Who Could Ask For Anything More! 5/24/2012

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.

Familiar Faces

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 brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.


23 thoughts on “Who Could Ask For Anything More! 5/24/2012

    • I happened to stumble upon your blog today while perusing websites rgd Mackinac Island.. I absolutely enjoyed your posts and I hope to return more. I am a native Michigander and I fell in love with Mackinac while in college, and each summer I try to get up there, even if just for a day. I also feel like its home! I’ve only been 4 times in my life, but each time I discover something new and incredible. I’m always looking for places to stay, and since you happen to live there, would you have any recommendations for out-of-the-way places on a dime? Or any suggestions for hidden spots on the island? For instance, my second time visiting the island I happened upon a large cave with notes hidden within from various travelers over the years! It was such a joy and I love discovering these beautiful instances of such a beloved place.

      • Wow, Ana, that’s a tall order, and one I could spend hours trying to answer. When you have some time, look back through the archives of the blog, and you’ll find dozens of special spots we’ve visited – like Anne’s Tablet, the Friendship Altar, Crack in the Island, Cave in the Woods, and on and on. Here’s what you need to do about finding a place to stay: Go to: mackinacisland.org. Click on “Lodging”. EVERY place there is to stay on the island can be researched there – including room rates. Make sure you look at the different times of year also. Rates are much less expensive during the “shoulder” seasons in the spring and fall. Also, and I tell everyone this, if you are on Facebook, type in the different places to stay on the island in the “search” window on Facebook. Then “like” that place. You will be the first to find out about last minute “deals” that way. A lot of those happen even in the “high” season, if a hotel still has a few rooms to fill on a certain weekend. Call or email the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau (also on Facebook) and request the newest map of the Island. All the out-of-the-way places I mentioned above – and many more – are on that map. What you found in the cave is a Geo-cache. There are dozens of those on the Island. Goggle geocaching and then search on Mackinac Island. Hope all this helps!

  1. There are some beautiful “weeds” in bloom out there and I still love each one of them . After all , they are God’s flowers, so how can they be ugly. The only weeds I don’t like are the ones that grow in between my flowers in the garden, or in the grass that shouldn’t be there. LOL. The last picture is very cool, but I couldn’t tell you where it was taken from either. Very interesting, hmmm.
    A safe and wonderful holiday to you Brenda, and Ted and to all the readers, and to the wonderful friends on the island. Looking forward to seeing pictures from your “new” camera. By the way, I forgot to say that I LOVE all the pictures you posted today! 🙂

  2. Hi Bree, After reading your blog and looking at the wonderful pictures, I can’t wait to come north. Do you ever take a book to one of your favorite spots and just sit and read, taking in everything around you? Thanks so much for all your hard work. It’s definately appreciated. Have a great holiday weekend.

    • Good question, Chris. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found my ability to read “with distractions” hard to do. And anywhere I might choose on the Island – no matter how remote – is going to have its distractions. Nature is just so interesting and so mind-boggling to me I can’t sit still for too long. So no – I confine my reading for late at night after everything is quiet.

  3. Looks to me that that unidentified picture is from something across the road and at an angle from the Hotel Iroquois. I’m thinking from a room at the end of the Lake View Hotel. It’s at a funny angle, but if you’re down French Lane sometime you may be able to stand at the corner of it and Huron and see what I’m thinking.

  4. Must have been shot near one of the pillars at the west end of the “Star Line Mall” building close to the former Landing Gull and Mary’s Bistro shooting towards the Iroquois’ square sunroom.

    Great post today Brenda! Wonderful pictures!

    • I agree with Jeff. The only way you can have the Iroquois flag on the front porch, the front porch railing and the sunroom, and a pillar, is to be on the sidewalk by Marys. Nice camera your friends have.

  5. Oh, a new thought, If you look up to the picture of the guys cleaning the road, you can see the corner of the Iroquois and the fence that’s in the unidentified photo.

  6. Hi Brenda – love all the pictures. It is making me think it is time to come north for a visit very soon!!!

    Could a make a quick suggestion? Is it possible to add a link to your Dog Ear page into your blogroll on the side so it is easier to get to? I keep forgetting where I bookmarked the page. Thanks!

  7. OK everyone, gather around. I just got an email from Al and Lynne in England, with the much discussed location in which they were standing when they took the photo of the Round Island Lighthouse featured in this blog post. Here is Al’s answer in his own words: “Bree, we sure do have them guessing. It was taken at the bottom of Hoban Street hill on the right joining Main St.,corner leaning against the shop front and focused on the lighthouse.” Hmmmm . . . if I’m remembering my shops correctly, that means they were leaning against the front of Sanders Chocolate Shop on the corner of Hoban & Main. By George, I’m going downtown tomorrow and try to get that same shot! Thanks, Al & Lynne for helping us out!

  8. I can’t wait to see all of the unique pictures your readers submit. They’re always my favorite kind, the things you don’t see very often. You post a lot of them yourself in fact! 🙂 Enjoy your weekend!

  9. So glad that you are back! Love seeing all the pictures…such a great reminder of my April visit with Alyssa! Keep an eye on her! I know she enjoys your visits at Doud’s 🙂

  10. You must be so excited to be back at your special island! Looks like your readers are happy to see you back, too. Such special relationships you have with so many folks… We don’t hear foghorns much around here. Their haunting song brings back memories of my childhood staying at Grandma and Grandpa’s cottage along Lake Huron. Oh, and watching the Port Huron to Mackinac race.

  11. What a charming storefront the Little Gallery has. Just adorable. Who could just walk by and not go in? I could spend all day in there and would probably want to buy everything if I could! What a charming place to work!!

    Cudos to the Star Line Co. for their good works!! What a wonderful idea! Excellent photos as usual. Have a wonderful week end…hello to Ted and the doggies! Have fun.!!

  12. Hi Bree! Thanks so much for the awesome pictures! I just love your blog and the the interesting facts about the Island! I am going to look for some interesting pictures and send you one. Enjoy your Memorial Day!!!

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