Mackinac Arrival . . . and What I’ve Missed 7/19/16

We’re here!

When you top that little rise and see the Mackinac Bridge towers for the first time, you know you've almost arrived!

When we topped that little rise around 1 pm Monday afternoon and saw the Mackinac Bridge towers for the first time, we knew we were almost there!

A few minutes later, Ted and a Shepler dock worker began the process of unloading the mountain of luggage and supplies we’d brought, and I walked into the main office to arrange three months parking for the truck and purchase a book of tickets.  The young lady working the desk was new to me, but she started all the paperwork we needed quickly (so we could catch the 1:30 ferry), and Maddie and I watched the comings and goings of ferry passengers through the door. We’d only been waiting a moment when a Shepler employee I knew came through the door, gave me a big hug, and welcomed me “home”.  Then he proceeded to tell me how much he and his wife still enjoy the blog and how – just that morning – he’d given a passenger my blog address.  He said the lady was leaving the island and was upset she had to go.  It was her first visit, and she had fallen in love with Mackinac.  So he told her about Bree’s Blog and said, “Look it up.  You’ll find out all the news, and you’ll feel like you’re on the island again!”

I loved that!

We rode the new Shepler ferry, the Miss Margy, over to the island.  What an awesome boat she is, with all kinds of upgrades in seating and the ease of riding on the first level without descending any steps!  It was our first time aboard the Miss Margy, and we look forward to many more passages back and forth on her this year and for years to come.

My heart was about to sail out of my chest as we passed the bridge and turned toward the island.

My heart was about to sail out of my chest as we passed the bridge and turned toward the island.

Jill (and her brother Mark and niece Ashlynn, who are visiting) met us at the ferry dock.  After lots of hugs, we started toward Main Street, only to find Buz and Patty (the couple from Oklahoma who bought a unit in our condo complex after a chance meeting with Bear and I aboard a ferry years ago).  They had been on the island for a summer visit and had told us they were leaving last Friday to go home.  It turns out that was a little white lie.  They stayed to welcome us back and spend a few days catching up.  We were so excited to see them – I squealed like a 10-year-old when I saw Patty standing there!  The whole crowd came to the condo with us and stayed until all our luggage arrived on the dray.  Then they helped carry it inside and up the stairs.


Thank you so much, Buz and Patty, for the great surprise!

Sweet Ashlyn took Maddie on a walk while we got all our stuff inside.

Sweet Ashlynn took Maddie on a walk while we got all our stuff inside.

Jill had to go to work, but Buz, Patty, Ted and I went out to dinner (the Pink Pony, of course) a little later in the evening.  Another splendid Mackinac Island welcome!

After dinner, as Ted and I walked home, we stopped to chat with a few folks and take in the beautiful evening..

All the boats in the Port Huron to Mackinac race were safely in and crowded into the marina. Such a colorful, exciting event, and next week it will happen all over again as the Chicago to Mackinac race begins!

All the boats in the Port Huron to Mackinac race were safely in and crowded into the marina. Such a colorful, exciting event, and next week it will happen all over again as the Chicago to Mackinac Race begins!

A beautiful array of clouds over Fort Mackinac as dusk settles over the island.

A beautiful array of clouds over Fort Mackinac, as dusk settles over the island.

We didn’t even turn the TV on after we got back to the condo – bed was the only thing on our minds.  We were TIRED.  We fell asleep to the sound of horses hooves clip-clopping down the street outside the windows, which were open to a lovely breeze.  Very peaceful sleep.


We took our coffee out on the deck this morning and sat in the rocking chairs to watch the island awake.

We took our coffee out on the deck this morning and sat in the rocking chairs to watch the island awake.

I love the sounds of Mackinac.  I closed my eyes and just listened as I sipped coffee and rocked.  Here’s what I heard.

Birds – so many birds singing.  I’d forgotten how much music they can make (I love the cry of the gulls at the beach, but we don’t have song birds where we are – or at least very few), each species with a different melody.  Sometimes they sound like they’re in harmony, sometimes like they’re competing for the ear-piercing award, and sometimes their melody is so sweet and fragile it takes your breath.

Tires – Bicycle tires, burley tires, stroller tires, taxi tires, dray tires.  They all make different sounds as they either whir quickly along, or gently scratch the road as they pass.

Horses – hooves, jingling reins and harnesses, an occasional scuffing snort or a high-pitched neigh to an approaching horse.  Horses make this island work.  I love them.

Adult People – Visitors shuffling along on the way to breakfast somewhere close by, quietly chatting, ready for that first cup of coffee.  Island residents and workers, calling “good morning” across the street to each other, or as they meet on the sidewalk.  Taxi drivers and dray drivers clucking to their horses.

Children – The picture of happiness and gleeful laughter as they take in their surroundings and all the things they don’t normally see on the streets at home.

Ferries – Horns blowing as they approach the harbor.

Freighters – Blowing a salute to the island.

