This, That, and . . . the Other 8.16.2012

Hi Everyone!  Sorry it’s taken me so long to post this, but I was off-island all day.  After the blog was published last night, I received several correct answers and several more today.The first correct answer came from Tina Fiste of Midland, MI.  The Mystery Spot is the cart trail up to a green in the Jewel Golf Course.  It can easily be seen walking up Cadotte – right before you get to “Four Corners” and the horse barns.

Have we had a “Photos Only” post this season?  I don’t think so!

So . . . I now declare this the First Official “Photos Only” post of the 2012 Mackinac Island Season (Whew!  I’m glad I’m getting at least one in before the season is over)!

THIS . . .

Possibly my favorite Island road – from Point Lookout to Ft. Holmes. Especially glorious in the Fall.

Not a good day for kayaking. We watched from the boardwalk as one boat flipped, and its passenger hit the water. He clung to his kayak until his buddy arrived to help. All ok.

I learned something new about Sugar Loaf! This opening is called “the Keyhole”.  It’s a shallow cave (about 8′ deep) and has two flumes that ventilate at the top.  Climbing up to check all this out is prohibited.

My friend Mcgyver, getting a little buggy-pulling exercise. I was walking up the hill, turned around when I heard clip-clops, and there he was!

The Mackinac Island recycling dray. Recycling day is once every two weeks. As each resident or business recycling container is picked up, it’s sorted on board the dray, then returned for use the next time.  All heavy cardboard, including boxes, must be flattened and tied together in bundles.  Same with magazines and newspapers.

I left my bike parked at the Cloghaun Bed & Breakfast the other night when I rode a taxi to a party with other ladies from downtown. When I picked it up the next day on my way to work, I caught the Cloghaun “mascot” Maggie on the steps going up the the porch. She was keeping a little girl who was staying there with her parents company.

Happy flowers at the Cloghaun B & B.

THAT . . .

A particularly nasty summer storm a couple of weeks ago brought down limbs and a few trees in the middle of the night. The Market Street side of Market and Cadotte was blocked most of the morning as tree cutters worked to remove huge limbs that had fallen – and others threatening to fall.  One house had some roof damage that was quickly repaired.

On Cadotte, a house can barely be seen through all the downed limbs, but there was no damage to the home.

Like magic, wood chippers appeared, and by afternoon all evidence of the storm had vanished.  Amazing!

Georgia visitors on the Island! We’ve known Don and Nancy for years, and they were on Mackinac Wednesday with a tour group from Carrollton, GA. We met them at the Grand Hotel (after they enjoyed the Grand Lunch Buffet) and rode with them on a two-hour private tour of the Island

I love, love, love seeing the Island through the eyes of a first-time visitor! I think the phrase I heard most from Nancy was, “Oh my goodness, look at that!”


We have NO WINNER for the Mystery Spot this week.  I am totally mystified – ’cause it was an easy one – well, at least to me it was.  You know what?  I’m not going to reveal the answer.  Next Wednesday I’ll post it again – but from a different angle.  Bet you get it then!  Between now and then, if the answer dawns on you, go ahead and email me at!

I’m off to the groomers with Bear tomorrow, which means spending a few hours off-island in Cheboygan’s WalMart.  It’s funny how when we’re home in Georgia, a trip to the local WalMart is no big deal (something I’d rather skip, as a matter of fact).  Up here though,  you’d think I was heading to Bloomingdale’s in New York City by how excited I get.  I guess it’s all relative!

Have a great weekend!  God bless.

Unexpected Gifts and Fun Moments 8/14/2012

Enjoy the little things in life because one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.  Anonymous

Blake and I received an unexpected gift last Friday evening.

We rode over to the mainland on the 8 p.m. boat.  I’d never been to Anne’s cabin before and wanted to find it before dark.  Carp Lake is only a 12-minute drive to the Pellston airport, and every little minute of sleep would count since Blake had to be at the airport at 5:30 Saturday morning.  Anne was so sweet to invite us to stay over with her, even though I’m sure she knew full-well we’d make enough noise getting up and getting out that she’d be up mighty early too.  But she invited us anyway.

