Visiting Mackinac in the Winter 2/5/17

You all know how I love visiting Mackinac during the winter.  I’ve gotten that opportunity three times, and if there was a way I could go every year, I’d be there in an instant.  With our Alaska trip in May already on the books (and the penny-saving in full swing), I knew a trip this winter was out of the question.  But I’ve just visited vicariously through Kem and Ed Green, and now you can do the same through their photos. 


Kem and Ed are friends we met through Bree’s Blog. They’re from Iowa, and of all my readers, they would rank right up there in the top five as “almost” loving the island as much as we do. Kem has wanted to spend a few days on the island during the winter for several years now, and this week her dream came true.  They arrived on Sunday, and since the winter ferry takes that day off, they also got to fly over to the island for the first time.  They loved all seven minutes of the flight!


When I got their visit details, I immediately texted friends Eugenia Murray and Pam Day, who are on the island during the winter.  I sent them a photo of Kem and Ed and asked them to be on the lookout to say hello.  Kem was in Doud’s on Monday and she said, “There was this woman who kept looking at her cellphone and then looking at me, looking at her cellphone and looking at me. She finally came over, showed me a photo of Ed and I and said, ‘Is this you?’ It was Pam Day!”  They just missed meeting Eugenia the night before in Cawthorne’s Village Inn. I had to confess to having them stalked.  Hmmm – maybe next time I should mention it to the “stalkees”!

Bless Kem’s heart, she came down with a bad cold the second day she was there and didn’t get in nearly as much hiking as Ed did.  But Kem’s dream of just nestling in, reading while watching the snow fall, and soaking up the quiet and calm of a Mackinac winter was thoroughly satisfied.  Ed took most of the pics that follow, as he roamed around the island for the next several days.


The weekly street hockey game.  The Mackinac Wings won against St. Ignace 7-1!


As usual, there is a lot of construction going on during the winter.  With very little snow and temps staying in the teens and 20’s, everything is moving along at a rapid pace.  Next summer Martha’s Sweet Shop will be replaced by a market and deli owned by Andrew Doud.


And the Leather Corral will be a new shop – owner to be announced soon.

The Greens also report the Chippewa has new floors and a new bar, and Twist N Sprouts is relocating. 


Ed got this great shot after snow arrived the night before.  The Scout Barracks building is on the left, and that’s the back of Fort Macknac in the center, with Lake Huron beyond.


Love that Ed trekked up Cadotte to get this photo of our old condos. And yes, the one we owned is now on the market.


Ice on the West shore.


Cupola suites are being added on the east side this winter at Grand Hotel.


The beautiful Bay View Inn in the snow.


The highway on the east side of the island.


One item of Kem’s wishlist for their winter visit was to go to the island library and read in front of the fireplace.   When she arrived she walked to the back of the library to see a very different view from when she’d been there this past summer. 


She was delighted to find a huge jigsaw puzzle set up in front of the window, waiting for anyone who wanted to while away an afternoon.

But . . . . what she didn’t find was a fire in the fireplace.  Kem and Anne St. Onge, the librarian, were the only ones in the library that day.  She and Anne struck up a conversation, and Kem mentioned she was so looking forward to curling up with her book in front of the fire, but she understood why there  wouldn’t be one with so few people there.  And then one of those things happened that makes Mackinac so magical.


Anne opened the grate, and built a fire.  And Kem’s wish came true. 

Thanks so much, Kem and Ed, for sharing your winter adventure with all of us!


This was Winter Festival Weekend, so the island was buzzing with visitors.  Among many other activities, folks got to participate in the opening of the Mackinac Ice Rink near the corner of Arch Rock Road and Huron Road. 


Nora Bailey tries out the ice rink.


The Bailey family (Mary, Jeri-Lynn and Nora – Brian was the photographer) also took part in the second Twilight Turtle Trek of the winter season.  Islanders and visitors were able to ski and snow-shoe for two hours along almost two miles of groomed, track set trails, lit by lanterns.  The final Twilight Turtle Trek will be March 4.


Mary Bailey playing some Snow-Golf during Winter Festival



Beautiful St. Anne’s Church on Friday.  (Photo: Tom Chambers)


A Clark Bloswick sunrise (did you spot the bunny)?



Bodie turned 10 months old this week and added counter-surfing to his repertoire of tricks.  I turned my back to grab a drink from the frig, and he helped himself to the pimento-and-cheese sandwich I’d just made.  Oh, the mischief in those eyes!



Visitors Dale and Jean, Spring Lake MI neighbors of newly-found cousins Dave and Diane Bennink, dropped by the Visitor’s Center at Fort Matanzas to meet Ted.  They were in St. Augustine for a few days of vacation in a warmer climate.

Speaking of newly-found family, Ted is flying to Albuquerque NM on Tuesday to spend a few days with his birth mother’s brother, his Uncle Ken.  Uncle Ken is 94 years old, and he and Ted have spent many, many hours on the phone since Ted discovered his birth mother’s family.  They can’t wait to meet in person and share stories, and I can’t wait to hear them when Ted returns on Friday. 

Have a great week!

God bless.


