Mackinac Island – the tourist destination – is shutting down. When the Grand Hotel rings its closing bell on Monday morning and hundreds of Grand employees fill the ferries with their accumulated summer gear, the season will officially be over.
Tuesday was “cover the gray day” at my St. Ignace hair salon – Leroy’s. Returning to the island, I took a few minutes to wander the almost empty streets and pop in and out of a few shops.
October is sales month on the Island, and shops like Nephew’s on Mackinac – packed full of beautiful ladies’ and mens’ clothing in the summer months – are down to bare or almost bare shelves.
Market Street was pretty empty also . . .
. . . and The Town Crier box awaited a refill.
Our skies have pretty much looked like this for the last few days . . .
. . . but my camera loves this kind of light.
As I topped the hill at Four Corners, I got lucky. Some of the last horses were leaving the big barns.
These three and their leader appeared to be in a celebratory mood as they made their way to the ferry.
Many of the taxis are already off the streets, and next week we’ll be down to only one.
Is there any other place where horse-drawn taxis, moving down roads lined in colorful trees, can bring such a strong sense of bygone days . . .
. . . or where a solitary buggy, sitting beside an empty corral, can look so lonely?
Even the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory sign at the end of our yard has been removed.
On Wednesday, Ted and I went down the hill to ship more boxes. Somehow Ted strapped three HUGE boxes onto a small rolling cart and managed to get them all the way to the post office without tipping it over. After that we ran a few errands and ended up at the Seabiscuit for lunch.
Nancy, our favorite “hostess with the mostest,” is the cutest and most energetic little lady I have ever met! We love her!
We walked home via the boardwalk . . .
. . . and watched the clouds roll in.
Walking past our normal turns and past the end of the boardwalk, we turned into the woods and came out at the pool house of the Grand Hotel.
Needless to say, the Grand Hotel pool looks a little forlorn with no water.
The storm clouds had moved behind the Grand by the time we arrived there.
These look like two trees of the same species to me. But how can they be when one has turned a beautiful buttery yellow and the other remains green as a grasshopper?
Workers were just finishing the planting of tulip bulbs . . .
. . . and by the time we got a couple of hills from our condo, it started hailing.
These little pellets really sting when they hit your face!
Jill and I left on the 11 a.m. boat,. Bear had a grooming appointment in Alanson and then we were meeting Sue Conlon in Petoskey for lunch. Poor Bear. He never gets any attention on Shepler’s ferries!
The three of us spent two hours at The Side Door Saloon, laughing so hard we could barely find time to eat. Oh my gosh, we had fun! Here we were trying to take a photo of ourselves with my iPhone. Jill is holding it at arms length, and we can see ourselves in the screen, which for some reason we found hilariously funny.
After picking Bear up from the groomers, we hightailed it back to Mackinaw City to catch the 5:30 boat.
Jill was riding shotgun so she was able to take some photos out the windows. Although the rain and wind we’ve had all week have stripped away a lot of the leaves, it was still a beautiful ride.
I wish we’d had time to turn down this dirt road and explore.
In between rain showers, a huge rainbow appeared . . .
. . . stretching for what seemed like miles across the fields and over the trees.
A FEW EXTRAS
Molly, a tour driver for Gough’s, took this photo through the back window of her carriage this week. The plastic flap made the pic look more like a watercolor than a photograph. Scary looking sky!
First Shepler ferry of the morning. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)
In the week before the Grand closes, an air of anticipation begins to grow among the true Islanders, the men and women and children who live here year-round. When the last seasonal employee has been ferried across the Straits of Mackinac, the 400 or so folks who have resided here for generations breathe a contended sigh and go back to a way of life few non-islanders will ever known. The island is all theirs then, a beautiful paradise where they will enjoy whatever the winter brings. If the weather is bad enough, they can live for days isolated from the mainland. It is a hard life, but one they would never dream of leaving.
I envy them the peace they find on this island in the winter. One day, good Lord willing, I’d still love to share that peace with them.