We found the cabin with no problem, and as we turned into her drive, we looked straight through her yard –  past garage and house – to the most incredible sky and rainbow I have ever – ever – seen.

“Oh, Blake!  Look at the light!” I said, practically falling out of the truck in my haste to get my camera out of my bag.

Blake was as spellbound as I.  Anne was coming out the side door to meet us, and I think we had the decency to at least say “hello” before rushing by, pulling her with us into her own backyard.

Blake hurried out to the end of the dock, turning on his camera and adjusting it as he slid to a stop just before going off the end.

I stood with Anne near her fire pit.  The rainbow seemed to have been born in Mackinaw City . . .

. . . then traveled through Heaven, coming down out of the clouds to touch Earth again miles and miles away.  As beautiful as it looks here, the photograph does not even begin to touch how this scene truly looked.

Special light, special rainbow, special moment shared.


Around 8:30 Monday evening, I’d just walked into the den when I heard voices outside yelling, “Hi, Brenda!  Hi Ted!  Hi Maddie!  Hi Bear!”  Ted heard them too, so I knew I wasn’t imaging things!  We rushed to the window and looked out to find a wagon full of people and dogs and hay stopped on the street beside our boardwalk.  It was a birthday hayride for little Jordan Fisher – who’d just turned three years old!

The wagon was filled with parents, grandparents, Jordan’s little sister Jenavieve, friends and family pooches!

Friend Joan Barch, with her daughter Julie Fisher and grandchildren – birthday boy Jordan and little Jenavieve.

There might be a few other places where moments like this happen . . . a horse-pulled hay wagon, filled with friends, who stop by and yell “Hello!” up to your open windows.  But I don’t know where they are, and I just feel so, so blessed to be living here, where little moments like this happen on almost a daily basis.  Geez, I love this place!


Readers’  Mackinac Island Photographs

Deborah Crawford – Midland, Ontario, Canada
From a July, 2010 visit to the Island. Deborah told this shot while sitting in Margaret’s Garden at the Grand Hotel and said, “This photo just shows everything I love about the Island – flowers, horses, beautiful scenery wherever you look.”

Patti Foote – Buffalo, N.Y.
Patti and her sister visited the Island in June, 2011. They saw this same kitty twice during their visit.  Here he’s on a fence near the boardwalk.

Jean Lenard – Powell, Ohio
Photo taken on porch of Iroquois Hotel in July, 2012.

Paul and Elaine Williams – Yale, MI
From August, 2007. Photo was taken as they walked on the road behind the West Bluff houses. Paul and Elaine visit the Island several times every summer.

Mystery Spot Contest

The object of the Mystery Spot is to be the first to identify where the object is located. When you think you have the answer, email me at I’ll check my email several times a day, and as soon as we have a winner, I’ll post the winner’s name at the top of this blog so you can stop guessing (you may have to refresh your page for this to show up). Is there a prize for the winner?  Yes there is; but the prize is secret, and the only ones who will know what it is are the winners. To be fair, I’m asking residents of Mackinac Island to please NOT guess. This is just for readers who don’t live here . . . but would like to! And the Mystery Spot is   . . . .

Where is it?

Again, please email your answers to me at  PLEASE DO NOT ANSWER IN THE “COMMENTS” SECTION OF THE BLOG.  Remember, I’ll post the winner at the top of this blog as soon as someone gives the correct answer.

See you on Friday!

“I Know Great Horses Live Again.” 8/12/2012

Saturday was a very subdued day at the Festival of the Horse – for all the workers and anyone connected in any way to horses.  Shortly after returning to the Island from the airport, the devastating news of a tragic fire at a horse training facility downstate reached me online – nine horses were lost, and one of them was Ferrari, one of Maryanke Alexander’s glorious Friesians.  Maryanke and Ferrari had begun competing in Dressage, and her goals for the future with him were etched deeply in her heart.  He was a very, very special horse, and, as she does all her horses, Maryanke loved him passionately and completely.  Maryanke left on the first ferry out Saturday morning to go downstate.

I was scheduled to work the Festival from 12:30-3:30 at the admission table.  My work-time coincided with the Breed Show – an event I’ve written about for the past two years – so I really had no plans to photograph it again.  But my co-worker at the table said, “Go – photograph!  I can handle this!”

