Mackinac Island Spring Update – Vol. 3 – 4/11/2012

It’s the middle of April, and the weird weather continues.  The forecast was for snow on the Island today, and a friend who lives there said it sounded like “the gales of November” outside this morning.  It seems Mackinac is having its usual March weather in April this year.  I can’t imagine what this is doing to the lilac trees (they’re already blooming in Detroit), but since most of them are over a hundred years old, they can probably survive most anything Mother Nature sends their way.

Speaking of spring, the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau has a nifty little page on their web site that explains everything you want to know about spring on the Island.  That address is:

Newsy items:

  • I can’t remember if I mentioned this little new store last summer or not, and I never did get down to visit it, but it’s going to be one of my first stops this spring.  The name is Mackinac Island’s Finest, and it was opened to support the Mackinac Island Fire, Police, and EMS Departments.

The store is located at the front of the Arnold Dock, just off Main Street.

Inside, you'll find all sorts of items bearing the names of these three very important Island departments.

They've renovated the store over the winter and added more clothing and decor items. What a great way to support these services that none of us could get along without!

  • Take a good, long look at this photo and see if you can figure out where on the Island it is . .

If you guessed British Landing Road, you are correct!  In this vintage photo, the land was the location of the Early/Dousman farm, and it yielded approximately one hundred tons of hay yearly.  The farm is now the site of the Mackinac Community Equestrian Center and the oldest continuously run golf course in Michigan, Wawashkamo.

  • Our Easter weekend was packed with family and five special visitors from Michigan – the Bailey family.  Brian is the general manager of the Chippewa and Lilac Tree Hotels on the Island, and we’ve become great friends with him and wife Jeri-Lynn over the years.  With their three children, they stopped by overnight Friday on their way back home from spring break in Florida.  What fun!

  • Jeannette Doud’s column in the St. Ignace News this week was full of updates on store owners returning to the Island to ready businesses for the season.  She mentioned that Horn’s Bar will be opening on Friday, April 27.  She also reported the front porch of the Grand Hotel is being painted in preparation for its soft opening on April 27 and the big opening Thursday, May 3.  Hart’s Haven, Metivier Inn, and the Cloghaun are all being prepared for their near future openings.
  • The Pink Pony is opening Thursday, May 10.  The next day, May 11, both the Chippewa Hotel and the Lilac Tree Suites and Spa will reopen for the season.  And that’s straight from the horse’s (sorry Brian) mouth.
  • The St. Ignace News reported that more bones have been found on the Island, marking the second time in five months downtown excavations have revealed bones.  They were discovered when construction workers were digging to lay a water line under Frank Shama’s Gifts on Main Street.  The first bones (human) were found during excavation of the former McNally Cottage, site of the new Bicycle Street Inn.  The proper authorities were contacted, and tests will determine if indeed these bones are also human remains.  Sault Tribe repatriation specialist Cecil Pavlat said, “It’s unfortunate, but that island was a burial ground for our people, so anytime digging is involved, there’s a chance that bones will be found.”  If the bones are human, they could either be included in the proposed burial mound at Ste. Anne’s Cemetery or be reburied under the gift shop.  “Whenever possible,” Pavlat said, “the tribe would prefer to keep the remains at rest where they were discovered, so long as the location is safe.”

That catches up all the news for this week.  I have a few photos to post, and let me once again thank all of you who, over the winter, have made it possible for me to continue to share Island life with my readers.  You are awesome!

A photo of tulips and a passing freighter from last spring. (Photo by: Mission Point Resort)

It's not often we see Round Island Light from this perspective. Ben Horn was ON Round Island when he snapped this shot. In the background, the West Bluff homes, the Grand Hotel and the homes along the Boardwalk are visible.

I was so hoping I'd be able to share a photo this week of the Mackinac Bridge ablaze with blue lights for Autism Awareness Month, and here it is. A huge thank you to Dave Black of Mackinac Straits Photography in St. Ignace for allowing me to use this stunning photo. The swan in the foreground is a striking touch.

Hoping everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend.  See you back here next Wednesday . . . the countdown begins!  God bless.

20 thoughts on “Mackinac Island Spring Update – Vol. 3 – 4/11/2012

  1. Wanted to visit the island for our anniversary. April 25 26 and 27. Cant find anyplace open. Suggestions please. Wish we could change the dates but cant.

    • Valerie, I’m going to forward your request on to the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau, along with your email address. I’m sure they will be in touch with you very soon.

