Mackinac Island Spring Update – Vol. 5

Note on Header:  No, you didn’t go to sleep and wake up on Christmas Eve.  But I bet you’re wondering, “What the heck is THIS about?”  You’ll find out . . . later.


Oh. My. Goodness.  Where do I even begin?

News from the Island is arriving on a daily – sometimes hourly – basis now, and it’s hard to believe there will only be one more Spring Update after this one before we are back there ourselves!  Our “go” date is Saturday, May 12, and barring any problems, we’ll arrive sometime on Monday, the 14th.

It seems by this time each year I’ve usually started packing, so I keep thinking I’m behind . . . maybe I just feel more confident now about getting everything done in a shorter amount of time.  Jason and Blair will be here for the weekend, so packing plans will be put off until after they leave.  With our kitchen completely torn apart with a slower-than-pouring-molasses kitchen remodel, I just couldn’t face a bedroom filled with half-packed suitcases too.  The granite countertops arrived from Atlanta Monday – and went BACK to Atlanta Monday.  Snafu on the cabinets (not level).  Cabinet man coming tomorrow.  My fingers and toes are crossed that the kitchen is finished by this Friday.  PLEASE, Lord!

Newsy News

  •  As reported earlier, the Mackinac Island Lilac  Festival is June 8-17 this summer. The Tourism Bureau wants everyone to please remember the Island is surrounded by very cold water and is not having the same bloom season as neighboring states or even counties. Mary McGuire at the Bureau says, “So many people are calling from points south thinking our lilacs are blooming…but gratefully, they are not.”
  • Fort Mackinac opens May 3!  It’s a really special year as the fort (and the entire island) will be celebrating the Bicentennial of the War of 1812.  The very first skirmish of that war took place on Mackinac Island when British soldiers surprised and captured the American outpost on July 17, 1812.
  • The Grand Hotel began “going green” several years ago, and this week the “Detroit Free Press” featured an awesome article on the Grand’s usage of good old American ingenuity to handle problems the “green” way.  Click here    for the article, which includes 23 behind-the-scenes photos of “eco-friendly initiatives that include recycling, composting and reducing the use of paper.”
  • While we’re on the subject of green living, here’s a link to a slideshow of six places in the world where cars are banned.  Bet you can guess where one is!
  • Starline Ferry will begin passenger service from both Mackinac City and St. Ignace to the Island on Friday, May 4.
  • Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island is now officially open for the season.
  • Mackinac Island’s Finest will open Friday, May 4.
  • If you’ve visited Mackinac Island, I ‘d guess one of the things you did for entertainment was stand and watch a fudge maker in one of the many Island fudge shops.  But, just in case you missed it, here’s a short little video of fudge being made at one of the Ryba Fudge Shops:

New Places

It seems hardly a day has gone by for the last week-and-a-half that I haven’t heard of another new shop/restaurant/happening place opening on the Island this summer.  It’s always good to have new places to check out, and these sound pretty darn special!

  • The Huron Street Pub & Grill.  This is the old Patrick Sinclair’s Irish Pub, and this year it’s under new ownership.  During the winter the inside was renovated, and the outside’s been given a facelift.  It’s open and already getting great reviews!

Photo by: Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau

  • Mackinac’s Little Gallery.  This is located on Market Street in the building occupied for years by Wolfgang’s Gallery.  The accent here will be “everything Mackinac”, with a special emphasis on the Island’s horse culture.  From the looks of some of the art I’ve seen online, it’s going to one of my first stops after we’re settled in.
  • TwistN Sprouts.  Don’t you love that name!  This eatery will feature yummy, HEALTHY goodies – like make-it-yourself salads, a signature Chicken Salad, and a yogurt bar with toppings sold by the ounce.

Good-for-you frozen yogurt with fruit medley. A wonderful alternative to one of your rations of fudge each day!

TwistN Sprouts is on Main Street. If I’m not mistaken, it’s right next door to Alford’s Drug Store.  Opening mid-May!

  • ella & ivy.  Imagine my surprise and delight when one of my readers, Anne Standard (she worked on the Island during the summer “back in the day”, and I met her and her mom for lunch one day), emailed that she was opening a new shop on the Island.  A two-hour phone call followed, and although I don’t have pics yet, I can tell you that Anne’s shop (named for Anne’s little Maltese “Ella” and a dear friend’s dog “Ivy”) sounds as though it will be another favorite on the Island.  It’s located in the Horse Corral Mall right behind Martha’s Sweet Shop.  Anne plans to carry really nice home decor and gift items along with note cards, candles, pillows, throws, doggie items, etc.  Anne’s retiring the end of June and will come up from Florida a few times before then to work on the shop.  She hopes to open by mid-June.  More to come later!

New Note Cards

Don’t you just love to discover something brand new from the Island . . . something no one has seen yet, and you have a chance to own before most anyone else does!  My Georgia/Mackinac Island friend, Jane Winston, has completed just such a project, and I think you are going to love this!

