Festival Week 6.14.2012

The annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival brings thousands of visitors to the Island, and this week has been no exception.  I admit to hanging pretty close to home this week, to avoid the crowds downtown (funny, when we were here for only two weeks in years past, I usually wanted to be where all the action was).  I was downtown on Monday, when I was working at the Stuart House, and it was wonderful to see people really enjoying themselves and all the special festival activities in full swing!

One of my week’s highlights was getting to meet a fellow-blogger I follow from waaay up in the Upper Peninsula – Kathy Drue.  I was drawn to Kathy’s blog(s) a few years ago when she was writing “Opening the Door, Walking Outside” – a 365-day commitment (Dec. 22,2008-Dec. 21, 2009) to spend time each day in the great outdoors.  Kathy is a wonderful photographer, and I love her writing style.  When you read her posts, it’s as though you’re two old friends, walking through the woods together, sharing your thoughts and ideas and dreams.

Kathy was visiting friends and family in the area and came over to spend a little time on Mackinac Island, which she had not visited in 20 years. I met her on the ferry dock at 8 a.m., and we had a great breakfast/chat session on the upstairs outdoor deck of the Chippewa’s Harbor View Restaurant.

After I went to work at ten, Kathy hopped a Carriage Tour, visited the fort, and played “fudgie” until she met me back at the Stuart House at two.  With a three-hour drive north ahead of her, she caught the next ferry and was on her way back home.  Don’t you love it when folks you meet on-line turn out to be friends you wish you could hang out with more often!  I highly recommend Kathy’s current blog http://upwoods.wordpress.com and going back to read her 365-day “outdoor” posts at http://centria.wordpress.com.

I’ve met several blog fans in the last two weeks, and you know how much I love that.  Walking downtown one day, a group of folks sitting on the benches behind the school called, “Bree?” as I walked by.  Nancy Applegate and her mom and dad, Virginia and Stan were on the Island from Ohio.  We had great fun chatting about their trip to the Island.  And while working at the Stuart House Monday, two more blog fans came by to saw hello – Pam from Kalamazoo, MI and Jennifer from Indiana.  Loved meeting all of you!

There’s a New Shop in Town!

Remember me mentioning a few weeks ago that a friend I met through this blog was returning to the Island to open a shop?  Well, she’s been back and forth from Florida for the last several weeks, stocking the store.  And today Ella & Ivy opened its doors!

The shop is located inside the Horse Corral Mall on Main Street. You walk into the mall entrance right by Martha’s Sweet Shop and head toward the shop at the back (looks out on the water) on the right.

Ella & Ivy is packed with great home decor items, gifts, and really cute dog accessories.

Owner Anne Stanard and her friend Diana, who was a huge help to Anne with merchandise and decorating the store.  Ann worked on Mackinac in the 70’s when she was in college and has always wanted to return to open a shop.  She’s retiring at the end of June to follow that dream, and until she arrives full-time, friends will be running the store for her.  You will LOVE her shop!!

My Photo of the Week

A Grand Hotel vintage carriage, driven by Ben Mosley, pulled by two Hackneys, and carrying a couple of Grand VIP’s, stops below our condo to admire the lilacs.

Readers’ Photographs

Since we missed showing these on Wednesday, I thought we’d do them tonight.  The Mystery Spot will be back next Wednesday, along with more Reader Photographs!

Brenda Bergin – Hammond, Indiana. “Horses on East Bluff”.  Brenda was on a private tour last September when her driver stopped to allow riders to get out and take pictures. Another private carriage pulled up and stopped also. Brenda said standing there looking at the carriages, with the beautiful Victorian homes behind them, she could almost imagine she had stepped back in time.

Rob and Deb Elliott – Fort Wayne, Indiana. “White Lilacs at Grand”. Rob and Deb snapped these lilacs on May 25 this spring. They’ve been coming to the Island annually since 1994.

Dave Wewers – Shawnee, Kansas. “Mission Point Gazebo” – dressed up for an evening wedding.

Susan Miller – Phoenix, Arizona. “A New Day Awaits”. Susan had been to the island in the 1950’s as a child with her parents and always dreamed of returning. When her father passed away, and then her mom in 2009, Susan and her husband returned to the Island in 2010 in her parents’ memory. Susan said she “spent three days walking through her childhood memories and making new memories together.” She went on, “Mackinac Island is a magical place. It healed my heart after the loss of my mother. I shed many tears as we drove across the bridge to St. Ignace the day before getting to the Island. I could just see my parents in Heaven smiling and saying, ‘She made it back’.”

Just as I was about to wrap up writing for the night, Ted called from the deck, “Hey, babe, better come out here and see this!””  I walked out in time to see three men leading three H.U.G.E Clydesdale horses across the front lawn.  We knew they were on the Island because while we were eating supper we heard something that is very foreign to our ears here – truck motors!  Looking out the window, we watched as three very long horse trailers, towed by three very large pickup trucks, rolled down the street next to our condo and turned into Arrowhead Stables just across the street from us.  These horses, as well as many more, will be coming in for the next two days to participate in the Lilac Festival Parade on Sunday.  The trucks and trailers are brought over to British Landing on freight boats, unloaded, and then the trucks bring them up through the middle of the island to where they’ll be stabled until Sunday.

