Sitting at my laptop one morning this week, reading emails and chatting on FB, I heard the fog horn for the first time since we arrived on Mackinac. My head came up, and I turned toward the deck doors in our bedroom, a little perplexed because the last time I’d glanced outside, the sun was shining. It still was.
I rose and walked into the living room, looking out over the tops of trees that make our water view somewhat irregular, but you sure won’t hear us complaining about it. Through the trees, I could see the Passage Lighthouse, lightly shrouded with a film of fog – like looking through a spiderweb. If I could have seen further, I know the fog would have been thicker further into the Straits. The horn only sounded for maybe 30 minutes, but it’s one of those reminders that we live on an island, surrounded my water that can be mirror-calm one hour and filled with storm-tossed waves the next.
I love it. I love everything about it.
More on the New Stable
I still haven’t gotten used to the new Grand Hotel-Mackinac Island Carriage Tours stable being in the neighborhood. It’s completely hidden from view from our condo, but a two minute walk from our yard, and we’re there! This is the “back” side, and as you can see, work is still going on. I’m thinking that all that dirt will soon be replaced by grass.
Here’s the front. The left wing houses the Grand Hotel Percherons and Hackneys, the middle will house the Grand Hotel Omnibuses and a huge tack room, and the right wing will house vintage carriages owned by Carriage Tours and the Grand Hotel. Most areas of the stable will be open to the public. At this writing, the entire upper floor was filled with enough feed to last the season for the Grand Hotel horses.
Carpentry work is still taking place inside. Later, the same day this photo was taken, the cupolas seen here were added to the roof of the stable.
Inside the stable side with Brett, who assists with the Grand Hotel horses.
One of the Grand Hotel Hackneys – in his brand new box stall.
It’s so much fun catching up with everyone after being away for the winter. Some seasonal workers come and stay for only one season, but many return year after year – caught up in the beauty of the Island and not wanting to lose touch with its special brand of friendliness.
Anna of a thousand smiles. We met our second summer here, and Anna was an official “pooper-scooper” then. Now she drives a two-horse hitch Carriage Tours tourist wagon – keeping 25 visitors entertained as she fills them in on Mackinac history.
Jason, and Nancy (chef and hostess at the Seabiscuit Cafe) and Jill (the Island Bookstore).
Flowers, Flowers Everywhere!
At first I thought the lilacs were going to hang on for at least another week before bursting into bloom, but in the last day or two they’ve come on like gangbusters!
Apple blossoms and lilac blooms.
This is an old-style Crabapple tree that grows in front of our condo. I’d been told over the years that it was a lilac tree, but this year someone set me right. It does not bear fruit, which really had me convinced it was a lilac. So glad we got that cleared up at last!
The lovely trillium were already blooming in the woods when we arrived almost two weeks ago. When I walked through the woods yesterday, I saw only a very few. So sad that such a beautiful plant shows its face for such a short time.
Wildflowers blooming in an unused corral (of course, these could just be weeds – but they’re pretty anyway).
From Jill: A pretty corner downtown.
Blue flowers in the woods.
A lush lawn of about-to-burst-into-bloom Lilies of the Valley cover the ground leading to one of the entrances of St. Anne’s Cemetery.
After a walk downtown this week, Bear grabbed a little rest in the shade of some more of those old-style Crabapple trees. These were next to the Grand Hotel tennis courts.
New Places to Visit . . .
Becki Barnwell has opened Mackinac’s Little Gallery, located on Market Street. It was one of the first shops I visited after getting unpacked, and it’s a must if you’re on the Island for even a few hours.
The gallery is filled with the works of regional artists depicting local scenes of Mackinac Island, Round Island Lighthouse, and the Mackinac Bridge. Equine art is highlighted in Oil, Charcoal, Collage, Pastel and Raku Sculpture.
Lily Porter is the gallery manager, and she has an extensive knowledge of each piece of art in the shop. Some of my favorites were local depictions of dock porters, fudge makers, and carriage drivers.
