How it all began


When Ted and I married 34 years ago, he promised that one day he would take me to Michigan and show me where he had grown up as a little boy.  His grandparents had a summer cottage in the Les Cheneaux Islands in the UP (that’s Upper Peninsula for all you Southerners out there).  He and his mom would leave for the cottage as soon as school was out each spring, and they would stay all summer with his grandmother and granddaddy.  I fell in love with his stories of getting up on summer mornings, taking his little fishing boat out into the lake, and spending the day doing all the fun things that little boys can find to do in that kind of safe paradise on earth.  Twenty-three years ago he made the mistake of saying “let’s go north this summer”.  I think he thought the Les Cheneaux’s would be a little too tame for me, so he made reservations on Mackinac Island for two weeks, with plans for that to be our base of operation.  From there we would go to the “Snows” (a shortened version of Les Cheneaux).

If you know nothing of Mackinac Island, you are like I was.  I had vaguely heard of it – no motorized vehicles, lots of fudge, plenty of horse poop.  We lived in south Georgia at the time, and I was just excited I was going somewhere in July where the temps were in the 70’s instead of the 100’s!

That was in 2000, and we returned to Mackinac Island every year after that for two weeks, until 2008 when we realized our dream of buying a summer home there.  The Island worked its magic on me that very first summer.  I fell in love with this fairyland place where you truly feel you have stepped back in time.  I cried when we left.  That year passed quickly, and when we stepped on the ferry for our crossing the second year, and the Grand Hotel came into sight, we looked at each other and said at the exact same time, “we’re going home”.  It has become an almost spiritual place for me.  Seeing it rising out of Lake Huron as we cross from the mainland brings chill bumps to my arms every single time.

We sold our condo on the island and our home in Georgia in 2014 and moved to Florida to be near our grandchildren as they grew up.  But we still return each summer for 3-4 months to make new Mackinac memories.


My hope is to open the uniqueness of Mackinac Island to anyone who is interested in reading about this very special place.  This blog is my journal each year as we leave Florida, travel to Michigan, and as we go through the “season” on the island.  We will return home at the end of October.

So join me, if you will.  Let’s make the journey together.

120 thoughts on “How it all began

  1. yes, I am anxious to follow you on your island journy. My husband and I have traveled to the straits for over 50 years and in 1970 when we married we chose Mackinac as our “short”honeymoon. We found our home in Mackinaw City in 2004 while making our annual anniversary trip the the Island. We live in Pine Island Florida part of the year but Mackinaw is our HOME. We always thought that we would retire to Mackinac Island but when this place became available We jumped on it. We went to the island yesterday for mothers day and I often work at the fort there for the park service. More later we are shopping in Petoskey right now.

  2. How exciting! I am going to put your blog on my blog roll and check it out. Will love to hear how you’re doing. (We live in the western half of the U.P.) And we had snow a couple weeks ago… 🙂

  3. Hi Bree! I found you by searching for “Upper Peninsula” on wordpress. Do folks from Mackinac Island associate with the UP more than the LP? You’re half-way in between, so do you feel like you belong to either? Or neither? (I am writing a blog about going outside for 365 days…rain or shine or snowstorm or whatever. Have just made it five months through the winter!

  4. I am so ready to join you! The article in the Herald today was great. You both sound so happy. Growing up in Central Kentucky, I always said I’d one day leave there because it was too hot in the summer…I went the wrong direction. No, this is my home now. But, I am so, so envious of your summers!

    FYI…the family and I are pretty well. However, Robert (“Little” Bob) is beginning to have serious kidney issues. He needs a transplant, and/or will have to go on dialysis. Pray for him. The job? I’m still glad to have it. I still would like to be full-time in ministry again, maybe one day. I do miss having Mr. Ted for a boss! I miss seeing you too, Brenda, er…Bree. I think I speak for many when I say that.

    Well, I am happy for you two. Perhaps one day I’ll get to come eat some fudge. Oh, and wear a jacket on a summer evening…that would be absolutely GREAT! Bless you both…Eric

    • Hi Eric,

      It was great to hear from you, but we are sorry to hear the news about Bob. We will certainly have him and his family in our prayers. Please tell everyone in the family hello from us. I wish we could send you some of this cool weather. You need to come visit and enjoy it for yourself.

      So good to hear from you.


  5. Enjoyed reading the article in The Albany Hearld today about how you and your husband ‘arrived’ at Mackinac Island. Mackinac Island is on my list of places to visit. I remember that is one of my mama’s favorite and most talked about places. She still talks about it. I look forward to visiting the island one day too. Looking forward to reading your blog.

    • So good to hear from you, Bobbie Jane! You should come on up – the weather is great, which is the real reason why we come (well, it is the beautiful place on earth in my opinion), but the weather is the main reason. Summers in the south are just too much these days. Hello to your family from us. So good to hear from you!


  6. Brenda
    Enjoyed your website about Mackinac after reading about it in the Albany Herald.

    Say hello to ole friend Ted…we kinda raised girls together–his Julie + my daughter Terri. They recently got together at a class reunion.

    Didn’t know Ted was from MI.
    Henry Duggan
    Retired (of course).
    Writing an historical fiction novel of 17th
    century Spanish Fla.

