Snow 2/19/17

When I think of Mackinac Island in the winter, it is with the wistful spirit of a south Georgia woman who hasn’t had nearly enough snow in her life.  I think some of that may be just the human condition of always wanting what we don’t have.

I’m pretty sure there are folks up north who dream of winters spent in Florida – warm beaches, sunglasses, big umbrellas in the sand (and tiny ones in tall, cool drinks), waves lapping up to toes (but not far enough to wet the beach blanket), and seagulls and pelicans doing dips and dives into the surf after fish and other sea creatures.  People in California probably yearn for time in New York, and Texas residents may dream of having a little cottage in New England.

But I dream of snow.  I know I’ve written variations on this theme before, and I know y’all are probably tired of hearing it.  But it’s such a part of me now that I could probably write at least a few sentences about my love of snow every single day.

When did my romance with snow begin?  I can tell you exactly.

Many, many years ago – a long, long time before Ted – I sat with friends at a table in Helen, GA.  We had gone up for a late Fall weekend in the mountains of north Georgia and were surprised beyond belief when, just as we were going to dinner, it began to snow.  It was the second time I’d ever seen snow and the first time I’d ever seen more than a few flurries.  We had reservations at a small charming restaurant off the beaten path and part-way up a mountain – actually it was an old home whose rooms had been turned into private little hideaways, with only a table or two sharing the same space.  Beautiful music was playing softly throughout the house, and somehow we were fortunate enough to be seated at a window.

I have no recollection at all of what I ate that night or even if the food was good.  All I remember is sitting at that window, chin propped on my hand, staring dreamily through lacey curtains as snow silently fell, settling on tree limbs and the front porch of this old house.  I could see the lights of a small town below us, twinkling off and on through the big, fluffy snowflakes.  I fell in love with snow that evening – the beauty, romance, stillness, silence and dignified grace of it.  I can pull that night up at will and remember being filled with  the quiet joy of that scene. It remains one of my fondest memories.

While searching for blog material today I kept going back to snow photos from Mackinac.  The ones below are shared by Greg Main, who spends his winters (and summers) on the island.

A Christmas scene on Main Street.

A Christmas scene on Main Street.

ccc

Snowing so hard I can barely recognize it – but pretty sure this is Market Street.

Another view of Market Street, with snowmobiles

Another view of Market Street, with a few snowmobiles ready to take folks home.

The beautiful Metivier Inn, dressed in her winter best.

The beautiful Metivier Inn, dressed in her winter best.

The road that circle Fort Holmes.

The road that circles Fort Holmes – at sunrise.

Silent night, Holy night.

Silent night, Holy night.

fff

A panoramic view of the homes across from the Board Walk.

 

A groomed trail for the first Twilight Trek in January. Lanterns are hug to light the way.

A groomed trail for the first Twilight Trek in January. Lanterns are hung to light the way.

A real life Snow Village.

A real life Snow Village . . . .

fff

The Snow Village as she sleeps.

I know my love affair with snow is viewed with the biased eyes of one who has never lived with it day after day, or dealt with the miseries it brings to daily living and travel.  No, my affair with snow is “pure as the driven” Mackinac version – no cars to pollute it, no garbage thrown on top of it, no traffic jams caused by it.  Seeing Mackinac in the snow transports me back to the scene from that north Georgia window so many years ago.  And that’s the vision I choose to cling to over the years.

God bless.

 

 

Throw Back Thursday – Rideable Art 2/16/17

Personal Note:  I loved doing this story!  It involved an afternoon of Jill and I traipsing around the downtown area looking for different bikes, different bike baskets, different bike seats, etc.  Jill is an expert bike analyst, and we had so much fun that day!

Header: A photo from the Rideable Art blog.

__________________________________________________________________

First published in August, 2010

Sometimes I get so hung up on posting pretty pictures that I forget to talk about subjects that are of vital importance to those of us who live on the island – and those of you who are planning to visit.  It wasn’t until a reader recently suggested I write a blog on Mackinac Island bicycles that I even thought about everything I hadn’t written about bikes in almost two summers of blogging.  So consider this “Bikes 101” – or “What Everyone Should Know about Two-Wheelers Before Coming to the Island.”  In the time it takes to complete this little seminar,  you’ll also get to see some pretty snazzy bikes – “rideable art” as Grant Petersen has called them.