. . . and Favorite Spots to Revisit
Nicole Doud’s Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island is filled once again with the most wonderful array of gifts, body and bath items, baby goodies, pillows, rugs, wooden signs . . . . well, just let me say – there is something there for everyone! Jill took this photo of Nicole and I in the back of the shop – and yes, I did walk out with a few things I couldn’t resist!
The Pink Pony hot tub was THE place to be on Saturday afternoon. The Zoo de Mac bike ride on the mainland ends with all the bikers boarding ferries and coming to the Island to party. I think they were all in that hot tub at one time or another . . . and no, Ted and I did NOT go in.
We were sitting with friends on the Pink Pony patio that afternoon when Lisa, a lady visiting our friends, asked if she could “sit in” for the drummer in the band. She was given the go-ahead, and had everyone in the crowd on their feet cheering. Lisa, you were awesome!
Random Photos of the Week
The design on this bike, parked on the street beside Doud’s Market, had my eyes going crazy!
These annuals will soon be growing in the Windermere Hotel garden.
This is always my favorite “approaching downtown” view. I was sitting in the “Mystery Spot” rest area on Fort Hill to get this shot.
Mackinac Historic State Park employees were mowing and planting geraniums and other flowers at the Michigan Governor’s Summer Residence. The house will open soon for tours that are free to the public.
Jill caught the street-cleaning crew finishing up their nightly ritual just after sunrise. (You knew that wasn’t ME taking this shot this early, didn’t you!)
Star Line Ferry Company offers free rides from Mackinaw City and from St. Ignace on one weekend each year. In exchange for the free transportation, passengers are asked to bring a donation of canned food items. The food is distributed out to food pantries in churches across the area. This photo shows the donation JUST to the Church of the Straits Food Pantry. Awesome job, Star Line!
Bear and I went to visit Teddie the other day and came back to the Four Corners area over a wooded hill we sometimes take as a shortcut. We got to the path down the hill just as a group of riders passed by on the street below us.
No, I Didn’t Forget
Last fall when we were talking about new directions to go with this blog, I mentioned asking readers for their favorite vacation photo from Mackinac Island. I’m going to start that off tonight because I received two really interesting photos this week, and I didn’t even have to ask for them (more on this in a moment):
This tremendous panoramic view of Marquette Park and the Marina – from Fort Mackinac – was sent in by Brent, whose girlfriend is a reader of this blog.
Last fall I photographed Al and Lynne Busst, who live in England, on the porch of the Grand Hotel during the Somewhere in Time weekend. This week I received this totally unique view of Round Island Light in an email from them. Jill and I spent an hour this afternoon trying to find the location from which this view could have been shot. No luck. Any ideas? (Al and Lynne – please let us know if someone gets it right in the comments section.)
Now . . . . if, when you visited Mackinac Island, you took a spectacularly awesome photograph you’d like to share on this blog – I’ll come up with a name to call this eventually – please email it as an attachment to email@example.com, and I’ll share one or two of them a week.
Ok – a few rules to allow me to keep my sanity about this:
- Please, please, please do not send a photo you have already seen ten million times on this blog. Like the two photos above, please send something new and different, or from a different angle or perspective. Remember, only I am allowed to post the same shot over and over. It’s my blog and I can do that :). From YOU, I want BETTER!
- There is no prize for having your photo posted – well, except a lot of people will get to see it and make complimentary comments about it for everyone to read.
- Send only ONE photo – at most TWO. I take hundreds of photographs a week, and from those there might be ONE I think is maybe exceptional. Please judge yours the same way.
- Don’t send two photographs and ask me to choose which one I think is best. I cannot, shall not, will not do that. YOU choose!
I’m really looking forward to seeing your photographs, and I know you have one or two you want to share! This is going to be FUN!
Personal Note: Because of the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, I’m be posting again on Tuesday, instead of Monday. See you back here Tuesday, with weekend news and photos taken with my “new” camera, which came in this afternoon mail. So excited to try it out!
Have a wonderful, safe holiday weekend, and please take the time to offer up a prayer of thanks for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country.
See you Tuesday! God bless.