    • So good to hear from “home folks”, Henry. Julie had a blast at the reunion. She is still talking about it. Tell says “hello” back.


  7. Hello from South GA! I was so excited when I saw your pic in the Herald and the Mackinaw story because I am bringing a group to Mackinaw Island in mid-September. We will be at The Grand for 2 nights and I cannot wait since I have never been to that area. Not sure about the exact itinerary while we are on the island but it would be wonderful to see you.

    I will definitely keep Blake in my prayers today. Just one more year – I can’t believe it!

    Tell Ted hello and I loved reading you blog!!!! It sure beats the DCSS,eh? Maybe one day when I retire and win the lottery, I’ll come for a long visit!

    Love and miss ya, Pat

  8. I love reading your blog, I came across it a few days ago on Facebook’s Mackinac Island Michigan page. I’m living my dream through you and I’m itching to move to the Island and enjoy everything it has to offer.

    Keep your wonderful stories and beautiful pictures coming! Maybe one day I will get my way and be able to move.

  9. I live in Mi. and visit the island every summer. I love reading your blog and I am so bummed you will be going home soon. I would love to see some pictures of the way you decorate your condo. I die everytme I go to peak through peoples windows and see the inside of their home. Have a safe winter — see ya next year.

  10. I love the blog!! Please keep it going.
    The island is a spiritual place for me as well.
    This June 2010 will be my 10th summer of living and working on the island, as I work at “Paintings By Wolfgang” on Market Street. As the end of school approaches, and I say good bye to 6th grade students for a while, I look longing at I-75, and to my trek to my island apartment. I am blessed with wonderful friends: Dick, Helen, Nancy, Brad, Dave, Al, Susan,, Mac, Brenda, Mona…and all of my Jamaican friends. What a wonderful place to live life!

  11. Hello Bree,
    I’m a friend of Jill’s and the Innkeeper at Cloghaun B&B. What fun to see a photo of the house on your blog! Thank you for posting it.

    I’m in love with the Island as well. Due to health issues I had to leave early last season, so I’m in withdrawls big time! I can hardly wait to get back “home!”

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog.

  12. I visited Mackinac Island for the first time with my 16 yr. old daughter last summer, 2009. Absolutely fell in love with it and cried on the ferry back to the mainland. My dream would be to live there, I’m not really much on cold weather but hate the humidity of southern Indiana. I would love to spend a winter on Mackinac just to experience it and see if my dream would be for year round habitation or just seasonal. The island was like going back in time and the memories sweet. I had hoped to come back this summer but money is low. I lost my job of 30 yrs. when it moved to Mexico, so now I’m in the process of getting an Assoc. Deg. in Accting. It’s killing me to not come back; because if I can’t live there, for now, I want to visit every year. If you are going to visit the island, then you must stay on the island to get to the full feeling of how great it is.
    Yeah Mackinac Island!!!

  13. Hi Bree –
    I discovered your blog through a link on Kath Usitalo’s (wonderful) Great Lakes Gazette –

    Your posts are really a great read. Unless you object, I may include a link to it in my “Mixed Media” feature that I write for Dane County (WI) Lifestyles Magazine (in Madison, WI). You do a great job of reporting on “island living” with a real personal touch and your tips and suggestions should be helpful to our readers (many of whom) plan trips to Mackinac Island.

    I spend time on Madeline Island (in the Apostle Islands) with my family every summer – but my heart is there year-round. There’s something about an islands — and you get it right.

    Here’s to a great summmer!

    Gary Knowles

  14. I just spent the past 3 hours reading your blog! I absolutely love it and am completely jealous of you 😉 I have lived in southeast Michigan all 23 years of my life and I travel to Mackinac Island every summer. It is a dream of mine to live on the Island and your blog has opened my eyes to even more beauties that it possess. Thank you so much for sharing and I can’t wait to hear about your summer this year.

  15. Hi Bree: read your comments that Mackinac Island is almost a spiritual place to you. I feel that same way, have spent time on the island for over 40 years and when I am stressed I think about “my little island” . Thanks for your comments, really enjoy.

    • My family is addicted to the Island where we have vacationed for many years. Alas, due to economics, we are unable to visit this summer. I was even commissioned to write a children’s book about the Island by Mackinac State Historic Parks- HOME TO MACKINAC- so I feel I am truly connected on many levels.

      My dream is to live on the Island, including winter, with my own horse! My heart skips a beat when I see these photos as we’ve watched the races- at Mission Point and from the Island House. We usually visited a few times a summer- staying at the Island House with family, and the Bay View Bed and Breakfast other times. I need to go back. It’s home!!

      Next year without fail!!!

  16. Bree, I’ve just discovered your blog and have decided that it will be a good way to get a “fix” for my Mackinac addiction. I worked and lived for 8 seasons on the Island and have family there. I am teacher in Northern Michigan and my goal is to return to seasonal work on the Island when my youngest child graduates next year. It is definitely a second home to me. I have so many fond memories of that beautiful place and made so many life-long friendships with people there. Thank you for bringing a little bit of the Island into my everyday world.

