Come Along With Me . . . . 5/28//2012

Late Thursday afternoon, Maddie and Bear went into the frenzy of barking they save now only to announce something really unusual.  They no longer utter a peep when horses, taxis, drays, electric scooters or Grand Hotel buses approach.  Maddie will still bark at any dog that gets within a mile of the condo, but at least she do longer barks at little children, which is nice because we live in a neighborhood full of them!

What set them off that afternoon was the arrival of our new downstairs neighbors – Janice Blankenburg and her two daughters, Vika and Anna – from Wisconsin.  With them was Tom Boy – a black lab, Hunter – a yellow lab (Bear wrote a new post to introduce you to them.  I’ve put The Dog-Eared Page on my Blog Roll on the right-hand side menu of this page so you can easily access it), and two Guinea Pigs – Checkers and JoJo.  Yep – Maddie and Bear were in Heaven welcoming these new folks.

We actually met this family last fall when they closed on their condo.  When we arrived this spring, we peeked in their windows to see all the work that had been done since then.  Wow – their place looks wonderful!  Earlier on Thursday, all their kitchen appliances and lots of furniture arrived on the dray, and the taxi they came up the hill on pulled a luggage cart behind it,  packed to the brim with luggage, boxes, blinds, a Guinea Pig cage, and lots of other “daily living” necessities.

Getting ‘er done on Mackinac! Two horses + 1 taxi + 1 luggage cart = a new family on the Island!

Next step in the process – take off the wrap holding everything on the cart, bundle that up into a tight ball and put in trash (before it gets away from you and scares the horses), unload cart, then pull the cart out to the edge of the road, to be picked up by a passing buggy on Friday morning. All extremely efficient, without a single motorized vehicle involved!

I can so remember the excitement of getting our condo “fixed up” when we first bought it.  Heck, we’re STILL fixing it up!

We kept hoping we would get rain on Thursday night.  Michigan is so dry, and wildfires are burning in the U.P.  Like so many other areas in the United States, we need lots of rain.  We heard on Thursday there were evacuations near Tahquamenon Falls State Park (I wrote a blog about the Falls a couple of years ago), and the park itself is closed because of the fire.  Not good.  We slept Thursday night with the bedroom door open, hoping to hear rain through the night.  What we heard instead was wind, and it is the high winds we are experiencing that is hampering firefighters from getting the fires under control.

The winds have kept the temperatures cool though, and Ted and I decided Friday afternoon to take our first official bike ride of the season (we’ve been on our bikes before this, but only on “business”, like downtown shopping and post office runs.

We decided to go through the middle of the Island to British Landing, and our first stop along the way was the Community Stable. The 4-H program horses and ponies have arrived on the Island for the summer, and some familiar and some NEW faces were eager to have their photos made. This is Prancer.

New to the program this year, Gal was sporting some spiffy hoof gear. Gal hadn’t worn horseshoes before coming to the Island, and the green “covers” are to prevent her back shoes from striking the shoes on her front feet and knocking them off. They’ll be removed when she gets use to not going “barefoot”.

New girl Gal is becoming fast friends with Fiona, who has come to the Island for several summers now.  Children on the Island spend the summers taking riding lessons on the 4-H horses and ponies, mucking out stalls, and learning about horse care.  Great fun!

Ted is always looking for caves, so once we got on the road again, we pulled over several times so he could explore “promising” sites. After walking through a heavily wooded area at one spot, the forest suddenly opened up onto this beautiful meadow.

Thousands of yellow flowers ran along the edge of the meadow, and the ground was soft and boggy. It’s amazing how many hidden places this tiny Island holds secret – until you stumble upon them.

Next stop – the Cannonball at British Landing. This is the rest stop for everyone who bikes – or walks – around the Island. It’s almost exactly half-way the distance to town and has plenty of cold drinks (warm ones on cold days) and hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and snack foods of all kinds. Picnic tables in the shade allow you to eat in comfort, then . . . .

. . . walk down to the water, which today – on the southwest side of the Island – was choppy, with whitecaps.

This seagull had picked out some prime real estate between the picnic tables – where someone might drop some crumbs – and the lake – where a quick dip might net him a minnow or two.