The horses were being brought out – three at a time – to be exercised after a long trailer ride.

Clydesdales stand 16.2 – 18 hands tall.

This big guy was a roan – which I’d never seen in a Clydesdale. Usually they are bay or brown.

Anna, our condo neighbor Janice’s daughter, and her cousin Sophie were thrilled to be allowed to pet one of the big horses.

Long, silky feathering on the lower legs are a Clydesdale feature everyone recognizes.

The Clydesdales will be featured in the parade on Sunday, pulling a very large red wagon.


That’s a wrap for tonight.  Join me back here on Monday (or Sunday night) for all the fun from the final weekend of the Lilac Festival.  It’s going to be a VERY busy three days, and if you can’t be here, I’ll try to make you feel like you were!

God bless.


36 thoughts on “Festival Week 6.14.2012

  1. Hi Bree. I had to chuckle when I read the part of your blog tonight….how you stayed pretty close to home. My family was on the island on Wed. we were not allowed into the Gov. mansion because the line was to long for the tours. I was disappointed, but my kids said bummer…oh well lets go find Bree. I bet we went by the Stuart house 5 times hoping it was open. We went by some of the spots you talk about…I bought a new book at the bookstore. :o) My daughter is 16 & my son is 11 with everything on the island to see & do they most looked forward to meeting you & we couldn’t find you. 😛 Maybe next year. We all gather around the computer to read your blog…we enjoy the stories & pictures very much!! I thought you might get a chuckle out of our “where in the world is Bree” day on the island.

    • Oh no, Lori! I was actually off-Island Wednesday from around 12:30 until almost 6 p.m. (one of those silly girl’s day at the hair salon things). I feel so bad I missed ya’ll! Next year for sure!

  2. How exciting to see those big Clydesdales cruise past your condo! They are absolutely gorgeous! The picture of the “White lilacs at Grand Hotel” by your readers is fantastic! Today here in Iowa I was sweating non-stop since our temperature was 88, while Mackinac was 58. I would have given anything to be on your “cool” island! LOL!

  3. Bree it so nice to read your blog my family was on the island yesterday and we saw the Carriage leaving the new grand stable and was like I but that’s for a VIP and we also walked in to the grand stable and saw 2 of the clydesdales and we all said WOW they are huge but it’s so nice to read your blog and know what’s going on and why keep it comming oooo and we had dinner at the seabisquit because one of your blogs in the past GREAT food so thanks for the tip on that

  4. We were on the island yesterday too and saw the Grand’s carriage sitting outside the barn – probably just getting ready to go somewhere. We saw Mary and Teddy as she was doing her evening chores. But, we didn’t see you and now I know why. Hope we catch you the next time.

  5. I really enjoy your blog. One thing most people don’t know is that Clydesdales can come in almost any color! Several years ago the World Clydesdale Show was in Madison, WI….a great time!!

  6. The picture of the Clydesdales I thought there would have been a Dalmatian as well. I would have asked if they brought any beer with them. LOL

  7. Your header picture is very professional looking.Just beautiful. The blog makes for great reading. The very best part are the Clysdales. They are huge and beautiful. I’m anxious to show my husband the pictures. They are his favorite, but, I don’t think he would appreciate me waking him up to show him. Guess I’ll wait till morning.ha!

  8. Those Clydesdales are so beautiful! I really enjoy seeing the photos from other readers too – so many wonderful places to see and enjoy. Have fun at the Lilac Festival – I can’t wait to see your photos and read about your adventures on Monday — Have a great weekend

  9. Well, I see there are lots of people that are loving the Clydesdales…myself included. Wow, they sure are gorgeous! So big and so…beautiful. Hope to stop in to ella and ivy when we come. Looks like a fun store. Love the readers photos and especially love Susan Millers story. I bet your parents were walking the island with you those three days Susan.

  10. Love the Clydesdale pics! The new shop ‘Ella and Ivy’ looks like a place I would really enjoy. Was hoping to read where the name for the shop came from, since the owner’s name isn’t Ella or Ivy. Also enjoyed more lilac pics – never tire of looking at them! Thanks!

    • Hi Pam! I mentioned the origin of the name a few weeks ago, but you are right, I should have explained it. Ella is Anne’s little Maltese, and Ivy is Diana’s Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix. You’ll be seeing Ella in the store every day when Anne is here for good this summer.

      • Thank you for the additional explanation, Bree. I’m sorry I missed it the first time. I did suspect it was related to “fur kids”. 🙂

  11. You see the coolest stuff in your yard!! Thanks for the info on Ella and Ivy-can’t wait to check it out next time were up. I really liked the dog silhouette cut out pictures in the photo of the store interior.