  17. Bree, I am so excited to find your blog! Two weeks ago I surprised my daughter with a trip to Mackinac Island. She and I spent four incredible days/nights at the Iroquois. We made unforgettable memories, and needless to say, we were not ready to leave! Like you, we cried when the time came. I have never had a place touch my soul like this before…I can’t seem to stop looking at the pictures that were taken. We look forward to the day when we return. I will continue to read your blog as it reminds me of the special memories we made! Thank you for taking time to pass on the magic of Mackinac Island.
    Sincerely, Parthenia

  18. Hi Bree,

    I found your blog while researching the island for my 2nd book, Krista Kay- Mackinac Island Adventure. As most of your readers, I love the island, when it came time to pick a location for little Krista Kay’s family vacation I had to send her to Mackinac Island.

    Only a few weeks ago my husband and I visited the island in celebration of our 20th anniversary and to complete some of my research. We try to visit the island once a year when time and money allows. I hope to return next year either late May or early June, which is my favorite time of the year to visit the island. In the meantime I will continue to visit every day through the eyes of 10 year old Krista Kay. I think I will be very sad when this book is complete and my daily escape has ended. But, I hope that you will continue to write your blog and allow all of your readers their escape to the island.
    Thank you for sharing your life and the beauty of Mackinac Island in this virtual world.

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Julie. YOU are living one of my dreams – to be a published author. I want to publish a book of my Mackinac “stories”, and I’ve often thought of trying my hand at writing a children’s book about Mackinac Island from my dog Bear’s point of view. So many dreams, so little time. Right now, the blog gives me the outlet I need to write – and it’s free! Can’t wait to see your book in the Island Bookstore!

  19. Hi Bree: I have been reading your blog all summer and really enjoy it. I fell like I am experiencing the Island through your eyes and lens! 🙂 I worked on the Island for 4 summers during college in the 70’s, my sister met her husband while working there and they have been married for 30 years, and my parents honeymooned at the Cloghan in 1950. I relate to your “spiritual” connection to the Island. My dad always called it “God’s country”. I bought a cabin on Paradise Lake (Carp Lake) just 6 miles south of Mackinaw City a year ago and I am “living the dream”. I can’t retire just yet but hope to spend summers “up north” and winters here in Florida. I am from Sagainaw but my heart is on Mackinac Island. Thanks for taking me there each time I read your blog. God bless you!!! –Anne

  20. My husband and I arrived on the Island for the first time on Wednesday, September 23, 2010. It was very wet and windy and I was very sad, because all my impressions of the Island were bright blue skies and sunshine. My dear husband said, “We must see it as it is; it’s not always sunny, and it will be beautiful and unique for us.” It was, and ironically, the sun returned just as we retrieved our luggage in Mackinaw, but we didn’t care. The visit was perfect, and we will return. And I will welcome all of your blog postings so I can be a distant resident.

    • Celestina (what a beautiful name)! I’m so sorry your first visit was a wet one, but you and your dear husband “get it” anyway! Come back again. I love this rock in every kind of weather there is, and I bet you will too. So glad you commented. Brenda

      • Bree, I have been reading your blog since this post I wrote in Sept 2010. You wrote “come back again.” This is the year. We are thinking late Sept. Can you recommend a section of the island good for walking to town and short bike rides to town? (I’m not in terrific shape for biking too far.) My husband I talk about Mackinac at least every other day. Your blog is a gift.

      • Oh wow! Celeste! So happy you are returning! From what you are describing, I think Mission Point Resort would be perfect for you. It’s at the far end of Main Street (past the Mission District), and the bike ride to town is flat and only about 1/2 mile – maybe a little less. Piece of cake!

      • Thank you so much for your recommendation! We made reservations for September. We’ve had to cancel 2 vacations in the past year due to my mother-in-law’s ill health and it has been hard. However, she has now transitioned to a nursing home and we feel confident enough to do this trip. I am going to Weight Watchers and pulling the bike down from the garage rafters to get in shape for our island explorations. Thanks again, Joe and Celeste

    • I have reading your blog with great enjoyment for about a year now. We know we want to return someday to the Island, but we have serious mom-care responsibilites. I cannot express how beneficial it has been to be able to read the posts and feel like I’m there. It’s been our mental getaway. My dear husband assures me that someday we will get back. Until then, I have your beautiful blog.

      • Thanks so much for writing, Celestina, and I’m so glad you enjoy the blog. Taking care of a parent is an awesome responsibility, but one most of us all take on with love and joy at some point in our lives. You will never regret what you are giving up now to be there for her. God bless you both.

  21. Greetings, Reading about the horses brought tears to my eyese and a warm fuzzy feeling to my heart. I so much enjoyed riding the boat with you from the island to Saint Ignace and our sharing with one another. I hope to make the trip to Pickford next week. Will let you know how it goes. Your pictures are beautiful and your words bribg the story to life. God bless you and I hope we see one another again. Tarry

      • Hello again,

        I discovered another error about our boat trip from the island and want to correct it. I do not work for the chamber. I am just a person who enjoys taking pictures and sharing them and the chamber is one of the places that I share with. A friend suggested I do so and now I am an “Unofficial” photographer for them. I want all your infor to be correct. I hope we meet again next summer.

