Hodgepodge! 9/4/16

Hi Gang!

We’re all settled into the new condo, and we’re enjoying being back in our “neck of the woods” once again.  We absolutely loved being downtown near Mission Point, but you all know how much I dearly love the woods and trails of this island.  Since we’ve moved up here, I can walk the trails to my heart’s content, without having to climb too many hills to accomplish that!  We are above the ordinary noises of downtown, but there’s still plenty of folks traveling by here to keep us entertained.  We have a beautiful view of a couple of holes of the Grand Hotel’s Jewel Golf Course . . .

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. . . and we can watch the ferries and freighters from a higher vantage point.

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Ted and I feel very fortunate that we’ve gotten to experience Mackinac this summer from two such different locations!

Tomorrow is Labor Day, and Ted will be heading over to do the Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk with a group of friends.  One of these years I’m going to join him for that again, but it won’t be this year.  I’m just going to sip coffee on the front porch, walk Maddie-girl (who’s nursing a sore paw), and maybe explore a few of those trails I love so much.

Thought I’d share some of the pics that haven’t made it into a blog post yet.  That way next week I’ll be starting fresh!

Looking out to Lake Huron from just to the side of Arch Rock.

Looking out to Lake Huron from just to the side of Arch Rock.

The beautiful and graceful Windermere Hotel, photographed one morning this week as I was rushing to catch a ferry.

The charming Windermere Hotel, photographed one morning this week as I was rushing to catch a ferry.

Fort Mackinac in the evening. Standing below this historic fort and listerning as a fort interpreter plays Taps from the ramparts gives me chills every single time I hear it.

Fort Mackinac in the evening. Standing below this historic building and listening as a fort interpreter plays Taps from the ramparts each night – at precisely 10 pm – gives me chills every single time.

The gardens at Chambers corner.

The gardens at Chambers corner.

Custer Road - one of my favorites.

Custer Road – one of my favorites.

Little Maddie in the woods. Her hearing isn't what it used to be, but that nose of hers is still going strong.

Little Maddie in the woods. Her hearing isn’t what it used to be, but that nose of hers is still going strong.

I am never tiring of watching the antics of the horses next door! They are VERY serious about their play time.

Grand Hotel hackneys are VERY serious about their play-time!

Am I strange to think this is an awesome view out out side windows?

Loving the view out our side windows!

Grand Hotel Dahlia.

Grand Hotel Dahlia.

Window boxes above my head . . .

Window boxes above my head . . .

. . . and luggage carts at my feet.

. . . and luggage carts at my feet.  After being loaded, these carts are hooked to horse-drawn carriages or drays and used to transport tourists’ belongings back and forth to the ferry dock.

One of the two offices on Mackinac where you might meet one of our two veterinarians.

One of the two offices on Mackinac where you might meet one of our two veterinarians.  This one is at the main horse barns, and the other  is at Chambers corner.

It's Jazz Festival weekend at Grand Hotel.

It’s Jazz Festival Weekend at Grand Hotel.

A new bench just above Grand Hotel's shade garden.

A bench just above Grand Hotel’s shade garden.

Looking down Cadotte.

Looking down Cadotte.

Simply a gorgeous just-before-fall day on Mackinac Island!

Simply a gorgeous just-before-fall day on Mackinac Island!

What happens when you are locked out of your condo, but you know your deck door is open? Team work!

What happens when you are locked out of your condo, but you know your deck door is open? That’s what happened to one of our neighbors this week, and that’s when Mackinac Island team work took over!  Mission accomplished!

Wishing everyone a great holiday tomorrow.  We will be welcoming another of Ted’s cousins, Dave and his wife Diane, to Mackinac on Tuesday.  They’ll be visiting until Friday, and we can’t wait to get to know more of this wonderful family.

God bless.

Through the Eyes of Fudgies – Part II 8/30/16

On Sunday you read about Kim and R.D.’s first-time visit to Mackinac.   Today it’s all about Debra and Glen!

Debra and Glen Phelps

As someone who came to the island for the first time over 15 years ago and has cried like a baby as I’ve left each year since then, I can recognize a total convert to Mackinac-ism in an instant.  Debra learned about the island from reading this blog and has wanted to come up here for years.  She came, she saw, she fell in love  – hook, line and sinker.  When she tried to book a room for next summer before they had even checked out from this visit, I knew I had a true-blue Mackinac fan on my hands!  Debra’s husband Glen is “almost” as Mackinac-in-love as Debra, and that will make for a very happy family over the coming year, as they plan their next trip.

Debra’s beautiful photographs have captured a vast segment of Mackinac’s beauty, and her words from her Facebook page tell the story of her island trip much better than I could.  From this point on, I’ll use Debra’s words:

Debra and Glen Phelps

Debra and Glen Phelps

"Mackinac Island is as beautiful and unique as I expected! It is like going back in time with the town, 'cottages', horses, carriages and bicycles (no cars allowed).

“Mackinac Island is as beautiful and unique as I expected! It is like going back in time . . .

. . . with the town, "cottages", horses, carriages and bicycles (no cars allowed)."

. . . with the town, “cottages”, horses, carriages and bicycles (no cars allowed).”

"The gardens and Lake Huron are gorgeous."

“The temperature today only reached a high of 70 degrees.”  (Spoken in amazement by a true Georgia girl!)

