It’s All About the Lilacs 6/11/2013

Mackinac Island is expanding as the ferries lower their gangplanks and discharge thousands of visitors – here this week for one thing – the Lilac Festival.  Each day of the Festival is filled with activities, and there is guaranteed to be something of interest for everyone.  As you walk the sidewalks downtown you’ll notice groups here and there listening attentively as they follow experts assigned to discuss the history of our Mackinac Lilacs.  After you know everything there possibly is to learn about Lilacs, you’ll have many, many choices on how to spend your time the rest of the week.  You can:

  • Go to a concert in Marquette Park
  • Take an Architectural Walking Tour
  • Watch a Street Hockey Tournament at Windermere Point
  • Go to the Movies at Mission Point Resort
  • Attend a Grand Hotel History Lecture
  • Attend an Author Luncheon at Hotel Iroquois’ Carriage House Dining Room
  • Walk along on a Nature Tour
  • Play Lion’s Club Bingo at the Community Hall
  • Listen in on Jazz Night at the Gate House
  • Tour the Governor’s Summer Residence
  • Take a Harbor Cruise on the Ugly Anne
  • Learn some Irish Dance steps at Windermere Point
  • Attend “A Taste of Mackinac” at Harbour View Inn
  • Sample the fruit of the vine at a Wine Tasting at Hotel Iroquois’ Carriage House Dining Room
  • Attend the Feast of Epona Blessing of the Animals at Little Barn at Mission Hill.
  • Go on a Cannonball BBQ Hayride to British Landing
  • Attend the Market Street Art Walk
  • Go to a Pooch Party at Mary’s Bistro
  • Watch the Pet Parade from the Public School to Windermere Point
  • Attend the Dog & Pony Show at Windermere Point
  • Cruise around the Island with the Star Line Ferry
  • Become a Captain for a Day at the Shepler Ferry Dock
  • Attend the Lilac Festival Parade in downtown Mackinac Island

Each day this week the crowds get a little larger, and as we approach Sunday, June 15, and the culminating event –  the Lilac Festival Grand Parade at 4 p.m. – our little island is rocking with happy visitors enjoying the beauty and scent of the Lilacs, the taste and aroma of freshly made fudge, and the unique and historic excitement of touring Mackinac at one of the Island’s prettiest times of year.

Monday morning I walked downtown past Carriage Tour wagons bringing visitors up toward Surrey Hill and opened the Stuart House Museum.

Monday morning I walked downtown past Carriage Tour wagons bringing visitors up toward Surrey Hill.  As I said, the crowds are growing!

Blog reader Yvonne, her husband Tony and their nieces and nephews dropped by from Iowa.  I met Tony and Yvonne last year (with their dog Bear), but this year they left Bear behind and brought these lucky young folks instead.  What an awesome aunt and uncle they are!

It wasn’t long after the Stuart House Museum opened that blog reader Yvonne, her husband Tony, and their nieces and nephews dropped by from Iowa. I met Tony and Yvonne last year (with their dog Bear), but this year they left Bear at home and brought these lucky young folks instead. They’re staying at Park Place Suites on Market Street and loving it!

Another blog reader, Joan from Shelby Township, dropped by also, but I forgot to get my camera out.  She’ll be back later in the summer though – I’ll take some photos then!

My friend Frankie and sweet Chocolate Lab Hershey were visiting for a few days, and I dog-sat Hershey while Frankie went to lunch.  She was staying just across the street at the Lilac House, so she dropped Hershey off and walked over to Main Street.

Hershey watched Frankie leave . . .

Hershey watched Frankie leave . . .

. . . then took up her vigil by the door until she returned.

. . . then took up her vigil by the door until she returned.  She sure got lots of loving by visitors to the Museum while she waited for Frankie!

Frankie was leaving the Island today, so a few of us met at the Chuckwagon this morning for breakfast to see her off.  We wanted to sit at the back table so we could chat, so we waited outside – sitting on the steps of the Haunted Mansion – until the table emptied, and we could run inside and grab it.  There’s always a crowd at the Chuckwagon – because the food is ALWAYS good!


