Family Album – Part II 7/3/2012

Laughter.  A few tears.  Sentimentality.  Fudge overload.  Magic tricks.  Horses.  Food.  Biking.  Caving.  Rock climbing.  Zip lines.  Joy.  Sweet memories.

I could go on and on with one- and two-word descriptions of our 10 days with daughter Julie, bonus son Matt, and the two most perfect grandchildren in all the world – Jordan and Matthew.  But instead, today you’ll get Family Album-Part II and on Friday, I’ll post a very special story about returning with our grandchildren to Ted’s roots in the Les Cheneaux Islands.  What a special day that was for our whole family.

Apologies to the family right now if I’ve gotten what was done on which day confused.  We were so busy it all began to run together!

The last post covered Friday-Sunday of their trip, so we’ll start with Monday, June 25.  What a busy day!  I didn’t cancel my volunteer day at the Stuart House, so I was off to work at 10 that morning.  Julie needed to get some work done on-line (we again lamented that our grown-up children never truly get a vacation, like we did “back in the day” – they are always on call, always connected to work), and Jordan was heading to the Community Stable for a few hours of volunteer work.  G-Daddy and Matthew were off to Mackinaw City and the Mill Creek Discovery Park, which is part of the Mackinac State Historic Parks.

When Matthew was last here as a six-year-old, he had begged to ride Star Line Ferry because he loved their “rooster tail”, and G-Daddy had promised him a ride the next time he came – so that’s how they got to Mack City on Monday morning.

A happy Matthew sits up-close to Star’s famous rooster tail, as Mackinac Island fades into the distance behind him.

Matthew, all suited up for the zip line, crosses the swinging bridge to the tower.

And yes, of course G-Daddy “zip-lined” also!

Matthew – taking off through the trees and over the lagoon.

Matthew – climbing up the “easy” side of the rock wall. He reached the top . . . .

. . . . then came back down and climbed the most difficult side to the top.

And yes, of course G-Daddy climbed the rock wall also. He made it about half-way up, but oh my goodness – I thought that was great! A+ for effort, sweetie!

Jordan returned from her volunteer job talking about a “jump show” at the Community Stable Monday night, so all of us rode our bikes back up there after dinner to watch riders take horses over a series of jumps in the arena.

Blaze is such a good pony, and the 4-H children love him. He’s a good little jumper also.

From smallest to largest – Katie takes Maryanke Alexander’s Friesian, Regina, over a jump.

Matthew and G-Daddy helped take down the jumps after the exhibition.

On Wednesday evening Ted and Matthew rode the ferry to the mainland and picked Matt up at the airport in Pellston.  Julie and Jordan were waiting at the dock on the Island when they arrived, and we were so excited he would be with us for the rest of their stay.

On Thursday morning, Ted and I rose early and biked to the Mackinac Island Yacht Club, where I spoke to around 15 men about Bree’s Blog.  I was very warmly received, and the gentlemen asked quite a few questions and seemed genuinely interested.  It was great talking about the joy I receive from writing, and thanks to all of you who offered up “calming” prayers for me that day.

Buz and Patty, our condo neighbors from Oklahoma, joined us for lunch on the outside upper deck at the Chippewa on Thursday.

Brian Bailey, the general manager at the Chippewa and Lilac Tree, and wife Jeri-Lynn have a great summer home right on the water close to the Chippewa, and their daughter Mary and her cousin Lilly had gotten together with Jordan during the week for a day at the Grand Hotel pool.  They invited us over for a backyard barbeque on Thursday evening.  What a treat it was to sit on their back porch and enjoy the spectacular view and the great food!

From their porch, we watched as a Great Lakes cruise ship docked . . .

. . . and as two freighters – going in opposite directions – slipped through the passage.

What a backyard to grow up in!

The kids asked permission to swim (Swim? Are you kidding me! That water is COLD!). Jordan and Matthew borrowed swimsuits from the Baileys, and they all went flying down the Yoder dock, where . . . .