  22. Hello,

    Just stopped to tell you that I visited Macinac Island back in 1978 when I was an exchange student from Norway with another girl from Norway. Her hostmother had us reading av biography from this Island and we visited the graveyard and found all the names from the book. Also I remember the fab. home made fudge and no cars on the Islanf.

    Regards from Norway

  23. Your description of how you came to the Island is kinda like mine. My husband and I ache when we have to leave because it feels like we are leaving home. So we decided that this year we are going to try and make a go of living on the Island year round. Hopefully this spring I’ll finally get to meet you since I’ve been reading your blog for a while now 🙂 I absolutely love it! Thanks and keep up the great work!!!


  24. So happy that I have found your blog! I am drawn to that place for some reason I can’t quite explain. My earliest memory of the Island is visiting with my parents in the late 70’s and watching them film “Somewhere In Time.” On our first anniversary, I introduced the beauty of the Island to my husband, and now we visit every other year for our anniversary. It just kills me waiting in between visits. Last summer we took our children on a day trip for their first visit. We have decided that our goal for retirement (too far down the road) is to own a place on the Island so we can be there whenever we want. I would love to live there year-round, & every day I try to think of a way to make tha that happen. In the meantime, your blog will let me live vicariously through you! Thank you!

    • Hi Becky! I’m so glad you found my blog, and that you’re enjoying it. Don’t EVER give up on that dream of having a home here. It took us 8 years of visits before our dream came true, but we were a lot closer to retirement than you are! God bless.

  25. Hi Bree-
    I have been following your blog for about 2 years. We honeymooned on the island in the 70’s, spent the day there with our sons in the 80’s & will finally be returning this year for a day trip after Labor Day. We will be bringing our bikes & would like to ride some of the trails that you mention that Ted rides. We would love it if you could give us some info. on location of these trails. Thanks in advance for any info.

  26. Bree, I’m so glad I found your blog and really look forward to spending some time reading it. We vacationed in Michigan last month and of course had to make a trip to Mackinac Island…. what a beautiful place! My whole family fell in love with it and hopefully we get to return again some day.

  27. What a lovely and cheerful blog about my true love – Mackinac Island! My husband and I will be making our sixth journey in seven years in October. We attend the Celebrate Your Marriage Conference at Grand Hotel and secretly like to think that we are also going “home” when we approach the island by ferry and see “our” hotel.

    I just found your blog last night while I was searching for tips and secrets by islanders themselves. I’m glad I found you. I’ve got plenty of reading to catch up on, I see!

    Any quick tips, secrets or – “must see’s” that most of us folks downstate really need to know? Off the beaten path type stuff? We stay two nights at the Grand so we have almost one free day to hike. We sometimes do some Geocaching that gets us back in the woods and off the roads. We’ve seen all or most of what is in the typical brochures, but hoping to find some gems that most of us miss every visit to the Island.

    Thanks so much and I sure hope that you feel better.


  28. I too have a desire to actually move onto Mackinac Island. Probably won’t be able to until my husband and I retire in 18 years but, so be it!
    I will be following your blog and getting ready!

    • Get dreaming it, Ellen! It took us 8 years of dreaming until we retired and could do it. We just started a lot later than you!

  29. Hi, there! It’s been wonderful reading through your blog. I grew up visiting the Island with my family, then was an Honor Scout for several years, and now my own family visits once a year from Rochester, NY. LOVE it! This past August, we were biking around the Island and I snapped some photos of a large, shuttered, cabin-style home with three levels on the west side of the Island. It’s surrounded by several smaller cabin-style homes, which also seem to be untended. The metal remains of a dock lie in the water. (I’d attach a photo or two, but can’t here.) Do you know what this home is or any of its history? It seemed slightly spooky and seriously interesting. Thanks again for keeping me in touch with Mackinac — a piece of my heart is always up there.

  30. Hi Bree: I have been reading your blog all summer and really enjoy it. I fell like I am experiencing the Island through your eyes and lens! I worked on the Island for 4 summers during college in the 70′s, my sister met her husband while working there and they have been married for 30 years, and my parents honeymooned at the Cloghan in 1950. I relate to your “spiritual” connection to the Island. My dad always called it “God’s country”. I bought a cabin on Paradise Lake (Carp Lake) just 6 miles south of Mackinaw City a year ago and I am “living the dream”. I can’t retire just yet but hope to spend summers “up north” and winters here in Florida. I am from Sagainaw but my heart is on Mackinac Island. Thanks for taking me there each time I read your blog. God bless you!!! –Anne

  31. I’m so happy I discovered your Blog!

    I’ve visited the island many times and always wondered what it would be like to live there. In 2 weeks, my 3rd mystery novel, The Peacock Prophecy, will be published and it takes place on Mackinac Island.

  32. My goodness. I found this blog through google, just looking for a good spring wallpaper. I cried as I read this because, like this says, Mackinac Island is a home. Maybe just for the summer, but still home. With other factors blocking our path to the Island and the Hotel, we have not been back for many years and I did not know how much I missed it until now. Thank you for the pix and well written posts.

    • Hello John! I’m so glad you ran across my blog and that it brought back some good memories. Maybe it’s time to plan another trip to that magical little island!

      • Most definitely, an Island visit is well overdue but not possible in the near future. Keep writing and posting as Island dreams take on a whole new meaning in Northern Michigan. What do parts of Georgia do you bring with you to the Island, other than your good nature and wit?