Frankie, Bonnie, Judy, me, and Jill.  Frankie and Hershey left on the 12:30 boat, going home to Grand Rapids.  See you again soon, Frankie!


Even with the crazy Spring we’ve had here on Mackinac, it looks as though the Lilacs are right on schedule and will be in full bloom this week and next.  There is no way we could have planned for that to happen, but it sure is nice when it works out like that for the Festival!


Different varieties are blossoming at different times, but this year I think every Lilac bush and tree will be in full blooming splendor by the weekend.  This was taken from the porch of the Lilac House, where Frankie was staying.

Over near the Marina, we found this horse tie-up nearly covered in Lilac blossoms.

Over near the Marina, we found this horse tie-up nearly covered in Lilac blossoms.

These next few photos are of he same bush.  We unofficially named it "the most beautiful Lilac bush on the Island" - at least for today.

These next few photos are of the same bush. Jill and I unofficially named it “the most beautiful Lilac bush on the Island” – at least for today.  I think these blooms are as dark a purple as I’ve ever seen on a Lilac.



Sorry, I just couldn't get enough of it.

Sorry, I just couldn’t get enough of it.


Lilacs in Marquette Park . . .

. . .

. . . and hanging baskets contrasted with the white of the Jane & Richard Manoogian Art Museum.

Lilac/lavender/purple just seems to look good anywhere, doesn't it!

Lilac, lavender and purple just seem to look good anywhere, don’t they!  This flowery bathtub sits in the yard of the Lilac House.



The fog didn’t burn off until shortly after noon today, turning freighters into ghost ships – passing nearly unseen through the Straits.

Moored sailboats

Moored sailboats in the marina, as the fog began to slip away.

As the fog cleared,

As the fog cleared, the Iroquois Hotel appeared, and people began to be seated at their beautiful waterside tables . . .

. . . and soon

. . . and soon the entire east side of town was visible.  First the fort, then Anne’s Cottage, Brigadoon, the Yacht Club and the Island House.

There’s lots more to come this week, and I’ll be back in a day or two with more news.  In the meantime, if you’re in Michigan, why not think about hopping up to the Island for the rest of the week – or at least the weekend.  The fun has just begun!


36 thoughts on “It’s All About the Lilacs 6/11/2013

  1. It’s all about the lilacs. Used one of your beautiful as my cover on facebook. You are as busy as the energizer bunny.

  2. Ahhh one of these days…the lilacs are gorgeous and I can only imagine the smell of them. One of my favorites. Love, love, love the Chuckwagon…I think we had breakfast there every morning that we were there! Poor Hershey, he really misses Frankie when she’s not there. Hope to see you when we come Frankie and Hershey! 🙂

  3. Ooooh looks so nice…all those lilacs !!! Looking forward to arriving sometime Saturday. If you can arrange for sunshine for a few days, that would be good. Anxious to see the Lilac Parade and the Scotville Clown Band. They are coming to our Yale Bologna Festival the end of July !!

  4. Had a great time at breakfast this morning with y’all😉 what fun it was to be on the streets and see so many of my island friends again. Yes the lilacs are BEAUTIFUL🌿🌿 My time here is too short but I will be back soon. I know how thankful we all are for our link to the island through you, Brenda. Thank you 🚴🐴🚴👭

    • Thank you, Steven! Stopped by the gallery this morning, but you must have been out shooting. Will try again later this week!

      Sent from my iPhone

  5. We will be on the Island or the parade on Sunday. What time do people usually start lining up for the parade. This is the biggest thing my 7 year old is looking forward to and she would like to get a good spot.

    • Teresa, my favorite spot is at the corner of Marquette Park, right across from Doud’s and facing the Visitor’s Center. But you’d probably have to be there by 2 pm to grab one of those spots along the wall there. There really isn’t a bad spot as long as someone doesn’t stand in front of you. It’s less crowded if you go anywhere from Marquette Park down toward Mission Point instead of right downtown. Good luck!

      • Thanks for the suggestion. We are looking forward to our 3 days on the Island.

