Counting Down to Home 10/2/16

Only two weeks left on Mackinac, and my thoughts are turning more and more toward home! The excitement is building daily as I think of picking up Bodie in Atlanta and getting back to family and friends – these two weeks will fly by!

But – before all that – we’ve got Jason, his girlfriend Jen, and her little boy Alex arriving on the island on Thursday, and we are over the moon excited about that!  It will be Jen and Alex’s first Mackinac visit, and we’re praying for good weather and more fall colors.  The really fun thing is they’re not telling Alex (who is seven) where he’s going (this is his Fall break).  They’re just getting on a plane Thursday morning, and when he gets off in Pellston, we’ll be there to meet them (he thinks we’re in Florida).  We can’t wait to see his face when we arrive on Mackinac, and he’s greeted by no cars and horses racing up and down the corral outside the windows!  What fun!

In the meantime, Ted and I have been busy this week, and the weather has been great!  Here’s some photos of what we’ve been up to:


Meeting blog readers always makes my day! This sweet couple, Neil and Erica, hailed me at the four corners intersection as Jill and I were walking down to the school Wednesday morning for International Day.  They’re from Illinois, and I believe it was Erica’s birthday (found that out later on Facebook).  Happy Belated Birthday, Erica!


A sure sign that it’s Fall.  An open gate to a turn-out behind the West Bluff tells us the horse normally here has already left the island for down-state.


One of those seemingly never-changing photos.  Sweet George making one of his many daily trips on Grand Hill to pick up a dray to be transported somewhere else on the island.  (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)


Work continues on the paving of Main Street.  This has been a beautifully synchronized project, with most of the work being done at night. 


The project was divided into segments of road. First a night was spent preparing each segment, and the next night that segment was paved.  The weather cooperating helped a lot!  (Two night photos by Jill Sawatzki)


Newly paved section of Main Street looks great!


On Wednesday, Ted and I had lunch at Mary’s Bistro with our Little Stone Church minister and his wife, Fred and Mary Zobel.  Today was Fred’s last Sunday as our minister, and in the years ahead, he and Mary plan to travel and enjoy friends and family all across the country.  After lunch Ted and I walked home the long way – heading west on the Boardwalk.


For some reason, I’ve always been fascinated by Cattails.  I know they can be a nuisance plant in some artificial landscapes, but left to Mother Nature they stand out as an unusual and distinctive plant.  That velvety “tail” is actually the Cattail’s  flower.  Did you know that every part of this plant is edible, and humans have found uses (besides food) for other parts.  They’ve been used for rush bottom furniture, baskets and mats, and the downy seeds have been used to stuff pillows and mattresses.  During World War II the seeds were used to stuff life jackets.


There are stairs leading to the West Bluff from M-185 (Lakeshore Drive) – 205 stairs to be exact.  After approximately half of those, you walk along a cliff to the next set of steps and can see carriages and cyclists below.


The next set . . .


. . . (I swear it seemed like more than 205 in all) . . .


. . . brings you to the top and an incredible view!  There are 15 landings along the way, so you can stop and rest if you need to.  Yes, I needed to!


We wandered behind the West Bluff cottages, chatted with a few horses (this one was certain Ted had horse treats in his pocket) . . .


. . . and found a few more hints of Autumn between this horse’s ears.


Walking home after dinner in town Friday evening – past the beautiful and Halloween-decorated Cloghaun Bed & Breakfast . . .


. . . and Grand Hotel.


On Saturday I met long-time blog reader Barbara Blem and her husband Roger for the dedication of a plaque memorializing Mackinac College, which Barbara attended.  There was only one graduating class (in 1970), and there were 30 students in that class. 


The plaque was dedicated 50 years to the day from the College’s inaugural in 1966.  Around 18 former students attended the ceremony, which included viewing the College recruitment film.  The graduates also were given a tour of Silver Birches, arranged by Liz Ware.  Silver Birches was once part of the College campus, as was Stonecliffe.


The plaque will hang by the west entrance to the Arts Council Theatre, where there is also a Mackinac College Memorial Garden with plantings in the College colors of blue and green.  Thanks so much, Barbara, for inviting me to this event!


Walking my bike up the hill later in the morning, I noticed the first fallen leaves on the Jewel Golf Course’s green grass.


These brightly colored Mums and the faint touch of gold in some of the trees are still just hinting at what is to come.


I parked my bike for a moment in the archway leading to the Jockey Club and shot the flowerbeds of Grand Hotel through the arch.  Just wondering when those flowers will disappear magically overnight and the next morning will find gardeners busily planting tulip bulbs!