 

"And the temperature today only reached a high of 70 degrees." (Spoken in amazement by a true Georgia girl!)

“And the gardens and Lake Huron are gorgeous.”

"We toured the one and only opulent Grand Hotel today."

“We toured the one and only opulent Grand Hotel today.”

Many famous people have stayed hee since it opened in 1887. Somewhere in Time was filmed here. The pool is named after Esther Williams because she swam in their pool in a movie that was filmed here."

“Many famous people have stayed here since it opened in 1887. Somewhere in Time was filmed here. The pool is named after Esther Williams because she swam in their pool in a movie that was filmed here (This Time for Keeps).”

"The pictures don't do it justice. The porch is the longest in the world (660 feet). Glen liked the rocking chairs on the porch best."

“The pictures don’t do it justice. The porch is the longest in the world (660 feet). Glen liked the rocking chairs on the porch best.”

"More pictures of Mackinac Island . . . the cottages . . .

“More pictures of Mackinac Island . . . the cottages . . .

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. . . flowers . . .

. . . flowers . . .

. . . the Grand carriages . . .

. . . the Grand carriages . . .

. . . Lake Huron . . .

. . . Lake Huron . . .

. . . and the beautiful Arch Rock formation. Everything is truly beautiful."

. . . and the beautiful Arch Rock formation. Everything is truly beautiful.”

 

"Today the Hortons (who are in very good shape), the Harters (who can ride a tandem bike in total unison) and Glen and I (who are very out of shape) rode bikes on the 8.2 mile bike/horse road that completely circles the outer edge of Mackinac Island."

“Today the Hortons (who are in very good shape), the Harters (who can ride a tandem bike in total unison) and Glen and I (who are very out of shape) rode bikes on the 8.2 mile bike/horse road that completely circles the outer edge of Mackinac Island.”

"The sin was shining, the wind was blowing and the gorgeous lake waves were rolling in." We stopped for a photo at Devil's Kitchen."

“The sin was shining, the wind was blowing and the gorgeous lake waves were rolling in.  We stopped for a photo at Devil’s Kitchen.”

"Exercise is fun in this weather and when surrounded by such beauty."

“Exercise is fun in this weather and when surrounded by such beauty.”

"Yesterday we visited Grand Hotel where the movie Somewhere in Time was filmed. On the bike ride today, Ted showed us the tree from the scene where Elyse first saw Richard and she said, "Is it really you?" Here Glen and I are standing in front of that tree."

“Yesterday we visited Grand Hotel where the movie Somewhere in Time was filmed. On the bike ride today, Ted showed us the tree from the scene where Elyse first saw Richard and she said, ‘Is it you?’ Here Glen and I are standing in front of that tree.”

"Brenda took me to the staircase at Grand Hotel that Richard ran down to meet Elyse when she was calling him."

“Brenda took me to the staircase at Grand Hotel where Richard ran down to meet Elyse when she was calling him.”

"As I was walking Tessa this evening I noticed that the city building and churches are historic in keeping with all else on Mackinac Island. This is Little Stone Church where Brenda and Ted attend."

“As I was walking Tessa this evening I noticed the city buildings and churches are historic, in keeping with all else on Mackinac Island. This is Little Stone Church where Brenda and Ted attend.”

"Notice that even police and firefighters ride bikes!"

“Notice that even police ride bikes!”

"Today it rained on Mackinac. But it did not keep anyone from continuing to enjoy this paradise. Glen and I went on the "once a week" tour of the Governor's Cottage this morning. Because of the rain and the very steep hill that it sits on we took a taxi which is a horse drawn carriage."

“Today it rained on Mackinac. But it did not keep anyone from continuing to enjoy this paradise. Glen and I went on the “once a week” tour of the Governor’s Cottage this morning. Because of the rain and the very steep hill that it sits on, we took a taxi which is a horse drawn carriage.  Glen and I are standing on the porch of the Governor’s Cottage, which has been used by Michigan governors and their dignitary and presidential friends for many years.”

"Later in the day when the rain broke, I walked up and down "our street" and took some more pics. This is the rental horse stable, 'Cindy's'".

“Later in the day, when the rain broke, I walked up and down ‘our street’ and took some more pics. This is the rental horse stable, ‘Cindy’s'”.

"When we got back to Park Place Suites, Tessa and I were sitting in our courtyard and the 'garbagemen' came in a horse drawn dray! I do love this place!"

“When we got back to Park Place Suites, Tessa and I were sitting in our courtyard and the ‘garbagemen’ came in a horse drawn dray! I do love this place!”

"Tonight's walk took me to the end of our street that runs into Lake uron and gave me the opportunity to admire the Mackinac Bridge at night."

“Tonight’s walk took me to the end of our street that runs into Lake uron and gave me the opportunity to admire the Mackinac Bridge at night.”

"Then off I went to get some delicious Moomer's Ice Cream (at the No Name Café), followed by Taps at the fort.

“Then off I went to get some delicious Moomer’s Ice Cream (at the No Name Café), followed by Taps at the fort.

"Today Ted, Glen and I visited Fort Mackinac that overlooks beautiful Marquette Park where I let Tessa play."

“Today Ted, Glen and I visited Fort Mackinac that overlooks beautiful Marquette Park, where I let Tessa play.”

"I feared that it would just be old buildings. I was wrong! The many buikdings were filled with period furnishings, historical information and activities for children."