Just as I was walking away from the table, a family with three children stepped up, wanting to go on the pony rides, which were offered at specific times every day of the Festival.  The rides had ended 15 minutes earlier, and all the horses were on their way back to the barn.  This precious little 3-year-old boy had been crying all morning to “ride a horse”, and his parents were so disappointed they had missed the opportunity.

Just then, I looked up to see Barb walking onto the Burroughs Lot, leading their family pony, Topaz – with one of her grandchildren astride.  Topaz would take the arena later in the Paint division of the Breed Show.  On this day, filled with such sadness, it just seemed extra-important – if possible – for anyone with a love of horses to connect with them – no matter how young, no matter how briefly.  I walked over and asked Barb if she would allow the little boy to ride Topaz around the arena, and she beamed  “Yes!  Of course!”

Down came the grandson, and up went Jacob for a thrill-of-his-life THREE circuits of the arena, led by Barb.

A happy little boy.

Jacob’s six-year-old sister Madelyn also got to ride. Thanks so much, Barb, for making the day for these two!

I stayed out at the arena and snapped photographs for an hour.  Here are a few of my favorites (some from Friday) of our precious Mackinac horses -and the owners and riders who love them so.

From Friday – Maryanke on her beautiful Regina for the musical kur, “Puttin’ on the Ritz”.

“Puttin’ on the Ritz” was presented again on Saturday – with Michelle Stuck stepping up for Maryanke and riding Gysbert.  That’s Ann on Lars East, Katie on Teddie, and Kate on Hercules.

Michelle – on her magnificent Gysbert on Saturday.

Little Blaze, a Haflinger – and every 4-H child’s favorite Island horse. He can do it all, and he can do it well.

Ann Levy on Lars East.

The mighty Percheron, Dan.

Every little girl wants a horse, and this one got her wish very early. She’s on her much loved Ricky – a miniature.

Kate – on Hercules – walking onto the Burroughs Lot.

Topaz, our “fill-in” for the pony ride! Here, Barb leads him with grandson Aiden aboard.

Doc Al – with Skip, a Standardbred.

Katie on Mary Stancik’s Teddie (my handsome god-horse).

From Friday – Maryanke on Regina and Katie on Teddie.

Regina looks on as I pose with Teddie – just before he slobbered all over my head.

“Wow! How many oats do I need to get THAT big!?”

In Loving Memory of Ferrari

Somewhere…somewhere in time’s own space
There must be some sweet pastured place

Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow

Some Paradise where horses go.

For by the love that guides my pen
I know great horses live again.

Stanley Harrison

Ferrari and Maryanke – in a recent Dressage competition.

At a past Festival of the Horse – Maryanke on Ferrari – riding the wind.

We pray God’s peace to Maryanke and all the owners who lost horses on Friday night.  

Road Trip to Charlevoix 8/9/2012

Getting either Ted or I off Mackinac (except to grocery shop or take Bear to the groomers) is much like pulling hen’s teeth (I think that’s a Southern expression).  But, since neither Ted nor Blake had explored any of the harbor towns within an hour’s drive of the Island, we jumped on the ferry Wednesday morning and pointed the truck south on Hwy. 31.

Charlevoix was our lunch destination – Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant to be exact.  Frankie and I ate there once, and I remembered the views and the food being more than excellent.  We drove past the Pellston airport and Petoskey on the way, then Bar Harbor.  Once in Petoskey, we were traveling pretty much on a by-the-water highway all the way to Charlevoix, passing several beautiful harbors and marinas.

We arrived at the restaurant around 12:30, and because we wanted to be on the outside deck, we had a 30-minute wait.  We left our name and walked under the draw bridge and along the water-side pathway.

The marina at Charlevoix is very busy. The car ferry to Beaver Island departed yesterday at 8:30 a.m. and would be returning before we finished lunch.  It’s about a 2 1/2 trip to Beaver Island from Charlevoix, and reservations ARE required to cross on that ferry.

The marina is located on Round Lake, and the narrow passage at the top of the pic leads into Lake Charlevoix, which is quite large.