After I got off work at the Stuart House Museum this afternoon, Jill and I set out to tour downtown looking at different kinds of bikes.  That hadn’t been my original intent, but as usual, anything I plan to do during the day gets changed 10 times before 9 o’clock each morning.  Jill had an hour-and-a-half before she had to be at work, and if there is anyone on this island who knows everything about bikes on Mackinac, it’s Jill.  After all, she’s been coming to the Island every year since the 70’s – that’s a lot of bike knowledge!  She had popped into the Stuart House a little while before I got off and had on the cutest shirt – it was covered in bikes.  Thus, my inspiration to go ahead and write the bike story today instead of what I had originally planned.

Jillski in her biking shirt.

Most of the bikes you’ll be seeing are personal bikes of folks who live here during the summer, although a few may be rentals. 

If you are going to be on the island for more than a week, you need to bring your own bike.  Even having to pay to bring it across on the ferry ($8.00, I think) will be way cheaper than renting one for a week.  Of course, if you just like to hike around, no bike is necessary – or you can rent one for a day or two.  That’s what Ted and I did when we came on vacation for two weeks every summer.  We’d only rent bikes once – the day we biked around the island each year.  Once we bought the condo, we bought bikes to keep here. 

This is the bike I ride now – it’s a Biria, which Ted bought used at the end of last summer.  The Biria was introduced into the U.S. market in 2002 and was designed in Germany.  The “step-through” mounting is why I love this bike.  No lifting the old leg over a bar.  These bikes are unisex.  Except for the easy-mount feature, this is a really plain bike – I haven’t even put a basket on it yet.  But it does have a spring-operated device behind the seat that allows me to put my purse and other stuff there.  It also has both hand and foot operated brakes, which is pretty cool.  I do need a basket though.  Please also notice the really chic shower cap I use as a rain protector for the seat.  I learned the hard way to buy the shower caps that are $2.00 each – not the 3 for $.97 shower caps.

When Jill and I started cruising the bike stands around town, we focused on unique colors, basket design, and any other feature that stood out and shouted, “This bike belongs to somebody who has a mind of his or her own!”  When you live on the island all summer (or all year), and your bike is your only form of wheeled transportation, you want it to be special – just like on the mainland you want the coolest car on the street. 

BIKES OF A DIFFERENT COLOR 

Shiny pink!

 

Baby blue. This could be a rental because I don’t see a bike permit sticker anywhere (but I could have missed it). If you ride your own bike on the island, you go to the police station, pay $3.50 for a permit, and stick it on the crossbar – just like buying the annual sticker for your car tag – only way cheaper!

A spiffy black & white design.  Definitely a girls’s bike.  Wow – look at that – flowers on the fenders too!

A blue-patterned bike.  Again this could be a rental.  The bike shops will add a basket to any bike you rent at no charge.  Always ask for a basket!  You will be surprised how much will end up in there – your purse, your camera, your jacket, your water bottle, PLUS your husband’s sweatshirt he wants to take off halfway around the island.

Deep coral. Very pretty.  See all the stickers on the cross bar – definitely an islander’s bike.

Three bikes – three shades of green!

I’m going to call this peach, although I don’t think that’s right.  Maybe my readers can help me here.  Cool bike with it’s own cup holder and a big, black wire basket.  Has a bell on the handlebars too.

Two-tone.  This one is pink and white . . .

. . . this one – green and white.

Bright, bright yellow – and my personal favorite of the colors I photographed today.  Notice the custom handlebars.

A WORD ABOUT FENDERS

Picture this.  It’s a rainy day on Mackinac Island – or a few hours AFTER the rain.  Someone is riding around town with no idea whatsoever that from the back neck of whatever shirt/coat/sweater they are wearing, all the way down to where their bottom is planted on the bike seat, there is a wide, very distinct stripe of mud and horsepoop.  That stripe is there because the bike has no fender.  If you’re going to ride a bike on the island, you need fenders.  Trust me on that.

UNIQUE BASKETS

For the discriminating shopper – dual baskets, one on each side of the back tire. Great for a trip to Douds.  Plastic bag seat cover.  Not as good as a shower cap – but readily available at any store downtown (or stuff one in your pocket before you leave home).

What to do with leftover carpet pieces? Make a custom bottom for your bike basket. If you’re carrying something breakable – this helps.  Look at the extra shock absorbers under the bike seat.  I bet this is one is an extra-comfy ride!

A line of standard wire baskets.

Our best guess was this must belong to the guy who delivers pizza for Island Slice.

A wood-bottomed basket. Doesn’t cushion as well as carpet, but won’t stay wet as long either – if it happens to rain.  Again, the all-important bungee cord.

The ultimate in padding.  This biker is taking old bike inner tubes and cutting them into strips.  The strips are then woven through the wire, creating a padded basket.  No breakage!