      • John – just an excitement I never knew I’d experience as a “double-nester” and my southern drawl!

  33. to–Ted
    from–Henry Duggan

    See my new book ,SILVER’S ODYSSEY, on Amazon or got to my

  34. My husband & I started going to Mackinac Island in 1987. I worked with a man who believe it or not was born and raised on Mackinac Island…..his name was John (Rhino) Bazineau. Unfortunately, he passed away at an early age, but I do believe his sister still lives and works at the post office on Mackinac Island…..You are so right!!!!! It is definitely a magical island, We now go every year for the bridge walk……..and the island’s mystical charm. We spend some time in Mackinac City, then head over to the island….taking our bikes up the hill from the Grand, and taking in the beauty of the island. We will never get tired of this place……..Also I lOVE your blog……I read it all the time,,,,,,,,,hopefully I will run into you this labor day…..Have a great day, and Keep up the great work with your blog……Sandy Miller

  35. Hello Bree:

    My name is Ethan and I live in Atlanta (Buckhead) Georgia. I’ve lived in GA since 2001 when I moved from New York where I was born and raised to attend college at Emory. I have Michigan ties (my mother is originally from Bloomfield Hills) and I spent my entire childhood vacationing in the summers on Mackinac Island. My parent’s owned the cream colored with red trim High Victorian cottage on the East Bluff for 15+ years. The cottage is now owned by the Alexander’s, the second family to own the home since my parents sold it. I now have two little boys of my own and I recently introduced them to the island. They fell in love with it, just as I did when I was their age. I’ve been seriously contemplating the purchase of the late Ann Bronfman “Lakewood Cottage” a few doors down from the Windemere Hotel. I stumbled onto your blog this morning and recognized the photos of Jill and Jeremy who work at the Island Bookstore. I stopped in a couple weeks back to pick up several books on the island cottages and to ask specifically if there was anything written about the “Lakewood Cottage.” Sadly, Jill said she didn’t think so. I would love the opportunity to chat with you and ask some questions before moving forward with the sale.



    • Hi Ethan! I don’t know if I can be of any help with your questions, but would be glad to try. You can contact me at, or by cell (229) 344-3843. I’ll be in and out most of today, so if you call and I don’t answer, just leave me a message, and I’ll call you back (cell coverage is iffy some places on the Island – as I’m sure you’ve discovered).

      How wonderful if you could purchase that home on the boardwalk! Ted and I joke about buying that house every time we walk by – we’d have to hit the lottery first, but it’s nice to dream!

      Looking forward to hearing from you. Brenda

  36. Etahn, I am a teacher in the Benton Harbor Area School System. Your post in this blog captured my interest. One of my former music teachers and colleague, Virginia Archer, used to vaction on the Island in one of the cottages at the invitation of one of her former students. Virgina used to say that her student was gifted and she lived in Atlanta and could not make full use of the cottage so she, Visginia, would be invite tos spend time every summer on the Island. Does this sound familiar to you?

    Regarding the Lakewood Cottage, I have some history from a book I found while on the Island. Briefly, built in 1899 by Clifford and Flora Anthony. Clifford was a part owner of the Windermiere, along with his brother Charles. Let me know if you are intereste in more.

  37. Hi John,

    Thanks for reaching out and saying hello. I don’t have a recollection of a Virginia Archer. Have you any idea which part of the island she vacationed on? How many years ago was this? I do know the early history of the Lakewood Cottage — when it was built, who it was built by, the original owners, the story of the Anthony brothers, etc. I’m curious to learn about the later years — before the last owner, Ann Bronfman, lived in the home, and before that when it was used to house workers of the Iroquois Hotel. Does the book you found on the island talk about the history after the Anthony’s sold the home?

    • Hi! I have just discovered this blog because it was written up in the Town Crier (which I subscribe to). I used to live on the third floor of the Lakewood during the summer of 1973 when I worked at the Iroquois as a desk clerk.

  38. Thank you for your response. One of those things where you feel like you have to ask. I have no recent history. Virginia used to stay in one of the East end cottages, above town between the fort and Mission. Hope fair well in your quest to acquire accommodations on the island.

  39. Hello Bree, and thank you for having this blog. My first time stepping on to Macknac Island was in 1958 as a Coast Guardsman assigned to the US Coast Guard Life Boat Station on the Island. It is now the Visitors Center. I lived on the island for about 2 years, and the spell of the island has never left me. When I married, the first place I took my wife was to the island and we have visited it many times since. While living on the island I rode saddle horses for Jack’s Livery and worked for the City of Mackinac part time. It was one of the most memorable experiences in my life. We already have reservations for our trip the island next year. Really enjoy this page. Bob

    • Thanks for writing, Bob! As you may know if you’ve read the blog for long, my husband Ted now volunteers in the Visitors Center. You need to drop by on your next visit and, if he’s working, get him to take you upstairs. The second floor is almost just as it was when it was a Coast Guard station – the lockers are even still there.