The marina shore is lined with gorgeous homes and condos, many with very impressive landscaping – like this one. Those chairs sure did look inviting, but the “private property” sign on the iron fence stopped me from trying them out!

Boats enter a canal from Lake Michigan . . .

. . . pass by the outside deck of Stafford’s Restaurant . . .

. . . then pass under the drawbridge into the marina.

This is the car ferry returning from Beaver Island. The bridge goes up on the hour and half-hour, but only remains open a few minutes. While it is raised, cars are backed up on both sides of the bridge.

After lunch, which was just as good as I remembered, we walked beside the canal and onto the long dock jutting out into Lake Michigan.

The beach here is a mixture of coarse sand, pebbles and rock, all carved out thousands of years ago by glaciers.

The entrance into the canal from Lake Michigan is guarded by the Charlevoix South Pier Light, built in 1948 and now listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.

It was another beautiful day in northern Michigan . . .

. . . and Blake, who has traveled quite a lot in Asia, said the only other place he’d seen water this blue was in Thailand.

All three of us marveled, once again, at the sparkling clarity of Great Lakes waters.

We spent an hour or so downtown in Charlevoix, exploring the shops . . . but you know guys! They were anxious to move on to other things (I did do a little early birthday shopping for Blake though).

Hanging out with Blake.

We returned back to the Island the long way – taking the route that leads through Good Hart, Cross Village and the Tunnel of Trees.  Beautiful, beautiful ride!

It’s now Thursday evening, and we’ve just returned from dinner at the Carriage House Restaurant in the Iroquois Hotel – Blake’s pick for tonight.  He loves everything about the restaurant – the view, and especially the food!

Three very full, happy people!

The walkway to the Carriage House Restaurant – one of the most beautiful flower displays on the Island.

The sky, as we waited at the taxi stand, was turning all shades of pink, gray, and blue.

By the time we pulled into the Grand Hotel to drop off riders, the colors were beginning to fade . . .

. . . then – just as we made the turn-around at the end of the Grand porch – one last ray of sun illuminated the opening at the top of the stone gateway to the West Bluff.  Awesome night on the Island!

Blake and I will be leaving the Island after dinner on Friday night.  We’re going to drive over to Carp Lake and spend the night with a girlfriend who has a place there.  Blake has to catch the 6:30 a.m. flight out of Pellston on Saturday morning, and there are no ferries that early – so he has to get off the Island Friday evening.  I’ll get him to the airport Saturday morning, then take the first ferry back over so I can work at the Festival of the Horse activities.

I’ll get pics Friday and Saturday of the Festival and have them here for you on Monday – along with anything else that comes along!

Have a great weekend!  God bless.

Ride-Around 8/7/2012

We have a Mystery Spot winner!  She is Kirsten Reece, an Elementary Education student at the University of Michigan!  Please see end of this post for the answer to this week’s Mystery Spot!

Last night we had a Girl’s Night Out at the Harbor View Restaurant in the Chippewa Hotel for friend Jane Winston, who’ll be going back home to Georgia on Wednesday.  There were around 20 ladies there – we ate good food, chattered so loudly that diners around us probably wished we’d quieten down a bit, and laughed like 10-year-olds at a spend-the-night party.  We ranged in age from one lady’s daughter, who was in her twenty’s, to the “not getting older – just getting better” crowd. It was so much fun, but we will miss Jane – safe travels to you, my friend.

Our dinner for Jane ended just at twilight. I found Ted and Blake at the Pony bar, watching the Olympics on the big screen TVs. Blake opted to walk home, but . . .

. . . Ted and I treated ourselves to a taxi ride home. It’s amazing how these streets were packed a few hours ago – and now they were deserted.

As we passed the Gate House Restaurant, we noticed they were flying the Jamaican Flag next to Old Glory. Mackinac Island employs a large number of Jamaicans during the season, and August 6 was the 50th anniversary of their independence.

Today has been beautiful.  We headed over to the Fort Mackinac for lunch – there’s just no better place on the Island for views!

Blake is having to work a little, but he’s definitely getting in some relaxation time!

Probably my 367th photo of the Straits from the Fort.