Hmmmm – this one has led a long and out-in-the-elements life.  Still going strong though and attached to what looks like a brand new bike.  It’s kinda like buying a new car and telling the dealership to put your old car’s hood ornament on the new car.  Some things you just can’t part with.

 HIS AND HERS

We see a lot of these bikes come off boats anchored in the marina. They’re light, and they fold up into a compact, easy-to-store means of transportation.

I loved these two bikes and wish I could have met their owners. The guy bike looks military, even had a star on the crossbar. The girl’s bike is feminine and distinct.  Even the way they’re locked together looks cute.

I can’t tell you how many times we saw “his and hers” Schwinns locked together this afternoon . . .

. . . here are two more – although these might be “his and his”.  It’s hard to tell sometimes because they are making a lot of bikes now with a crossbar that is unisex.

ISLAND BIKES

We know this couple, and the husband bought his wife this bike for her birthday. She added the cute sign.  It has bells, cute matching black/white trim on red, a great big basket, and a cup holder.  She said she added the tassles just to prove she was still a little girl at heart.

No doubt about it – this guy is a Packers fan!

Haven’t figured out exactly how to interpret this ornament – but it’s sure cute!

Obviously a Great Turtle Toys employee.

This guy tells his whole story on his bike basket – he loves Michigan, Mackinac Island, Superman, and America.  What more could you possibly need to know?

 THE SEAT’S THE THING

Seats are as unique now as clothing. Zebra . . . flowers . . . and a shower cap to keep it dry.

Jill’s bike seat. Geez Louise – she’s going to kill me for putting this on here.

Under-the-seat storage.

Spider-Man seat – in fact, it was a Spider-Man bike! Cute, cute, cute!

Just when I think I know all the tricks, I learn a new one. See the hankie stuffed under the seat? That’s there in case it rains, and you didn’t bring a seat cover. Just whip it out, dry off the seat, stuff it back under the seat, and hop on.

BICYCLE AUCTION

There is an area on the island where all recovered bikes go to wait out the winter. These bikes have usually been stolen (although in most cases, “borrowed and not returned” is a better phrase to use. Someone doesn’t want to have to walk somewhere, spots an unlocked bike, hops on and rides off on it. When they get to where they needed to go, they push the bike into a nearby crowded bike rack and walk off. This happens a lot on the island. Usually all an owner has to do is go downtown and look around for a while, and he will find his bike. We’ve had bikes stolen out of our yard (they were unlocked), and they’ve always been found downtown the next morning – twice they were found in the police department bike parking lot!

But – sometimes no one looks for the bike, or the bike is abandoned in the woods, and no one finds it for a month when someone happens upon it while walking a trail, or season workers have bought a used bike at the beginning of the summer and just leave it on the dock when they leave for the winter. Any recovered bike is brought to this storage area. In the Spring, the bikes are auctioned off to the highest bidder. A great time to get a good bike for very little money!

Finally, I wanted to show you a true, true, true island bike.

We counted 15 years of bike permits on this bike.  It has your standard fenders, a large wire basket with bungee cords, another Super Soft bike seat, and – very important – a mounted bike light for night biking.  This biker is prepared for anything, anytime, anywhere.

A FEW BIKE TIPS

  • If you use plastic bags as seat covers, ALWAYS throw them into a trash can.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, spooks the horses of the Island like a plastic bag flying across the road.  It is a hazard everyone who lives here deals with everyday, and that’s why – when you are here – you will probably see at least one islander chasing a bag down the road.  Please throw them away – or stick them way down in your pocket so you can use them again.
  • The road is for horses and bikes.  The sidewalk is for walking.  No bikes on the sidewalk, no walking in the street.
  • Horses always have the right of way.  It’s so much easier for you to stop and wait than it is for a driver to stop two 2,200 lb. horses.
  • Always, always, always lock your bike.
  • Always, always, always wear a helmet.

Without Jill’s vast knowledge of all things “bike”, I couldn’t have written this one!  Thanks, Jillski!

 

Throw Back Thursdays 1/25/17

In the last few weeks quite a few emails and comments have arrived from folks who have just discovered Bree’s Blog.  Several have written really sweet notes and talked about their love for Mackinac Island and how excited they are to find the blog and read what it’s like to live there in the summer months.  Most are going back and reading seven years worth of blogs – now THAT will keep you busy for the rest of the winter, for sure!

Anyway, it got me thinking about all the blogs I’ve posted over the last seven years.  The one you’re reading now is number 851!