      • Thank you Bree. Seening the upstairs of the old CG Station would really bring back a ton of memories for me. We hope to be on the island for the Lilac time next spring. I have many stories of my experiences on the island as do so many others. Bob

  40. Bree, As I recently stumbled on to this blog, I was so excited that all I wanted to do was post comments about my connection to the Island. After now spending hours going thru the posts, and the extraordinary pictures, I wanted to tell you how greatful I am to you, and the work you have done with these pages. I at times, find that I have tears in my eyes from the beauty of the photographs, and the memories that become so clear of my time on the Island. Thank you so much. Have a safe winter, and we will look forward to meeting you next year. Bob and Bernice

    • Bob, I look forward to meeting you and Bernice next summer. I will continue to write winter updates on the island once a week from our home in Georgia. Stay tuned on the blog for details later this week. So glad you stumbled here! Brenda

  41. Hello Bree! My family vacationed there many times and it holds a special place in our hearts! I live in Savannah and my Mother lives in Blowing Rock. She would love to spend a winter on Mackinac Island as a “bucket list” check off!! I was hoping you could provide some information about winter rentals for her as would love to help her mark this off her list! Thank You Bree!
    Kelly Shiflet
    Savannah, Ga.

  42. Your blog and writing style surely captures the spirit of Mackinac Island and a genial and gracious appreciation for time well spent. Merry Christmas!

  43. I am thrilled that I found your blog. I love the island and have stayed in some great bed and breakfast places there. I have always wished to have a home on the island, so I am excited to live vicariously through you. Do you have a follow button so I can receive email updates?

    • Hi Wendy, and welcome! There should be a “Follow” button at the top of the page. If not, maybe down the right side?

      • It doesn’t show up at all for me,Wendy, I guess because I’m the administrator of the site. Maybe another reader will chime in and say where that darn “follow” button is!

        Sent from my iPhone

      • If I am under my blog, the follow button shows up even if I’m logged in. I think I’ll take another look and see if I can find it. 🙂

      • Aha, now I feel silly. It’s at the very top on the left on the black bar if you use WordPress. Sorry to bother you with it. I’m following you now. 🙂

  44. Can you rell me how to get to Great Turtle Park. I will be arriving fathers day 2013 and would like to show my 2 young daughter the inside of the island. Any places you would recommend. We will be on the island for 2 days.

    • Hi Teresa! Here’s a link to a map of the…
      Turtle Park is located across from the cemeteries, and you can get there following several different routes. It’s a pretty good hike from town – how old are your children?

      • Have they been to the island before, Teresa? If not, anything and everything is available for girls that age. If they love horses, all they have to do is walk to town to see plenty of those. The fort would be a good half-day trip (try to eat lunch at the fort at the Tea Room). The 7-year-old might like to spend some time at the Richard & Jane Manoogian Art Museum, where they have classes for children on certain days. Your best bet – and you have plenty of time to do this – is contact the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau and request a vacation package from them. Ask specifically for a map and children-related activities. For sure, do a bike ride around the Island – and take your camera – there will be lots of stops to build rock “castles” and wade in the cold water. Hope you have a great trip!

  45. We made a trip to the Island last year. For a day trip. And they have been asking to come back ever since. My husband and I stayed at Sunset before. This is their first time staying on the Island. They are very excited and ar counting down the days. Last year we rode around they Island and spent the day in town.

  46. Bree, i love your blog I am not experienced with the blog thing but I need your help. I have two girls, my daughter and her friend (college Freshman) who have been hired to work at the Grand Hotel this summer. My daughter’s friend just arrived ( my daughter goes up next tues.) to a completely packed dorm room. I am wondering if you know anyone who might be renting a room this summer? Thank you…i’m desperate
    Jill Carrier (since I am not a blogger, could you please email me?

  47. Where in south Georgia are you? My husband and I have lived in Moultrie since 1972. I am the result of a southern girl meeting a northern Army boy on a train during the war and getting married when he came home!! My dad was born and raised in Bliss Township (the area between Levering, Cross Village, & Mackinaw City. I have cousins all throughout Michigan, with two cousins living on the shore of Lake Michigan in Mackinaw City. Mackinac Island is my very favorite place. My girls are grown now and living in Roswell and Cumming with families of their own. In 2010 and 2012 we all took our first extended two week family visits, renting cabins, & spending at least four days biking and strolling around the island. My husband and I spend a night at Grand Hotel and for our trip up next June, we will be celebrating our oldest grandchild’s 13th birthday by having all us ‘girls’ in the family stay at the Grand to celebrate. That is my treat at her request! I have succeeded in instilling in my grandchildren the LOVE of the area, especially THE island. My grandson, who is nine now, completely absorbs everything he can while there to carry him over until the next visit. I remember living for those summer vacations with memories to carry me through the school year. I was thrilled to see someone from so close to home in south Georgia that shares my love of northern Michigan!

    • Hi Peggy! We live on Lake Blackshear near Cordele from Nov. through the middle of May- then head north for 5 1/2 months. We are practically neighbors!

  48. Yes, we are!!!
    Five and a half months of heaven! Oh, how blessed!
    I have a good friend and neighbor whose parents have a house at Lake Blackshear. They go there frequently. Kim & Jim Mac Booth – her dad is Stan Sumner.
    How wonderful to meet you. I feel an instant bond!!!

    • Well, Peggy, this will really blow your mind . . My maiden name is Sumner. I grew up in Sylvester.

