bloom a month early? I would really love to be there while they are in bloom. I have reservations during Festival week. Mother Nature might put a damper on my plans.

    Have a great week!

    • I doubt the date would be changed, Lora. There have been many Lilac Festivals that landed just before or just after the lilacs were blooming. There are so many events involved in the festival that take at least a year to plan that changing the date would be just about impossible. Of course, that’s just my thinking – I could be wrong.

      • I have really enjoyed reading your posts, and look forward to more in the future! I don’t want to say too much given the very rare possibility that my significant other also finds your blogs, but we will be heading to the island in a few weeks and I am planning to propose there. The island is very special to her, and I’m quickly learning why! I am curious if you have any recommendations for a neat place to pop the question, or activities while the island is quiet. I initially envisioned show shoeing, but now it looks like bicycling is going to be possible! I greatly appreciate any input you may have, and thank you again for your posts. I look forward to sharing it with my new fiancé!

      • Oh wow, Mark, I hope she doesn’t find this blog! Can you tell me the dates you will be on the Island. That will help me figure out some good spots. I LOVE being in a BIG ROMANTIC MOMENT!

    • Yes it is a risk! Thanks so much for replying though. We will be there 3/30-4/1. She’s been pretty busy and I get to make plans for the weekend so I think I’m pretty safe 🙂

  4. Love the photos! Here in Wisconsin, the tulips and daffodils are blooming too – unbelievable. Today we are supposed to hit a 100 year record of 80 degrees! None of us quite know what to wear each day. Is it time to unpack the summer clothes????? And if we do, will it snow??? Whatever you are planning for your summer blog will be fantastic, I am sure! Can’t wait to seee how it goes.

  5. I have to say i love Wednesday mornings. Waking up drinking my coffiee reading all of your blogs. We are heading to Mackinac on june 10. I have a 7 year old that just loves it up there and i think he gets it from me a little. All i do is research mackinac island and your blogs are by far the best info you can find about the island keep up the awesome job and beautiful pictures

      • we are staying in macinkaw city at Mackinaw mill creek camping ground in one of there cabins wish we could stay on the island but they get a little to pricey for us we are staying for 6 day so we will make it to the island at least 2 days can’t wait

    • If you’ve never smelled that fudge/horse manure combo, you just HAVE to visit Mackinac Island. I seem to get whiffs of it all winter, and I know that has to come from my brain, not my nose.

  6. Love the spring photos! This is the weirdest Michigan March weather I’ve ever seen and while I’m loving the warm weather, it’s scaring me just a bit. I keep thinking that this is just not right and wonder what’s going to happen in April. I think I’m too cynical…

    Love, love, love the video! It took me most of the day to watch it-5 minutes at a time while at work. Agnes Shine and Fred Ryba were my favorite interviews-thanks much for posting!

    • I’m thinking the same thing, Annie, about the weather. It’s just too strange. My mind tells me “something’s got to give”. But maybe it’s just one of those strange years and next year we’ll be back to normal. Hope so.

  7. It’s exciting to see things happening on the island. I watch the webcams at least once a day, and there is more and more activity every day. We just booked our stay on the island for Aug. 9-15. Can’t wait.

    Happy Belated Anniversary!

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