Beauty is God’s Handwriting 6.6.2012

We have a Mystery Spot Contest winner!  Congratulations to Pat Steele!  Please see the very end of this post for the answer to this week’s Mystery Spot.


Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwritingRalph Waldo Emerson

I’ve had several readers be concerned whether the lilacs will still be blooming for the 10-day Lilac Festival, which begins June 8.  Let me say this about that.  The lilacs are still here.  Downtown, some have already faded, some are beginning to fade, and a few are still in full bloom.  Away from downtown – up along Cadotte Avenue and further up into the Island, – there are still many, many bushes that are blooming beautifully.  Come, you won’t be disappointed.

Having said that, now let me say this.  If not a single lilac blossom was left on this Island, you would still be so entranced by the beauty that is springing to life on every other flower, plant, and tree you would probably not miss the lilacs one bit.  I have never seen Mackinac turn so beautiful so quickly as it has this year.  Maybe it was the warm winter, maybe it’s the warm spring.  Whatever it is, Mackinac is blooming, and beauty is everywhere!

And that’s the truth.

This week every light post in town was adorned with a gorgeous hanging basket. These purple petunia baskets are all now hanging on the balconies at the Lilac Tree Suites and Spa.

Geraniums along the side fence at Little Stone Church.

This old bench is almost hidden in the yard of a home on French Lane. It is surrounded by flowers.

There is a beautiful home on the corner of French Lane and Market Street.  Behind this home (on French Lane) is a garden which I photograph each year.  This photo and the next few are from that garden this afternoon.  Here, blooms are about to burst open.

Every year I say, “Ok, this is it. It can’t get any better than this.” Every year I am wrong.

Whether the flowers are kissed by the sun or rest in the shade, each one is perfectly placed and tended.

You see that white Adirondack chair? I’d like to sit right there for an entire day and just watch people walk by.

Honeysuckle in the Village near our condo.

Lilacs on Cadotte Avenue.

Lady Slippers on the side of the road, just past the Grand Hotel.

Readers Favorite Mackinac Island Photos

I love this feature, and I knew when we started it this would be a popular addition.  I’m getting photos every day now.  Some frame special memories of Island visits, some tell a funny story, and some are jaw-droppingly beautiful!  I could have posted 10-12 pics, but I’m trying to limit it to four each week.  If you’ve received an email from me after submitting your photo, you know I will be using yours sometime this summer.  And yes, keep them coming in to

From Beth Brandt. This was taken around 10:30 a.m. last fall. Beth first visited the Island when she was 12. She worked at Martha’s Sweet Shop 1998-2000 and is an “Island lover” for life. She and her husband were here last fall to celebrate their 10th anniversary.

I love this photo from Jerry Fields of Chesterfield, Indiana. He says this policeman was “taking names” and writing tickets just past Mission Point. Jerry and his wife said the policeman was very nice and posed for them to get the perfect photo.

Bob Caylor – Hemlock, MI.  Bob loves Mackinac Island so much he has published two books about it – so far.  They are: “Behind the Scenes: Mackinac Bridge Maintenance” and “Behind the Scenes: Mackinac Island Ferry Boats”.  Both are available on, from Barnes and Noble, and of course, from the Island Bookstore!

Patti Root – Litchfield, MI. Patti was born and raised in New York City, but love brought her to Michigan. They travel to Mackinac Island twice a year, and she captured the boardwalk here last fall.

Meeting A Blog Reader

On Monday I began my volunteer work at the Stuart House Museum for another season.  One of my blog readers, Yvonne Pitsch from Sigourney, Iowa stopped by, and we had a wonderful time chatting about the Island, our homes, and our pooches!  Yvonne was staying at the Cottage Inn with innkeepers Marge and Rich and having a wonderful time.  She and her husband will be back  in September!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Yvonne!

Casting Light

All day Monday, and then again today I’ve found myself thinking about something I read this weekend.  It was in another person’s blog, and I would never have found it except that the person who writes that blog happened to stop by to read Bree’s words on Mackinac Island.  The software I use is such that if someone who has a blog reads my blog, I get a message with their blog address.  It’s pretty cool!

