Fling Back Friday – “Lighting the Way to Winter 12/8/17

Personal Note – Part 2 of yesterday’s post from October of 2011.

Lighting the Way to Winter – First Published 10/14/11

October’s poplars are flaming torches lighting the way to winter.  Nova Bair

If you liked yesterday’s fall color pics, today’s should make you just as happy!  I’m finishing up with the photos I took on the last official sunny day of our Indian summer on Mackinac Island – and a couple of that weather change I talked about yesterday.

I love the quote I found for today . . . . flaming torches lighting the way to winter.  I’ve seen that for the past few days here on Mackinac.  The leaves have been so bright, as the sun filtered through, I’ve had to shade my eyes just to look at them.  With the coming of the rain, wind, and colder temps over the next few days, I know we’ll lose those torches.  But for a few more days . . . they burn on.

Again, we don’t have to venture too far from home to find color now. This tree is right next door and is always beautiful in the fall.

Maddie in the leaves

Still at Surrey Hill – this is the old blacksmith shop that has not been in operation since before we bought our condo.

Looking through the horse corral rails.

The road leading to the back side of the Carriage Museum.

Kinda camouflaged, isn’t she!

There’s really nothing I can say about these next few photos. They’re all taken next door on the Carriage Museum property, and with every different angle, I found more beauty through my lens.

“Man, it feels good to scratch an itch!”

My beautiful boy.

As I was about to leave the house Wednesday afternoon (the day the weather changed), Ted called from outside that there were horses in the backyard. He’s been trying to get me to use up all the horse treats we brought with us from Georgia, so they wouldn’t be sitting on the shelf all winter. I threw a handful in my pants pockets and went outside.  The dray was picking up all the items left in the condo two doors down that the new owner didn’t want.  I think the driver was happy to see a bike go on board.

The horses got their treats . . . . .

. . . and then, trying to avoid rolling over our boardwalk, the driver took the dray too close to a tree and got stuck. All it took was someone climbing a ladder with a board, shoving the board under the branch causing the problem, and heaving it up out of the way.  Out drove the dray.

Coming home late Wednesday afternoon as the weather changed, I paused just past the Grand stables and looked back. The fog was coming in fast, and I could barely make out anything down the hill beyond the bikers walking up . . .

. . . and as I walked my bike up the next-to-last hill from home, I could just make out the outline of our condos through the opening in the trees.

Personal Note:  In 2011 I added a “Mystery Spot” game to the blog.  I’d publish a pic of something most folks who were familiar with Mackinac Island recognize, and the first person who emailed me the location of the pic would get a “prize” mailed to them.  I decided to leave this one in today just so you could see how it worked.  The answer is also included.


This will be the last Mystery Spot of the season, and I’ve made it a really, really easy one.  If you have visited Mackinac Island, you have seen this object because it is right out there in the open!
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 brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com. 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, AND I’ll post the full photo of the mystery spot at the bottom of the blog with the answer. 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?



The antique buggy sits on the porch of “The Lenox” building on Market Street. The Lenox is home for many of the Carriage Tour workers and also houses a few of the City of Mackinac offices on the ground floor.  Personal Note:  The “prize” was usually a bar of Lilac soap!

Setting the Date 10/7/2011

Lots of correct answers on the Mystery Spot this week, and they started coming in right after I posted last night.  The very first one though was Laurie Leanna from Greenfield, WI.  Please see end of this post for the answer!

We’ve set the date.  Sunday, October 30.  The taxi will be waiting, the luggage will be stuffed full, the condo will be closed, and we’ll be heading home to Georgia.

Until we set a day, the concept of leaving is always just a random time somewhere “out there”.  When someone asks, I say, “Oh, the end of October – the first week in November – we really don’t know yet.”  But once we write it in on the calendar hanging inside one of our kitchen cabinets, it becomes real, and my mindset changes completely.

Suddenly I’m in a whirl about getting out and photographing the island as often as possible.  I need to stockpile pictures so I will have extras to fall back on when I’m too busy getting ready to leave to go outside with my camera.

I had a “stockpile photographs” day today.  I called Jill and said, “Let’s bike through the woods and see what’s going on with the colors.”  Jill’s only day off is Thursday, and she is always game for an adventure when she’s off.  We stayed out for two hours and covered a lot of Island, but now I find myself not wanting to hold any of these back for another day.  So tonight, along with the Mystery Spot at the end, you are getting a lot of fall Island photographs.  We had a great time zipping back and forth into different areas, and I’ll post some of Jill’s shots later on.  But, for tonight, these are all mine.

We left the condo and rode a couple of blocks north, then turned on Fifth St. That ran us into Cupid's Pathway, and a few minutes later we turned on Carriage Road, which brought us out at St. Anne's Cemetery.

The cemetery area is always one of the most colorful on Mackinac during the fall. Still not at peak, there were, nevertheless, brilliant trees totally ablaze . . .

. . . while others showed that "spot color" so prevalent this fall.

Two crosses - one wooden against sun-kissed leaves . . .

, . . . and one stone - against leaves and blue sky.