“I feared that it would just be old buildings. I was wrong! The many buildings were filled with period furnishings, historical information and activities for children.”

"There were also gun and cannon demonstrations. And there was an outdoor restaurant with the best view in town!"

“There were also gun and cannon demonstrations. And there was an outdoor restaurant with the best view in town!”

"After the fort, Ted took Glen and me for a walk on Anne's Tablet Trail (one of many trails) through a beautiful wooded area. The tablet seen on the trail honors the memory of a local author from years ago."

“After the fort, Ted took Glen and me for a walk on Anne’s Tablet Trail (one of many trails) through a beautiful wooded area. The tablet seen on the trail honors the memory of a local author from years ago.”

"Ted led us through the woods to the East Bluff where more pretty vintage cottages were lined up with million dollar views and beautiful flower gardens."

“Ted led us through the woods to the East Bluff where more pretty vintage cottages were lined up, with million dollar views and beautiful flower gardens.”

"I loved our walk so much that I immediately went a second time showing it to Tessa!"

“I loved our walk so much that I immediately went a second time, showing it to Tessa!”

"Bittersweet picture of Shepler's Ferry that took us away from the island."

“Bittersweet picture of Shepler’s Ferry that took us away from the island.”

"I am leaving a piece of my heart here and am sad to leave. But how blessed I am to have experienced this paradise! Glen and I love Mackinac Island so much that we plan to visit again next year. I hope all of you who have followed this trip with me will visit the island too."

“I am leaving a piece of my heart here and am sad to leave. But how blessed I am to have experienced this paradise! Glen and I love Mackinac Island so much that we plan to visit again next year. I hope all of you who have followed this trip with me will visit the island too.”

A few more of Debra’s photographs. . . .

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Ted and I had a blast showing Kim, R.D., Debra, and Glen Mackinac Island.  To paraphrase the slogan from the former Atlanta Journal, “We covered Mackinac like the dew.”  We tried our best to wear them out each day, but they were real troopers and just kept on going – even in the rain!

Hope you’ve enjoyed the island through the eyes of these four fudgies!

God bless.

 

Through the Eyes of Fudgies – Part I 8/28/16

Writing about and photographing Mackinac Island has been one of my main passions for a lot of years now.  Sometimes I feel there can’t be a single blade of grass I haven’t held in my lens or a single adjective I haven’t used to describe my happy place.  I go through periods of feeling as if I have nothing new to offer and no story left to tell.  And then something happens, or somebody encourages me, or I see something differently – and suddenly all is right in my world again.

That happened this week, and through these next two blog posts I want to share how seeing the island through the eyes of four people visiting Mackinac for the very first time had me seeing the island as a “fudgie” again.

Two couples, Debra and Glen Phelps and Kim and R.D. Harter, visited this week from Albany, GA.  We’re all connected through the Dougherty County School System where five of the six of us spent a lot of years working in the business of educating children.  Kim and R.D. arrived last Saturday by plane and stayed with us at the new condo.  Debra and Glen arrived the next day by car, after three days of driving, and stayed at Park Place Suites on Market Street with their precious furbaby Tessa.  Both couples filled their Facebook pages with photographs and words describing their week here, and I want to share some of their photos and some of their words.

Tonight – Mackinac through the photographs of Kim and R.D.

KIM AND R.D. HARTER

From Kim’s Facebook post after they got home:  “A few things we learned on Mackinac Island this week: 1)  Taxis aren’t always cars.  2)  Horses always have the right of way. 3)  Bicyclists can be ticketed for speeding or blocking sidewalks.  4)  Hills can hurt going both up and down.  5)  Great Lakes water is salt free, shark free & quite chilly.  6) People help one another.  7)  Wind jackets are for wind, not rain.  8) August isn’t always hot.  9)  Customer service still exists some places.  10) Farewells are painful.  11)  Friends are appreciated.”

Now I could write a story about how Kim arrived at each of these  statements, but in the interest of time, I’ll just pick a couple.  Number 4 – A truth learned after your hosts have you – on the very first day – hike around for over eight hours up and down hills.  The next morning it hurts just as much to go down a hill as it does to go up one.  And Number 6 – Learned after watching a dray drop off several rooms of furniture and large appliances, and then watching any and every man in sight converge and work the next few hours carrying every bit of it into a neighbor’s condo.  Not paid workers, just men who happened to be around and saw the need.

Here are some of the Harters’ photographs – in no particular order . . .

Kim and R.D. at Arch Rock

Kim and R.D. at Arch Rock

When you leave south Georgia at 6 am, and it's already in the 80's and wake up the next morning in Michigan to 55 degrees, it's quite a shock - but a very welcome shock!

When you leave south Georgia at 6 am, and it’s already in the 80’s and wake up the next morning in Michigan to 55 degrees, it’s quite a shock – but a very welcome shock!

Through special permission from Grand Hotel our group loaded on a beautiful carriage drawn by gorgeous Hackneys and driven by friend Ben Mosley for a whirlwind tour of Mackinac.

Through special permission from Grand Hotel management, our group loaded on a beautiful carriage, drawn by gorgeous Hackneys and driven by friend Ben Mosley, for a whirlwind tour of Mackinac.

A little rain has to fall to make you appreciate the sunshine more! But this group was a foursome of troopers who kept going whether through sun or rain or fog or wind.