  2. See, your blog always has useful information. I never saw the little store “Mackinac’s Finest” and I visited the island twice last summer! We have an employee who is a volunteer fire fighter and he will be thrilled when I bring something home from the store during my upcoming summer visit. You are great in keeping all of your readers full of info! Thanks!

  3. The weather has definitely been different this year, sure hope this isn’t the way the whole summer goes. We were in the Mackinac Island’s Finest store the last time we were there. We looked all over to find a shirt for one of my firefighter sons and wondered where the store had moved too that used to sell all of them. Found them quite by accident. Will have to stop in there again this summer. Interesting news about the new bones that were found. Also the Mackinalive web cam is no longer available. 😦 Maybe we can all get together and buy the website….just a thought 😉

    • Hilde – Just double checked the Mackinac Live streaming webcams and they have a notice that says they have been shut down. All of the options are replaced with a notice that the website is for sale. Bummer! I had hoped that you were wrong, but you weren’t! Guess we’ll all be fighting for control of the Boatnerds webcam now. . . .

  4. Brenda,

    As usual, a very informative blog and, as usual, I enjoyed the pictures, especially the picture of Round Island & Mackinac Island. Thank you Ben Horn for giving it to Brenda to post.

    • I forgot to mention that as soon as I saw the vintage picture, I thought British Landing Road. It just seemed to make perfect sense to me. I’m so proud that I was right. I guess my memories of the Island haven’t completely failed yet.

  5. Hi Bree! Thanks for the update! I love the pictures also! I will be on the Island for a week in August and I am sooooo excited!! Hope you had a wonderful Easter also!

  6. Hilde – some days the webcam works – the camera facing the tourism bureau. It worked for me on the weekend; but I’ve not tried it today. Bree, I too am glad you mentioned the shop in support of the police and fire – all the times I’ve been on the island, I never knew it was there. We always take the Star ferry so perhaps that’s why (my cousin has a shop in the Star building in St. Ignace so we always go and visit him upon arrival and take the ferry from there). Very interesting about more bones being uncovered. I wonder what they did during the original construction days? Every time I read of more bones being found, I wonder if they’re a distant cousin, auntie, uncle, grandparent etc. Maybe they will all have been reinterred to Ste. Anne’s by the time I get there in August. You’re just full of fun facts today!

    • Deb, Mackinac Island’s Finest, the store I mentioned, just opened last season, and it was toward the end of the season at that. So it’s practically brand new. Can’t wait to go there this spring!

      • So I didn’t miss it then! I was there in May last year so I was too early. I look forward to shopping there this year. I really need to spend about two months on the island to do all I want to do…………sigh………….

  7. Great photos and informaion! The countdown is on!! I get butterflies every year as I anticipate spring and my first trip back to the Island. Hope you are doing well and starting to pack!!?? 🙂

  8. It was snowing here is SW Mich. yesterday also and very windy and cold. Our lillacs are also in full bloom and I was worried about them last night when temps dipped to around 26. Bree, did you see the mackinac live cam is now off-line and disconnected? That’s too bad.

  9. Interesting that you mentioned the name Dousman with the picture of British Landing. It reminded me of the book “Bright Journeys” written about Hercules Dousman from his days on the Island as a boy during the war of 1812 to his becoming a wealthy fur trader who settled in Wisconsin. It’s an old book and I don’t even know if it is still in print. Do you know of it? According to the story, when the British took control of the Island, they gave residents a chance to swear allegiance to the King. If they did not, which Hercules father didn’t, they were taken to a prison in Detroit.

    • I don’t know this story (or about the book), Mary. Maybe some of the island residents have and would make a comment???

  10. I just had a quick look on google books and that particular title didn’t pop up, however here’s a link to just one of the many free books and extracts about the Dousman family and their story. He’s been described as a loyalist, a traitor, an opportunist – I think he was just like everybody else, just trying to survive and keep life and limbs intact. Here’s one such extract from the Wisconsin Historical Papers:

    • Thanks Deb. I found the book on Amazon and ordered one. I added an “s” to the title, which is wrong. The title is Bright Journey.

      • Mary that’s great! Enjoy the book. If you bump into the Solomons or Sylvesters in the book – say howdy! They’re my gang. Supposedly tied to the Davenports (of Yankee Rebel Tavern fame); the mystery “Elizabeth” of no last name married to one of the Davenports is rumoured to be one of my Solomons.

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