      Sent from my iPhone

  49. Well, of course. I shouldn’t be at all surprised that there could be a family connection to Kim wrapped up in there somewhere! And, Sylvester is just up the road from me!! I’ve been looking at all of your pretty photos – the lilacs, the horses, and that same shrouded house on the Pontiac Trail that I saw on my last stroll along the trail. I’m thinking that next June simply can’t arrive soon enough. Enjoy all your lovely days and know that there is another south Georgia girl sitting here listening to the pouring rain and rumbling thunder (beats blowing at gnats) wishing she was there. Are you familiar with the particular sweetness that you can catch a whiff of around Mackinaw? NOT the fudge or flowers- LOL !!! I have only smelled it randomly in other places, but I’ve remembered it from there since childhood. I am wondering if it might be a sort of sage.

    • I don’t know that smell, Peggy. Sweet smells include fudge, lilacs and honeysuckle. Perhaps other readers will chime in if they’re aware if it.

      Sent from my iPhone

    • Hi Andrea! I’m afraid I’d already returned from downtown when I saw your message. There’s a chance, although a small one, I might be coming back downtown early this evening, but I won’t know until the last minute. How late will you be on the island?

      • So glad we met today, it was actually amazing how it all came about. Bree, you are as lovely as I imagined. 45 days ago I would have never guessed I’d be on Mackinac Island. The first of June a friend told me about her wonderful Memorial Day trip to the island. I mentioned it to my husband and in less than a week our travel plans to Mackinac were made. I decided to get a feel for the island, so I googled “Mackinac Island Blog”…your blog appeared. I immediately was drawn to your way with words. Reading your blog allowed me to imagine the island before I arrived. Your pictures are fabulous. What a God thing when our paths crossed tonight…truly amazing…

      • Awwww…. thank you, Andrea! I love meeting my readers, and I’m so glad you came over last night with your friends. Now I have a huge favor to ask. Could you have your friend (I think her name is Bonnie- please correct me if I’m wrong, my memory is not what it used to me) email me the photo she took last night to The photo Ted took did not turn out well at all – Bonnie’s was much better.

        I hope you all enjoyed the island and come back very soon! Hugs!

        Sent from my iPhone

  50. Hi Bree,
    I so enjoy reading your blog. I discovered your blog by the “special thanks” attributed to you from the PJ Parrish Book- Heart of Ice. I, myself have a condo on the island, however I rent it out during high season, for I am still working and unfortunately can not get use of it as much as I would like. To my chagrin, I am up only twice a year. So with that being said, I transend back wearing a cheshire smile while reading your blog. Thank You so very much for posting not only lovely stories, but fabulous are quite the accomplished photographer. As for capturing fireworks, my images of photographed fireworks look as though there is a smudge of something that cannot be discerned. Kudos to you on that photo posted in the blog.
    I read in an excerpt you blogged from a young bride’s wish to be married on the island and she mentioned that she receives your blog directly into her email. Can you direct me as how to this? I have navigated through the site, but was unable to find a link.
    Kind Regards, Diane

    • Hello, Diane, and welcome! There should be a “follow” link somewhere on the blog page – usually somewhere across the top. Check there and also down the right side. Let me know if it’s not there. If not, and you’re on Facebook, send me a friend request. I post each blog there also. Our condo is for sale, and eventually we’ll be looking for something to rent for 2-3 months in the summer. I’ll keep your place in mind – IF you allow dogs, of course! Again, so glad you stumbled upon Bree’s Blog!

  51. Hi Bree~
    I just have to say what a terrific writer you are and writing about my most favorite island and vacation spot I really can’t get enough! I’ve tried to “follow” you, but for some reason your daily posts don’t appear in my email. Don’t fret, I have you bookmarked and until yesterday I would check in on occassion to see what was going on at the island. For some reason, I decided to start from the very beginning of your journey up to the island yesterday afternoon. Both my husband and I can’t get enough reading your stories. I was up way past 11:30 last night just getting through May 2009. I’m now going through your June 2009. Needless to say, it will take me awhile, but I’m really enjoying all of yours, Ted’s and your puppies adventures. Just wanted you to know and since we are coming up early Oct. I sure hope we can run into you and meet you. We’re bringing along two couples who’ve not been to the island before and we can’t wait to show off it’s magical pull!!


  52. Oh Bree…
    We are from Ohio and have owned a cottage on St. Martins Pt., west of Hessel, for 19 yrs. I’ve loved your blog on Mackinaw Island for years. We also have a golden (on our second one) so love yours. How will I live without your photos of the island?
    Wish you much happiness down south.
    Will Miss You!
    Marilyn Kraft

  53. Hello – scrolling through some of your blogs – do you still have your condo listed? I am a resident of Venice FL which I believe is the “jewel” of FL. But I want to be able to spend time on Mackinac also – the other jewel in my heart. Thank you – L

    • Hi Beverly! Our condo sold at the end of the season last year. We’re already going through withdrawal, as now is the time we would be getting ready to pack up and head north in the middle of May. Hoping you can find a place on Mackinac soon!