A little rain has to fall to make you appreciate the sunshine more! But this group was a foursome of troopers who kept going whether through sun or rain or fog or wind.

Mission Point - across a grassy lawn.

Mission Point – across a grassy lawn.

A yellow beauty from Grand Hotel's Rose Walk.

A yellow beauty from Grand Hotel’s Rose Walk.

The view out the front door of the new condo.

The view out the front door of the new condo.

The Island House's magnificent flower gardens

The Island House’s magnificent flower gardens.

A busy day in front of the Iroquois Hotel.

A busy day in front of the Iroquois Hotel.

Well, of course we took them to the Pink Pony!

Well, of course we took them to the Pink Pony!

All the shots in the rain were taken the same day - it was beautiful the rest of the time. This is looking down Mission Hill.

All the shots in the rain were taken the same day – it was beautiful the rest of the time. This is looking down Mission Hill from the East Bluff.

Trying to take a nap while waiting on the girls to arrive to tour Grand Hotel's gardens.

Trying to catch a nap while waiting on the girls to arrive to tour Grand Hotel’s gardens.

Amazement at the blue, blue water!

Amazement at the blue, blue water!

Bikes in Grand Hotel's bike lot.

Bikes in Grand Hotel’s bike lot.

Looking down from the top of Fort Hill.

Looking down from the top of Fort Hill before the Michigan Governor’s Summer Residence tour.

Approaching Grand Hotel.

Approaching Grand Hotel.

Dessert at Woods Restaurant.

Dessert at Woods Restaurant.

Crabapples in Grand Hotel garden.

Crabapples in Grand Hotel garden.

Girl Scouts raising the flag at the Governor's Summer Residence.

Girl Scouts raising the flag at the Governor’s Summer Residence.

The doors to St. Anne's.

The doors to St. Anne’s.

Mission Point lodging - through a screen and through the rain.

Mission Point lodging – through a screen and through the rain.

The Chippewa Hotel hot tub.

The Chippewa Hotel hot tub – overlooking the marina.

Kim and R.D. at Woods Restaurant bowling alley . . .

Kim and R.D. at Woods Restaurant bowling alley . . .

. . . and later at dinner.

. . . and later at dinner.

The Little Stone Church parsonage.

The Little Stone Church parsonage.

Last day goodbyes . . .

Last day goodbyes . . .

. . . came too quickly.

. . . came too quickly.

Leaving us with Numbers 10 and 11: Farewells are painful, and friends are appreciated.

Leaving us with Numbers 10 and 11: Farewells are painful, and friends are appreciated.

We’re hoping these sweet friends will return to Mackinac again soon.  And remember, next time we won’t call you fudgies!

Stay tuned for the next installment from fudgies Debra and Glen!  Their story and photographs are coming on Tuesday!

God bless.

 

Happy 4th of July! 7/3/16

Hi Everyone!

Here in Beverly Beach we’ve been enjoying a week of hot days, afternoon thunderstorms (normal summer weather in Florida) . . . .

. . . and amazing sunsets. When they named our little neighborhood Sunset Inlet, they sure knew what they were doing, didn't they? (Photo: Neighbor Monika O'Connor)

. . . and amazing sunsets. When they named our little neighborhood Sunset Inlet, they sure knew what they were doing, didn’t they? (Photo: Neighbor Monika O’Connor)

On Mackinac Island, this Sunday afternoon before the 4th was busy with visitors by the thousands. . . .

. . . and every one of them arrived on one of these ferry lines -

. . . and every one of them arrived on one of these ferry lines – Shepler, Star, or Arnold!  This photo from Tom Chambers shows some of the action today as ferries came to the island and departed to Mackinaw City and St. Ignace.

Blog readers (and friends from Georgia) Dr. Karen Castleberry and her husband Raymond, were on Mackinac a few days recently and shared the next photos.

Blog readers (and friends from Georgia) Dr. Karen Castleberry and her husband Raymond were on Mackinac for a few days recently and shared this and the next four photos.

Beautiful clouds over Fort Holmes.

Wispy cloud strands over Fort Holmes.

Wildflowers on a shoreline beach.

Wildflowers on a shoreline beach.

A wonderful and delicious presentation at the new Sushi Grand.

A wonderful and delicious presentation at the new Sushi Grand.

An illuminated American flag on the West Bluff.

An illuminated American flag on the West Bluff. Thanks, Karen and Raymond, for sharing your memories!

One of my favorite times of the summer on Mackinac is right now - when the woods are a blanket of yellow. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

One of my favorite times of the summer on Mackinac is right now – when Mother Nature rolls out her yellow carpet.  (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Josh Carney (dock porter extraordinaire) captured Mackinac at night with this and the next two photos.

Josh Carney (dock porter extraordinaire) captured Mackinac at night with this and the next two photos.  I don’t even want to imagine how early this was in the morning for him to have found the streets empty!

Fort Mackinac

Fort Mackinac and Father Marquette – with floodlights.

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A path usually  teeming with visitors waiting to board carriage rides.  Thank you, Josh, for these three photos showing “life after everything closes” on Mackinac.

British Landing on an early, sunny morning - as seen by Alyssa Henes from her taxi. We've known Alyssa for years and years.

British Landing on an early, sunny morning – as seen by Alyssa Henes from her taxi. We’ve known Alyssa for years and years.

It might have been on that same early morning that Clark Bloswick and his faithful dog were creating long shadows at Fort Holmes.