Back to the cave hunt. We made a U-turn at British Landing and went back the way we came. At the top of the first rise, we swung left on Scott’s Cave Road, a wooded path through beautiful spring-green trees.  It was along this path we saw two of my favorite wildflowers . . .

. . . Lady Slippers, which are in the Orchid family . . .

. . . and Columbine.  Columbine is also known as “Granny’s Bonnet”, because the flowers resemble the mop hats worn by elderly women in colonial times.  We also saw some still-white Trillium, but most were beginning to fade into pink.

Our path through the woods brought us in behind Silver Birches – an abandoned rustic lodge and cabins.

This is a beautiful property – sure wish someone would reopen it.

We took the short, gravel Scott’s Shore Road over to Lakeshore Blvd. On this side of the Island, the water was calm . . . .

. . . and I’m always in awe of how clear the waters of Lake Huron are.  The large rocks that line the lake bottom can easily be seen.

At one spot, we left our bikes a little off the road and walked out on the rocky “beach”. This photo was taken where the beach met the water – looking back toward shore. It’s a reminder of how low the Great Lakes water level is when you realize that rise of rocks in the distance is the former lake level.  Of course, there is not this much beach everywhere around the Island – far from it – but where the water was the most shallow, there is now land.

We passed Arch Rock at the perfect time of day for a photograph, without the sun’s interference . . .

. . . and came into town through Mission Point Resorts “avenue of trees”.  Beautiful!

By the time we stopped at the bookstore to pick up a paper, the post office to pick up the mail, Doud’s to pick up something for dinner, and rode home, we had clocked a little over nine miles.  Not bad for our first “official” bike ride!

Random Photos

Everything is blooming!

Mahoney Avenue is gorgeous right now with lilacs. Mahoney is the street that turns off Cadotte Avenue, down to the lake, just before the block where Somewear On Mackinac and the Gate House are located.

White lilacs on the west end of Market Street.

Lilacs aren’t the only blooming plants on the Island. Everywhere we look there are gardeners and landscapers mulching in topsoil and oh-so-rich horse manure, planting annuals, dividing perennials, and setting up sprinklers. Soon every square inch of unpaved area will either be green or some brilliant color of the rainbow.

Just liked the way all this looked together.

Tulips in front of the Lakeview Hotel on Main Street.

My favorite horse, Teddie, was a little lonely after a few days by himself in his new digs. But then . . . .

. . . one of the Island’s best-known horses, McGuyver, returned and is in the corral that ajoins Teddie’s. Here Neil, McGuyver’s new caretaker, gets him all harnessed up for his first outing. This photo doesn’t show it very well, but all of McGuyver’s bridle and harness had been shined up to almost a mirror finish. He was sparkling!

In a beautiful carriage, Neil and his wife drove McGuyver off into the mellowing sun of a lazy afternoon.

I think I’ll stop right here for the day, as this is already pretty long (don’t want my “read-it-with-coffee-before-I-dash-off-to- work” bunch to be late)!

After only 14 days on the Island, I’ve already changed my mind about two blogs a week.   I will definitely add another one on Wednesday (there’s just too much to write about right now), and I already have plans for the one this Wednesday!

  1. More photos from the weekend, including Memorial Day observances.
  2. A new Mystery Spot
  3. A few of my readers’ own  favorite and most spectacular Mackinac Island photographs!  Keep those coming, by the way, so we can make that a weekly feature.  Just email to
  4. A little feature about nature’s “Circle of Life” – straight from the shores of Mackinac Island!
  5. . . . and who knows what else!

Before I close, I have to take care of one more mission . . . .

When I retired in 2008, Ted bought me a Canon PowerShot A530 digital camera.  As Public Information Director for a 16,000+ school system in south Georgia, I was used to using a Canon that belonged to the system and wanted one like it.  I probably snapped maybe 50 shots with it that first year.  We bought our condo that year, but arrived in late June to close on it, and I spent most of the summer shopping for our “summer place”.  Photography was not on my priority list.  Then three weeks before we left for the island the second summer, the blog idea erupted like wildfire in my brain.  That little Canon became a constant companion, and I can honestly say I’ve taken hundreds of thousands of photographs with it.  It never let me down – even after I’d dropped it too many times to count on Cadotte Hill as I was biking downtown.