The name of the blog is “Cast Light”, and I’m already hooked after reading only a few posts.  The author is giving us all a daily reminder to give our best to others.  She says, “Every day we choose to either “cast shadows” (gossip, complaints, cynicism) or to “cast light” (enthusiasm, encouragement, generosity).  Life is made up of moments and choices.  In all that you think, do and say, look for light and cast it back out.”

Oh my goodness!  Wouldn’t this world be a better place if we all chose to cast light instead of shadows in our day-to-day dealings with family, friends, fellow workers, and anyone we happen to come in contact with!

If you’d like to read more, you can click here, and I’ve added the blog to my blogroll on the right:

Mystery Spot Contest

The object of the Mystery Spot is to be the first to identify where the object is located. When you think you have the answer, email me at I’ll check my email several times a day, and as soon as we have a winner, I’ll post the winner’s name at the top of this blog so you can stop guessing (you may have to refresh your page for this to show up). Is there a prize for the winner?  Yes there is; but the prize is secret, and the only ones who will know what it is are the winners. To be fair, I’m asking residents of Mackinac Island to please NOT guess. This is just for readers who don’t live here . . . but would like to! And the Mystery Spot is   . . . .

Where is it?

 Again, please email your answers to me at  PLEASE DO NOT ANSWER IN THE “COMMENTS” SECTION OF THE BLOG.  Remember, I’ll post the winner at the top of this blog as soon as someone gives the correct answer.
Personal Note:  There won’t be a post on Friday this week because I’m going to be out celebrating my birthday on Thursday evening with my hubby.  Look for me back on Saturday morning instead!  See you then.
P.S.  Don’t forget to check out The Dog-Eared Page.  Bear just posted something new there today!  The link is in the blogroll on the right side of this page!
Mystery Spot Answer

That fabulous stone chimney is located at the pavilion at Great Turtle Park. On the other side of the chimney is a huge open fireplace and grill. It’s a great spot to have a picnic, and the kids will love the nearby playground.


51 thoughts on “Beauty is God’s Handwriting 6.6.2012

  1. What wonderful flowers! I pity anyone who would only visit the Island for the lilacs! (This from someone who has missed the lilacs every summer since ’70!)

    I love the policeman hiding behind the sign!! SPEED TRAP!! Mackinac Island has a speed trap! ;-)) And that is a gorgeous river stone chimney – no idea where, but beautiful!

    Happy birthday! Have a wonderful evening!

  2. I agree with Irene about visiting the island only for the lilacs.
    Love the policeman too. We got a picture of one of Mackinac’s finest taking radar at the bottom of Cadotte last year. We asked him if he ever caught anyone speeding down the hill (on bikes 😉 ) and if he really gave speeding tickets. He said he did LOL. Watched him for a while and sure enough, he stopped someone but I think he just gave him a scolding instead. 🙂

    Hi Yvonne, nice to meet (see) you.

  3. That garden is gorgeous. I am very jealous of the bleeding heart they have! I had NO idea there was a “speed limit” on the island, but I guess that makes sense. How “fast” can you go, or how do you determine if you are going too fast?? And I want that chimney! I wonder if they have a matching fireplace inside? 🙂 Have a wonderful birthday, Bree!

  4. Brenda, I am still excited about meeting you. I have told several people of meeting with the famous Bree the Blogger! The reader’s pictures are beautiful! I biked around the island today and I definitely didn’t have to worry about getting picked up for speeding since I stop at a fudge store every day for a snack. I don’t even want to think about the calories! YIKES! The picture of you in front of the lilacs is picture perfect. It shows your smiley personality with the beautiful background.

    Thanks Hilde for the nice post!

  5. Beautiful flowers! We are coming to the island tomorrow with my daughter and her family (we met you last year). Sorry you won’t be volunteering at the Stuart House but maybe we may see you out and about.

    Pat Steele
    Vernon, MI

  6. Thanks for the update on the lilacs. As it turns out, my very sweet husband has planned a trip for us, sans kids, to visit the island for our anniversary next week. And here I thought it would at least be another year before I got back to Mackinac! Lilacs or no lilacs, I’m thrilled to be going. I am wondering, however, how cold it has been getting in the evenings there. Right now the forecast calls for upper 70s the days we’re going to be there (and obviously that could still change), but I’m wondering if it’s still getting cold at night. Last year it was rainy and 50 degrees when we were there, so it looks like much better weather this year!

