Hello Mackinac Island fans! I hope all of you had a blessed Christmas.
Ted and I are in “recovery” – we ate way too much and will have to get back into “healthy mode” once the New Year is here. That’s not a New Year’s resolution – I know I can’t count on myself to stick to a resolution – it’s more like a New Year’s suggestion!
We had a slight change of travel plans and won’t be leaving for Arkansas until Tuesday (the 29th). I received a great Christmas email from Greg Main, who lives on the island year-round, and I asked his permission to share it with you. He said “share away”, so I am posting it below, along with a few more of Jill’s pics from the weekend she was there, and another great photo from Liz.
Christmas letter from Greg Main: Christmas day, this year, was as non-typical a Christmas day as I can recall. Not only was it the first time I’ve been on the island on December 25th, not being surrounded by the usual necessary chaos associated with my family members gathering in one place, but it was also non-typical due to the weather. At 6 a.m., my outdoor thermometer read 37.2 degrees and only continued to slowly climb as the day progressed. The noise from a howling east wind woke me long before my body clock. The weather channel showed a steady blow at 32 m.p.h., gusting to 45. Overnight, our snow cover was reduced enough to show large patches of grass, turn the streets to slush, and create the usual travel related inconveniences we usually expect to find on the island in late March.
Feeling a need to check on all the houses I look after, I covered a lot of ground on foot that day, despite the weather. As I expected, nowhere did I see another human, and only once did I hear a distant snowmobile. Normal people had places to go, people to see. All the noise that day . . . ALL of it – was due to the wind. Seldom does it churn the waters inside the harbor into the monsters I witnessed. The waters relentlessly pounded both breakwalls, as well as the seawalls at the ends of both the Shepler’s and Star Line docks and the outdoor seating area at the Iroquois Hotel. The flags at the end of the Arnold dock stood straight out, sharply snapping, sending out cracking noises similar to exploding firecrackers. Random waves slammed into and over the docks, lifting one bike from its’ resting place on the Star Line dock and leaving it dangling perilously over the edge . . for now. The spray from these waves was also something to behold, easily covering everything within 40 feet. Walking into the wind, heading out on the Shepler dock was a chore in itself. Before I could get to the first boat ramp on the dock, I was being spritzed.
Short, shuffling steps were necessary as the walkway was made slippery with the rain/snow/ice combination, and the wind pushed so hard at times it created a skating effect. I have some videos which I’ll post to Youtube soon.
While I certainly missed the company of family and the annual visits with long-time friends on Christmas day, it was just as exhilarating to experience the island as it was that day. Just as it has seemed during past ski outings, there were times when I was walking about that it felt I could have been the only one here. A different experience, to say the least, yet one I will relish for a long time.
Temperatures the next day continued to be above freezing, only falling to 30 this morning. Today was a great day to be outside, if skiing wasn’t among the list of things to do. Our trails have been decimated with this extended warm stretch, and solid ruts of slush (again, what we usually deal with in March) make for unsteady moving about. Not only will we have a full moon this New Year’s Eve, it’s also a Blue Moon. If the weather cooperates with clear skies that night, perhaps something ‘out of the ordinary’ will occur, while many of us are gathered at Fort Holmes, chanting . . “10 . . 9 . . 8 . . 7 . .” Who knows?
Twice during the past couple of weeks, one of the familiar smells of summer was wafting about Main Street. Joann’s Fudge, next to McNally cottage, was alive with activity as two fudge makers could be seen plying their trade for several hours. I’m guessing they were making fresh fudge for mail orders. The combination of aromas of snowmobile exhaust and fresh fudge was a new one for me. Once I complete the to-do list I have, I’ll have a little more time to wander about and hopefully have more items of interest to pass along with these emails. The waters have calmed, there is a hint of snow in the air (with a forecast for several more inches this week), and I’m being told that Bogan Lane Inn, Cottage Inn, Pontiac Lodge and a large section of Mission Point are reporting “no vacancy” for the upcoming New Year’s weekend.
The ferry seems to be in no danger of stopping soon due to ice conditions, as there is little to be seen floating about anywhere in the Straits area, although the schedule is only posted through January 3rd. So . . we’ll see how that pans out. As quickly as winter seems to have arrived this year, so has the month of December passed. A prosperous new year to all! Take care, Greg
- From the Mackinac Island Tourist Bureau: Each season, Island artists get together to show their works at the Mackinac Island Public Library. This season, Island painters Becki Barnwell, Pam Finkel, Tim Leeper and Claudette Roth will be featured at the Winter Art Show. The opening is Tuesday, December 29th from 4pm-6pm, refreshments will be served, and the artists will be at the show for a meet and greet.
Pam Finkel, February, Oil on Canvas, 18″ x 22″, Private Collection
Here’s a few more snow pics from Jill. I’m going to finish packing. Where we are going in Arkansas is under a winter weather advisory, so maybe I’ll see some of that white stuff this week!
Many of the snow-packed trails are for cross-country skiing only - no snowmobiles allowed.
A snow-covered bench on the East Bluff.
One end of the East Bluff. If you turn the corner to the left past the "City" sign, you will be on the trail leading to Anne's Tablet.
. . . and a great shot of the harbor from the Arnold Ferry, courtesy of Liz at http://quiltedturtle.blogspot.com.
That’s all I have for now. Have a safe, Happy New Year’s Eve. Should be online again with another update on January 11 – if not before. God bless.