Stick Season 9/23/2012

“She calls it “stick season,” this slow disrobing of summer,
leaf by leaf, till the bores of tall trees rattle and scrape in the wind.”
–   Eric Pinder

We haven’t gotten to “stick season” yet, but would you believe that the weather report called for possible SLEET this past weekend!  It didn’t happen, but could it be . . . . could it possibly be . . . that we might see SNOW before we leave?  You know how I am about that white stuff . . . I’ll keep you posted!

Ted and I were going to Mackinaw City on Friday to say goodbye to Chris Ann and Burton (they leave on Monday or Tuesday for Florida – by way of lower Michigan visits to family and friends).  But the weather was so bad (rain, cold) that Chris Ann called and said, “Please don’t get out in this.  We’ll see you later in the year – maybe in Georgia!”  We were already geared up for rain when she called, so we decided to go ahead and walk downtown for breakfast/brunch/lunch – whichever we were hungry for when our tummies said , “It’s time to eat!”

It’s hard to explain how important rain gear is to someone who doesn’t live on Mackinac.  In the “real world”, we throw up the umbrella for the two-step walk to the car from our front doors, park in garages attached to shopping malls, and scarcely give a thought to getting wet, even on a really rainy day.

Here, it’s a little different.

On Mackinac Island, rain gear is a necessity, and buying the good stuff is well worth the dollars and cents!

Take the Carriage Tour drivers.  One of the first things they are told when they are hired is, “Bring good rain gear!”  Cold-weather gear is provided, but not rain gear.

The first-time college-kid drivers tend to scoff at this advice.  They may even show up at the beginning of the season with NO rain gear.  But the first time they’re in the middle of a shift and the skies open up, leaving them stuck for the rest of the day on a carriage – soaking wet and miserable – they use the first opportunity they have to: 1) go on-line and order the best rain gear available; or 2) phone home and ask mom to send same.  It’s a wet lesson, learned the hard way, but from that point on, at even the hint of anything other than sunny skies, the rain gear goes out the door with them to work.

I bought my men’s size small rain pants just before we came back for our second summer on the Island, and Julie and her family gave me a great rain coat with hood and some rain boots for Christmas that year.  This was after realizing that walking back from town in a windy downpour, with only an umbrella, gets you nothing but soaked.

So – enclosed in rain gear – Ted and I set off for town during a little break in the weather.

Before we’d even reached Main Street, the skies darkened once more, and we made a run for it past Marquette Park . . .

. . . and into the Richard & Jane Manoogian Art Museum – which we had not visited all summer. The new exhibit upstairs is dedicated to the 125th anniversary of the Grand Hotel, and it is amazing. From an upstairs window we watched the rain clouds move from Mackinaw City to the Island.

Shooting through the rain-drenched window gave downtown the blur of a watercolor painting . . .

. . . and seemed to accent the emptiness of the marina.

When the rain let up a little, we walked over to see Anne at Ella & Ivy and found Ella modeling an adorable doggie raincoat.  Everything in Anne’s store is 50% off – except the artwork.

We also stopped in at Little Luxuries (Ted went to Island Bookstore while I explored). Nicole has so many Fall items out now . . .

. . . including Halloween fun things!

Today begins Mackinac Island Restaurant Week (September 23-29), and Island restaurants are trying to outdo each other with special menus at fantastic prices.  To see what some of your favorites have to offer this week, click here:

I met back up with Ted at the bookstore, and then we popped into Jesse’s Chuckwagon for one of their fabulous hamburgers (Rodeo Burger for me and Bleu Cheese Burger for Ted).

The Chuckwagon is traditionally a locals favorite, and Ted and I enjoyed eating breakfast there many, many times when we’d vacation on the island years ago (we don’t get downtown for breakfast much since we moved “up the hill”). This may have been our very first time there for lunch, and the hamburgers were great!

The Chuckwagon is a tiny restaurant, but if things go as planned, they may be increasing in size in the next year or so.  Then more folks will be able to enjoy this special place where you can sit at the counter and watch the food be prepared.

We splurged on a taxi ride home (hardly ever do that in the daytime), but we used the rain as an excuse :)!

Someone is already picking pumpkins out of the patch at the horse barns!

Saturday was another gray and rainy day – the wind and cold didn’t help either.  We had plans to go to friends for dinner, and when the forecast for sleet came on at the Weather Channel, I started adding another layer to my planned outfit.  But – not only didn’t it sleet – it stopped raining!  And . . .

. . . Shepler’s Ferry in Mac City captured this dazzling double rainbow late in the afternoon . . .

. . . and Patrick Conlon captured the sunrise this beautiful Sunday morning.

After church and lunch, we took the pups out for a long walk.  They’ve been cooped up most of the week – with short potty breaks being their only outside time.  They were ready to run!

Colors are showing above the Carriage Museum.  Loving that blue sky!

Glimpses of yellow through the trees . . .

. . . and the first red leaf I’ve seen this year!

It felt great to be outside in the woods!

Lots of new smells to sniff out after a rain . . .

Bear runs ahead, then waits till we catch up . . .

. . . and today he ran and ran just for the sheer joy of it!

Even Maddie was allowed off her leash to chase a squirrel up a tree!

It’s after dinner now as I sit finishing this post.  Ted leaves on the 9 a.m. ferry Monday morning with Island buddies to drive to Traverse City.  From there they are flying to Chicago, and on Tuesday they’ll be attending a practice round of the Ryder Cup Golf Tournament. They’ll be back Wednesday.   He is excited!