The history of Mackinac Island lies within these stone walls.

Bikers, seeking fall colors just as we were, come through the trees.

The bright blue of the cannon in the Fort Cemetery adds yet another splash of color . . .

. . . to this beautiful setting where soldiers rest.

Our stop at Sugar Loaf didn't reveal much color at all.

After puffing up hills and flying down the other sides, we arrived at Arch Rock. If you're familiar with the Carriage Tours, you will notice that the usual three-horse hitch wagons are no longer running out to Arch Rock. The two-horse hitch is used for the entire tour, now that the Carriage Museum has closed for the season.

These two loved posing . . . I think they remembered me from the Carriage Museum as the "lady who always has horse treats in her pocket".

This late in the season you can get away with going places you wouldn't dare tread during the height of the summer. These next few photos were taken from in front of the VIP State Park housing on the west side of the fort.

What a view from the front porches!

These two homes are available for special State Park visitors.

We biked back to the condo through the woods and stopped to say hello to the Carriage Museum staff. They were busy closing the building for the season. Jill continued on up the hill to the Community Stable to meet Leanne and help with some chores.

It was just so gorgeous out that I went inside and got Maddie and Bear, and we walked down toward the corral. There we happened to see Ben and another Grand Hotel horseman out exercising one of the Grand's hackneys.

Denise and Judy race down the hill from the Carriage Museum to catch the 5 p.m. ferry. That little black head you see in Denise's basket is Scooter, her little dachshund she brought to work with her today.

Maddie - among the red sumac leaves near our yard.

Bear - waiting for us in the shade. As you can see, our flowers are still going strong, even with the cold mornings we've been having.

I hope you enjoyed this little fall preview.  There’s lots more to come in the next week of so.  Frankie and I are traveling through the Tunnel of Trees on Friday, an area on the way to Harbor Springs I’ve heard so much about from Michiganders and blog readers.  If it turns out to be as beautiful as all the stories I’ve heard, I’m sure you will get a post full of photographs from that drive next week.  AND – Somewhere in Time weekend at the Grand starts tomorrow!

Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you back here on Monday.  God bless.


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 brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com. 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, AND I’ll post the full photo of the mystery spot at the bottom of the blog with the answer. 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?

Don’t forget to email your answer to me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.comPlease do not answer in the comment section.


The Indian medallion hangs on the side of the beautiful Iroquois Hotel.

Bear’s Walk 9/27/2010

Note to Readers:  If you have already visited this site once today, no – you are not going crazy – the header photo HAS changed.  When I pulled the post up this morning, I thought, “This is Bear’s blog!  His pic needs to be on the header!”  That’s what happens when you’re blogging really, really late at night – your mind goes to sleep even though your fingers are still typing.

Hi – Bear here!

Man, oh man, oh man!  I have been having a blast this weekend!  You know how I feel about hot weather – I am not a fan!  And although it hasn’t really been hot here on Mackinac Island this summer, we’ve had a few days when I’ve thought, “Couldja please turn on that machine that makes the inside of the house cool?  You know like the one we have at home in Georgia?”  But when nothing ever happened with that (and knowing how much mom hates hot weather), I finally figured out we don’t have a machine like that here.  Bummer!

So . . . when the wind kicked up a few days ago and the air started turning cooler – then cooler – then colder – I thought, “Yeah!  God turned on His cool air machine!”   Even better!

Anyway, this weekend me and mom have been doing a lot of walking.  She wanted to take pictures of trees, and I wanted to just be outside enjoying myself.  It worked out great for both of us!

Here's me standing still in the wind so mom could take a picture of my hair blowing . . .

. . . and here's when it was either sit down or get blown over!

Mom told me when we started out the trees hadn’t turned all the colors they were going to yet.  I didn’t have a clue what she meant – to me, a tree is a tree is a tree, and they are useful for only one thing . . .

. . . but mom's not going to show you that on this blog. I mean, I don't care, but mom said it just wasn't a visual her readers would be interested in. I guess mom knows best on stuff like that.


I love these big ole horses who hang out close to where we live. Every day, after they've put in a hard day at work pulling a gazillion carriages up the hills and around the island, they get a good bath and then they run into that big corral. Some nice person dumps a big load of hay in there with them, and they chow down. I tried hay once, and I was not impressed. Try to imagine taking mowed grass and baking it until every last drop of the good stuff is dried up. Then bake it some more until it turns brown. That's what horses like to eat. Course I don't guess horses would like my dogfood either - but I guarantee you it's better than baked grass.

The wind was really messing up that brown horse's hairdo (I think the black horse was about to tell him to roll around some in the mud so it wouldn't be so flyaway). I do that all the time - works too!


Off we went to find trees that had turned a different color than green. There were quite a few of those, so mom was really happy. She told me in another week, they would REALLY be pretty - all yellow and orange and red. That mom - it certainly doesn't take much to make her happy.

These trees were on the road leading up to Cupid's Pathway, one of mom's favorite walks, where the trees grow right up to the road and sometime hang over it. When the leaves get really old and fall off, mom loves to walk through them and listen to the crunch sound they make. Like I said - doesn't take much for mom.

