Slowing Down 10/24/2013

Hi friends!

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

Ted and I have been

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 Mackinac, and shops like Nephews - packed full of beautiful ladies and mens' clothing

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

Market Street was pretty empty also . . .

. . . and The Town Crier box awaits a refill.

. . . and The Town Crier box awaited a refill.

Our skies have pretty much looked like this for the last few days.

Our skies have pretty much looked like this for the last few days . . .

. . . but my camera loves this kind of light

. . . 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.

As I topped the hill at Four Corners, I got lucky. Some of the last horses were leaving the big barns.

ggggg

These three and their leader appeared to be in a celebratory mood as they made their way to the ferry.

A lot of the taxis are already off the streets, and next week we'll be down to only one.

Many of the taxis are already off the streets, and next week we’ll be down to only one.

As I watch the few taxis still working move through the streets lined in

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.

. . . or where a solitary buggy, sitting beside an empty corral, can look so lonely?

Even the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Exhibit sign at the end of our yard has been removed.

Even the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory sign at the end of our yard has been removed.

WEDNESDAY

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.

Our favorite "hostess with the mostest" - Nancy, the cutest little lady I have ever met!

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

We walked home via the boardwalk . . .

. . . and watched the clouds roll in

. . . and watched the clouds roll in.

IMG_9417

IMG_9422

We decided to walk past our normal turns and walk to the end of the boardwalk, then a little further to turn into the woods and come out at the poolhouse of the Grand Hotel.

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.

Needless to say, the Grand Hotel pool looks a little forlorn with no water.

gg

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

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 planting tulip bulbs.

Workers were just finishing the planting of tulip bulbs . . .

ddd

. . . 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!

These little pellets really sting when they hit your face!

THURSDAY

Jill and I left on the 11 a.m. boat today.  Bear had a grooming appointment, and then we were meeting Sue Conlon in Petoskey for lunch.  Poor Bear.  He never gets any attention on Shepler's ferries!

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 laughing so hard we could barely find time to eat.  Oh my gosh, we had fun!

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.

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.

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.

I wish we’d had time to turn down this dirt road and explore.

In between rain showers, a huge rainbow appeared . . .

In between rain showers, a huge rainbow appeared . . .

. . . stretching for what seemed like miles across the fields.

. . . 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 photo look more like a watercolor than a photograph.

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)

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.

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42 thoughts on “Slowing Down 10/24/2013

  1. Wow, just when I think you couldn’t top a previous post you manage to do it again. This one really touched my heart, describing the end of a summer season as we begin to enter the long winter months. i only got one trip to the island this year, tried to make it in October but busy schedule prevented it. At least I have the blog to bring it home for me. Thanks for doing it again with another wonderful blog for us to visit.

  2. Wow Brenda you did it again. what a great post! Loved all the pictures as I always do and as usual made me want to be there even if the weather is getting cold…(it’s cold here too!) It was so good to be there a couple weeks ago and to get some hugs from Alyssa…sure do miss her…say hi to her whenever you see her…please!! Enjoy your last few days of the season….keep us posted on your plans!! Thanks Brenda!!

  3. Thanks for “taking us” on a journey we might never have been able to go on alone! I’ll always be grateful to you!!!!

  4. Brenda, I haven’t told you often enough how much I have appreciated and enjoyed your Blog. I can not Imagine how many hours you have put into writing it . (You probably can’t either). The number of new friends you have made is mind boggling , how wonderful for Mackinac and all your readers that you made the Island your summer home. We are praying for you and Ted for what ever the future holds…Your friendship has been a blessing!!
    Safe travels To Georgia, maybe we will see you there.
    🎃Happy Halloween🎃🎃
    Bonnie & Don

    • Bonnie, becoming YOUR friend is one of my favorite blessings of my time on Mackinac. You and Don are such a special couple, and Ted and I love you both. Thank you for your prayers, and I have a feeling you’ll be seeing more of us on the island in the coming years than you might think! Hugs and love to you both, and come on down to Georgia. Our door will always swing wide for the two of you.

  5. Brenda,

    The yellow tree and the green tree look like Tamaracks (American Larch). Although they look like they are evergreens, they are not. The needles turn yellow in the Fall and are shed by the trees.

    Did you know that I was born near East Tawas, Michigan in the old Greene Schoolhouse on a road that looked very much like that road you would liked to have explored on your trip to Alanson?

    I don’t think Bear could go any place where he couldn’t get all the attention he would want. He is such a likable dog. How could anyone keep their hands off of him?

    I love the cloudy Fall days and I’m glad you got so many pictures of them. It’s especially beautiful when the sunbeams shine between the clouds and illuminate the colored leaves with the dark cloudy background.

    Please enjoy these last few days.

    Apparently you & Ted weren’t able to spend a night at the Silver Birches. I’m sure it’s closed now for the season.

    Hello to Jill and Ted.

    • Lowell, there just wasn’t a night we could all make it happen at Silver Birches – we tried though. Maybe NEXT summer!

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

  6. You have so beautifully captured the Mackinac I love! Roller-skating behind Mission House, running in the woods with the wind whipping up the leaves, sitting by the Franklin stove in the living room at Small Point, drinking hot cocoa. And yes, it does get quiet. I remember half the school disappeared the first week of the hunting season!

  7. Oh Brenda! What ever am I (and your other faithful readers) going to do without our 3-times per week Mackinac Island FIX? We have learned more about the Island thru your blog than in all the previous years of visiting the Island before and during the years our children worked up there, I know I have thanked you before, but can’t say it too many times. THANK YOU!