      • Our therapy dogs walk in the parade yearly (6 of us this year) and there really is not a bad spot. Down closer to Mission Point it is less crowded and more shade-but then again you aren’t in the mix of things where Bree mentioned. Leaving town tomorrow for the island-can’t wait. We are bringing a new member of our group who has never been there so it is always exciting to see it thru their eyes. Three nights at the Harbour Place Suites-can’t wait!!! Bree-if you see a couple of Goldens, a Lab, Malteese, Cavelier and Afghan walking along-stop by and say “HI”.

      • Bear and I miss working so much during the summer while we’re here, Claudia! One of these years we’re just going to jump in with your group for the parade!

  6. Hi Brenda,
    We’re not far from our visit arriving June 24 for that week. I’ve never seen you cover the Yacht Club on your blog. Would you like to come down for a visit one day and I’ll show you around?

  7. Oh! Wow! Thank you again for great photos.

    And Happy Belated Birthday. I will be 65 on February 12, 2014. 2014 sounds unreal.

    I like the photos and the narrative too. Thanks!


    Sent from my iPad

  8. Ok, is it possible to be homesick for a place you’ve only been to once? And it was merely 2 short weeks ago?? I was just there, Bree, with Kathleen Eichler and a group of people learning to take better pictures…. It was my first time there, and I know I will be back …. just wish it were sooner than later… and I wish the lilacs and peonies had been more in bloom….. *sigh*… Looking forward to your next post!!!

    • Welcome Jackie! I heard about your group from Kathleen. Sorry you missed the Lilacs, but anytime on Mackinac is a good time!

  9. The lilacs look beautiful. I was excited to see that you had a photo from Monday. My husband and I got married on the island on June 10 in 2006 and we try to come back every year for our anniversary. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it back this year, so it’s nice to be able to have a glimpse of the island from our special day. Enjoy those lovely lilacs while they last!

  10. Love those dark purple lilacs. I would love to have that color in my yard. We visited the Chuckwagon for the first time last year and sat at the same table! It was great food! Us Michigan folks would love to come up more often….it’s just unfortunate that our great state has one of the highest gas prices in the country right now. I hope it doesn’t hurt the Michigan tourism this year.

    • I know, Karen, the gas prices are terrible right now. That’s another good thing about living on a vehicle-free island!

  11. Loved all the lilac photos….but the lilac colored tub with various shades of purple flowers is my favorite. Thanks

  12. The lilacs look beautiful. Can’t wait till Sundays pictures, and to hear all about the parade. Those darker colored ones are really pretty. They go fast here in Ohio.

  13. Hi Brenda! We are still on the Island. Would really like to meet you. My cell phone is 609-970-6556. We have seen Jill, we see her every year we come 😊, but would like to meet the face behind the blog I so enjoy! Please call if you will be downtown, we are staying at the Lakeview. Evi Tremain

    • Hi Evi! How much longer are you going to be on the island? I for sure won’t get down this evening, but will probably get down sometime tomorrow.

      Sent from my iPhone

  14. Our nieces & nephews were so excited to see their picture on the website! Thanks again for taking the time to meet with us. It was also great to see Bookstore Jill. She is so fun! The lilac pictures are great. The kids also loved seeing Hershey!

    Mary asked if you would be interested in the Yacht race coverage. I would love interior pictures of a yacht. I walk by the marina and always curious what they look like inside.

    Have a great week and enjoy Lilac Festival!

    • They’re actually all sailboats, Yvonne, and built for speed, not luxury. I’ve often wondered why it’s called the “yacht” races. I need to research that!

      Are y’all back home? Jill and I were just saying tonight that we hadn’t seen you downtown the last couple of days.

      By the way, you have awesome nieces and nephews – beautiful and handsome – every one.

      Sent from my iPhone

  15. Sorry we missed meeting up with you….our stay at the Bicycle Inn was lovely….we stopped in at the Stuart and did some sightseening…we’ll be back in September …we’re doing the bridge ride…hopefully can can meet up! hugs

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