  12. Hi Bree! Oh what a delight to discover your blog this morning! 🙂
    It was such a pleasure to meet you and to visit lovely Mackinac Island and imagine what it feels like to be living there. I had the most magnificent time, and hope to return again to visit you another day. Thanks also for the links to my blogs. Have had LOTS of visitors from you today, and even a couple of new subscribers. Keep your eye open either Sunday or Monday. You’ll probably see some familiar sights on my blog. Again, it was such a fun day visiting with you, the horses, the fort, the bookstore, the carriage ride, so many fun things!

  13. Wow those Clydesdales are beautiful! So, I take it Clydesdales on the island are not normal? When we were there the other day my 4 y/o, who is pretty good at identifying horse types, was naming them as they walked past the hotel. She said some were Clydesdales and I said “good job” because they had big feet and looked big, but maybe they were draft horses or Belgians or something like that. They were pulling one of those green wagons that deliver stuff (that’s the technical term right? Ha). Do you know why they drove the trailers to the stable? It the walk too hard on their hooves?

    • There are NO Clydesdale on the Island normally. All our draft horses that pull the big tourist carriages and the supply/garbage drays are Belgians and Percherons, with some crosses. That would have been about a 3-mile walk from British Landing, and although I’m sure they could handle it, horses can be very skiddish in new places. I’m pretty sure it would have been a safety issue. That’s just my opinion though – it could have been something else entirely.

      • Ok, so, common horses that we will see would be Belgians, Percherons, and Hackneys. I also have seen some Painted horses, but not sure what breed that is. Any Appaloosas? Also, do you ever see single riders going through downtown, cowboy style? Come to think of it I have never seen someone riding horseback. I suppose they ride their bike instead. Suprised the police don’t ride horseback either.

  14. Gentle giants. Clydesdales are fascinating!

    I thought about you yesterday as we drove over the Ga. 300 bridge at Lake Blackshear. (I’m taking my son to college pre-orientation at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, GA.) And to top it off, this morning at breakfast in the hotel, I see a man wearing a Mackinac Island t-shirt!!! He said he was there last week. Too funny!

    Mary Jane

  15. I am dying to ask….is it possible for a retired couple to find a job at some of the BandBs on the Island? We retire in 16 yrs and I don’t see how I can live on the Island unless I work too. Is it possible??? We are coming back for a visit in August. We just left the island two weeks ago and were already planning our next visit before we left. I can’t get enough of the island! Any ideas who to talk to?

    • Wow, Ellen, that’s really planning ahead. There’s always a possibility someone will be looking for a couple to manage a B & B on the Island when you retire. Talk to Marge and Rich, who are the innkeepers at The Cottage Inn on Market Street. They live on the Island and run that inn in the summer and on some winter weekends. They’d be excellent contacts.

  16. Bree, I am a frequent follower of your blog. I don’t miss even a single post of yours! I had been to Mackinac last year and I am visiting again tomorrow. Can’t get enough of the island! I had one question, how’s the weather at Mackinac? Since I have a toddler , wondering whether to pack summer wear for him.

    • I think the weather will be great on Saturday, Divya. Low 70’s, a slight rain chance in the afternoon. Layers are the answer. Start off with a t-shirt and jacket and you can take the jacket off and tie around your waist if you get warm. Hope you plan on taking your toddler to see the Dog and Pony Show at 1:00 at Windermere Point. The dogs and horses are dressed in costume, and they are judged in several categories. Always so cute, and children love it! Then at 1:30, a trick horse will be performing at Windermere Point. Lots of fun!

  17. Brenda,

    Such a beautiful blog. When our lilacs in southern Michigan bloomed a month early and we had no lilacs for our 52nd wedding anniversary on May 7, I thought of the lilac festival on the Island and figured there would be a lilacless (I made up that word) festival this year. Sure am glad I was wrong. Your lilac pictures are not only beautiful; they make me feel good too.

    What a Clydesdale and lilac view you had from your condo deck! That’s a memory for sure. At least I hope you and Ted have room in your brains for one more after all the memories you have, and are making, of the Island. When I was a little boy in northern Michigan, we lived on a farm and we had a team of work horses. I don’t know what kind they were, but they were huge to me. I can remember my older sisters putting me on their backs so I could ride on them. They were so gentle. Their names were King and Queen. King was brown and Queen was white. For years I thought that a horse named King had to be brown and a horse named Queen had to be white. Although I know better now, I still think it should be that way.

  18. I’ll have to check out Kathy’s blog. It sounds very interesting!

    Anne’s store looks so nice. I wish it had been open when I was there. Darn! I’ll be sure to check it out next year. How neat that her dream to have a store on the island came true!

  19. I just got a chance to look at your post! Great Clydesdale photos! Thanks for highlighting the shop, too! I met a nice person who is on the Island with private horses from NC and I told her she had to meet you!! She will be on the Island all summer! It is sunny at the DTW airport ! 🙂

  20. Hi Bree, Kathy sent me. Well her post about Mackinac Island did. What a magical place. It must smell marvellous when all those lilacs are in full bloom !

    • Hi Sybil and welcome! You are right – those lilacs make the air hovering over the Island smell divine! You need to come up (or down) and visit!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s