And THAT got me going back myself and reading some of the “old stuff”, which turned into a trip down memory lane – complete with groans at some of the things I’ve said over the years, tears over sad events, and peals of laughter at some of the predicaments I’ve gotten myself into.  And then, of course, there were those Bear and Maddie blogs!

An idea formed.  Facebook has Throw Back Thursday – why can’t Bree’s Blog?  So, from now until we return to Mackinac in July there’ll be a post here from the past on Thursday. Going back and picking out what will hopefully be some of the “good stuff” I’ve written over the years will be fun for me, and I hope entertaining for you.  I’ll still be around on Sundays too for new updates from the island, Florida, and wherever else we may find ourselves.

Let’s start with one called “The Inn is Open” – way back in April, 2009.  This is even back before I figured out to caption each photo!

______________________________________________________________________

Ted and I are so excited.  We have put out an open invitation to friends and family to come up and visit this summer, and the “Horton Hilton” is filling up fast.

condo

July is pretty much filled up with immediate family – some coming earlier, some later, some in the middle – but hopefully they will ALL be there together for a few days.  That’s the plan anyway.  Children are so hard to pin down on dates and times – I know our parents felt the same way with us.  With their busy work and social schedules, it is just about impossible to plan ahead.  But, bless ‘um, they try hard to make BeBe and G-Daddy happy by showing up in Michigan as a “clan”.  They love the fact they can truly relax (well, except for those iphones and blackberries they have glued to their ears all of the time) on the island.

img_phones

I swear this year all electronic devices are going to mysteriously disappear five minutes after they arrive and miraculously be found five minutes before they leave.  BeBe has a plan on that.

We have family coming in from New Orleans the first week in June, and yesterday we found out that a couple of friends will be arriving mid-June and another couple the first week in August.  What fun it will be to share our island with people who have never been there.  I was trying to explain the feeling the island gives me to someone the other day.  I had talked about it with another island resident last summer and about how I couldn’t wait to have folks up this summer so they could experience it.  She said, “Well, some people will ‘get it’ and some won’t have a clue.”  I think it has to do with being able to let go of all you have known – the speed in which we live our lives, the constant hassle of getting here and going there, the noise – you have to be able to let go of all that and just immerse yourself in the island.  The first morning I woke up at the Chippewa Hotel (where we stayed for 8 summers before buying) and the first sound I heard was the clip-clop of horses hooves coming down Main Street, I thought “this is what relaxation is all about – this is what we have forgotten can exist, this is what we long for in the deep, deep corners of our heart – peace, nature at its purest, a step back in time to a more restful way of living.”  And maybe, like the island resident said, it’s not for everyone – but it sure is for Ted and I.img_clipclop

Personal Note:  Header – A snow owl on the ice.  Photographed by Clark Bloswick earlier this week.

Crossing Paths and Small World Magic 1/22/17

Hi Friends!

Don’t you just love when a story that began days or weeks or even years in the past reappears – and turns into an even better story?

Here’s what I mean:

In 2013 one of my readers, Lori Kittinger – who lives with her family in Michigan – contacted me about helping out with her daughter’s (Brittany) Senior pictures.  She had the photographer all lined up, but Brittany had dreamed of the pictures being taken on Mackinac Island.  My assignment was to scout out locations and maybe use a few “connections” to go beyond the normal touristy places.  I immediately signed up, thinking what a fun way to spend a day . . . and it was perfect!

We covered that island like the dew that day. I don't even want to think about how many times we climbed "the hill". But photos like this one on Grand Hotel's porch . . .

We covered that island like the dew that day. I don’t even want to think about how many times we climbed “the hill”, but photos like this one of beautiful Brittany on Grand Hotel’s porch . . .

. . . . and this one on Maryanka Alexander's gorgeous Friesian Regina

. . . . and this one on Maryanke Alexander’s gorgeous Friesian Regina made all the effort worthwhile.

Brittany’s Godmother, Lisa, a professional photographer, got beautiful images of Brittany at Anne’s Tablet, at the Somewhere in Time gazebo, at the Grand Stable (where we just happened to catch Ben leaving with a vintage buggy – one wish we thought we’d miss), and at Grand Hotel.  It was a wonderful day!

Lori, Brittany and I have remained Facebook friends ever since, and that’s how I knew Brittany, who is now a Junior in Education at Spring Arbor University in Arbor MI, was arriving in St. Augustine with a group of fellow students for a month of diversity training, visiting elementary and middle schools across this section of Florida.

I immediately contacted Lori and asked her to give Brittany my cell number in case she needed something a “mom” would normally handle.  I was only 30 minutes from where they’d be in St. Augustine, and Lori was almost 1300 miles away.  I could get to her at lot faster!