The end came our first day back this summer – holding the camera, with the lens already out, and trying to take a photo and talk on the phone at the same time.  Camera drops on fireplace hearth, lens bends into sickening angle.  Even though I could straighten the lens, it no longer worked.

I’ve often talked about my camera search on this blog – knowing that eventually my little Canon would sigh and say “enough”.  I knew there were no more Canons with viewfinders in the “point and shoot” category for less than $600 – and, besides that, those  definitely did not fit in my jeans pocket.

A chance comment by someone at the Pink Pony a couple of weekends ago turned into the solution.  I was admiring this gentleman’s camera and told him the story of my search.  He said, “Why don’t you try to find one like your old one  on eBay or Amazon?”  Eureka!  I almost ran home to get on the laptop.

Yes, there were used Canon PowerShot A 530’s for sale, but none in better than “good” condition.  So I went up a few notches.  There was a “like new” Canon PowerShot A700 – almost the same size, more features, AND A VIEWFINDER.  These were first made in 2006, and I have no idea when they quit making them or how old this particular camera is.    I paid less than half of the original camera cost.  It arrived two days later in the original box with owner’s manuals, cables, and an unused SD card.

My sweet old camera on the left, my “like new” camera on the right.

All the photographs on this post were taken with the new camera, and I’m pretty pleased.  There are a couple of things I haven’t figured out yet, but I will eventually, AND additional lens can be attached to this camera for more photography options.  Those are available on eBay and Amazon also.

Brooks Atkinson said, “The virtue of the camera is not the power it has to tranform the photographer into an artist, but the impulse it gives him to keep on looking.”  That is exactly the way I see it also.  Having a camera in my hand automatically sets my brain on “search” and causes me to look at the simplest object in countless ways.  What fun it is to see how many ways a flower, or a horse, or a tree, or a dog, or a barn, or a fence can be photographed!

See you Wednesday with more news from Mackinac!


32 thoughts on “Come Along With Me . . . . 5/28//2012

  1. All the flower pictures are just beautiful — the lilacs are my favorite and since mine have already bloomed it’s nice to see so many blooming on the island. I’m glad you got such a nice new camera – hooray! Hope Ted finds a cave soon but it’s fun seeing all the photos from the cave search.
    Happy Memorial Day!

  2. Thank you for taking me on your walk with you. I really appreciate all the time and effort you put into your blog. It really helps to brighten my day to see the beauty of Mackinac Island on such a regular basis and not just in the few times a year I am able to come to the Island.

  3. Congrats, I forgot you had even broken your camera til I read the end of your blog, and all the pictures look just like the old one’s!

  4. Sorry to hear Silver Birches has been abandoned. We celebrated our 25th anniversary by renting the smallest of the houses for a week. Such fond memories of our stay there from the snakes in the wall to people thinking we lived there.
    The flowers are beautiful. I was hoping to see the lilacs this year when get here the in later June. Thinking they’ll be finished by then.

    • Hi Carlotte. I need to check if they still rent any of the cabins at Silver Birches. I know the lodge is no longer used.

  5. Silver Birches is one of my favorite spots on the island. The man that built it also had a car on the island, even after the ban, and drove it around his side of the island. That place would be a great set for a scary movie.

    Is that meadow you stumbled on to Soldier’s Garden? It looks like it.

  6. I’m so glad you’re willing to put together the blog another day a week! And I’m delighted that you went around ‘my’ end of the island for the lovely pictures from Silver Birches to Mission Point. Were Small Point’s lilacs in bloom? I can see them in my mind’s eye.
    You take photos like I do: flowers and animals and woodlands and water! lol! Glad you found a good camera replacement – and who doesn’t love a bargain? A lovely start to your summer.

    • Small Point Inn did have lilacs blooming, Barbara, although they didn’t seem quite as numerous as last year. The Island lost quite a few lilacs in that last snow & ice storm of the season in February.

  7. Hi Bree! I just love your pictures and also the story of your camera! Your blog makes me so happy, just like I am on the Island seeing all of the wonderful sights. In August my husband and I will be staying at the Bay View Bed & Breakfast for a week and I hope to get to see you somtime!