. . . they all jumped in! That’s Jordan going in feet-first.  They all came out with blue lips, but that didn’t stop them from jumping in  several more times.  Great times with great friends Brian and Jeri-Lynn and new friends made by the children!  Thanks for having us!

The weather was awesome their entire trip, and Friday morning dawned bright and sunny and warm, with enough breeze to make the temperature perfect.    Ted was determined to take everyone caving, so after breakfast we all headed out.  When I saw the cliff they were going over, I almost fainted, but over they went – while BeBe waited at the top with cellphone clutched in my hand, in case I had to call for reinforcements.

Jordan and Matthew found a Geo-Cache in the cave, which they opened and signed.

I love the expressions on Julie and Jordan’s faces.

After all that climbing, we headed to Fort Mackinac for lunch.

The Tea Room at the fort is one of the Island’s best “photo op” spots.

Matthew HAD to see the cannon fired!

Another family shot from the lookout on the East Bluff.

Matthew – exploring the trails leading to Anne’s Tablet.

The kids in the Somewhere in Time gazebo. Jordan has already decided that a wedding on Mackinac would be the most romantic day she could imagine.


Over the last 13 years, I wonder how many photos Ted and I have of ourselves in this exact spot. I love every one.

Drinks Friday night at the outside patio at the Pony. Friends Jane Winston and Jill joined us.  After that, it was dinner at the Jockey Club.

Dinner one night at the Woods Restaurant is a tradition for our family. We all love the whole experience, beginning with the long taxi ride through the woods.  On Saturday night Patty, Buz, and the six of us headed out, with Matthew riding shotgun.

While we waited for the different courses, Matthew and Jordan entertained themselves by drawing on the heavy paper tablecloths, using the crayons provided for that purpose . . . .

. . . . then left the table to bowl a couple of games at the one-lane alley that’s been a part of the restaurant for decades. One person sets the pins, the other bowls. Then they change places.

The Woods reminds me of a rustic lodge, but it is elegant, charming, and has wonderful entrees and desserts!

Too soon it was Sunday. We all attended services at Little Stone Church, and to celebrate the beginning of the 4th of July holiday, two interpreters from the fort performed opening music with fife and drum.

Another tradition with the Hortons and family – 18 holes at the Mission Point Resort putt-putt course . . .

. . . where we watched parasailers gliding over the Straits . . .

. . . and Jordan began to think about it being her last day on Mackinac. This soon-to-be teenager has found the Island speaks to her in the same way it speaks to her BeBe.

We rushed from the putt-putt course to the Arnold Dock to see Buz and Patty off to Oklahoma, then returned to the condo for dinner at home. Everyone was packing, and Ted and I were already feeling “empty-nest” syndrome approaching.

The taxi arrived at 7:15 Monday morning – plenty of time to make the 8 a.m. ferry.

Ted rode his bike down, while the rest of us rode.  We were early enough for cinnamon rolls and donuts from Martha’s Sweet Shop before boarding the ferry.

Jordan was smiling on the outside . . . .

. . . but inside, she said, she was feeling sad.

One more conversation between G-Daddy and Matthew . . . .

. . . and before we could blink, Shepler’s had their truck packed, and we snapped one more photo.

These four left the Shepler dock around 8:45 Monday morning, drove straight through, and pulled up in their Destin, FL grandparents’ driveway at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.  Amazing.

On Friday, the story of our trip with Julie, Jordan and Matthew back to the Les Cheneaux Islands, where Ted spent his summers as a little boy.  It was a very nostalgic trip, and one I hope our grandchildren will always remember.

See you then!

Random Photos

I LOVE this photo of Ted and Jordan!

Mackinac Island – from the top of the zip-line tower at Historic Mill Creek Park outside of Mackinaw City.  It’s easy to pick out the Grand Hotel, sparkling white on the left, and Fort Mackinac, sparkling white on the right.

Julie: “Dad? Are you sure about this!?”

Our bikes – parked in the woods while we explored.


