Summer – Newly Opened 5/18/2012

So many emotions this week.

I have a confession.  Sometimes when we are home in Georgia during the winter I think, “Do we really want to continue doing this double-nest thing?”  As the years go by – and as we grow older – the 1100-mile car trip becomes harder on our bodies (especially our bones), and the first week of settling in – with unpacking, going off-island to stock the pantry, taking care of the little things that happened over the winter at the condo (this year it was a tub faucet that couldn’t be turned off until the plumber arrived) – seems to take a little longer each year.

After a less than pleasant three-day trip (broken only by the wonderful visit with Ted’s cousin and her husband on the second day), I’ll admit to you that by the time we boarded a Shepler’s Ferry in Mackinac City, we were unbelievably tired and pretty darn grouchy.

And then we pulled up to the Mackinac Island dock, and through the ferry windows we spotted a wonderful group of friends who had taken time out of their busy day to come welcome us back.  Suddenly, the grouchiness disappeared and a grin a mile wide sprouted from my lips.

And then the second thing happened.  As we walked out onto the busy street and loaded onto the taxi, that sweet scent of fudge, mixed with the pungent odor of horse poop, assaulted my nose.  In the first seconds of inhaling this mix of smells, I’m always so taken off guard my first reaction is nearly always, “Ewwww!”  But by the fourth or fifth breath, my nose adjusts, and that mix of smells – found nowhere else in the world – settles into my brain, and my reaction becomes, “Ahhhh – Mackinac!”

Bags waiting to be unpacked, guarded by Maddie.

On our first morning back, we threw open the deck doors (even though it was pretty chilly) and settled outside with our coffee cups to watch the Island wake up.

Maddie and Bear have settled right into their normal Island routine.

The clop-clop of dray horses coming up the hill signaled who I hoped was George making his first run, and it was!

Sweet George – my favorite dray driver. It was a story about George that first drew attention from the general public to Bree’s Blog.

A while later, the first of the school children started riding by on their way to school. They have another week before they’re free for the summer.  I would guess the dressed-up gentleman walking briskly down the hill works at the Grand.

I spent the day unpacking boxes, suitcases,  and tote bags, and just as I was smiling that I was done, the dray pulled up and deposited the four boxes I shipped from Georgia.  Rather than put it off another day, I decided to just “get ‘er done”.  Yeah!!! Unpacking is over!

Late Tuesday afternoon we attended a City Council meeting, then Frankie, Ted and I ate dinner at the Seabiscuit.  The temperature dropped 15 degrees while we were in the restaurant, and it was a chilly ride home.  But we were with Ron, my favorite taxi driver, and we spent the ride catching up on his winter.

On Wednesday, Ted headed back to Mac City to pick up a few bags we left in the truck.  When he got back to the house, he realized he was missing a very important folder.  Panic!  Back down the hill he went, back across the Straits to Mac City, and back to the truck parked in the Shepler lot.  The folder was safe and secure under the seat – right where he had placed it before we left Georgia!  Panic over.

Things You Forget From One Year To The Next

  • Forgetting something at the mainland ferry dock means a 20 minute walk down the hill, a 20-minute ferry ride, picking up what you forgot, a probable 30-minute wait for the next ferry over, a 20-minute ferry ride across, and a 20-minute walk up the hill.  Moral of story:  Check everything three times (at least) before getting on the ferry the first time.
  • How dry the air is here.  Coming from south Georgia, where going outside is like stepping into a sauna, it takes a few days to remember why lotion is one of the most important things to have in good supply.  We drink tons of water here also to stay good and hydrated.  And (this is just for the girls), bad hair days are almost always caused by static electricity.
  • How wonderful it is to fall into bed at night, totally exhausted, and drop into the deep sleep of the physically worn out semi-athlete.  No worries about your brain continuing to function as your body strains toward sleepiness.  Head on pillow, covers pulled up – you are out.
  • How late the sun sets.

8:30 Wednesday night. The sun is nowhere close to the horizon.

On Wednesday evening I met Jill on her break from the Island Bookstore, and we walked to the Windermere Hotel to join in the celebration of Jeannette Doud’s 92nd birthday.

I’m fairly certain that every resident of Mackinac Island dropped by the Windermere at some time during the party.

Beautiful (inside and out) Jeannette, who writes the Mackinac Island column for the “St. Ignace News” and the “Mackinac Island Town Crier”. She is a walking history book on all things “Mackinac”. A lovely, lovely woman.

So Many New Things!

It will take quite a while to write about all the new things I’m seeing, so I’ll start with just one tonight.  As I walked down and back up the hill yesterday, I noticed several framed paintings sitting in various locations along my route.  Curiosity tugged at me enough to finally walk over to one and check out the story.