  8. Lovely photos, Bree! I especially liked seeing the lilacs and learning about the fancy equine footwear. Don’t know how you can blog twice a week, but more power to you–I’ve been blogging on Fridays for more than two years and I can’t imagine adding another day. I feel like I’m on vacation every time I visit your blog.

    • LOL, Jean. Well, actually, it’s three days a week. But until this year, I was blogging five days a week, so I feel like I’m on vacation THIS year! I guess when I run out of things to talk about, I’ll cut back some more, but there seems to be something happening around every corner on Mackinac! Glad you enjoy the blog!

  9. Great blog, Bree. The stories are so.wonderful, I feel like I’m there too. So many beautiful pics. That like new camera was $ well spent. Please let us know of any more news about the fires in the U.P. We have a summer home there. Yikes!

  10. Such beautiful pictures! The new camera is a big hit. So happy you brought us along for your bike ride! (I also loved seeing your neighbors move in. The whole process is so different from mainland living, and fascinating!)

  11. Beautiful photos! The new-fangled cameras are nice, but sometimes you just can’t beat the “old stuff”, right? I enjoyed the mention of Silver Birches, although sad to hear it’s abandoned. Seeing it was always one of the high points for me of the bike trip around the island. Always thought if I could live on the island, that would be my ideal spot! I so enjoy your blog – as well as the “dog-eared page” – looking forward to all the updates to come!

  12. Took today off, so I could read your Blog with my coffee…it was beautiful….I am so happy to hear you have a new/old camera…I always look forward to your pictures….give Ted my love.

  13. Love your pics and story, as always! Did they repaint Anne’s Cottage pink again? On the webcam, it looks pink instead of brown.

    • Hmmmm, Dave. I haven’t noticed that. I will try to remember to check it out today when we’re downtown.

  14. Loved all the pics …but especially of the shot you took looking down Mahoney Ave…..just love that street. It’s dry here too and missed out getting any rain….you’d think it was the middle of July/Aug. as dry as it is. Let’s pray for rain for us and the UP!

  15. I can’t wait for my graddaughter to see the pic of the CannonBall…. it has been a MUST every summer since she was 3 (she’ll be 12 this summer). If you ever need a review of their giant pickle on a stick, she’s your girl!

    See you in August!! In the meantime, I’ll get my “Mackinac Fix” from this awesome blog!

  16. It seems like an ego already since the tulips and lilacs bloomed here in KC. It is a delight to enjoy them again via your photos.

  17. I must be tired. No spell check on these posts. I was going for eon in my sentence. Daylilies and hydrangeas are blooming here.

  18. I’m in the habit of cking almost every day to see if you have posted something….old habits are hard to change! Adore the “window” shot. It is worthy of a puzzle picture. I can imagine looking for all of the pieces. Great, great shot! It is so peaceful looking. Loved the “moving in” shot.

    Glad there will be an extra post, keep them coming!! Lovely header, thanks Ted! You could also add some words once in awhile!! I enjoyed your river trip post!

  19. What a wonderful island. Cannot wait to come to the island when we do our yearly walk of the bridge. I would so love to meet you after following your blog for so long!!!!! How do your legs adjust with riding your bike up those hills, after six months?

    • LOL – my legs DO NOT adjust to riding up the hill! I’ve been trying to accomplish that feat for five years and haven’t done it yet. I ride the somewhat flat areas and “little” rises, then walk the “big” hills. Ted rides it all the way without stopping, but he stays in much better shape than I do during the winter. I can WALK it at a pretty good clip without stopping though – and that’s pretty good.

  20. Beautiful pictures as always. I have a request. Would you take some pictures of corner cottage at the corner of market and main. Also a shot of the garden. I got a book about the cottages of macinac this past winter. I love Victorian homes. I read about how cars were banned on the island. The young son of the family who owned this cottage at the time brought his motorized buggy to the island. He was a bit of a hot rod if you can imagine and he was terrorizing the horses on the island. This family was a prominent family from Peoria Illinois. I grew up in East Peoria and still live within 10 miles of there. I was born at a Peoria hospital and worked there as a nurse for more years than I want to admit. PS I love the dog eared page.

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