It’s All About the Lilacs 6/11/2013

Mackinac Island is expanding as the ferries lower their gangplanks and discharge thousands of visitors – here this week for one thing – the Lilac Festival.  Each day of the Festival is filled with activities, and there is guaranteed to be something of interest for everyone.  As you walk the sidewalks downtown you’ll notice groups here and there listening attentively as they follow experts assigned to discuss the history of our Mackinac Lilacs.  After you know everything there possibly is to learn about Lilacs, you’ll have many, many choices on how to spend your time the rest of the week.  You can:

  • Go to a concert in Marquette Park
  • Take an Architectural Walking Tour
  • Watch a Street Hockey Tournament at Windermere Point
  • Go to the Movies at Mission Point Resort
  • Attend a Grand Hotel History Lecture
  • Attend an Author Luncheon at Hotel Iroquois’ Carriage House Dining Room
  • Walk along on a Nature Tour
  • Play Lion’s Club Bingo at the Community Hall
  • Listen in on Jazz Night at the Gate House
  • Tour the Governor’s Summer Residence
  • Take a Harbor Cruise on the Ugly Anne
  • Learn some Irish Dance steps at Windermere Point
  • Attend “A Taste of Mackinac” at Harbour View Inn
  • Sample the fruit of the vine at a Wine Tasting at Hotel Iroquois’ Carriage House Dining Room
  • Attend the Feast of Epona Blessing of the Animals at Little Barn at Mission Hill.
  • Go on a Cannonball BBQ Hayride to British Landing
  • Attend the Market Street Art Walk
  • Go to a Pooch Party at Mary’s Bistro
  • Watch the Pet Parade from the Public School to Windermere Point
  • Attend the Dog & Pony Show at Windermere Point
  • Cruise around the Island with the Star Line Ferry
  • Become a Captain for a Day at the Shepler Ferry Dock
  • Attend the Lilac Festival Parade in downtown Mackinac Island

Each day this week the crowds get a little larger, and as we approach Sunday, June 15, and the culminating event –  the Lilac Festival Grand Parade at 4 p.m. – our little island is rocking with happy visitors enjoying the beauty and scent of the Lilacs, the taste and aroma of freshly made fudge, and the unique and historic excitement of touring Mackinac at one of the Island’s prettiest times of year.

Monday morning I walked downtown past Carriage Tour wagons bringing visitors up toward Surrey Hill and opened the Stuart House Museum.

Monday morning I walked downtown past Carriage Tour wagons bringing visitors up toward Surrey Hill.  As I said, the crowds are growing!

Blog reader Yvonne, her husband Tony and their nieces and nephews dropped by from Iowa.  I met Tony and Yvonne last year (with their dog Bear), but this year they left Bear behind and brought these lucky young folks instead.  What an awesome aunt and uncle they are!

It wasn’t long after the Stuart House Museum opened that blog reader Yvonne, her husband Tony, and their nieces and nephews dropped by from Iowa. I met Tony and Yvonne last year (with their dog Bear), but this year they left Bear at home and brought these lucky young folks instead. They’re staying at Park Place Suites on Market Street and loving it!

Another blog reader, Joan from Shelby Township, dropped by also, but I forgot to get my camera out.  She’ll be back later in the summer though – I’ll take some photos then!

My friend Frankie and sweet Chocolate Lab Hershey were visiting for a few days, and I dog-sat Hershey while Frankie went to lunch.  She was staying just across the street at the Lilac House, so she dropped Hershey off and walked over to Main Street.

Hershey watched Frankie leave . . .

Hershey watched Frankie leave . . .

. . . then took up her vigil by the door until she returned.

. . . then took up her vigil by the door until she returned.  She sure got lots of loving by visitors to the Museum while she waited for Frankie!

Frankie was leaving the Island today, so a few of us met at the Chuckwagon this morning for breakfast to see her off.  We wanted to sit at the back table so we could chat, so we waited outside – sitting on the steps of the Haunted Mansion – until the table emptied, and we could run inside and grab it.  There’s always a crowd at the Chuckwagon – because the food is ALWAYS good!


Frankie, Bonnie, Judy, me, and Jill.  Frankie and Hershey left on the 12:30 boat, going home to Grand Rapids.  See you again soon, Frankie!


Even with the crazy Spring we’ve had here on Mackinac, it looks as though the Lilacs are right on schedule and will be in full bloom this week and next.  There is no way we could have planned for that to happen, but it sure is nice when it works out like that for the Festival!


Different varieties are blossoming at different times, but this year I think every Lilac bush and tree will be in full blooming splendor by the weekend.  This was taken from the porch of the Lilac House, where Frankie was staying.

Over near the Marina, we found this horse tie-up nearly covered in Lilac blossoms.

Over near the Marina, we found this horse tie-up nearly covered in Lilac blossoms.

These next few photos are of he same bush.  We unofficially named it "the most beautiful Lilac bush on the Island" - at least for today.

These next few photos are of the same bush. Jill and I unofficially named it “the most beautiful Lilac bush on the Island” – at least for today.  I think these blooms are as dark a purple as I’ve ever seen on a Lilac.



Sorry, I just couldn't get enough of it.

Sorry, I just couldn’t get enough of it.


Lilacs in Marquette Park . . .

. . .

. . . and hanging baskets contrasted with the white of the Jane & Richard Manoogian Art Museum.

Lilac/lavender/purple just seems to look good anywhere, doesn't it!

Lilac, lavender and purple just seem to look good anywhere, don’t they!  This flowery bathtub sits in the yard of the Lilac House.



The fog didn’t burn off until shortly after noon today, turning freighters into ghost ships – passing nearly unseen through the Straits.

Moored sailboats

Moored sailboats in the marina, as the fog began to slip away.

As the fog cleared,

As the fog cleared, the Iroquois Hotel appeared, and people began to be seated at their beautiful waterside tables . . .

. . . and soon

. . . and soon the entire east side of town was visible.  First the fort, then Anne’s Cottage, Brigadoon, the Yacht Club and the Island House.

There’s lots more to come this week, and I’ll be back in a day or two with more news.  In the meantime, if you’re in Michigan, why not think about hopping up to the Island for the rest of the week – or at least the weekend.  The fun has just begun!