    • You can pretty much go by the forecast, Jennifer. Since the rain ended this weekend, we’ve been having perfect weather – warm days and cool nights. You know the deal – bring a couple of layering tops for early morning and evening, a pair of jeans, and capris or shorts, and you’ll be fine. Of course, it IS Michigan, and it IS Mackinac. Just the other day I left the condo just fine with a long-sleeved tee on, and when I got downtown it was 10 degrees cooler. My instant “fix-it” is a trip to The Big Store for a jacket. VERY reasonably-priced for when you get an unexpected chilly day. My closet is full of them (that’s why I always tell folks coming up to visit to NOT brings coats – I’ve got them covered with Big Store purchases).

      Have fun, and what a great husband you have – Happy Anniversary!

      • Here’s hoping that perfect weather lasts until early next week. Even if there is some rain, it will still be beautiful with all those lovely flowers blooming. Happy early birthday!

  7. Beautiful pictures from everyone!! I was going to send some to you but now I don’t think mine will compare!! That one of the boardwalk could be hanging in a gallery, awesome shot Patti Root!!

    • I know, Laurie, but please send your favorite in. I’m going to change those rules some because I think photos like the one of the policeman hiding behind the sign is so darn cute. Awesome photography is well, awesome. But folks might just want to share a photo that has special meaning to them, along with a little story. Or a funny photo, like Mr. Policeman! But please – only ONE or TWO shots!

  8. There’s just nothing as beautiful as a Mackinac Island garden….Thanks for starting my day with such pretty photos. Including the one of yourself-love the hair!

    Happy Birthday! Hope you have a wonderful day and celebrate appropriately.

  9. I so enjoy your blog, and I can just smell the lilacs and all the beautiful flowers. BTW, does anyone else love the “Pure Michigan” commercials? Especially the ones that show the Mackinac area! As soon as I hear those first few notes of that oh-so-appropriate music my BP lowers and I am instantly transported to my favorite vacation area! That is the most awesome advertising program I have ever seen. (Sorry to be a little off topic, but one just came on TV as I was looking at this blog entry.)

    • There are a number of us in my group that love those ads. They say those Pure Michigan ads really have helped tourism in MI. On a different note, I especially liked the ad (not Pure Michigan) that had Mackinac Island in it for Vera Bradley’s Spring line this year.

  10. I get so excited when my cell phone chimes in the evening letting me know that another blog has been posted! Thank you so much for letting me live on the Island vicariously through you and your husband. Not sure if we will make it up this year, so your pictures & stories are so wonderful. 🙂

    Is you birthday June 7th? That’s my birthday! I hope it is a fantastic day for you.

  11. I had to laugh when I saw that photo of the police officer. It does look like a speed trap even though radar is not in evidence. There are signs warning cyclists to not speed, although just exactly what constitutes speeding is left undefined. I gather there are around rental 2,500 bikes on the island and would guess that most of them are in use on long weekends such as July 4. With all of the pedestrians, bikes and carriages, especially on Main street I’d think that the speed limit would have to be pretty low.
    When we were on Mackinac in May we went to see the school play. They made a good effort with such a small pool of talent to draw from. I was a bit disappointed that there weren’t more people in the audience.
    Your lilacs are undoubtedly past their peak but I’m sure you’ll have a great Lilac Festival this coming weekend just the same.

    • Hi Jim! Thanks for your comments, and the one about the speed limit on the Island caused me to make sure I was right in my thinking that it is 20 mph. And yes, it is enforced, especially on our busy hills (Grand Hill being the one where most speeders are caught – and police DO use radar on that hill). There was an excellent article in The Town Crier a couple of years ago about the “rules of the road” on Mackinac, so I thought I’d give everyone a link to it here:

  12. Your blog was wonderful. You certainly got your groove back. The pics are.beautiful. What a great chimney. Wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday! Look forward to the next blog.

  13. Hi Bree
    That picture of you in front of lilacs is one of your best!
    We are here on island hope I can see you! Here till Friday. Finalizing plans for daughters wedding.