That was almost a month ago.

Brittany and I texted several times over her first weeks in Florida (it was also her very first time visiting the Sunshine State, and she loves it).  And we finally worked out a time we could meet for a short visit.

Last Thursday these six students (Brittany is on the top row, far left) and two others not picgtured arrived at the Fort Matanzas Visitors Center to meet Ted (as a former educator, he became part of their diversity training) and me.

Last Thursday these six students (Brittany is on the top row, far left) and two others not pictured arrived at the Fort Matanzas Visitors Center to meet Ted (as a former educator, he became part of their diversity training) and me.

While two of the group took off at a very fast pace to fulfill the requirements of becoming Master Junior Rangers, the rest of the group and me saw the fort (from a distance - still no ferry) and hiked the nature trail.

While two of the group took off at a very fast pace to fulfill the requirements of becoming Master Junior Rangers, the rest of the group saw the fort (from a distance – still no ferry) and hiked the nature trail.

Swearing in of Master Junior Rangers!

Swearing in of Master Junior Rangers!

Now here’s where it gets downright crazy!

This amazing group of young women (and one man) are standing in the Visitors Center talking to Ted and me, and Ted notices that one girl (Melanie) is wearing a Coopersville Athletic Department t-shirt.  He says, “I just recently discovered my birth mother’s family, and some of my cousins live in Coopersville.”

“What are their names?” she asked.

“Bennink,” says Ted.

“No way!  I live next door to Steve Bennink!”

Who just happens to be one of Ted’s newly-found cousins!

It turned out that Melanie's grandmother was Dave Bennink's(another cousin) 4th grade teacher!

It turned out that Melanie’s grandmother was Dave Bennink’s (another cousin) 4th grade teacher!

Can you believe it!?

The entire group left yesterday for the trip back to college, and Florida is a little less sunny today since they took back all their smiles. 

I just love young people!!

A FEW MACKINAC PHOTOS

The U.S. Coastguard heavy ice breaker Mackinaw sails through the fog one morning last week. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

The U.S. Coastguard heavy ice breaker Mackinaw sails through the fog one morning last week. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

A lone coyote comes off the west end ice. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

A lone coyote comes off the west end ice. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

A pretty pic of Pam Day's new snowmobile parked near British Landing.

A pretty pic of Pam Day’s new snowmobile parked near British Landing.

A perfect "pre" sunrise photo. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

A perfect “pre” sunrise photo. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

MISCELLANEOUS

—A magical image of our neighborhood with the moon reflected in both the ocean and our inlet. (Photo: Neighbor Bob Hewit - from his drone)

—A magical image of our neighborhood, with the moon reflected in both the ocean and our inlet. (Photo: Neighbor Bob Hewit – from his drone)

Same drone - taken from the A1A side of the neighborhood.

Same drone – taken from the A1A side of the neighborhood.  You can even see the intracoastal back there in this one.

Mr. Bodie - looking pleased as punch with himself.

Mr. Bodie – looking pleased as punch with himself.

Everyone have a great week!  Love and hugs, and God bless.

Winter Mackinac Magic and Bodie’s First Writing Attempt 1/15/17

Hi All!

Winter has come and gone in Florida!

Winter has come and gone in Florida!

You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.  We had a couple of REALLY COLD days and nights – it even got into the thirties a time or two.  But, not to worry.  We’re now in the 70’s again, and I have to say it’s pretty darn perfect weather right now!

It was even nice enough to some of the Sunset Inlet ladies to eat outside at a great little restaurant we discovered recently - Hammock Organic Café and Boutique. Can't beat getting to eat and shop in the same place! Yummy!

It was even nice enough for some of the Sunset Inlet ladies to eat outside at a great little restaurant we discovered recently – Hammock Organic Café and Boutique. Can’t beat getting to eat and shop in the same place!

On Mackinac it’s 29 today, and for the next two weeks it looks as though 35 or 36 may be the high temp.  All the photos below are compliments of Clark Bloswick except for two.

Tuesdays are trash days downtown, and a little snow storm doesn't stop these hard and hardy workers and horses from completing their route!

Tuesdays are trash days downtown, and a little snow storm doesn’t stop these hardy workers and horses from completing their route!

On Saturday morning the Mighty Huron was cutting through swome surface ice as it arrived early in the morning.

The Mighty Huron plowed through some surface ice as it arrived early one morning this week.

Yesterday marked the end of seeing the 1,000 foot freighters until at least March. The Soo Locks closed today.