  54. This a wonderful blog. I live in Pine Lake Ga (very close to stone mountain). The small community and the peaceful energy attracted me to pine lake with my 4 year old daughter at the time. Now that she’s a little older(7) and I have a 9 month old I’m craving to live in a community such as Mackinac Island. Mackinac Island reminds me much of one I spent my first 10 years of my life in Russia before adoption. I was brainstorming of ways of experiencing the community on a very tight budget and possibly raising my family. How many children live year around? What about schools? One of my brainstorming spurts, I thought of the possibility of finding a sessional job that would allow me to have my children with me (thinking out of the box). Or a job that would allow a small family (mother,father, two children) to work. I read that many businesses offer a dwelling for working for them. How would I go about inquiring? What would it cost to raise a family on Mackinac Island realistically and modestly? What do you do with a car if we drive down (it would cost us around 2k to fly)? Are extra fees required for car parking? I would really appreciate any help. Thank you, Luba

    • Wow, Luba, you have asked some very interesting questions – some of which I couldn’t possibly answer because I’ve never raised children on the island. So, let me try to answer a few questions, and maybe give you some food for thought.
      Mackinac Island is truly a magical little village that seems just about perfect from the outside looking in. As a retired from work wife and mom to grown children, it was a perfect place for my husband and me to buy a vacation home and to spend six months out of the year there (getting away from the heat in the south). So, we came to Mackinac with an entirely different vision than you would be having.
      Yes, there are children on the island year-round and there is a school which houses K-12 grades. The classes are very small, and the teachers are excellent. The majority of the year-round island residents work very hard during the summer in the tourist industry, but usually don’t have full-time jobs during the winter (some draw unemployment during the winter). So, the first and foremost thing would be to find seasonal work and hope you could work enough months and make enough money to supplement a possible winter without work. Seasonal housing for employees is VERY hard to find unless you are working for one of the larger hotels, which supply housing. BUT – that housing is for individuals, not usually for families. The majority of the seasonal workers are college students, and the large housing buildings are dorm-like, with several people sharing a room.
      Cars can be parked seasonally (or year-round) in St. Ignace for a fee.
      For anyone who falls in love with the island from reading about it, I always say this: Come to the island and try to stay at least a month or two so you can get a true feel of what it’s like to like there BEFORE you commit to a move. I personally would love to be there year-round. But – it’s an entirely different way to live. In the winter, if the ice freezes over, the only transportation off and on is by plane – unless the ice freezes so thick you can take a snowmobile over to the mainland. You really have to consider whether this is the kind of lifestyle where your family would flourish.
      I certainly don’t mean to try and discourage you, Luba. I love Mackinac. But, my husband and I visited there for seven years for two weeks each summer before we bought our condo. Buying a home there is not inexpensive (housing starts at around $350,000, and housing at that price is very hard to find).
      If none of the above scares you, my next suggestion would be to contact the Mackinac Island Chamber of Commerce and ask them to send you anything they have about the schools, housing, employment opportunities, child care, etc.
      Hope this has helped some! Good luck and I hope you can find a way to check out the island soon. Brenda

  55. What about rentals for year around residents? Rentals for vacations have a high premium on them. Are any regular rentals available and how would I go about finding one? We would like to rent before we buy.
    What is the fee for keeping your car parked outside of the island?
    How would you go about finding a year around full time job?

    • Luba, you would need to possibly go through a Mackinac Island real estate office. They sometimes have rentals. As I’ve said though, housing is very limited. I don’t know how much it costs for year round parking. As for jobs, you can google each island business and go to their job opportunities section. These usually start posting in January.


  56. Spent my first week on the island back in June for my husband’s 40th birthday. So much fun! I have already booked a place for next year. Hopefully in a few years we will be looking at buying a place on the island 🙂

  57. Hey Bree!! It’s Liz from Louisville (I sent you a pic of my late furbaby Princess Felicity a few weeks ago)!! By the time you read this you will probably be home with your new furbaby:) I hope you have a safe trip back and I will be thinking about you! Just wanted to thank you for making this blog and all the beautiful pictures you post. It really lights up my day to see a new posting and new pictures. Mackinac Island is just a magical place to me! Every time I visit and have to leave on the ferry I am sad. Thanks again and I hope to meet you, Ted, and your babies someday!

    • Hi Liz! Spending tonight in Richmond Ky, tomorrow night in Atlanta, pick up new dog Monday morning, then straight home to Florida.

  58. I came across your blog today and I enjoy hearing stories of people who have made my hometown their new home. I was born on the Great Turtle Island and my family still resides there. I hope that Mackinac never loses its historical place in this world. It is really a separate little piece of heaven all on its own.

  59. Good morning, Bree! I’ve followed your blogs forever…and I feel like we’ve been friends for years, I hope you don’t mind me calling you Bree…lol

    I grew up in Michigan and visited the Mackinac Island every summer, just thinking about the island brings back a lot of fond memories spent with family. I live in Florida (Citrus County) now, but my younger daughter has chosen Mackinac Island as the place to get married next summer. Obviously, I’m thrilled beyond words and can’t wait to get back to the island. I haven’t been in years, I have live vicariously thru your blog. 🙂

    Do you have an email address I could use…I’d like to pick your brain for some suggestions for next summer?

    Thank you for sharing the island thru your blog posts, Tina

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