The Surprise That Almost Was 2/18/16

Guess what’s coming to Mackinac Island this summer?  Sushi Grand! 

That’s right, Grand Hotel is opening the island’s one and only Sushi Restaurant next to The Gate House at the bottom of Grand hill.  It will be a made to order sushi restaurant for dine-in and take-out.  Once again, Grand interior designer Carleton Varney of Dorothy Draper and Co. in New York will be working his magic.  The ceiling will feature a hand painted stylized map of Asia, and Japanese conical straw hat light fixtures will hang over the sushi bar.  The overall décor will be gold with red accents, and the countertops will be black marble.  The walls will be a custom gilt wallpaper with an ink bamboo trelliswork design overlay, and the floor texture will resemble a wading pool. The restaurant will open in May, 2016!


Due to ice in the Straits, the Mighty Huron was unable to run over the weekend, and on Monday morning island workers arrived by air for the first time this winter.

Due to ice in the Straits, the Mighty Huron was unable to run over the weekend, and on Monday morning island workers arrived by air for the first time this winter.

A TomChambers photograph of the setting sun reflecting off St. Anne's late on Valentine's Day.

A Tom Chambers photograph of the setting sun reflecting off St. Anne’s late on Valentine’s Day.

That same afternoon Clark Bloswick captured the sun reflecting off

That same afternoon Clark Bloswick captured the sun reflecting off the snow pack on the north end of the island.

Wow . . . . from All Things Mackinac Facebook Page

Wow . . . . from Greg Main.


Three photos in sequence of last night's sunset from our second floor deck.

Three photos in sequence of last night’s sunset from our second floor deck.


Yes - I still pinch myself that I get to see sunsets like this now - just by looking out the back door.

I still pinch myself that I get to see scenes like this –  just by looking out the back door.


For about four months I’ve been putting together the best surprise ever for Ted’s birthday.

Back in November I started planning  a surprise trip to Alaska – something Ted and I have always talked about doing, but have never gotten around to booking.  In May, 2017 Ted will turn 70, and I thought, “What a great way to celebrate!”  I was going to plan the whole thing, and on May 5 of that year I’d present him with a beautifully wrapped gift containing . . . . two tickets to Alaska.  Oh my gosh, I was so excited!

My head was FULL of ideas and plans.  What about Maddie and Bear?  I’d book Lily, our pet/house sitter.  What about Ted’s volunteer job??  I’d call his boss and tell him that although Ted THOUGHT he’d be working in May, there would be two Tuesdays he wouldn’t show up.  What about paying for it?  With some creative budgeting (and well over a year to pinch pennies), I thought I could pull it off.  The kids were all in on it.

I contacted Mackinac Island friend Kay Berke, who with husband Larry are the co-founders of Royal Travel & Tours in DeKalb, Illinois.  They have over 43 years experience in the travel industry, and I knew we’d be in good hands.

Kay and I have been texting and emailing back and forth like crazy, and I was VERY careful to transfer all Kay’s emails into a separate folder.  I didn’t want Ted to glance at my phone one day and see a line of messages in my Inbox from Kay labeled “Alaska”.  Oh, I was so clever!

So.  As I mentioned the other night, I emailed some photos to Cathie of her little dog Gypsy and also some photos of her sweet husband Charlie.  The next morning, as we were having coffee, Ted asked to see the photos I sent Cathie, and I handed him my phone.  He said, “I’ll have to go to your “Sent” box, won’t I, to pull up the photos?”

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, I knew the surprise would never happen.  He clicked on the “Sent” box, and there – just below the email to Cathie -were about 10 emails to Kay marked “Alaska”.  You see, although I moved Kay’s EMAILS TO ME into a separate folder, I forgot to move MY EMAILS TO HER into the same folder.

And, of course, Ted said, “What are all these emails to Kay about Alaska?”

I burst out crying.

They say what makes surprises so beautiful is that they come without waiting – Ted would have gotten to enjoy that part of it.  And I would have enjoyed the planning, but perhaps not the waiting.  So, maybe it’s best that it worked out this way.  After a few days of disappointment, I’m laughing about it now.  And Ted has told me it’s the sweetest surprise he’s ALMOST ever received.

The trip is still on – eleven days (4 over-land and a 7-day cruise).  We are VERY excited!



18 thoughts on “The Surprise That Almost Was 2/18/16

  1. You will have an amazing time even without the surprise. There is nothing like Alaska!! (We’ve been 5 times and the land tour was actually my favorite). Just like there is nothing like Mackinac. Have a fabulous time and you better charge up several camera batteries. LOL.

  2. Woohoo so exciting! I’ve heard Alaska is beautiful!! I’ve been telling Bud I want to go to Hawaii next year, don’t know if it’s going to happen but I’m working on it 🙂

  3. Beautiful sunset pictures from Fl. What a wonderful 70th birthday gift for Ted, doesn’t matter that it’s no longer a surprise.

  4. Beautiful pictures. I have never been able to surprise Jerry either. But I have to say there is a sense of relief when it’s finally out in the open! We have friends who have been to Alaska and they say it is breathtaking! New England states in the fall are on our agenda for this year. The first time neither of us will be working ! So we can take our time!

  5. Beautiful pictures as always. Thank you. So sorry about the surprise 😦 on the up side you & Ted can research, read & plan together.

  6. Brenda,

    So Ted got his surprise a little early. It was still a surprise, and just think of all the wonderful anticipation he would have missed by not knowing about the trip until over a year from now.

    Thank you for posting the beautiful pictures that you have taken, and also thank you to the photographers on Mackinac Island.

  7. I agree with Lowell. In fact, I can’t remember a time when I did not! Glad you can laugh about it now. And he was surprised!

  8. Brenda, you still surprised Ted! Just a little earlier than you had planned. And what a great surprise!! Thanks for sharing the sunsets! I am sure they were even lovelier in person!

  9. I love the fact that you came up with such a creative b’day present for Ted. Now he will get the joy of that surprise every day till it actually happens. It’s all good. Love the pictures from your deck and the island. NEVER give a man your cell phone!

  10. We went to Alaska for my Dad’s 70th birthday.
    If you get a chance to see Husky Homestead or the Seavey’s kennel, take it. While many will claim to be by people who’ve run the Iditarod, these are two of the champions.

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