  14. As always, beautiful pictures. I totally agree, Brenda! Even if the lilacs are not at their peak for the festival – the island is beautiful all the time! We generally come in the fall – middle or late September and I love it that time of the year. Be brave enough to explore!! Happy Birthday, Brenda! Enjoy!

  15. Happy birthday! Mine was on the 2nd. I know quite a few “like minded” that are born within a couple of weeks of our birthday. Must be something in the stars! Have you seen Mac and Brenda from Ontario that work for Carriage Tours yet? They weren’t sure if they were going to make it back this season. If you do, tell them Rob and Susan from Chicago say hello and we’ll see them in October.

    • Hi Susan – Mac and Brenda did not make it back this year, and we sure do miss them. Happy Belated Birthday Wishes!

      • Darn. Thank you for the update though. BTW- I love that black and white sweater! And it looks great on you. I eyed it right away when you had it out for packing 🙂

  16. Have a wonderful, wonderful birthday! Again thank you so much for your blog. It helps fill the need to be on the island, since I can not, yet. I will look you up when my husband and I are there for our 22nd anniversary in August.
    My best,
    Gail Kalnajs

  17. Happy Birthday, Brenda! It must be wonderful to be 29.

    As usual, the blog is great and all the pictures are beautiful. However, I do have a few favorites. They are, in order:

    1. You and the lilacs. Was that taken in front of the William Backhous Astor house? That picture should be enlarged for your official 29th birthday picture.

    2. The Boardwalk. Stunning. Thank you, Patti Root.

    3. The chimney at the pavilion in the park. And Ted, I spotted you through the trees with Maddie on the leash. Brenda, that ought to count for something, don’t you think?

    • Lowell, that was the best birthday present you could have ever given me. 29??? I would have been perfectly happy with 59!!!

      Been trying to find time to sit down and write you about your great adventure. I will do that soon!

      Thanks for the birthday wishes!

  18. Yvonne,

    Please excuse my manners, or should I say lack thereof. I forgot to say, “It was very nice to meet you.” I’m sure you’re continuing to enjoy your stay on the Island.

  19. I agree, my favorite picture this time around is the one of you with the lilacs! The Cast Light blog is fantastic, thank you for sharing it! It’s now on my reading list. I hope you have the very best of birthdays!

  20. Are those peony buds just getting ready to open? Mine have been finished for about 2 wks. Sad, they’re my favorite, minus the ants, that is.

    • LOL, Chris. I truly don’t know many flowers by name. They certainly could be peonies. I’ll photograph them again when they open up, and you can tell me if that’s what they are!

      • Those are peonies alright. Ours are almost gone. It’ll sure be nice to see them again. They are my second favorite flower and smell after lilacs. Chris, you can’t have peonies without ants. They are the peony pollinators, as bees are the pollinators of many other flowers.

        I remember when I was 5 years and my brother was 4 and we visited my grandparents. One day we were outside playing and we spotted the peony buds. We very carefully removed all the ants. Then we went into the house to tell my grandmother and mother what we had done. We were so proud. Imagine our surprise when we learned the ants should have been left on the peonies. I’m sure it didn’t take the ants long to climb back up to the peony buds.

      • Thanks Lowell, I know all to well about the ants. Your story is funny. I’ve picked the ants off to give a bouget to a friend. I generally float one big one in pretty dish. Too much of that beautiful scent starts making hubby and I sneeze ha!

  21. You do not have to “work” at CASTING LIGHT INSTEAD OF SHADOWS. From knowing you, and reading your blog, you are already doing that very well. Wishing you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY today.

    Luv, Jill’s Mom

  22. I am Patti Root..I took the board walk shot…it was just magical and cold!! the things us girls will do for beauty!! 😉

    Looking forward to meeting in September, Brenda!

  23. But I do have to agree that Brenda, you are glowing!! and I love the one of you with the Lilacs on Cadotte! its stunning 🙂

  24. That yard is breathtaking with peonies, siberian iris, every beautiful cottage garden plant you could imagine.

    • Claudia, I have no idea what kind of honeysuckle it is, but there sure is lots of it on the Island – just like in Georgia.

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