19 thoughts on “Family Album – Part II 7/3/2012

  1. All I can say is “WoW”. I feel exactly like Jordan when I leave, happy on the outside but oh so sad on the inside. In fact, I remember I started to cry about a half hour after leaving last time. 😦 . I want to go caving with Ted!! It looks like so much fun. So glad ya’ll had a great time and can’t wait to hear the rest of the story! Great pictures as always.

  2. Your picture of the bowling alley brings back sooooo many memories! But not all clean and shiny – usually freezing and covered with dust – but so inviting to set up the pins and bowl! Even in the dead of winter when someone would let us into the Lodge. So glad it is such a nice restaurant now.
    What a wonderful week of memories! and great pictures! (as usual!)

  3. Brenda,

    Almost every blog I think, “How can she top this?” And then you do. Amazing!

    Talk about memories for Jordan & Matthew. I’ll bet Brenda & Ted will be remembering for a very long time.

    As for me, I’m green with envy and almost speechless (an extreme rarity for me).

    And for everyone who reads this, “Have a wonderful Fourth of July Holiday!”

  4. I so loved the restaurant in the woods. What excellent food! The ride to and from it thru the woods in October that year was gorgeous. The leaves were in their fall dress welcoming us. What a wonderful evening I had with my daughter, her hubby and my dear friend Judy.It was a perfect evening. I’d say a must for anyone visiting the island.

    I know you all had a wonderful time. It is so nice you can get together up there every year. The children will always remember that. Sweet memories for all.

  5. I just got teary-eyed thinking of Jordan leaving the island. I cry every time we leave (while my husband sits calmly by and lets me get it out of my system). I think we share that same feeling that we’re leaving something magical and warm and so much more beautiful than every day. And the Woods – we love it! You took me there with your pictures. Thank you, Bree, for whisking me away to my favorite place.

  6. Looks wonderful, Brenda. It brings back wonderful memories of our trip there last September. I’m ready to go back….you and Ted are such great hosts! I know that Julie and her family had a wonderful time on Mackinac. I love reading your blog!

  7. What a wonderful visit you must have had.Thanks for sharing and your pics are fantastic. What great family memories.

  8. I understand about passing on the love for the island. My great aunt and uncle honeymooned there in 1900; then my folks started coming in the 40’s. My first trip when I was 5 in the 50’s. Now my children love it and next year my last grandchild will be introduced. Aren’t we lucky to pass on this legacy?

  9. Can’t wait for our kids and grandkids to come visit us. Hope they have as much fun as it looks like your family did. You have a really good looking family.

  10. Reminds me of when I was that age going to the Island with my mom and grandparents. Created special memories and the reason I go back each year.

  11. I’m so tickled you had such gorgeous weather for their visit! The blues (sky and water) are amazing. One thing, though, shines through all of your photos: love. Of each other and for the island, too. It’s makes a beautiful place like Mackinac even more special!

    It sure doesn’t hurt to have one of the most photogenic families I’ve ever seen, either. I mean, really! Thanks for sharing them with us, and Happy Fourth!

  12. I just came back from Mackinaw City and it brought back many memories of my family, just as you are doing with yours! Every time I looked over at the island I thought of you! It made me really want to go back to the Island now that I’m older and can remember things more than when I was little. So Magical!!

  13. The picture of Jordan’s sad face broke my heart! You have such a beautiful family! I am glad to hear that your speaking engagement at the Yacht Club went well. I never doubted for a moment that it wouldn’t go fine. You are such a good speaker!

    I took my nieces to the island last year for the first time. They were 18 & 20 and did quite a few things that your grandkids did. We went to the Woods to have lunch and they discovered the bowling alley. They loved it and still talk about it! My husband and I are so lucky to be able to share these wonderful memories with the nieces.

    I have to confess that I was having Bree withdraw! I am so glad you posted this blog. Have a wonderful week!

  14. Brenda – what a wonderful vacation for your family! It brought back many happy memories for me. Thank you for sharing the memories with us!

  15. Matthew and Jordan will hold this trip in their hearts forever-it sounds like it was just about the perfect vacation. As always, thanks for sharing and glad that your Men’s group talk went well. I knew you’d be great!

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