It might have been on that same early morning that Clark Bloswick and his faithful dog were creating long shadows at Fort Holmes.

Island resident Larry Rickley made an amazing discovery in the woods last week and called Clark Bloswick to hurry over for a photograph. There are about seven deer on the island now, and this is the newest one!

Island resident Larry Rickley made an amazing discovery in the woods last week and called Clark Bloswick to hurry over for a photograph. There are about seven deer on the island now, and this is the newest one!

A gorgeous sunset from Captain Pat Springate off the back of a Shepler ferry.

A gorgeous sunrise from Captain Pat Springate off the back of a Shepler ferry.

Friend Sandi Steensma took this photo of the Straits from near her home in downtown Mackinac.

Friend Sandi Steensma took this photo of the Straits from near her home in downtown Mackinac.  Looks like a painting doesn’t it?

One more from Sandi. The crystal clear blue waters of Lake Huron, framed by Arch Rock. The brightly colored kayaks just pop against that water!

One more from Sandi. The crystal clear blue waters of Lake Huron, framed by Arch Rock. Love the brightly colored kayaks against that water!

We’re counting down the days until we head to Mackinac (10-11 more days, depending on when we leave).  I’m going to take a little break from the computer until just before we head north, so I’ll be back around July 12 or 13 (after our bags are packed, but before we hit the road).  Lots to do between now and then as we’ll be preparing the house to leave it during hurricane season – more on that later. I can’t wait until we’re on the island, and I’m sharing personal photographs and stories with all of you during our three-month stay.

See you in about 10 days! Have a great and safe 4th of July holiday!!

See you in about 10 days! Have a great and safe 4th of July holiday!!

God bless.

Photo Day! 6/26/16

This has been one of those slow news weeks.  I do have one little story to tell, and then the rest of tonight’s post will be a “Photos and Captions.”  I’ve got some great pics to share from both the beach AND our favorite Michigan island!

THE SEA TURTLE PATROL

Ted and I went down to the beach around 7:30 one morning and happened to arrive in time to watch the Sea Turtle Patrol in action!

This volunteers hit the beach early each morning of turtle season to look for tracks and new nests.

These volunteers hit the beach early each morning of turtle season (May-October) – at first to look for tracks and new nests, and then later on to check that nests haven’t been disturbed or to see if turtles have hatched.

We were very lucky that morning, because we spotted the new nest at almost the same time they did?

We were very lucky that morning, because we spotted the new nest at almost the same time they did!

I took this after they had staked out the nest. You can see the tracks of the "mama turtle" (obviously a very BIG mama turtle) leading up the the

I took this AFTER the volunteers had staked out the nest. You can see the flipper tracks of the “mama turtle” (obviously a very BIG mama turtle) leading up the mound of dirt where she covered her 80-120 eggs.  The sign on the nest gives the nest number and states the date it was found.  The eggs will hatch in approximately 60 days, and on day 45 the volunteers will place a red flag on the right rear stake and begin to check the nest on a daily basis.  Lights on the beach (even flashlights)are restricted during turtle season as they may confuse turtles coming to the beach to mate or lay eggs.  Lights also could confuse young hatchlings on their dangerous trip across the beach to the ocean.  So far we have about 20 sea turtle nests along the one-mile stretch that is Beverly Beach.

BEVERLY BEACH PHOTOS

Arriving on the beach after sunrise.

Arriving on the beach just after sunrise.  On this day the wind was churning the waves up pretty good.

An amazing shelf cloud forming over the beach early this morning. (Photo: Neighbor Kevin Freedman)

An amazing shelf cloud forming over the beach early this morning. (Photo: Neighbor Kevin Freedman)

That same cloud coming from the beach over our house in Sunset Inlet. As ominous as it looks, it blew right over us, and we didn't get a drop of rain. (Photo: Neighbor Lisa Mordecai)

That same cloud coming from the beach over our house (2-story on the left) in Sunset Inlet. As ominous as it looked, it blew right over us, and we didn’t get a drop of rain. (Photo: Neighbor David Mordecai)

MACKINAC ISLAND PHOTOS

KathyJo Strukel, who won the Mackinac Island coloring book, is making good progress on the first page!

KathyJo Strukel (Oldsmar FL), who won the Mackinac Island coloring book, is making good progress on the page she chose to tackle first!  She’s using colored pencils.  Good job, Kathy!

The Lilac Festival Parade! A great pic from Clark Bloswick of the Seabiscuit Café float, part of the crowd, and Fort Mackinac in the background.

The Lilac Festival Parade! A great pic from Clark Bloswick of the Seabiscuit Café float, part of the crowd, Marquette Park, and Fort Mackinac in the background.

A simply stunning photo by Steven Kopacki of Artistic Mackinadc Gallery and Studio of the strawberry moon rising

A simply stunning photo by Steven Kopacki, Artistic Mackinac Gallery and Studio, of the “Strawberry Moon” rising over the Straits of Mackinac.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Can’t wait to get back on the island and check out what Steven has new in his studio!

Blog reader Jan Weir and her husband Don (Harbor Springs MI and Indianapolis IN) visited the island for several days a week or so ago. This photo and the next six are from Jan.

Blog reader Jan Weir and her husband Don (Harbor Springs MI and Indianapolis IN) visited the island for several days a week or so ago. This photo and the next five are from Jan.