Beautiful Places and Hidden Spaces

It seems like weeks and weeks since I’ve just gone out with my camera with no particular goal in mind.  I did that today after leaving the Fort.  Ted was going back to the condo, and Blake planned to spend the afternoon at the Grand Hotel pool, so I threw my camera in my bike basket and went out trolling for photos.  In the back of my mind I was thinking about doing something on little hidden spaces on the Island, and I found a few of those (including the Mystery Spot!).

Since I was so close by, I rode to the East Bluff and photographed the pathway leading to Anne’s Tablet. If you take the other path – Crow’s Nest Trail – you’ll go down a lot of stairs and come out at the back of Marquette Park.

I wanted to ride through the Annex today, so I left the East Bluff and took Huron all the way to Four Corners (where Huron intersects Cadotte and becomes Annex Road). Once in the Annex, I stopped to capture the blue water of Lake Huron over the hedges of two beautiful homes that stand facing the lake.

I love the Annex – the homes, the flower gardens, the lawns, the views, the hedges – it would just be an awesome place to live. This flower garden is always a favorite and runs along Lake View Blvd.

Purple flowers . . . . . Jeff?

A beautiful “tucked-away” space leading . . . . somewhere.

The private tour drivers love bringing visitors to the Annex. They always stop in front of this awesome hedge.  You can just see the opening which leads into that home’s front yard.

I got lucky this afternoon and was riding by when two men were preparing to trim some of the Annex hedge . . . .

Be careful!

From the Annex I rode by the Grand . . . no better place to find beautiful spaces – like the Rose Walk.

Aren’t these lilies unbelievably gorgeous!

The fountain in the Tea Garden.

For a while there, I thought I might get wet, but the cloud passed over.

I rode on into town and dropped off our condo key with Jill at the Island Bookstore.  She’s going to look after Maddie and Bear tomorrow so we can go off-Island and show Blake a few of the water-front towns nearby – probably Charlevoix and Harbor Springs.  Ted hasn’t been to either of those either, and I’m thinking we’ll have lunch at Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant, which is right on the water and where Frankie and I ate the day we went to Charlevoix to see the mushroom houses.  If my memory is right, we can also watch the car ferry that goes to Beaver Island in Lake Michigan load from the outside patio at Stafford’s.  Great food too!

Readers’ Mackinac Island Photographs

Bob and Kara with Ava and Will – Wausau, MI.  I love this photo because Bob emailed Ted and asked him how to find a cave that would be easy enough for his children to reach.   Ted suggested Eagle Point Cave – and that’s where this was taken!

Marlena Black – Kansas City, Missouri.
Marlena and husband Larry visited Mackinac for the first time in May of this year. This photo was “somewhere” in Mackinac’s beautiful woods.  Marlena and Larry will be back in a couple of years to celebrate birthdays and their 25th wedding anniversary.

Shannon Hoorn – Grand Rapids, MI
When she walked behind the library to sit in a rocking chair and look at the water, Shannon found this cluster of lilac blooms on the ground.  It was so beautiful, she “posed” it on the white table, and took this photograph.

Jean Lenard – Powell, Ohio
Jean stayed at the Iroquois Hotel in July with her husband and son. She took this photo early one Monday morning from their room window. It shows the Carriage Tour wagons lined up along the boardwalk, awaiting the first call to move up and collect the first round of tourists for the day. Jean says Mackinac is “my favorite place on earth!”

Trisha Young – Norton Shores, MI
Trisha visited Mackinac in 2010 and captured this shot of the Straits from the fort at dusk.

Please don’t forget to send me your best 1-2 photos of your Mackinac Island vacations (  Once again, I’m running low!  Just email them to me as attachments, give a little of the history of the shot, and don’t forget to tell me where you’re from!  I love this feature!

Mystery Spot Contest

The object of the Mystery Spot is to be the first to identify where the object is located. When you think you have the answer, email me at I’ll check my email several times a day, and as soon as we have a winner, I’ll post the winner’s name at the top of this blog so you can stop guessing (you may have to refresh your page for this to show up). Is there a prize for the winner?  Yes there is; but the prize is secret, and the only ones who will know what it is are the winners. To be fair, I’m asking residents of Mackinac Island to please NOT guess. This is just for readers who don’t live here . . . but would like to! And the Mystery Spot is   . . . .

