Being on Mackinac for a few days refueled my engines in so many ways. First, it got me away from the oven that Florida has become in the last week or two. Although the thermometer just topped 90 today for the first time this summer, the humidity makes it feel infinitely hotter. Bear and Maddie can’t even take their normal walks out to the intracoastal dock anymore because the wood on the walk-over is too hot for their paws. They just put on their brakes and refuse to move. So – I was more than delighted to dig out a sweater and jacket for the island highs – only in the 60’s!
Second, it was wonderful to see so many island friends! On Mackinac you can hardly turn a corner without seeing someone you know, so we spent a lot of time catching up on a year’s worth of news.
And third – for me – it was a homecoming. No matter where else we go, I believe Mackinac is always going to be my ultimate destination on this earth. The island recharges my spirit in some unfathomable way that defies explanation. I feel energized when I’m there – able to climb hills, walk miles and miles, leap small buildings in a single bound – well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but you get my drift.
After meeting with Stefanie on Monday morning and getting a tour of beautiful Stonecliffe, I grabbed the shuttle to town, planning to meet up with Ted, who had already borrowed a Stonecliffe bike and was out exploring. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that I’ve been having some back issues for a couple of weeks, so biking was out of the question for me on this trip.
Since this was the noon shuttle, a stop at the barns for a team change was on the schedule.
Cadotte Avenue over a horse’s back!
My first stop was The Island Bookstore. Jill was out on an errand, but Tamara and Emma were there – all smiles! Coming into that store is like opening a door to a favorite room in your home . . . familiar, comfortable, cozy – and filled with folks you can’t help but love.
I found Ted, who had left his bike up at the Fort Mackinac offices (on the back side of the fort). The plan was to walk up and get his bike, and he’d walk/bike with me back to Stonecliffe. There was music playing in Marquette Park (it was Lilac Festival Week, and there were all kinds of activities going on). This lady was videoing her husband dancing in front of the lilacs. The man had some serious moves . . . so cute!
A broader view of Marquette Park and all the lilac trees.
One good thing about living in a two-story house is that you get a good dose of aerobic activity each day, and that comes in handy on Mackinac! I usually have to stop several times going up the ramp in front of the fort, but this time it was a relatively easy climb – and the higher you go, the better the view!
One view from the ramparts of Fort Mackinac, looking across Marquette Park out to the Straits . . .
. . . and another looking straight down Main Street.
We walked through the fort and over to the State Park office, where we picked up Ted’s bike. Our trip back to Stonecliffe was over ground so familiar we could have both navigated it blindfolded.
One leg took us past the Surrey Ridge Carriage Museum.
. . . . where carriages filled with excited visitors pull up and empty. The visitors spend time looking at the vintage carriages, checking out the shops (lots of sweatshirt sales that day), and grabbing a snack. Then they board a larger carriage out back for a narrated ride to most of the island’s main tourist attractions.
The woods we passed through were lush with vegetation. Although the trillium was mostly gone . . .
. . . the Lady Slippers were still blooming in several areas.
And then, of course, there were the lilacs!
We spent Tuesday morning hiking around the Stonecliffe area and enjoying the cool weather. I wrote another blog that morning, and early in the afternoon Ted left for town. The annual Community Foundation celebration was that evening in Turtle Park, and Ted had volunteered to help cook (something he did for several years when we had our condo). Around 4 p.m. I set out on foot for Turtle Park, hoping I’d get to see friend Denise at Surrey Ridge. Sure enough she was there, and we had a great visit!
The Community Foundation celebration is always a great event, and we got to visit with many of our friends from the “Village” – where our condo was located.
Ted rode the dray back to town with the cooking crew, and I set off hiking back to Stonecliffe, walking down trails that we’d use practically every day in our summers there. I’d stop occasionally and just take in the sounds of the birds and the wind rustling through the trees. I love the Mackinac woods more than any other part of the island. It’s in those woods I find the peace that makes the island so special to me.
I came out once again at Surrey Ridge and paused long enough to snap a photo of the Grand Hotel stable . . .
. . . and the horse corral nearby – larger now than it was a couple of years ago.
And . . . for the first time since we sold . . . I was able to look up the hill and photograph our condo without shedding tears. Ok, ok . . . maybe just one or two.
Our last full day on the island was Wednesday, and that story is coming soon. But first, tune in Sunday for one more post about Stonecliffe – its hidden nooks and crannies and what goes on behind the scenes to ensure your stay is perfect!