Stay tuned in the next couple of days for a follow-up story on the little Beagle, Murph-E, who was adopted from a research lab facility two years ago by island residents Jennifer and Kirby King. What a remarkable turn-around he has made – from living five years in a cage and never touching grass – to his loving home now on beautiful Mackinac Island.


You are going to love this one!!

God bless.























21 thoughts on “Counting Down to Home 10/2/16

  1. Loved the fall pictures all around the Island. Now I know how you two stay in such good shape. When you mentioned you were taking the long way home by way of the boardwalk, all I could think of were those stairs leading up to the trail by the West Bluff…WOW! I’m impressed and I thought just walking up the hill by the Grand was a big adventure for me.
    So excited that Jason, Jen and Alex are coming to visit. Alex is going to absolutely LOVE hiking around the island trails and seeing all the horses. I sure do hope you have sunny, dry weather while they’re here.
    Enjoy the remainder of your island visit!! ❤️ Joleen

  2. I always learn something new from your blog. I am glad to see the leaves are not turning much. We will be there the week of the 10th. There are a few leaves turning here in Wisconsin but not many. I got tired reading about your long walk home. It certainly was a long walk!

  3. Oh, Brenda – thanks for the write up! I’d love to have been one of the graduates, but was only one of the third-year attendees. Besides, being a grad would make me 3 years older!! Liz Ware did indeed OK our visit to Silver Birches, but Kate from the Mission Point (our old campus) Complex who took us up ladders and through the buildings. Oh, my, is that going to be a gorgeous place! One of the graduates who came had actually lived in the farm house closest to the road. Lots of good memories being exchanged this weekend. For someone who usually takes the photo, you sure posted a large one of me! A few stragglers are left this evening and all will be gone by tomorrow noon. But we’ll be back with more people next year! Special thanks for coming cross island to see me and the films. Loved meeting you. For everyone else, she’s prettier and more petite than you imagine, with a sweet Georgia tang to her speech. Altogether lovely!

    • Thanks for those corrections, Barbara! I’ll go back and make them in the story also. Oh my goodness, I have never been called “petite” in my whole life – that made my year!!! I loved that pic of you, Barbara – wanted to use one of you and your hubby together, but you had your eyes closed in one, and I didn’t like how the background turned out in the other one. My bad. Loved meeting all of you! What an interesting group you are! Safe travels home and hope to see y’all again next year!

  4. Wonderful. Love all the pictures. One of these days I would try the 205 steps up to the West Bluff. Can’t wait for the blog when Alex finds out he is arriving on the Island! 😉

  5. Brenda I cannot wait to hear he story of Murph-E…if I know your writings, I’m already getting my kleenix ready.
    Make sure you capture Alex’s face when he see’s the island for the first time. That’s going to be an exciting story for sure!
    I forgot to tell you , remember I asked you about George, well lo and behold we were walking DOWN Grand hill when he was on his way up on his scooter. He actually stopped and talked to us for a few minutes…not sure if he remembered us or was just being the sweetheart he is. Then the same afternoon we were going back UP the hill and he was coming down! Twice in one afternoon! 🙂

  6. I can’t wait for you to get the puppy! As someone who had bombarded Facebook with puppy photos for a year and a half now, it’s so much fun.
    Alex will be so surprised, and I’m sure he will love the horses.
    They were working on the concrete the day we were there. But I like that they do it at night so as not to disturb the magic of Mackinac.
    (Not a new reader, I usually post as Lauri but I’ve started a new blog and figured I should use it to comment.)

  7. First off I want to say that I’m very glad to meet you, Barbara Blem. I just wish you could have been on the Island for the very special dinner that Brenda arranged.

    Brenda, please say hello to Jason, Jen and Alex for me. I’ll just bet Jen and Alex have never seen an airport terminal like the one they’re going to see in Pellston. I hope you’ll have the time to let Alex oooooh and aaaah at everything there. Then it’ll be the Bridge, the Ferry and the Island, with all the horses and bicycles. Wow, that boy won’t be able to sleep the first night.

    Looking forward to the story of Murph-E.

    • I wish we had been, too, Lowell! If possible, I’d love to come see you one of the times we visit with our daughter’s family (they live in Comstock Twp., so not that far from you). Would that be OK?

  8. Coming to the island on the 19th and am sad that we will miss meeting you this year. Enjoy your last two weeks on the island. Hope to make our trip a little earlier next year and maybe even be there for the “Blog Dinner”.

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