Where is it?

Again, please email your answers to me at  PLEASE DO NOT ANSWER IN THE “COMMENTS” SECTION OF THE BLOG.  Remember, I’ll post the winner at the top of this blog as soon as someone gives the correct answer.

Update on Charlie/Frog:  We thought Charlie was going to get by without further treatment after his surgery, but his oncologist has opted for a six-weeks regiment of chemo and radiation.  He had his first treatment on Monday (he said radiation only takes a few minutes, then a couple of hours for chemo), and things went very well.   Please pray he will continue to breeze through these treatments without unpleasant side effects and no further treatments will be necessary after this.  And please pray ultimately for his complete healing.

That’s it for tonight!  I’ll be back on Friday with whatever happens between now and then!  

Mystery Spot Answer

The Mystery Spot is Greany Grove, a special area built by scouts in honor of William C. Greany.  See pic below for the history of Greany Grove.

Back to . . . . . Almost Normal 8/5/2012

Whew!  After a week full of out-of-the-ordinary activities, we’re finally beginning to get back to normal here at the Horton house.  As exciting as the Tweet-Up and the Harlem Globetrotters were, I just have to tell you this old girl is ready for some quieter days – and that’s just what you’re going to get on this Sunday evening – normal, everyday doings on Mackinac Island!

Blake arrived in Pellston late Friday afternoon, and for once I greeted him at the gate without a camera in front of my face.  I’ve learned that our grown-up children aren’t nearly as ready to “pose for blog photos” as our grandchildren are, but no worries.  I’ll get him between the cross-hairs of the camera lens a few times before the week is up!  After getting back on the Island, we went straight from the boat to the Chippewa, stashed Blake’s luggage in the corner of the lobby, and ate dinner upstairs on the outside deck, looking out at the ferries coming and going.  After getting up at 3 a.m. in Fort Collins, CO to catch a 6-something a.m. flight out of Denver, and with stopovers in Cincinnati and Detroit, Blake was more than ready to call it an early evening.

Saturday was hot, but during the night the wind started blowing, and by the time we walked down the hill to church this morning, the temperature had dropped, and a sweater felt good.  Much more normal for this time of year!

No big stories to tell tonight.   We strolled downtown this afternoon with Maddie and Bear to visit 9-year-old Nora Bailey, who broke her arm when she had to jump off her spooked horse last week.  After delivering her favorite fudge, we walked back home, and I snapped some shots of the outrageously gorgeous flowers that are blooming now on the Island.  With the heat this summer, and with everyone working overtime keeping baskets and gardens and window boxes watered, the flowers are really showing off!

Before we’d gotten down the first hill this afternoon, we ran into Paul and Elaine Williams, blog fans from Yale, MI who visit the Island several times during the summer.  They were on the way to our condo because they had a gift for Ted.  They said, “Brenda is always getting mentioned and getting little gifts, so we thought it was about time Ted got something!”  Out of the bag came this t-shirt from the Yale, MI Bologna Festival.  The slogan is  . . .

. . . “Full of Bologna and Proud of it!”  Ted loved it, and I thought it was perfect for my hubby!   Thanks, Paul and Elaine!

Only one little section of the beautiful landscaped gardens at Bay View Inn of Mackinac Island.

The side of the Bay View runs all the way down to the Marina, and behind the Inn are shops and the wonderful J.L. Beanery, which offers breakfast and lunch!  Blake loves to sit at the Beanery and work on his laptop when he comes to the Island.  Yep – he’s another one who is forever connected to work – regardless of where he is.  But working there – right on the water – is pretty nice.

Flower boxes on the Island House porch.

Sign of a wonderfully busy summer – the yacht races are all over, but the marina is still full of boats!

The outside patio at the Chippewa Hotel is always a happening place. This afternoon fan favorite Myk Rise was entertaining – every table was full.

We walked up the boardwalk and met one of the wedding carriages, returning a brand new “Mr. and Mrs.” to town.

What an absolutely gorgeous day on the Island!

Hostas near the Grand Hotel shade garden.

Grand Hotel sunflowers!

The Grand Hotel on this beautiful Sunday.

My big boy – posing in the flower garden.