Yesterday marked the end of seeing the 1,000 foot freighters until at least March. The Soo Locks closed today.

A sunset earlier in the week - perfect lighting. How can Clark continually be in the right place at the right time?

A sunset earlier in the week – perfect lighting. How can Clark continually be in the right place at the right time?

Sunday morning serenity.

Sunday morning serenity.

Those hard working horses have to eat. A hay wagon heads for the barn after loading at the ferry dock.

Hard-working horses have to eat. A hay wagon heads for the barn after it was loaded at the ferry dock.

Full moon hangs over a blockhouse at Fort Mackinac.

Full moon hangs over a blockhouse at Fort Mackinac.

Looking across Lake Huron toward the bridge in the distance. Looks like the shore ice is setting up.

Looking across Lake Huron toward the bridge in the distance. Looks like the shore ice is setting up pretty well.  (Photo: The Island House)

Loved this pic of two friends, Pam and Meredith, leaving for a day of fun on snowy Mackinac!

Loved this pic of two friends, Pam and Meredith, leaving for a day of fun on snowy Mackinac!  (Photo: Craig Harris)

BODIE’S FIRST WRITING ASSIGNMENT

Hey!  It’s me – Bodie.  Mom said I could try and write a very short blog today.

I only have two questions. What's a blog, and what's writing?

I only have two questions. What’s a blog, and what’s writing?

So.  Mom tried to explain it to me.  She said a blog is where you tell someone out in space about something that is interesting to you or about something you like doing.

I got this.  I like food – dog food (dry and canned), people food (when I can steal it), trash can food (dry and wet), street food (little pieces of paper, bugs, smashed water bottles, lizards (after Maddie kills them), rocks, twigs, dried up chewing gum, bird seed.  You get the picture.  Oh, and poop – but Mom says I don’t like it as much as Bear did – not yet anyway.  I’ll have to work on that.

What else do I like?

img_3715

My crate!  I sleep in here at night, but I also grab naps here when Mom’s working or watching tv in this room.  I also stay in here when Mom and Dad leave the house.  I think that’s because they are worried I’d un-stuff the couch if they left me free.  And I can’t say that I wouldn’t.

What else.  I LOVE dryer sheets!  I stand in front of the dryer when Mom gets the clothes out, and we have a race to see who can spot the dryer sheet first.  Mom usually wins because she can see INSIDE the dryer.  I have to wait and see if mom doesn’t spot it.  In that case it just falls out of the dryer on the floor, and I’m on it like a wolf.  I’ve only managed to swallow two so far – because Mom is pretty good at prying my jaws apart.  She was worried after I swallowed the first one, but something called “Google” told her they weren’t very dangerous if they’d already been through the dryer.  And – like most things I swallow – it all came out ok in the end.

I love being outside! Last night we were out on the deck and our neighbors next door had their little 8-mon-old granddaughter out on their third floor deck. She was trying to talk to me so hard! I loved watching her!

I love being outside! Last night we were out on the deck and our neighbors next door had their 8-month-old granddaughter out on their third floor balcony, and she was talking to me through the rails.  I don’t know why the grown-ups couldn’t understand what she was saying.  I understood her perfectly!

Mom is saying “that’s enough for the first time, Bodie”, so I will end for now.  Mom just read what I wrote and said it looked like I was going to do pretty good as a blog writer – especially for a kid!  I didn’t know she was serious though until she hugged me and said I was a good boy.  I really, really, really like when she calls me “a good boy” – because that is usually followed by a treat, which is the BEST kind of dog food EVER!

Did I mention I like food?

Ok, ok, Mom.  I’m stopping now!

Mom also says I’m a little too chatty at times.

Who, me?

Who, me?

______________________________________________________________________

Personal Note:  I received the following notification from Feedspot Blog last week:

img_3725

I hope some of you out there will know more about this than I do!  When I opened the link, I learned that Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog was listed as the 14th most popular ISLAND blog among the thousands of island blogs Feedspot holds in their index.  The rankings change by the week and are based on Google reputation and Google search ranking, influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter, and other social media sites, quality and consistency of posts, and Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review.

As I said, I don’t really know what any of that means, but I say a very big “Thank You” for the designation!  And a huge thank you to all my readers who encourage me daily to keep writing!

Love you all, and God bless.