Lilacs blooming along the boardwalk

Lilacs blooming along the boardwalk bordering Lake Huron.  What a wonderful (and romantic) spot to settle in for a chat.

The hanging baskets are up, and from now until Fall they will grow and grow and grow. When they are taken down, their leaves and flowers will be almost touching the sidewalk. Oh - the former Weber's Florist is now

The hanging baskets are up, and from now until Fall they will grow and grow and grow. When they’re taken down, their leaves and flowers will be almost touching the sidewalk. Oh – the former Weber’s Florist is now Vintage Glam, a new salon offering hair care, nail care, and makeup services.  They specialize in wedding parties!

The beautiful Cloghaun Bed & Breakfast - always an oasis of gorgeous flowers, and breathtaking landscapting - not to mention an awesome place to spend a few nights! Friend Aretha Jansen is the Cloghaun's new Manager this year, taking over from the wonderful Marti Gmazel Carey who retired at the end of last season.

The beautiful Cloghaun Bed & Breakfast – always an oasis of gorgeous flowers and breathtaking landscaping – not to mention an awesome place to spend a few nights! Friend Aneta Jansen is the Cloghaun’s new Manager this year, filling the shoes of the awesome Marti Gmazel Carey, who retired at the end of last season.

Silver Birches! The renovation of the wonderful lodge is on schedule! Looking forward to riding out there and checking it all out!

Silver Birches! Renovation of the wonderful lodge is on schedule! Looking forward to riding out there soon and checking it all out!

Pontiac Trail, along the West Bluff.

Pontiac Trail – along the West Bluff.

A dreamy shot from one of our favorite taxi drivers - Jim Gillespie. He had stopped to rest his horses a moment at Mission Point and took this great photo.

A dreamy shot from one of our favorite taxi drivers – Jim Gillespie. Jim had stopped to rest his horses a moment at Mission Point and took this great photo, looking across the resort’s expansive yard.  Someone asked Jim recently if working on the island – after 30 seasons driving taxi – ever gets old.  His answer was a resounding “NO”!

A great catch of interesting clouds over Grand Hotel. (Photo: Max Jones)

A great catch of interesting clouds over Grand Hotel. (Photo: Max Jones)

A view of the Pink Pony patio and part of downtown from an interesting perspective. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

A view of the Pink Pony patio and part of downtown from an interesting perspective. (Photo: Tom Chambers)  Hmmmm . . . . . where were you, Tom?

The Round Island Lighthouse is rarely illuminated. But one night recently, it was. And Clark Bloswick was around to catch the moment.

The Round Island Lighthouse is rarely illuminated. But one night recently, it was. And Clark Bloswick was around to catch the moment.

Friend Steve Fridley and his family love Mackinac almost as much as I do. When they're on the island, Steve has a way of being at the right place at the right time. Like last week - when this rainbow appeared to arch across the sky.

Friend Steve Fridley and his family love visiting Mackinac and do so often. When they’re on the island, Steve has a way of being at the right place at the right time. Like last week – when this rainbow appeared and seemed to arch across the Straits from Mackinac to Bois Blanc.

I. Love. This. Photo! Mary Bailey, the beautiful teenage daughter of friends Jeri-Lynn and Brian Bailey, snapped this shot one recent afternoon. In the way of all teenagers, Mary and her friends were looking for something to do and decided to haul their hammocks all the way up to Anne's Tablet and hang them among the trees. What a way to spend a fun - and leisurely - afternoon on Mackinac!

I. Love. This. Photo! Mary Bailey, the beautiful teenage daughter of friends Jeri-Lynn and Brian Bailey, snapped this shot one recent afternoon. In the way of all teenagers, Mary and her friends were looking for something to do and decided to haul their hammocks all the way up to Anne’s Tablet and hang them among the trees. What a way to spend a fun – and leisurely – afternoon on Mackinac!

With heat indexes in the triple digits here in Beverly Beach, I am counting down the days before we leave for Mackinac.  Right now the plan is to arrive on the island on Monday, July 18, so we’ll be leaving a few days before that.  It will be so strange to pack the car without all of Bear’s paraphernalia (he had his own suitcase), and then there was also the 30-lb bag of dogfood.  Maddie only eats 2/3 of a cup a day, so a 5-lb. bag lasts her a very long time.  I was so hoping we’d have a new furbaby to take with us, but it just hasn’t worked out . . . haven’t found the one who speaks to my heart yet.  So we wait.

Hoping you all are doing well and wishing you a great week ahead!

God bless.

Bear – Back By Popular Demand 3/13/2016

Hey!  Bear here!

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This morning, while we were on the beach, mom told me some of my fans were getting restless since I hadn’t put paw to keyboard in a while.  Now, I just have to tell you that it makes this pooch feel mighty, mighty good to know I’ve been missed.  I know mom told you, but right in the middle of all the moving around we Hortons did – I had to have knee surgery.  And even though I type with my two FRONT paws, having a bum BACK leg makes it a little uncomfortable to sit in that chair in front of the laptop.  But – the leg’s all healed up now, and except for a little touch of arthritis, I’m as good as new.