I’ll be at the Stuart House Monday from 10-2, and if you read Bree’s Blog and you’re visiting on the Island, I’d love for you to stop by so we can meet.

Have a great week, and I’ll see you back here Tuesday night or Wednesday morning!  God bless.

23 thoughts on “Stick Season 9/23/2012

  1. LOVE the Chuckwagon and had breakfast there almost every morning we were there. Can’t believe Ted is going to be sooo close! To bad he can’t spend a little more time here. Love the rainbow and the rain pictures, and Ella looks adorable. Bear and Maddie look like they are having fun too!

  2. The Chuckwagon rocks!!! We eat every breakfast there too much to the dismay of our innkeeper who also wants to feed us. Occasionally we solve that by bringing her along with us! Sharon and Donny are wonderful and we love watching Donny cook! Topic change: I know you’ve been there in wintertime, Brenda, but has it ever snowed before you’ve left for the year? I’m guessing it has!!

  3. Would be sad to see the Chuckwagon get expanded in a way, its charm is in its size and layout. But things change I suppose.

    After a rain drenching walk to Hubbard’s Annex last week, I understand what you mean about rain gear! It is a must if you live there or visit and plan on going out in the elements.

    • If plans go through, Jeff, it will be a little longer and a little wider (to accommodate handicapped patrons). Same owners, same great food!

  4. Brenda,

    Oh, how I wish I could go walking with you and Ted, even in the rain. My only request is that we stop to rest every few blocks and that we do not go up any hills. Oh well, it won’t happen, but it’s the thought that counts. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

    I so enjoy reading about the things you do on the Island and seeing such wonderful pictures. Don’t ever stop.

    I hope Ted has a safe and very enjoyable trip to Chicago, but after the big city I’m sure he’ll be glad to get back to the Island.

  5. Hey Bree, where is that trail in the pic of Bear “sniffing” after the rain? Just wondering, not recognizing it, the woods are the best. We love the Chuck Wagon, best breakfast ever, I wrote on Trip Advisor about the restaurant. Enjoying your pics as always, missing the Island already 🙂

    • Pam – that is where Custer St., Cupid’s Pathway, and the Fort Service Road converge. There is a little pathway off into the woods there (where Bear is standing) that brings you out on Carriage Rd. We take a right, then a quick left, and we’re behind the Carriage Museum and home!

  6. Brenda, what a great autumn post for us “wanna-be”s! We will be there for the 7th time in 8 years for our fall visit to the Grand. Any chance we’ll catch you at Stuart house during our stay? We’ll be on the Island Monday morning, Oct. 8 and returning Wednesday morning, Oct. 10th. I popped in last year and said hi to you and then saw Jill in the bookstore that day too.

    I feel like I “belong” on the Island with you Islanders! Hope to see you next week.


  7. Thanks for the tip on the Chuckwagon! We usually do the buffet that’s included at the Murray but I’m always up something new. We’re having a preview of cold weather down here-I had to scrape my windshield this morning and I swear there was a bit of frost on the grass. I can’t remember that happening in September…I’m a bit scared for what’s to come later!

  8. Sleet? Glad for you, never showed up. Love the blog today. Your descriptions of the rain were awesome. Great pics.too. The Ryder Cup? Wow, how exciting!!!

  9. The Chuckwagon is amazing! It is so tiny but so fun! I never feel our trip is complete until we eat there. They stay really busy with the carriage driver’s call in orders. The staff fixes the orders and then takes the orders outside to the drivers since the drivers can’t get off the wagons. This is the “Mackinac Drive Thru”!

    The picture of the rainbow above Shepler’s ferry is beautiful.

    Are you doing in “girl” time while Ted is away? If so, we don’t want to hear about Blogger Brenda getting too rowdy with her pal Jill! LOL!

  10. Love that rainbow picture. Reminds me of last Oct. when we came up and we also saw a rainbow while in Mac City. I’ve never been to the Chuckwagon but heard it was great and want to go there to eat sometime, if not this trip, then next summer for sure. We had our first temps in the 30 this morning. 33 when I went to work and our first frost which will help the leaf color along. Will you be working on the 1st of Oct.?? Our visit this time will be short, but might try and get by to see you if you are there.

  11. Lowell and I would be perfect walking walking pardners. I could take my old man’s scooter and keep up with him and then we can pause for adult beverages. Are you sure that is not Ted chasing the squirrel and Maddie with the camera?

    • Yes, we would definitely make good walking partners -if you don’t get crazy with that scooter because I don’t walk very fast. Oh, and I’ll have to take a pass on the adult beverages. It’s a long story, but I don’t imbibe. A glass of Diet Mountain Dew would be fine though.

  12. I have never seen waves like that at the Straits. Wow! We’ll be up for our last visit for 3 days Oct. 21-23 and I hope the waves don’t get that big! The Island is beautiful in Sunshine and rain. Love your pics, keeps me connected. Thx! Love watching the cook at Chuckwagon. He’s like watching a well oiled machine! Sooo looking forward to our next visit that will have to last us ’till next season! Again, thanks for keeping us connected to this wonderful wonderland! 🙂

  13. Great Post. Love the header. What a beautiful double rainbow. Very seldom see a brilliant rainbow in the city that is complete! Double makes it that much greater! As usual your photos take us right there. Window pane shots awesome.

  14. Love the double rainbow pictures you post! I don’t think I have ever seen any. Ted should have beautiful weather for the Ryder Cup! We also had frost here in the Madison, WI area. But this week is beautiful. Have a great week!

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