The paintings are reproductions of great art treasures sponsored by the Detroit Institute of Arts’ Inside/Out Program and include works by van Gogh and Rembrandt. This one, just outside the entrance to the Grand Hotel’s shade garden, is “Gladioli” by Claude Monet . . .

. . . and this one, outside the Carriage Tours horse barns is “The Trapper’s Return” by George Caleb Bingham.  What a great way to promote art in the community!

A New Blog!

Ever since I started working on The Dog-Eared Page, dedicated to the resident and visiting dogs of Mackinac Island, I’ve been unable to make the page do what I wanted.  When I changed from one dog to another, I lost the original one, and there was no way to archive the pages (in case someone missed one and wanted to go back).  Also, I soon discovered that my readers could not “subscribe” to that page, so you had no way of knowing when a new pooch was added, unless you happened to hit the “Dog-Eared Page” button in the header.  My only solution?  A brand new blog!

So . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (drum roll please) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . introducing the Mackinac Island Dog-Eared Page Blog at http://mackinacislanddogearedpage.wordpress.comPlease check it out tonight after you finish here.  If you like it, hit the “subscribe” button, and you’re all set to receive notification when a new post is published!  Please make sure you click on the “About the Dog-Eared Page” button in the header for info on the blog.

Random Photos from Our First Week

Lots of brush-cutting up near Fort Mackinac has made for grander views of the walls and blockhouses.

A training cart that will be used to exercise the Grand Hackneys the first few days after their arrival back on the Island.

The new “Three Amigos” – Bear, Maddie, and the Hulk!

One wing of the new Grand Hotel stable. Love, love, love everything about it – especially the colors.

As far as I’ve seen, there is only one lilac tree blooming on the entire island, and it is this one near the new Grand stable. There are perhaps 20 lilac trees in this one location, and all the rest are nowhere near blooming. And yet, here is one – blooming its little heart out.

Tulips at the Grand Hotel – taken from ground level.

What’s Next?

Coming up on Monday?  The story of a special horse’s arrival on the Island, with some pretty fancy friends taking the slow boat over with him . . .

Teddie – finally on the Island with his owner Mary and his proud god-momma.

. . . AND the first Mystery Spot of the new season!

See you then!

P.S.  Have I told you how excited I am to be back here?   I haven’t?  Psst . . . . I’m soooo excited!

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35 thoughts on “Summer – Newly Opened 5/18/2012

  1. Should have gone to bed, but played a few puzzles waiting to see if you’d post soon – and you did! I saw the tulip, knew you were posting, and ‘refreshed’ until your much anticipated posting appeared. I’m so happy for you all that you and Ted and Bear and Maddie are back up on the island. I’m thrilled that you have continued to write about all things Mackinac to us. Can’t wait to hear about Teddie, LOVE the new barn, know how you feel about the fudge/road apple aroma, and have learned to settle for living vicariously through your posts. Sweet Mackinac dreams to you all. I may even have a few myself!

    • Hi Barbara, just reading your post AND thinking the same things about wonderful Mackinac Island. I’m an island-girl too, Hawaii island that is, and my husband took me to Mackinac, since he went there as a youngster. I can’t stop thinking about it, love the horses, people are so friendly and it definitely has a specialness to it!!! Aloha, Antoinette

  2. Welcome back Brenda,

    I need to ask how is the battle with the Cpap doing? My husband finally got his issues solved (leaking around the full face mask).
    We are excited as we will be on the island next week for the Knights of Columbus State Convention then back again June 6-9 to see the lilacs with our daughter and family.

    Take care,
    Pat Steele
    Vernon, MI

    • Pat – what CPAP? Unfortunately, I have just given up – and I didn’t do it lightly. I’m trying some alternative measures, as the sleep apnea doesn’t just go away. How did your husband get the air thing resolved?

      • Oh, Brenda I am so sorry to hear that. You must know the cascading medical problems that will result. I found a forum on-line for CPAP people and Fusible Fleece was the answer to the air leakage around the full face mask. You can buy it at Walmart (if they sell fabric) and just cut it to the shape of the mask. He went between the nasal and full but his pressure is too high for the nasal now. Good luck and prayers for you!

        Pat Steele
        Vernon, MI

  3. Boy “The Three Amigos” look like they have already had fun and will be having fun this summer.

    The picture of the tulip looks like you were laying in the field of tulips and just pointed the camera up, love, love love that picture.

  4. What a wonderful ‘first column back’ to start the season off with! I’m so glad you’re home, Brenda! (and I’ve subscribed to the Dog-Eared Blog, too. Can’t wait for more entries there as well!)