With mom getting so old and all (dad too, but mom talks about it more), I’ve started thinking about MY age and health.  It’s really hard to believe I turned nine last year (right at Christmas time), and my little sister Maddie is 11 1/2 now.  I tease her all the time about how cranky she’s gotten in her “later years”, and she gets me back by proving she can still steal all my toys in three seconds flat.  When Maddie and I hear mom talking about one of her aches or pains, we just look at each other and roll our eyes.  I know Maddie’s thinking the same thing I am – when humans have an ache somewhere, they just get up and take some medicine.  But Maddie and I can lie around and feel bad for hours without anyone figuring out we’re sick. Yep, the only way Maddie and I can tell mom and dad we don’t feel good is to go throw up on something valuable.  That ALWAYS gets their attention!  And off we go to the vet to get OUR medicine!  Humans have it so much easier!

Maddie spends a lot of time lying outside in the sun these days. She tells me it makes her bones feel all nice and warm.

Maddie spends a lot of time lying outside in the sun these days. She tells me it makes her bones feel all nice and warm.

As for me, I still prefer the cold hardwood floor in an air-conditioned room.

As for me, I still prefer the cold floor in an air-conditioned room.

Ok – enough about our aches and pains.  I’m beginning to sound just like mom!

With such short notice, I don’t really have a story to tell today, but since Mom said you wanted to hear from me, I think I’ll introduce you to all the new friends Maddie and I have made here in Sunset Inlet!

And here they are!

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Top row (l-r):  Lola, Gucci, Brutus, and Cooper.  Lola and Cooper are siblings.  Dad loves Brutus – can you guess why?  He even forgets and calls him UGA sometimes (after the famous University of Georgia mascot).  Middle row (l-r): Jesse, Joey, Legend, Koa, Sophie, and Earl.  Did you notice how I put Jesse (the bird) and Earl (the cat) at opposite ends of the collage? I thought it was safer that way.  Legend and Koa (the German Shepherds) are siblings and love the beach.  Mom cat-sat Earl for a week one time, and I can’t say as I liked it much.  But I got over it.  Bottom row (l-r): Princess, Skye, Little Bear, Sugar and Mitzi.  Princess and Gucci are siblings, as are Sophie, Sugar and Mitzi.  Skye lives in New York most of the time, but she comes down with her mom and dad as often as possible, and we hang out in the parking lot.  I love her stories about life in the big city!  The official neighborhood “welcomers” are Maddie, Joey, Gucci, Princess, Lola and yours truly.  We make sure EVERYONE in the neighborhood knows if ANYTHING is going on!  The first one to spot something barks, and then – chain reaction – we all join in.  It’s SO MUCH FUN!

Hope you enjoyed hearing from me and meeting all our friends!  I promise I’ll be back soon with doggie updates from Florida.  And yes, Maddie and I are already dreaming about Mackinac. In fact, Mom is going to show you some really neat photos from there right now!

Arch rock. Robert McGreevy "painted" the opening with a small flashlight and used a timed exposure. Awesome photography!

Arch rock. Robert McGreevy “painted” the opening with a small flashlight and used a timed exposure. Awesome photography!

Reflections on ice and water. (Photo: Thomas Nighswander on Pure Michigan)

Reflections on ice and water. (Photo: Thomas Nighswander on Pure Michigan)

The snow is slowly giving way to slush. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

The snow is slowly giving way to slush. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

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Snowmobiles will soon be back in storage . . . (Photo: Tom Chambers)

. . . and soon this hill will once again be alive with visitors, taxis, and drays! (Photo: Tom Chambers)

. . . and within weeks this hill will once again be alive with visitors, taxis, and drays! (Photo: Tom Chambers)

Perfectly

Perfectly captured wave splashing against ice.  (Photo:  Clark Bloswick)

And the early morning sun reflecting off snow on the East Bluff. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

And the early morning sun reflecting off a fence on the East Bluff. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Speechless. (Photo by Bobby Lee)

Speechless. (Photo by Bobby Lee)

Our weekend company sadly had to cancel, but we’ve had a great time here, with perfect weather for the last few days.  Biker week ended today, so the streets are once again quiet (thank you, Lord).  We took the boat out today and rode down to Hidden Treasure Raw Bar & Grill for lunch with neighbors Brandi and Todd.

We love that this place has opened so close to our house. Right on the Intracoastal . . .

We love that this place has opened so close to our house. Right on the Intracoastal . . .

The water was quiet also this afternoon, but we saw a few boats, including this one - under full sail.

The water was quiet also this afternoon, but we saw a few boats, including this one – under full sail.  Just as the streets of Mackinac will soon be busy once again,  this waterway will very shortly be teeming with boats returning north for the summer and with residents taking advantage of this great place we now call home.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend, and I hope your coming week is filled with nothing but good things.

God bless.

Just had to say one last thing. Thank you so much for asking me to write again. And please tell all my doggie and kitty (and birds) fans out there I said hi. And so does Maddie.

Just had to say one last thing. Thank you so much for asking me to write again. And please tell all my doggie and kitty (and bird) fans out there I said hi. And so does Maddie.

Bear . . . out.

Bear . . . out.

Riding After Labor Day 9/6/2013

Thursday was one of those perfect Mackinac days (ok, ok, I KNOW I say that a lot) – the sun was warm, the breeze was cool, the sky was blue, the waves were dancing, and M-185, the highway around the island, was all but deserted.  In my bike basket I stuffed my camera (both lens), sweatshirt (in case it got too breezy on one side of the island – which it nearly always does), water bottle, purse (might need something at the Cannonball) and iPhone.  I turned on my “MapMyRide” app and coasted as fast as the law allows (20 mph) down Cadotte, turned right on Mahoney, then right on M-185.  I was on my way!