A Sad Goodbye to Arnold Ferry Line 11/13/16

As most of you already know, the 5 p.m. departure of the Huron last Thursday marked the last time a boat operated by Arnold Ferry Line would travel to or from Mackinac Island.  The historic ferry line (the oldest and longest-running), which began serving the island 138 years ago, has been purchased by Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry, which began 38 years ago as competition to Arnold and to Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry, which was created in 1945.

img_3141

Arnold’s mighty Huron, as she is known by everyone with ties to Mackinac, has been the only winter ferry to the island since 1955.  Star Line will continue to operate the Huron for passenger and freight service during the winter, abiding by Mackinac Island’s winter ferry passenger service agreement.

Star Line will also buy five other Arnold Line boats, the Arnold Boatyard and several docks.

img_3113

Star Line’s Marquette II arrives on Friday morning – her first trip ever as the winter ferry to Mackinac.

For hundreds of islanders, for thousands of  visitors whose memories of a Mackinac vacation began with an Arnold Line ferry boat ride, and for the hundreds of Arnold employees whose lives were tied to the company over those 138 years, this is the sad end of an era.  Especially poignant is the end of the mighty Huron operating as an Arnold boat.  It’s hard to comprehend for those of us who do not live year-round on Mackinac, but Arnold’s mighty Huron provided everything to the island after the close of the season – passenger service and freight service – until the Straits of Mackinac would freeze over and the ferry would have to stop running.  She alone was responsible for islanders receiving food and other staples for the grocery store and restaurants that remain open, for residents reaching the mainland if there were health concerns or if they just needed to have a day off-island, and for winter visitors trying out “Mackinac in the winter”.  Even though the mighty Huron will continue to run, it is a bittersweet transition from one company to another.

We wish Star Line a hearty congratulations on your new venture!  With only two lines providing transportation to Mackinac next summer, Star Line and Shepler’s, it will be interesting to see what changes are in store.  We know both these fine companies will continue to provide excellent service to and from our favorite island, and we look forward to a great 2017 season!

img_3140

A poignant farewell photo from Arnold Mackinac Island Ferry on its last departure from the island: “It was a pleasure serving you.  Thank you for 138 years of memories.  This is your ATCO crew – signing off.”

NOVEMBER ON MACKINAC

Clark Bloswick has been busy documenting November on the island.  These next six photos are his.

A relatively calm day earlier in the month . . .

A relatively calm day earlier in the month.

A typical fall wind storm hit the island on Thursday. It always amazes me the size of the waves generated on the Great Lakes. Clark remembers that these waves were nothing compared to those on November 10, 1975, the day the Edmund Fitzgerald went down.

A typical fall wind storm hit the island on Thursday, Nov. 10. It always amazes me the size of the waves generated on the Great Lakes. Clark remembers these waves were nothing compared to those on November 10, 1975, the day the Edmund Fitzgerald went down during a Lake Superior storm, with the loss of the entire crew of 29.

Friday saw the island awake to the first "gale of November" , , ,

Wind, waves and whitecaps.

Sunset on Saturday evening.

Sunset on Saturday evening.

Sunrise over Bois Blanc this morning.

Sunrise over Bois Blanc this morning.

An early evening shot of geese flying into Mission Point, backlit by that gorgeous full moon.

An early evening shot tonight of geese flying into Mission Point, backlit by that gorgeous full moon.

I. Love. This. Photo! A beautiful fall image of the steps leading from Sugar Loaf to Point Lookout. (Photo: Patti Carpenter McGreevy)

I love this photo! A beautiful fall image of the steps leading from Sugar Loaf to Point Lookout. (Photo: Patti Carpenter McGreevy)

BODIE NEWS

I will not lie.  Having a teenage Golden Retriever who weighs  58 lbs. at seven months is a little harder than I thought it would be.  It’s been 12 years since we had a puppy in the house (that would be Maddie), and she was an amazingly easy girl.  And she was small.  Having a big dog puppy is totally different because he does everything . . . bigger!  Plays bigger, eats bigger, poops and pees bigger, chews bigger, walks bigger.  He is a daily challenge, but I love trying to stay one step ahead of him.

One of my biggest challenges is teaching him to greet people gently on our walks.  He wants to wiggle himself right into their space and get all mouthy with their hands.  It was wearing me out trying to pull him back.  So – I sent out a “please help me train Bodie” message to our entire Sunset Inlet community, giving suggestions on how to help Bodie learn to greet nicely.  Our neighbors have responded like the wonderful folks they are.  So far we’ve had encounters with two neighbors who ignored Bodie while I asked him to sit, waited for him to calm down, then asked him to “shake”, which he did.  Then they petted him.  And Bodie got a treat from me.  It was amazing how well it worked!