This is from a couple of weeks ago, but I had to share it with you. This Mackinac Island policeman was running radar – parked behind a garbage can on Cadotte.  It’s funny to see it, but it’s also serious.  People travel way too fast down Cadotte Hill on bikes – and most are not wearing helmets.  Very dangerous!

Just crept into the den and caught Blake off-guard for this one. So much fun having him here!

OK – on Wednesday, we really get back to normal.  Mystery Spot, Reader Photographs of the Island, and whatever else might be going on this week on the rock.  See you then!

Mackinac Island Welcomes the Harlem Globetrotters! 8/2/2012

On Wednesday night, after dinner, I planted myself in front of the laptop and sifted through – are you ready? – 838 photos I snapped on Monday.  After 3 1/2 hours, I had pared those down to 104.  Sometime between now and the end of this post I’ve got to cut those 104 down to some rational number you readers will take the time to look through.  Too many, and you’re bored.  Too few, and I won’t have conveyed the outrageously good time the Globetrotters had touring Mackinac Island.  How good was it, you ask?  So good they have requested that their agents put the Island down as an annual visit!  Did this Island work its magic or what!!!

So, grab an extra cup of coffee (you might better make that expresso to keep up with these guys), and here we go . . . .

When I received an email from Mary McGuire, Director of the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau, inviting me to tag along for the Media Day with the Harlem Globetrotters, my excitement went ballistic, and the whistled version of “Sweet Georgia Brown” began to loop continually through my mind.  I’d heard of the Globetrotters all my life but had never seen them play in person.  Now I was going to meet them!

The Globetrotters arrive in St. Ignace at Bridgeview Park.  First off the bus were “Cheese” Chisholm and “Hacksaw” Hall.

This group of teens just happened to be visiting the park.  They got the surprise of a lifetime when the Globetrotter bus arrived – then they got to meet them and have photos made . . .

. . . . and you can tell my friend Chris Ann was “slightly” excited also!

Louis “Sweet Lou” Dunbar, a 6’9″ 27-year veteran former player of the Harlem Globetrotters. Dunbar is now the Globetrotters’ Director of Player Personnel.

One of the first things I learned on Monday is that the Globetrotters are always “on”. You NEVER see them idle, and you never see them not smiling or grinning or laughing. They are always either acting like clowns (like “Hacksaw” here),  doing some serious ball-handling, or trying to get an important point across to a group of kids.

My camera didn’t capture it, but this ball was spinning rapidly on “Buckets” Blakes’ thumb.

From the park, Shepler’s delivered us to their Mackinaw City dock, where a fan-filled Sacre Bleu awaited the team. On hand in St. Ignace for the Globetrotter welcome were Mary McGuire, photographer Andrejka Hirsch, Chris Shepler and Misty Martinchek from Shepler’s Ferry, and myself. Holly Shay, a friend of Mary’s, also traveled with us for the day, and we were met at various stops by other media folks – including 9 & 10 News reporters and Kelsey Schnell, PR & Marketing Officer for Mackinac Historic State Parks.  Please forgive me if I’ve not mentioned someone who I should have.

Shepler’s set up a basketball court on the deck of the Sacre Bleu . . .

. . . and “Bull” Bullard used the hoop to show off his shooting skills.

“Slick” Willie Shaw. These guys can balance and spin a ball anywhere!

The Globetrotters involve children in just about everything they do. Here Mason Martinchek goes through a series of “tricks” the guys coached him on.  That’s “Handles” Franklin looking on.

The Sacre Bleu took its time getting from Mackinaw City to the Island. During the almost-hour long ride over, there was a LOT going on. I think every child on board must have interacted with the guys . . .

. . . and interviews were given to two television stations.

Globie, the official mascot for the team since 1993, gave autographs . . .

. . . . as did all the players.

Every Shepler ferry that left Mackinaw City and St. Ignace during our hour-long crossing caught up with us, and as they’d pass, hundreds of yelling fans would snap photos and wave.

Everyone on board had plenty of time to meet the players. It was really a fun ride!

When we pulled up to the dock on the Island, one of the players shouted, “Paparazzi!”. I looked up to see Jill in her Island Bookstore apron snapping away. I cracked up.