Bagpipes – Bagpipes? At first I thought I was imagining it, but Ted and I both definitely heard bagpipes!  And we had NOT doctored our coffee with anything stronger than half-and-half.

I heard all this – just rocking with my eyes closed this morning and sipping coffee.  And I realized, even more than before I arrived, how much I have missed it all.

The gentleman with the bagpipe. As we walked downtown later in the morning we heard his music again and found him walking up and down between the sailboats, playing beautiful Scottish melodies - both merry and haunting.

The gentleman with the bagpipe (in the middle of the group in foreground). As we walked downtown later in the morning we heard his music again and found him walking up and down the docks  between the sailboats – playing beautiful Scottish melodies, some merry and some quietly haunting.

Island beauty

Island beauty

In the next three months it’s going to be my pleasure to bring you stories and photographs from my “heart’s home.”  The magic of Mackinac awaits – I can’t wait to once again share it with you.

Thank you for each safe travel prayer you lifted.

God bless.


44 thoughts on “Mackinac Arrival . . . and What I’ve Missed 7/19/16

  1. So happy you are safe and sound on the island. Wish I were back there again. Since I can’t be I will be happy reading about your fun and time on the island.

  2. I’m so happy you made it. Last night, I made the reservations for the girls’ weekend in September. I’m so excited for my friend to see the Island for the first time. I’m forwarding this to her.

      • I know. Jess went to the UP this and Mackinac this year and last year. Tess went to South Haven on vacation. All because I’ve shown the other two how much fun Michigan is. The Pure Michigan people should be giving us a kick back!

  3. So glad you made it to the Island safely. I can hardly wait to arrive in a couple of weeks. I wish we were staying for 3 months, but it will only be for 10 days.

  4. Ahhh….I feel such a sigh of relief….I know that sounds really weird…..but for some reason I think you’ll understand Brenda…..

  5. Oh, I know how you feel – and I can hardly wait until September 29! We’ll be up for a long weekend, and hope to see you and Ted and Maddie briefly sometime that weekend. Enjoy the dickens out of your stay! I know you can do it. 🙂

  6. So glad you made it safe and sound. I think about the island every day but more today as I celebrate my wedding anniversary. 15 years ago today married on our favorite, magical island. I was happy you posted something (I knew you would) especially today. It was a wonderful gift, so thank you!

  7. I can tell you are really “home” – it is reflected in your writing! I could sense your joy waking up that first morning…..nothing better than the clip clop of those horses. Can’t wait to read your adventures for the next few months. Glad you arrived safely. ENJOY!

  8. Thanks. I needed that!! Glad you’re there and I can live vicariously on Mackinac with you!! We were there June 14 -15 and had our first cold, wind, and rain after 10 times on the island. Although, it was great to see that life goes on even in bad weather!! Still loved it!!

  9. So glad you arrived safely. Would you please post a report on Molly. I am so concerned about her health issues. Enjoy!

    • I will do that, Mary Ellen, as soon as I speak with her. We are going to be “backyard” neighbors when we move up the hill into another condo in three weeks!


  10. So happy you’re content in your heart home ..
    It is such a lovely post… when my Allen gets in from patients, I’m going to have him read it aloud to me so I may see, hear, smell, and taste this post! It will bring us to the island with out the drive. Rest well and enjoy the early sunrise in the morning!

  11. Brenda,

    I really enjoyed your description of the early morning sounds on the Island. Brings it all back for me and makes me realize how I didn’t fully appreciate being there when I was a teenager. Nostalgia is such a wonderful sentiment. Thank you for helping. Wonderful blog and so glad you’re on the Island. I know you’ll enjoy every minute.

  12. Welcome back! In the summer I live on the tunnel of trees. I tried looking you up just before you moved; with no luck. You are on my bucket list! I don’t leave many replies on your blog but… before I ran across your blog I had been on the Island and I saw Ted riding his bike and I thought to myself… this guy looks like a local! A few weeks later I read your blog and there he was… the guy on the bike. LOL I am hoping to “find” you both this summer. Enjoy!!

    • Oh my gosh – that is hilarious, Dianne! Love the tunnel of trees – especially in the fall (except for the traffic)! What an awesome place to live! Let me know when you’ll be on the island. We have an unbelievable number of visitors coming this summer, so getting together might be a challenge – but we’ll work on it – maybe ice cream at Sadie’s!


  13. How exciting for you and Ted to be back on Mackinac Island. Look forward to reading about your adventures.

  14. Thank you, Brenda, for taking the time to share Mackinac Island with all of us! Your pictures are wonderful, but your words of love for this special place, touch my heart! God’s blessing on you during this time of peace at your happy place!

  15. Welcome home. Your beautiful description of the sights and sounds of our island make me want to be there right now. It will be one more month before we arrive. Bette Ann and I hope to meet up with you in late August. Our treat at the Pink Pony for lunch. Take it all in, keep writing and sharing your adventures for all of us.
    Paul Wright

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