We have a trainer coming once a week for five weeks to offer tips and help me find the best ways to train him.  Two of our neighbors, Mark and Shauna, text “going to the dog park” when they head out with their two big dogs, Rascal and Ryder, so Bodie and I can join in the fun.  We have a big open area in our community we call the “dog park”.  It’s great for playing fetch and just letting dogs be dogs.

And – I will tell you something else big dogs do.  They LOVE big.  All I need to do to get some Bodie love is climb in his big bed with him.  He snuggles right in and we have some mom/Bodie love time.

Yes, he’s a challenge.  But he is remarkably smart, learns commands quickly, retains most of them well, and is quickly creating his own great big spot in my heart.

Bodie: "I know if I sit here long enough, Maddie will get tired of that Kong and I can get it."

Bodie: “Maybe if I stand here long enough, Maddie will get tired of that Kong and I can get it.”

"Hmmm . . . or maybe not."

“Hmmm . . . or maybe not.”

More Fall Beauty From Mackinac 11/3/16

I thought Sunday’s blog post would be the best of the best of “Fall on Mackinac” photos.

I was wrong.

tomchambers

Every time someone shares one of these pics of this year’s gorgeous trees I tear up a little.  Sure would love to be there to see them in person – to stand in the road and stare, or sit on a leafy knoll and just breathe it all in. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

pamday

I can’t get enough of the maple trees on Cadotte!  These trees were only planted six years ago.  Can you imagine their WOW factor in another decade!  (Photo: Pam Day)

mi5

The folks at Metivier Inn shared this and the next five photos – showing just how empty downtown becomes after most everything has closed.  Here a lone person walks a bike toward St. Anne’s on Main Street.

mi6

In the summer this row of benches would be overflowing with visitors awaiting their turn to board a Carriage Tour.

mi3

Ferry docks usually teeming with people at any hour of the day stand empty until just before the arrival or departure of a ferry.

mi2

Main Street . . .

mi

. . . Market Street . . .

mi4

. . . and the marina are empty.  November is quiet on Mackinac.  It’s a time when year-round residents give a sigh of relief that another season of hard work has come to an end, men enjoy hunting season, and families travel to see friends and relatives.  Thanks for sharing, Metivier Inn!

sunrisepatrickconlon

A gorgeous sunrise captured by Patrick Conlon.

dalepetersonoct31

And that’s a wrap.  From Dale Peterson, this photo of the last group of horses leaving the island for the winter.  A few horses will remain for the winter taxi and for the work drays.

clark

THIS end of Main Street was a beehive on this particular day.  Getting the work done before the snow flies!  (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

blp5

This photo and the next four are from friend and wonderful photographer Bruce LaPine.  Love this one from the Peace Garden, showing the bronze statue, “Be Still”.  The garden is dedicated to the 200 years of lasting peace between Canada and the United States since the War of 1812.  The garden is at the east end of Marquette Park.

blp3

From Point Lookout, overlooking Sugar Loaf.

blp

I guess it’s strange to say that one of my favorite island spots is a cemetery, but it is – and especially in the fall.  It’s then that the sound of your feet crunching through the fallen leaves is usually the only sound you will hear as you walk among the gravestones.  Such peace for those who rest here.

brucelapine3

The Grand Lady on the Hill – almost hidden by those maples.

brucelapine2

And there are just no words that would do this one justice.  It is perfect.  Awesome photos, Bruce!  Thank you for sharing!

A FEW BODIE THOUGHTS

img_3006

I pulled out an old photo of Bear this week (he was about 1 1/2 years old in that one) and compared him to Bodie.  I had forgotten how much lighter Bear had become as he’d aged.  When we first got himhe was almost the exact shade Bodie is now. 

img_3029

Bodie is alternately a teenage terror, an obedient angel, and a big puppy who is scary smart.  I taught him to shake the other day in about 10 minutes, and he instinctively knew to alternate paws –  without being taught that – depending on which one I asked for.  You can just see his mind whirling at times.  Gotta be on my toes with this one!

img_3062

He and Maddie are bonding.  That means she puts up with him until he crosses a line.  Then she pushes him back across to his side.  Bodie is more assertive than Bear, but Maddie handles him like the Queen she is.  I caught them grooming each other one morning – Bodie washing her face, and Maddie cleaning his ears.  Sweet moment.

Y’all won’t believe this, but I stayed up until 1 am this morning watching the Cubs win the World Series.  First baseball game I’ve watched in at least 10 years (and probably the last one for the next ten).  I’ve never been much of a baseball fan, but that game last night was sports at its greatest.  Congratulations to all the Cubs fans out there! 

Have a great weekend, and we’ll meet back here in a few days. 

God bless.