I always right around the island "clock-wise" - mainly because 90% of everyone else rides counterclockwise, and I like riding on the side with the fewest people.  After Labor Day is doesn't really matter.

I always ride around the island “clock-wise” – mainly because 90% of everyone else rides counterclockwise –  and I like riding on the side of the road with the fewest people. After Labor Day is doesn’t really matter, but I headed west as usual.

I started out around 2 o'clock, and the sun was turning the blue water into

I started out early in the afternoon ,when the sun was turning the blue water into a glittering canvas.

It was so quiet on the highway I could hear only the sounds created by nature - birds calling back and forth, waves splashing against the shore rocks, the wind singing through the trees.  Ahead of me, around almost every turn, I could glimpse the blue water of Lake Huron.

It was so quiet on the highway I could hear all the sounds created by nature – birds calling back and forth, waves splashing against the shore rocks, and the wind singing through the trees. Ahead of me, around almost every turn, I could glimpse the blue water of Lake Huron . . .

. . . . and above me the Michigan blue sky, mottled only slightly by wispy clouds.

. . . . and above me was the Michigan blue sky, mottled only slightly by wispy clouds.

I stopped only a few times in the first 3 1/2 miles, but when I got to the Cannon Ball, I became obsessed with capturing the seagulls.  Because there were no crowds, the bored seagulls were very patient with me.  I offered no food so they mostly ignored me and hardly moved until I was practically on top of them.

I stopped for pics only a few times in the first 3 1/2 miles, but when I got to the Cannonball, I became obsessed with photographing the seagulls. Because there were no crowds handing out food (or accidently dropping it) the bored seagulls mostly ignored me and hardly moved until I was practically on top of them.

Click on each seagull to enlarge.

Click on each seagull to enlarge.

Between the birds and trying to get a perfect photo of a wave hitting a rock, I spent probably 20 minutes at the Cannonball.

Between the birds and trying to get a perfect photo of a wave hitting a rock, I spent probably 20 minutes at the Cannonball.  I never did get that perfect wave.

You just can't leave British Landing without one photo of the cannon.

You just can’t leave British Landing without one photo of the cannon.

Ok.  Here's a mystery I wish someone would help me with.  About 1/2 mile before I reached Arch Rock I saw - way out on the horizon - a sailboat.  To the left was what looked like trees.  The mystery is: what are the images out in the water around the sailboat?  I don't think it's land, and I don't think it could be other boats.  This photo was using my long lens zoomed as far out as it would go . . . .

Ok. I hope someone could help me with this mystery. About 1/2 mile before I reached Arch Rock I saw – way out on the horizon – a sailboat. To the left was what looked like trees along a shoreline.. The mystery is: what are the images out in the water around the sailboat? I don’t think it’s trees on land, and I don’t think it could be other boats. This photo was using my long lens zoomed as far out as it would go . . . .

. . . . and here I've cropped it as close as possible.

. . . . and here I’ve cropped it as close as possible.  Optical illusion of some sort?

If you're one of those visitors who doesn't think your trip to Mackinac is complete unless you've climbed the steps from M-185 to Arch Rock (or vice-versa), you probably know the steps were partially destroyed by a late snow and ice storm in the spring of 2012.  It's taken almost a year-and-a-half to repair them (they are redoing ALL the steps, not just those wiped out by trees in the storm).

If you’re one of those visitors who doesn’t think your trip to Mackinac is complete unless you’ve climbed the steps from M-185 to Arch Rock (or vice-versa), you probably know those steps were partially destroyed by a late snow and ice storm in the spring of 2012. It’s taken almost a year-and-a-half to repair them (they are redoing ALL the steps, not just those wiped out by trees in the storm).

. . . .

The men working on this project have toiled on steep inclines in rocky and wooded terrain.  The gentleman shown here was digging rocky soil with a shovel and then switched to a drill to get through the rock.  The steps should be completed and open to traffic with the opening of the 2014 season.  Awesome job, guys!

Another Mackinac Island icon that can't be passed without a photo.  Unlike the cannon, this one changes throughout the day as the sun passes by.

Another Mackinac Island icon that can’t be passed without a photo. Unlike the cannon at British Landing, this one changes throughout the day as the sun passes by.

My last stop was Mission Point Resort.  As I turned into the bike parking lot near the gazebo, workers turned on the sprinklers, and I thought, “Oh, darn!  There goes THIS photo shoot!”  Boy, was I wrong!

Each year the gazebo's flowers get more beautiful.

Each year the gazebo’s flowers get more beautiful.

Masses of Black-Eyed Susans provide a riot of color in the flowerbeds surrounding the gazebo.

Masses of Black-Eyed Susans provide a riot of color in the flowerbeds surrounding the gazebo.

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Ahhhhhh . . . . .

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My favorite shot . . . twin rainbows arching toward the gazebo.  Right place at the right time!

Next week will be a busy one with a great story coming toward the end of the week about the return of Mackinac’s own Statue of Liberty back to the island in time for Patriots Day on September 11.  I’ve gotten permission to be on board the boat bringing it back to the island, and I’m so excited to be able to tell this story. 

Wishing you all a fantastic weekend.  God bless.