    • Well said! My heart aches to be there with every new post. God bless you in your last bit of time and safe travels. Thanks for sharing your heart and love of the island with all of us dreamers.

    • Joanne, the best gift Mackinac has given me is your daughter. God threw away the mold when He created Jill, one of the sweetest and most loyal women I’ve ever met. I am so blessed to have her in my life, and Ted feels the same way I do. She is family.

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

      • Joanne, we don’t know Jill as well as Brenda & Ted do, but we know her well enough to know that she is one of the wonderfully thoughtful ones in this world. Thank you for having such a daughter.

      • Absolutely Brenda, Jill is a fantastic friend.!!! Kind, considerate thoughtful = she is always thinking of others befor herself !!!
        She made my life on the Island so much better, she was there for me..💗 Thank you Jill💗

  8. Although I don’t comment much, I truly enjoy reading your stories and viewing your BEAUTIFUL pictures!!! I really hope to get to return for a visit to the island next year!!!
    Continued prayers for you and Ted..and your doggies….for safe travels back home, and in your future adventures!!
    God Bless!

  9. You have outdone yourself again, Bree. This was a wonderful post. Have spent plenty of time UPnorth with the weather looking like that.honestly, I love it. Enjoy the little time you have left this season. Thanks for all the memories.

  10. Brenda,

    I don’t know how you do it, but you never fail to dazzle us every time you put out a new blog for us to read. Your photos are always the best and you know how to capture every frame just right.

    Hello to Ted and the hounds!

    Hope y’all have an awesome last weekend of the season. Talk to guys soon!

  11. Brenda, I am anxious to see you and Bear again although for some reason, I do not want you to leave the Island. What you have shared with us has been so joyous and beautiful and I know you and Ted, Maddie and Bear will return and share more of your wonderful experiences on the Island. Now I wish more than ever that I had taken your offer of visiting. You know I love the horses and so much more. My prayers are with you for a safe journey and we will welcome you all back to Southwest Georgia with open arms, big hugs, and lots of love. We do miss you. Betty and Paws Patrol.

  12. Loved the rainbow picture! I think we need a post about Jill…..would love to know more about her “Mackinac” story and how she ended up on the island. I did see Jill when we were up in Oct. walking down Market Street. I spotted her while we were on the porch of the Metevier Inn. I never saw her at the book store either time we visited this year. Love talking to her too!

  13. Well, now U have me crying again!! Beautiful photos and captions.
    Closing up is like taking someone to the airport or bus/train station and saying good-bye. All too emotional!!! The good thin g is that the residents will now have peace and quiet once again for another season! Love photo of U three gals together. U all look incredibly happy!! Bear looks very serene. So looking forward to your new posts about what is happening in the lower states. God Bless…have a safe trip home!

  14. Dear Bree,

    I hope I can comment on an older blog (April 25, 2013).

    Since I just “met” you (through your blog ) I knew there had to be a story somewhere about your next move, selling the Mackinac Island condo. I finally found it. It was so heart warming and brought tears to my eyes. I, like you, have always wanted to live on the Island, at least for a short time, but my husband, like yours, always came up with reasons why not to. You got your condo, I didn’t. LOL. My husband still takes me to Mackinac Island every year (so far) for 19 years. You were so fortunate to have your 5 years in the condo. Mackinac Island will always be there and there will always be a room to rent.

    Besides all your wonderful stories, your pictures are beautiful. I’m still catching up on your blogs. I’m still in 2009. You are living my dream and now I’m living my dream through you. I look forward to your trip (and mine) to the Island in 2014.

    Wishing you luck in selling your lake house and finding a new “nest” in Florida.

    PD

  15. Great photos! Felt like I was “home” again! I will be saving this one! Looking forward to your winter blog from Georgia. Have a safe trip home and I’m sending a hug to the “furbabies!

  16. Just love your photos! You always seem to capture just what I need to see. It will be nice for the local’s to have their island all to themselves soon. Have a fun weekend and hope your packing is almost done.

  17. This is the first time I have had a chance to read all the comments…..I am humbled at all the kind words.

    Always LOVE the blog & photos….nice to see thru your eyes. May it never end (even if you need a little help from your friends).

    • Jill,

      You certainly should have a very special blog written about you and there is no one better to do it than Brenda. Maybe she could explain how you can move from one place to another without being seen. Space travel? Must be.

  18. OMGoodness, how did I almost NOT see this blog. That’s what I get for not paying attention. Beautiful pictures as always Brenda and of course your words…well..what can I say. They always make me smile, or cry, or feel some kind of emotion when I read them. This one made me feel a little sad. Sad for myself mostly because it IS the end of the Season. I agree with what everyone else has said and I too agree we need a blog on JILL!! She is the sweetest and she does go way beyond to help other people out, including myself. So Thank You Jill for all you do.
    Good luck on your closing, hope all goes well. Lov ya!

  19. Great pictures. Jill makes a good photographer – even with the car moving! Oh yes and about the Jill story – great idea!
    Safe travels to all!!

  20. I stopped and admired Ginkgo trees in front/side of the Grand at the beginning of October…
    My own at home in Naperville seem to want to just drop their leaves this year and not bother with turning their leaves bright yellow.
    I hope that your days are filled with feelings of peace and eager anticipation for the future and not sadness.

  21. Thank you again for the wonderful pictures and words throughout this season on the Island. We were on the Island again Oct 20 & 21 and enjoyed the cool, beautiful days there. I looked for you on the street and went to the bookstore lookiing for Jill!! So, until next summer, I pray you will have a great trip to GA and have a wonderful winter there.

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