After shaking hands with everyone waiting to get on the ferry, the team walked down Main Street – it sort of turned into a parade, as folks realized who they were seeing.

If you saw me on Monday anywhere, this is probably how I looked.

Our first stop was Murdick’s Fudge, celebrating its 125th anniversary in business this summer. Bobby Benser (in the white polo shirt) owns Murdick’s, and after the guys washed up and donned aprons, Bobby and fudge-maker extraordinaire Malcolm explained the complicated process of turning several basic ingredients into the delicious fudge for which the Island is known.

Bobby gets help pouring the boiling “liquid” fudge out on the marble slab. which must be the exactly correct temperature for the fudge to “set-up” correctly.  “Hacksaw” is pouring, watched closely by “Buckets”.

In the meantime, “Spider” Wilks was helping out behind the counter!

We left Murdick’s and loaded onto Carriage Tour wagons for a trip through town and up Cadotte to the Grand Hotel – also celebrating its 125th anniversary this summer!

These guys have traveled all over the world. Just a few days earlier they had returned from China. But still, when the Grand Hotel came into view, I heard quite a few “WOWS”!

A big welcome committee was waiting on the steps of the Grand, including Grand Hotel President Dan Musser III, who was a “pro” at ball-spinning!

As I said earlier, these guys never stop.  “Scooter” Christensen shows off the art of balancing a ball on his head . . .

. . . then pulls this little girl out of the crowd to do some more ball-spinning.

The Globetrotters drew quite a crowd on the Grand’s long porch!

All of us carrying the cameras got a little down time as we lunched from the Grand Hotel buffet, but the Globetrotters spent nearly their entire lunch break signing autographs for folks who stopped by their tables. They were so gracious to everyone and always happy to chat and pose for pictures with their fans.

Our beautiful photographer Andrejka Hirsch.

Next stop – the Grand Hotel and Carriage Tour Museum and Stable, celebrating its opening this summer.

Mary, “Handles”, “Slick” – and Dan, one of the Grand Hotel’s big Percherons.

“Whoaaaaa . . . . we don’t see THAT everyday on the Island. Can I spin it on my nose?”

Loading back up for the short ride to Fort Mackinac, which is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the first battle of the War of 1812.  I wonder what size shoes Globie wears!

Hellos to a really lucky Boy Scout troop!

One fan gave “Cheese” a good back-scratch with the vintage back-scratcher she’d just purchased in Sutler’s Store.

The fort interpreters always involve the crowds in activities, and the Globetrotters jumped right into everything.

Looking at the town and marina and the Straits of Mackinac from the level of the fort is quite a view.  That’s Holly Shay, Mary’s friend, in the white,

Jill’s work day ended, and she joined us at the fort.

“Buckets” tries his hand at “Ball and Cup”.

We missed the scheduled cannon firing, but it was another great photo op.

I think here I was snapping photo # 776.

Kelsey shares some information with “Handles”, who was very interested in the history of Mackinac Island.

Drilling with the crowd.  Attention!

Were people shorter in 1812?  Certainly shorter than “Hacksaw”!

At 4:30 we took the carriages back into town, where we got off, and the guys went on to their hotel.

On Tuesday, the Globetrotters gave not one, but three preview shows at the Mackinac Island Public School – each of which included an 8-minute game against an international team brought in for that occasion. The best part for me though – again – was the way they involved the crowd – like Globie’s game of musical chairs.

There were more tricks . . .

. . . . and eight children tried to take the ball away from “Cheese”. It didn’t happen.

Globie performed (wearing a different costume) . . .

. . . and during the actual games, there were dunks . . .

. . . and more dunks.

One final photo – in front of the Island school sign.

Harlem Globetrotter exhibition basketball is equal parts athleticism, theater and comedy.  After spending almost eight hours with them Monday and a couple of hours on Tuesday, I’d have to add patriotism, dedication, enthusiasm, compassion, love of children and all their fans, and a belief in promoting education to that list.  These guys are awesome, and they use their celebrity to encourage young people to strive for excellence in all they do.

It was an honor to share some time with all these great young men.  Hurry back next year . . . we’ll be waiting!

Click here for video of the visit from 9 & 10 News: