Mackinac Island Winter Update – Vol. 15

Hello Mackinac Fans!

Can you believe all that snow from last week is almost gone?  It’s true – warmer temperatures and rain took care of most of it, but I received so many more snow photos after last week’s post, I’ve just got to pass them along to you tonight.  I don’t think I would ever tire of seeing Mackinac Island dressed for winter, and I’m guessing you wouldn’t either.

Before we get to snow pics, here’s a few news items:

  • Wawashkamo Golf Course has a brand new and exciting web site.  Designed and constructed by Nate Jorgensen of Curiosity Creative, you can check it out here:
  • Becki Barnwell is opening a new gallery in the space that housed “Paintings by Richard Wolfgang” on Market Street.  It will be called “Mackinac’s Little Gallery” and will feature equine art.  The gallery will be open mid-May through October.  Can’t wait to check it out!

A sample of the equine art that will be featured at Mackinac's Little Gallery.

  • A very important reminder:  Those qualifying for Resident Passes on ferry tickets must purchase the passes prior to March 31Summer residents are urged to make arrangements to purchase those tickets before that date, even if your arrival time to the island will be later.
  • Shepler Ferry representatives will be selling Resident Passes at Cawthone’s Village Inn on March 16 and March 30 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.  Photos for the passes will be made at that time, and payment is due upon ordering.  If you are not going to be on the island before the deadline, of if you can’t make it to the V.I. on the dates listed, Shepler’s is asking that you call their office at 1-800-828-6157 to purchase your pass by phone.  In order to purchase a Resident Pass, you must meet the qualifications below:  1)  Be a registered voter on Mackinac Island; OR 2) Pay property taxes to Mackinac Island for a residence or a business; OR 3)  Have a Mackinac Island address on your driver’s license.  Cost for Shepler’s Resident Pass is $100 per adult, FREE for children 12 and under.  Passes will be valid from April 23 – October 31, 2012.
  • Our favorite bike shop, Mackinac Wheels, is open for business already!

Mackinac Wheels' web site is This photo is from this past summer.

  • Jeannette Doud reported in her Mackinac Island column in The St. Ignace News that she took a tour of the new barn being built by Mackinac Island Carriage Tours and Grand Hotel.  She said it was beautiful, with dark green siding and red windows.   Jeannette stated “it will be a wonderful place for the horses and a carriage museum.  It is a great addition to the community.”
  • The Mackinac Island Horseman’s Association was well represented this past weekend in Lansing at the Michigan Horse Council’s International Stallion Expo and Trade Show:

Island friend Jill worked the Mackinac Horsemen's Association booth, along with many other island friends. She snapped this shot of Steve Rilenge- in red coat - and Leanne Brodeur - in riding habit (both are MHA Board members, and Leanne is MHA Executive Director), who worked the booth also. On either side of Steve are Jamie & Tina, blog fans who stopped by to say hello. On the far right is Alison Cram, one of the Horse Show judges.


Abby Holstrom, who is a year-round Island resident, shared these photos, and they are amazing!

A grand old tree, laden with snow, leans out over the street that runs parallel to the Boardwalk.

Some special effects here add to the dazzle of ice, water, and the Round Island Lighthouse.

If this shot doesn't make you shiver, you must be sitting by a fire somewhere! Gorgeous!

Sunrise at Windermere Point, with the "closed for the winter" Dog House Restaurant in the foreground.

Windermere Hotel.

Sonnet Quinn a.k.a. Mackinac Mommy posted these beautiful photos of several Mission Point Resort locations:

The Lakeside Market.

The Little Golfer statue across from Bistro on the Green.

Mission Point Resort's main entrance.

This skier didn't have to worry about running over anyone as he came down the hill at the entrance to Mission Point. Those are the Violet Residence of Mackinac Island condos behind the skier.

Tranquility Point at the east end of Mission Point Resort.

The tree-lined road in front of the resort. In several of these photos, the orange snow fencing is seen.

The sheer cliff of Robinson's Folly (at the top right) is the only space not covered in snow in this pic - except for the child in the foreground.


Robert McGreevy captured another coyote on the run over the ice.

A Shepler's representative got this shot of the line of "student and teacher transportation" at the Island school. No yellow school buses here!

After looking at all this cold and snow, we start to think that Spring can’t be very far behind.  Here’s a couple of shots that may start you thinking happy springtime thoughts . . .

This is a photo from a couple of summers ago. It shows Finnigan, Mike & Jeanine Forrester's dog, looking out over Fort Street from near Anne's Tablet.

A peaceful photograph taken off the beach near the Cannonball Restaurant. (Photo by: Hailey Armstrong)

One more item.  Today Ted and I rode down to my hometown of Sylvester and talked to the Barnard Trail Chapter of DAR about the history and magic of Mackinac Island (Ted covered the history, and I covered the magic).  We had a great time sharing information about our second home, and I think the entire crowd is planning a bus trip north in the near future – just kidding, but I wish they would!

The best part of being invited to speak was getting to see so many folks I had not seen in years - including Dr. Gordon Davis, who had brought his wife Marian to the meeting (we're cousins). I also saw several ladies who I went to high school with, including . . .

. . . Mary King Gammage Givens, who reads the Mackinac blog and invited us to come present the program.

Ted and I on the steps of the Chapter house. So good to be in my hometown - thanks for inviting us!

Whew!  That was a long post!  Hope you enjoyed it and come back next Wednesday for more on Mackinac Island.  Have a great week and weekend (Ted and I will be celebrating our 23rd anniversary on St. Patrick’s Day). 

God bless.

Mackinac Island Winter Update – Vol. 14 – 3/7/2012

This past weekend Islanders got what they’ve been waiting for all winter – a big snow event!  Fourteen inches of big, fat, fluffy snowflakes fell over a two-day period, turning magical Mackinac into a white wonderland.  If I could have chosen one time to be on the Island this winter, this would have been the time!

The post tonight is all about the beauty of Mackinac in the cold of winter.  Through photographs from friends on the Island, I hope you will sense the quiet peacefulness of this special place at this time of year.  Every season on the Island has its own story to tell, and tonight the story is serenity.

Photos by Robert McGreevy

Leap Day (Feb. 29) dawned with rough water - giving a hint of what was to come.

On the first day of March, the first snow flurries arrived. The flag at the Post Cemetery, always flown at half-staff, could barely be seen through the wind-whipped snowflakes.

Photos by Harbor View Inn

On Friday night, the heart of the storm hit the Island.

Downtown looked pretty deserted. The snowmobiles parked along the street probably belong to folks who left the island for the night or weekend. When they return, they'll have to blow snow off their "ride" before they can go home! I can't even imagine what riding through this would be like . . . . but I'd like to find out!

Street lamps cast a blue tint on the east end of Main Street. That first white house is the art museum.

Photo by Nicole Doud

Nicole and Andrew's dog, Charlie, gets an early morning walk through wonderland on Saturday morning.

Photos by Doud’s Market

Doud's Market Sign on Saturday morning. Yes - of course they were open!

I wonder if snowmobiles have those electric seat-warmers like some cars have.

At last! Islanders could ride their machines without having to skip all over the road looking for snow patches! This is Main Street in front of the marina.

Fort Street. The Trinity Church steeple blends into the gray skies, as more snow falls.

The lady on the hill sits wrapped in her blanket of white.

I love all these photos, but this is one of my favorite. The Island library has just enough color to peek out from all that white. This would have been a great day to sit in front of the library fireplace, read a good book, and occasionally glance out the back door at the half-frozen Straits.

Market Street - a real, live snow globe.

The boardwalk - out past the library.

Photos by Heather May

A big, very old lilac tree . . .

. . . stands as a silent sentinel at the corner of this Cadotte home.

Another Cadotte home. I love that splash of blue against all that white.

The Lucky Bean Coffee House (Mackinac newest coffee spot). Come spring, there will be a cute little table and chairs outside that front door so you can sit and enjoy their yummy hot drinks and fresh-baked pastries.

The Cloghaun Bed & Breakfast . . .

. . . and the Metivier Inn Bed & Breakfast. Do you remember how the yards of these two inns look during the summer? Each is a riot of flowers in every color in the rainbow.

A quick glimpse down Hoban Street shows snowmobiles parked across from the Cawthone Village Inn.

French Lane looks empty except for a few tree branches that gave way under the heavy snow.

The Shepler Dock. You can see on the far right that someone started to walk out to the end, and then had a change of heart.

This photo of Fort Street shows a little more of Fort Mackinac. You can see, in the upper left corner, where the awning is missing. All Mackinac awnings are removed at the end of the season so winter storms can't ruin them.

I think in most places, it's the streets that are snowplowed. On Mackinac, it's the sidewalks. Love it!

Sigh.  Sigh.  Sigh.  What a wonderful world up there in the frozen north.  Of course, I’m not the one shoveling the snow!

Come on back next week, and I’ll see what news I can round up from our favorite Island.  See you then.  God bless.

Mackinac Island Winter Update – Vol. 13 – 2/29/2012

Hi everyone!

The BIG NEWS for Mackinac Island is that ferry service has started again!  No one can remember the last time ferries were running in February, but as of today (Feb. 28) Arnold Ferry’s Huron is making three round trips daily from St. Ignace to Mackinac.  And that makes the 500+ year-round Island residents mighty happy!

More ferry news came from a called Mackinac Island City Council meeting on Monday:  For those qualifying for Resident Passes on ferry tickets, they must be purchased prior to March 31.  Summer residents are urged to make arrangements to purchase those tickets before that date, even if your arrival time to the island will be later.

Have you ever heard of an International Dark Sky Park?  I hadn’t either.  But only a few miles west of Mackinac Island and north of Petoskey – along Lake Michigan –  a small 600-acre stretch of old-growth timber has been declared Michigan’s first such park – one of only six in the U.S., and only 10 total in the world.  Very few places on this earth offer a full night sky of stars and galaxies that isn’t drowned out by lights from streetlights and buildings.  The Dark Sky Park was designated by the Arizona-based International Dark-Sky Association.  Experts measured the amount of light in the area, and found that it offered a clear, unaltered view of the night sky.  Full status will be granted shortly, and Emmet County has passed an ordinance to curtail the growth of artificial light at night in surrounding areas, with the land in and around the park zoned for natural conditions and stringent lumen limits. (Source: Triple Tri Blog)

The night sky - without lighting from the earth.

This past week a film crew was out on the ice in front of Colonial Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City shooting a documentary on Great Lakes ice and its impact on the environment.  For more information about the film, visit

A Mackinac Island Historic Parks photographer captured the film crew out on the ice.

I absolutely love that there is a Meals on Snowmobiles program during the winter on the Island.  Every Tuesday and Thursday over 40 hot meals are delivered to senior citizens who are year-round Island residents.  If snow covers the ground, the meals are delivered  by snowmobile.  This winter, however, with snow not being very plentiful, the meals have been delivered at times by a fire department truck.  The meals are prepared by John Cadotte, who has been a chef on the Island,  and Tom Boburka, who is an artist and cooks at Sinclair’s Irish Pub and other restaurants. Island volunteers help with the delivery of the meals, and at least once a week children from the island school make deliveries, helping them stay connected to the older members of the community.  The program is funded by Ste. Anne’s Church, with support from the Mackinac Island Community Foundation.  (Story source:  The Mackinac Island Town Crier)

You know how excited I get about seeing the “Horton” name in the Town Crier?  Well, you can imagine my excitement when they used a photo of Ted, Blake, and I from our Colorado trip in the Winter edition!

Our “Village” neighbor, Jackie Bradley, was named Mackinac Island’s Volunteer of the Year recently.  Jackie passes our condo on an almost daily basis, walking to town with several children she watches for working parents.  She is everywhere on the Island – always helping others.  A great choice for this award!

I think I’ve mentioned that I am speaking to a DAR group in my hometown of Sylvester next week about Island history as it relates to the American Revolution and the War of 1812.  Ted has volunteered to go with me and cover the history aspect of the talk, while I will mainly talk about the “magic” of the Island (kind of a two-for-one special).  An email to Mary McGuire Slevin of the Tourism Bureau yielded a big package of goodies to share with the DAR ladies.

Thanks, Mary!

That about covers the news I have.  Now for a group of photographs that you are going to LOVE!

My Mackinaw City friend, Chris Ann - who winters in south Florida - had family members staying at their cottage on Lake Michigan last week. They emailed her this photo of part of their group walking on the ice just off the shore of their property. You can see the Mackinac Bridge off to the right.

This made me dizzy looking at it - a VERY old photograph of the bridge under construction in the 1950's from LIFE Magazine via Circle Michigan. The roadway is not there yet - just the suspension cables. Oh. My. Goodness.

Smi Horn captured this scene last week of the Mackinac Island Fire Department responding to a minor fire downtown. Main Street almost has a traffic jam!

Ice in the harbor and a great view of the East Bluff cottages. (Photo: Heather May)

Coffee Trail. (Photo: Heather May)

This parking space is occupied. (Photo: Heather May)

This photo by Heather May looks almost "otherworldly". It was taken right in front of the Island School and shows ice stacked up by the wind and water currents. That sky looks really eerie. Heather said she used a couple of filters to get some of this effect.

An inside shot of the Mackinac Island Public Library by the Tourism Bureau. I have always LOVED this blue. It is different, it is striking, it is "Mackinac".

The road ahead, taken from the snowmobile of Mary Mcguire Slevin.

Until today, the airport was the only game in town to get on and off the island. These two photos from Robert McGreevy show a full parking lot . . .

. . . and a plane arriving filled with supplies.

I think that’s it for this week.  Hope all of you are doing well.  Spring is right around the corner!

God bless.

Journal Days 2/27/2012

I don’t normally publish on Sunday evening for the Mackinac blog, but just wanted to share some thoughts I wrote about today on the Lake Blackshear blog –  since they apply to both.  I’ll be back Wednesday with the regular weekly update for the Island.  God bless.


Smiling to myself as I sat down to write today, I thought, “This will be another ‘This & That’ post.”  Our weekend has been nothing to write home about – or maybe I should say nothing to blog about.  We’ve done some everyday, run-of-the-mill errands, and several times over the last couple of days I thought, “There will be nothing is talk about on Sunday – again.”

So instead of trying to create something out of nothing, I decided to just call “nothing” something else.  Instead of giving our everyday, normal lives a cute title, I’m going to simply start calling them “Journal Days” – because that is really what I do.  I journal – but instead of writing my thoughts down in a beautiful, leather-bound book, my journal is public.

A few decades ago I would have called them “Diary Days”.  Do you remember writing in a diary?  I guess it’s mainly a girl thing, but I sure did a lot of it as a teenager – and even before.  I know now that even back then the writing bug had already bitten, infecting me  with a virus I still carry – this need to put down on paper – now on the laptop screen –  my thoughts, my loves, my worries, and my day-to-day life.  Back then it was all a big secret.  I’d write, then lock the diary with its tiny key.  Now I keyboard it all in, click a key on the laptop, and publish it for all the world to see – well, not the world certainly – but you, my faithful readers.

In the years I’ve been doing this – both on Mackinac Island and here at Lake Blackshear – I’ve learned that even the smallest action, the tiniest idea, the most mundane sight, and the most normal activity are all important parts of what make up a life.  Publishing those things is certainly not what makes them important; but writing about life in journal form online has caused me to look at even the most unimportant encounter as an event that may be worth sharing – through words or photographs.

Read a good book?  Share it online, and others may read it also.  Go someplace different?  Share it online, and others could want to visit.  Volunteer work?  Share it online, and others may be encouraged to do the same.  See a perfect flower, or tree, or horse, or sunrise?  Share it online so more can enjoy it.  Pray for a friend?  Share it online, and the prayers multiply.  You all know what my interests are because I’ve been sharing them for a long time.  But even if I stopped doing this public sharing, I don’t think I could ever stop writing it all down.  It makes me look at everything differently.  It makes me break down the big picture of this world into tiny, tiny little pieces – where a butterfly propped atop a daisy can prompt me to run for the camera, where Bear looking up into 90-year-old eyes in a nursing home can make me totally forget the nightmare of traveling with him, where the sight of this year’s first robin can make me think, “Ah, Spring!”  It makes me realize that most of the big events in our lives are not nearly as important as all the precious little moments we take into our hearts – and that we sometimes share.

So I ramble on for now – taking joy from family and friends, finding peace in sunlight shimmering on water, drawing comfort from stroking the soft fur of an endless number of four-legged friends, and loving the calm that comes to me through writing.

And tonight, I just wanted to share all that with a few friends.

Ah.  Spring!

Mackinac Island Winter Update – Vol. 12 – 2/22/2012

Oh.  My.  Gosh.  I’m having to ask for forgiveness tonight for not publishing an update this week.

Ted and I have been at the beach for a few days, and I’ve been away from the computer while we’ve been gone (just got back this afternoon).  I promised my Lake Blackshear readers I’d write about our beach trip for Wednesday, not even thinking that’s my Mackinac Island blog day.  It finally connected a few minutes ago when Ted said, “Are you writing TWO blogs tonight?”  YIKES!  Ya’ll, it is BAD to get old and forgetful.

So, please, please forgive me.  I’ll be back NEXT week with two weeks of goodies.  And, of course, if you want to read about our beach trip, come on over to the lake blog a little later tonight or tomorrow:

Heather May, bless you!  Because of you, at least I can offer one Mackinac Island photo to tide folks over.

An absolutely gorgeous shot from the air of Mackinac Island's most populated area, the marina, and the Straits. I even found our condo in this shot! See if you can pick out the road that runs up beside the Grand, the Grand Hotel, the horse barns, the Carriage Museum, and the new Grand Hotel stable! Further over is Mission Point Resort. Great photo, Heather!

Mackinac Island Winter Update – Vol. 11 – 2/15/2012

Happy Valentine’s Day, and hello from the . . . . . fairly cold South!  We’ve had a few days of early morning 20’s (even had a fire in the stove one morning) and high temps in the 50’s.  In other words, it’s felt like wintertime down here since the weekend, and that’s a good thing!

Ya’ll will have to forgive me tonight, but I’m going to kind of throw together this post.  It’s been a crazy week here.  I was summoned for jury duty on Monday, and even though I haven’t been called yet, I spent Monday AND Tuesday at the Americus courthouse, have to go back on Wednesday, and now I’m trying to get out the door with my Sweetie for Valentine’s dinner at my favorite ri’vah restaurant, Daphne’s.

Sooooo . . . . . here’s a little news and some great photos and links for you to check out!

  • You know that little shop I talk about and shop in all summer on the Island – Little Luxuries?  Well, oh my gosh, Nicole (the owner) now has her store online, and you can shop till you drop from the comfort of your home (but ONLY if you’re not on the island – if you’re ON the island, for sure GO TO THE STORE!).  Nicole says she’s a little short on merchandise right now, but by the time the store reopens May 1st her web site will be filled with all kinds of goodies you can order online.  Some of my favorite things are already available!  You can get started by going to the link below the logo.
  • This isn’t specifically about Mackinac Island (but it IS about Michigan), and some of you might have already seen this on the NBC news the other night.  We all know that this winter we’ve been getting some spectacular Northern Lights displays.  If you think they’re beautiful from earth, you should see them from the International Space Station!  The very first video on the link below clearly shows Detroit and Chicago and the outline of the state of Michigan in the night sky.  Jaw-droppingly (is that a word?) awesome!
  • Hurray for Tony Lucca, a Michigan musician who has performed on Mackinac Island many, many times.  He’s been chosen on The Voice!  Video here of his story and his appearance on a recent Today Show:
  • There’s a great new video out on the Festival of the Horse, with footage from the 2011 festival.  Watch it here:
  • OK – This is HUGE!  Remember the photos and video from Vera Bradley posted a couple of weeks ago?  Didn’t think it could get much better than that?  Well, it did!  Vera Bradley is giving away a trip to Mackinac Island.  The Grand Prize winner will win a trip FOR FOUR to the Grand Hotel for a three-night stay.  Included is airfare FOR FOUR from anywhere within the continental U.S., ferry tickets, and selected meals.  OH.  MY.  GOSH!!  Deadline to enter is March 10, and you can only enter once . . . . hurry and get your name in!  Also – FOUR 1st Prize winners will receive a Vera Bradley Grand Traveler ($118 value) in the Spring color of your choice.