  5. Gee, I really can’t tell if you are excited or not Brenda, LOL! I’m just as excited to hear all about the island again! Oh I can’t wait for all the stories you’ll have to tell, starting with Teddie and friends. AND the mystery spot..I had forgotten all about that. Love the new Grand Stables and love the color too…reminds me of the “Woods”. Love your view of the tulips, the way it points right to the sun, ahh heck…I love all the pictures. What a way to brighten my morning. 🙂

  6. Hi Bree, Glad you arrived safe and sound back at Mackinac Island. I don’t know if it is just my computer, but your posts are not formatted the way they used to be. I have to do horizontal scrolling to read the text and the photos are way to large to see them in their entirety.

    • Oh no, Ed. Gee, I haven’t changed a thing – in fact, I’m decreasing the size of the photos just so they’ll load faster. On the “Dog-Eared Page” blog, I’m using a different theme, but I had several folks check it out on different computers, and all was well.

      Readers – please tell me if you’re having the same issue – so I can figure it out. Thanks!

  7. Hi Bree, just wanted to clarify that the comments about the formatting apply to the email that comes with your latest post and not your blog on wordpress.com. Everything looks ok there.

    • Ed . . . oh. Should have read this comment before responding to the first one :). Same question to readers – is anyone else experiencing that problem?

  8. So glad you’re back. I love reading and viewing the pics of Mackinac all summer. Can’t wait to get up there (August). I’m sure it’s tough at times having 2 different part-time homes, but I could only dream of someday doing the same thing. Have a great weekend!

  9. The picture of Ted & Maddie & Bear having morning coffee is the perfect way to start the day! Your pictures are fantastic. Between your blog and the Mackinac Island Town Crier, I have a list going of things I want to see when I visit such as the new grand stable In fact I went back to one of your previous blogs about the new things (TwistN Sprout, Art Gallery, etc) and it was a big help! Tell the Lilacs not to bloom until I get there (June 2nd)! LOL!

    Also have you lost weight? The picture of you, Teddie the horse, and Mary makes you look slimmer!

    • LOL, Yvonne! I will post THAT photo at the end of every blog this season, if you say it slims me down. Truthfully, I’ve lost maybe five lbs., which is a miracle as lazy as I’ve been this winter. Just cutting back on the number of times I go back for “refills”, and hoping a few months on the Island will help out also! Thanks for making my morning with your comment! We girls are SO VAIN about that stuff, aren’t we?

  10. Phew, I was wondering why I couldn’t connect to the dog-eared page, I thought it was just me. Thank you for coming up with a solution! I love re-reading your blog posts 🙂

  11. Thanks for some beautiful photos. Nothing like a week of Mackinac Island to make you forget about the trip I guess.

  12. This is just like Christmas in May. What a joy to have you back on the Island so you can report to all of us who live vicariously through your adventures. I’m glad the less than stellar trip is fading from memory and being replaced by the magic only the Island has to give.

  13. Thanks Bree for sharing your love of the island with us. I have never forgotten my 4 summers spent working as a barkeep at the Grand in ’63 and ’64 and at the Iroquois in ’65. After which I joined the Peace Corps and was posted to Kenya as a teacher. And guess what? I’m still there in a small town called Nanyuki on the slopes of Mt Kenya but I miss the old days on the island, Little Bob’s and the V.I. And those Steak roasts on round island on the night of the 4th of July and then at the end of each summer in Sept we used to ring the bell at Sheplers whenever a good friend was leaving. How many times did we watch the sunrise at the end of the boardwalk…. And the haunting sound of the foghorn….what memories. Thanks for sharing yours, Bree. One day, I promise, I’ll be back.

  14. Brenda!
    SO excited for your return. I am so grateful that you bring us Mackinac twice a week. It is my “fix” of the island that I need. Love love love what you do. See you in September.

  15. I love being able to read your blog between visits to the island. Keeps the butterflies going in my tummy and helps me feel still a part of things. The island is just a click away. Next best thing to being there! 🙂

  16. Brenda,

    Sorry to have taken so long to comment on your blog, but I’ve been busy with working in the yard and garden and a little bit of work makes me too tired to think straight.

    Before I mention anything else, I would like to ask if you are excited to be back on the Island. I couldn’t quite tell how you were feeling about that.

    First, I can see from the picture of Ted & his coffee, along with Maddie & Bear, on the deck that they are very content to be away from Georgia and on the Island. Could it be the cooler weather, at least partly? Or maybe it’s watching the horses, carriages, drays etc go up and down the hill? Or could it be the thought of that beautiful new barn? I know, I’ll bet it’s the fact that that gorgeous horse was named for him.

    The picture of Hulk took me back about 70 years to when we had a Basset Hound. Hulk is a great looking dog. Please give all three of the dogs a pat on the head and tell them it’s from me.

    By the way, you need to know that I’m just one of many who “really want” you, Ted, Maddie and Bear ” to continue doing this double-nest thing.”

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