Jane is wonderfully creative – she’s a published author, she’s a college professor, she’s an actress – shall I go on?  One of her more recent ideas was to produce a set of Mackinac Island specific Christmas note cards.  She thought including a Santa on each card would be great fun for a souvenir purchase and for folks wanting to jot a few lines to a friend at Christmas.  One thing Jane professes not to be is an artist.  So she mentioned her project to a group of friends in Georgia, and Margaret Mathews said, “Sounds fun!”

Jane and Margaret looked at hundreds of Mackinac Island photographs – some of Jane’s, some on Goggle – I think they might have even looked at a couple of mine.  Margaret created the watercolor art for five different scenes.  Here’s a quick look at two of them and a mini-look at the set:

Jane will be marketing the cards on the Island this summer, and one of the places you will be able to find them is the Island Bookstore (I’ll let you know other shops soon).  A set of ten cards (two of each scene) with envelopes will be $12, or Jane can ship them to interested folks for $10 + shipping (contact Jane at

I am so excited about this project!   I think they’re going to sell like hotcakes on a cold Mackinac morning!

Photos, Photos,Photos

Our wonderful friends, Chris Ann and Burton Nelson, are back at their beloved cottage on Cobble Beach in Mackinac City. This was Sunday’s sunrise from their backyard. Welcome home, you two!

The new Grand Hotel stable near our condo. Friend and blog reader Joyce Kozlowski, who was on the island for the Geo-caching Weekend, snapped this photo. Love the colors!

A busy Main Street – as the town of Mackinac Island readies for another season. (Photo:  Barbara Metting)

Daffodils are blooming at the Grand Hotel, which welcomed its first guests of the season April 27!  (Photo:  Barbara Metting)

The Island Freight and Garbage drays are sporting a new look – nice! (Photo: Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau)

Miranda, with Martha’s Sweet Shop, is busy baking this week. Have I mentioned that Miranda is our favorite brownie-maker on the Island?

One of my favorite ways to view the Island is over the back of a horse. Barbara Metting took this photo of Cadotte as they approached the Grand Hotel in a taxi.  I’m still getting used to the huge trees being gone, but by the time the new ones put on their spring clothes, the avenue will take on its fresh “new normal” look.  And those trees will grow fast!

Barbara also took this photo of our condo. I see the lilacs in our front yard are just beginning to get some spring leaves.

Barnwell Landscape and Garden Service has filled the window boxes outside Doud’s Market with pretty young plants and flowers.

Robert McGreevy shared this photo of the Wildred Sykes passing through the Straits on April 19. The Wildred Sykes is a favorite freighter of Mackinac Island residents.

Frankie Thill and sweet Hershey arrived on the Island this week. Frankie is busy opening up the house in the Mission District where she is house-mom to Ryba Bicycle Rental employees. Hershey will definitely be one of my first featured “Dog-Eared Page” celebrities (news on that later in this post)! (Photo: Barbara Metting)

Someone’s in the kitchen at the Grand! Six bakers baking . . .! (Photo: Grand Hotel)

Horses are still arriving daily – all fat and frisky from a winter off-island. (Photo by: Steven Blair Kopacki from his new gallery – Artistic Mackinac Gallery and Studio)

A shot by Shepler’s Ferry, where business is booming at the Mac City dock. Hmmm . . . there’s two of my favorite Pat’s –  taking care of business.  The “Pat” on the left, Patrick Conlon, . . .

. . . caught on camera this other-worldly sunrise Tuesday morning off the Mac City dock.

One more breath-taking sunrise. This one’s by Steven Blair Kopacki of

Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog News

I’m trying to spruce up my blog a bit and will be testing some new themes over the next couple of weeks.  Consequently, if you’re subscribed to the blog, you might get a notice that a new post has been published, when really all that has happened is I’m goofing around with the page.  Please be patient with me as I am not a techie, and all of this will be trial-and-error.  By the time we get to the Island, I’ll either have a new look online – or I’ll go back to the old tried-and-true.

A new page.  Some of you may have already noticed there is a new “tab” in the post header called “The Dog-Eared Page.”  This will be a new item on the blog this season and will feature the lucky dogs who live on the Island year-round and the lucky ones who come to visit with their humans.  It is Under Construction right now, but you can click there and give me your opinion about the page.  It will be a mostly pic and caption page – no stories (unless warranted).  I’ll post there as often as I find an owner who’d like to have their four-legged companion’s photo on Bree’s Blog.  By the way, decades ago I dreamed of one day owning a little bookshop where I’d bring my dogs to work everyday and spend my time reading and sharing books and stories with my customers.  I didn’t have a clue where this bookshop might be located or how that dream might come true – but I DID already have a name picked out – The Dog-Eared Page.  I’m finally using the name – but for a totally different reason!  It’s funny, but the first time I walked into The Island Bookstore, that dream came to mind again.  If my Dog-Eared Page had ever become a reality, I would have wanted it to be just like The Island Bookstore – but with dogs.

WHEW!  That was quite a bit of news tonight, wasn’t it!  Countdown has begun . . . see you back here next Wednesday . . . over and out.

38 thoughts on “Mackinac Island Spring Update – Vol. 5

  1. Oh my goodness, one of the items I buy during my annual Michigan adventure are Christmas cards!!!!! Fingers crossed that there is stock left by August. I try to support the local artists, there are so many talented ones- no need to buy goods mass produced elsewhere. great photos and comments tonight m’lady. As always – thank you. One year I would love to be on the island watching the horses return, it must be a sight to see.

  2. Hi Brenda! Great post and lots of news and photos. Thanks for introducing “ella and ivy”…….I am in a whirlwind and it is so much fun! Hope your kitchen comes out great this week! 🙂

  3. Always feel free to snap Bella and Chloe any time you want. They sit at the bike shop most days but I have them at home with the kids on rainy days. Jimmy told me at lunch today that there were several people taking Bella’s picture while she sat in her special chair outside Mackinac Wheels just soaking up the sun. They are such good girls. Love your idea for a “bookshop”! So looking forward to having you back on the island. Let me know when you will arrive and the kids and I will meet you at the boat.

  4. Great blog. Still have a lot of details to work out, but we are cautiously optimistic that by the end of June we will be permanent residents of Mackinac. We are supposed to know by tomorrow night if we’ve sold our house here.

  5. It’s hard to believe that you are going to be heading back to the island already, it seems that just yesterday that the 4 of you were packing up to head back to Georgia. Well Michigan opens it’s arms to welcome you back and I can’t wait to read what the 4 of you are going to be doing this summer.


  6. Amazing post today. Loved all the updates and pictures. Can’t wait to get back to the Island next month. Good luck with the packing and safe travels.

  7. Wow. that was a really good one Bree. You just seem to get better and better. Always look forward to Weds. Your friend Miranda is sporting a darling Vera Bradley apron, they make matching ones for children too. Thanks so much for the news and pics!!

  8. Brenda,

    Chris Roddy took the words right out of my fingers. This blog “was a really good one.” Of course, they all are, so maybe I should say, this one was an especially good one, so full of news and good pictures. I think my favorite pictures are Main Street, the daffodils at the Grand and the freighter passing through the Straits.

    It just dawned on me, why have I always said Straits when there is only one strait? I think everyone else does the same thing. It may be wrong, but after all these years, I see no reason to change.

    Have a wonderful day.

  9. Love the Dog Eared Page!! Cant wait to see all the dogs! And please tell Jane and Margaret how beautiful their cards are! We’ll be picking ours up at the Island Bookstore!

  10. Wonderful blog. I want to go now! Frog has threatened to drive to MacCity and wait till Jill tweets that you arrived on the ferry. Then he plans to take the next ferry.

    Hope your cabinets cooperate.

  11. Great news items…love to read what’s new on the Island and can’t wait to visit (hopefull this fall) and check out all the new places. Love the new page devoted to our 4-legged friends. Thanks!

  12. I’m here WAITING for you on the dock! Bring a “few” layers of clothes (or warmer weather)…it’s 42 degrees & raining! BTW, it’s a 6 layer day for me today…

  13. Ok, I am sold, since I did not get to see you and Ted here in the Deep South. I am really thinking about flying up there to visit for a few days….you will have to let me know when will be a good time to come for a long weekend.

    • Hmmm . . . maybe we’ll ride over with him on the freight ferry! But I bet he’s coming very early – right?

      • I think he will be coming over on the Arnold freight boat sometime between noon and 1:00.

  14. Wonderful post Bree. Love all the updates and the pictures. The newly painted wagons look great! Do you know what has happened to the Chippewa Hotel web cam? Tried it tonight and the only option is the 360. Would love to be able to access it as before.

    • I’m back with an answer, Barb. I contacted Brian Bailey at the Chip, and he said, “Had to take the fourth floor one down because it was up just for the winter. I will be relocating it to a view looking down main street west very soon. We have been having some problems w bandwidth since we moved the office back up and that might be the problem w other camera. I will look into it tomorrow.”

      • Thank you so much for looking into the web cam. I am happy to hear they are planning on putting the video cam back up facing Main Street.

  15. Once again, fantastic pictures! If your blog doesn’t inspire people to experience Mackinac Island, I don’t know what will! I was shopping in our “Little Luxuries” store here in Madison last night. I told the sales gal that there is a sister store up north!! She is a UW-Madison student majoring in interior design, and has never been to the island. I told her she has to go – she would love all the beautiful cottages and homes. What an inspiration! Enjoy the time with family!

  16. Love the pictures and your easy writing style! I feel like I’m there! My husband says I have a “fixation on the Island”. AND I do, but love everything about it especially the horses! Aloha from our “Big Island” of Hawaii

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