Island Photos

The only way to and from the Island now that the ferries aren't running is via Great Lakes Air. (Photo: Mary Slevin)

The lighthouses sure look small from way up here! (Photo: Mary Slevin)

Sunset. (Photo by Mission Point)

The setting sun sets homes and ice aglow. (Photo: Heather May)

A recent cloudy, cold morning. (Photo: Sonnet Quinn - a.k.a. Mackinac Mommy)

Same morning - different view. (Photo: Sonnet Quinn)

Full moon over Shepler dock in Mackinac City. (Photo: Shepler Ferry)

The Welcome, Shepler's smallest ferry, is getting a facelift while in dry dock for the winter. Can't wait to see the "new" Welcome! (Photo: Shepler Ferry)

These last two photos (one of which is the beautiful header photo today) are from good Island friend Liz Burt, who teaches at the Mackinac Island Public School.  Her blog is

She captured this one on her way to school early one morning. Liz, hope you enter this in the calendar contest!

No words needed.

That’s it for this week.  Hope everyone is doing well and getting just the right amount of snow.  God bless.

Mackinac Island Winter Update – Volume 10 2/8/2012

Hi Everyone!

Lots of variety today!  A little news from the Island, a thoroughly exciting news story about a rescued eagle released back into the wild in nearby Harbor Springs, a few photos, and a completely awesome video that’s just out from the Mackinac Horsemen’s Association.  Good stuff!

A Little News from the Island

  • The Mackinac Island Winter Festival was held last weekend, and even with only a little snow left on the ground, the event was well-attended and fun for all.  The events on Saturday included a cardboard sled contest, face painting, snow bowling (with a frozen chicken) and broom hockey.  A brunch was hosted at the Island school on Sunday, followed by more games like snow volleyball and archery, and a carnival for the children.  Those who attended the festival were given an opportunity to vote in the Seasons of Mackinac Photo Contest.  Winners will be featured in the 2014 Seasons of Mackinac Calendar, which is sold as a fundraiser for the Mackinac Island Recreation Development Committee (MIRD).  MIRD also receives funds raised from the other Winter Festival events.
  • Passenger service for all ferry lines is scheduled to resume March 15, weather permitting.

Rescued Eagle Released

This isn’t a Mackinac Island story, but it’s so fascinating I had to share it with you.  An adult female Bald Eagle was recently found poisoned near Pellston. It’s believed the eagle had eaten poisoned meat set out to bait coyotes in the area.

The eagle was captured by the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, treated by Jensen’s Animal Hospital, and rehabbed at Wings of Wonder.  She was released a week later after a ceremony by the LTBB of Odawa Indians on their Pow Wow grounds near where the bird was found.  The bald eagle is a part of the spiritual life of Native Americans, and is considered a messenger between the people and the creator.  More than 200 tribal and community members attended the release ceremony.

Ami Wood, who is a Facebook friend of mine, gave permission for me to use her photos of the event.

Tribal member Msko Maiingan offered a prayer before the eagle's release.

As the crowd watches, the door to the kennel holding the now healthy eagle is opened.

After a few moments hesitation, the eagle steps out of the kennel . . .

. . . . and spreads her wings in flight.

Amazingly, just before the eagle was released, the crowd noticed two other eagles circling the sky above the ceremonial grounds . . .

. . . and it was to them that the eagle returned (another eagle can be seen in the far left of this photo).

Thank you, thank you, Ami, for sharing your photos!

Some Photos

Yeah!!! Robert McGreevy, who was born and raised on Mackinac Island and who is a wonderful photographer, shared these next three photos with me this week.

Robert took this amzing photo from the stern of the Huron.

Some folks doubt there are still coyotes on the island, but Robert captured this one on the ice just offshore Jan. 17 . . . .

. . . and this one in the woods on Feb. 1. Awesome, Robert!

This photo and the next were taken at sunset by the innkeepers at The Cottage Inn (forgive me for not knowing if it was Marge or Rich who actually snapped the shots). I've been reading about how intense the colors are now on the island - at both sunrise and sunset - because of the sun reflecting off the ice. These two photos certainly prove that statement correct.

No words needed.

Mackinac Horsemen’s Association Video – A Ride Through History

This video, filmed on December 31 by Mackinac Video Productions, was introduced on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube today, and you are going to love it.  It’s something totally different, and is just the first of a series of videos the organization has planned to celebrate Mackinac Island equestrian heritage, promote Island tourism, and partner with the community. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by, and let’s meet back here next Wednesday!  God bless.