I told mom she needed to stop concentrating on the leaves and look at the WOODS more. You can see all kinds of things in the woods if you look real hard. The other day when I was out with dad, I spotted a rabbit and 'bout had a heart attack trying to run it down. I would have caught it too, if Maddie hadn't been such a loud mouth and scared it off with all that barking. Mom asked me what I would have done with it if I had caught it. I just looked at her because that is so not the point! You catch it - THEN you figure out what to do with it!

You would just be amazed at what you can find on the side of the road, if you keep your eyes open and your nose to the ground! That's what I was doing here, when right out in the middle of nowhere, I found . . .

. . . this rusty red-looking thing that I had never seen before. Mom told me it was a fire hydrant. But after I smelled it all over, I told her I thought it was just another kind of tree.

Ok - here we are on Cupid's Pathway. You notice how I'm always stopping and waiting? That's because mom is always so slow! We'll be walking along, and mom will be telling me about something really interesting, then suddenly I realize she's stopped talking. I look back, and she's pointing her camera up into the sky, or holding it really, really close to a leaf, or she's scrunched up over a log taking a photo of some moss or a snail. If I didn't watch her all the time, she would get totally lost and never find her way home!

I talked mom into heading back home on this shortcut. It's a really neat trail through the woods with all kinds of mud puddles (I went around them and got extra petting and ear scratching from mom for not getting muddy feet) and lots of those crackling leaves for her to walk on.

"Hey, mom! Come look at THESE leaves!"

Mom told me I had a "good eye". I actually have TWO good eyes. I'm starting to worry a little about mom.

The trail comes out at the Carriage Museum next to our condo, and mom thinks these trees are really beautiful.

We weren't ready to go back in, so we walked down the back hill, and I was so glad we did! I found some goose poop to roll around in, mom got to yell a lot, and we both got to see the water through the trees and the top of the Grand Hotel.

Right after I roll in goose poop, I'm always ready to go home so mom can clean me up. You see, it just the rolling part I like - once I've got it on me, I don't like how it makes people's faces look all funny when they see it on me. She was still fussing when I showed her this big barrel I found in front of one of the maintenance shops on the way back to the condo. She told me it was the water tank off the street cleaner, and that wire thing was the scrubber. Then she threatened to use the scrubber on ME, but I knew she was kidding. Right, mom? You were kidding, right?

I was still trying to get her to lighten up, so I showed her these buggies I found yesterday. These are the ones that the three horses pull around out in the woods with all the people on them. I guess these are some that they're getting ready to store for the winter.

About that time, one of those 3-horse carriages came up the hill and turned under the trees.

After Mom cleaned me up outside the condo, she told me we only have three more weeks left on the island.  She talked about going home to Georgia and the lake house and about the friends and family she was really ready to see.  I think she’s getting excited about that, but I know mom – there was a little catch in her voice while she was talking about leaving.  She sat on the backporch, and I put my head in her lap to let her know I would be right there for her – just like I am here.  She always smiles when I do that, and she smiled today too. 

Then we went inside and told dad all about our walk.


C & C Take a Tour 6/11/2010

What a beautiful day it’s been on the island!   Temps in the upper 6o’s and no rain!

After a lazy morning, with breakfast at 10 a.m., Cathie and I headed off to the fort for a little shopping for their grandchildren.  Ted was working today from 12-4, and Charlie stayed home to read.  We went straight to Sutter’s Store because Cathie wanted to have a flag flown over the fort for her grandson (like we did for Matthew last year).  The fort will do that even if the child is not here and will give the flag and a certificate stating the flag was flown in the child’s honor on whatever date.  They plan to fly the flag on Monday and then call us to come pick it up.

Cathie ended up buying a “few” more things for the grandbabies, and then we headed home, taking a few shortcuts through the woods because Cathie is a confirmed woodaholic – anything that has “trees and plants and ground cover and birds and rocks and . . . .” – well, you get the picture – she loves the woods!

What is Cathie trying to get a close-up picture of? A pileated woodpecker? The bark of a white birch? A clump of Lady Slippers? No . . . .


. . . this moss-covered rock! I told you she loves the woods!

This rental buggy was taking a couple on their own private tour of the Mackinac woods.

Charlie joined us at the Carriage Museum at Surrey Ridge for lunch, and we had an opportunity to take the back-half of a carriage tour.  Neither Cathie nor Charlie had made it to Arch Rock last summer, and that landmark is on this tour.

Our three-horse hitch carriage carried around 40 passengers through the woods, past the cemeteries, past Skull Cave and Arch Rock, by the fort, then back to the Museum. Tom, our driver, kept an informative, interesting and entertaining narrative going the entire trip. Each of the Belgians pulling our carriage weighs 2,000 lbs., and each can pull three times that amount. That means our three horses could easily pull 18,000 lbs. - a lot more than the carriage and 40 people weighs.


The view of Lake Huron through Arch Rock. You can see the bicyles parked on the highway below. There are stairs from that road up to the rock, if you want to throw some climbing into your day. Our way was a lot easier!

Standing at the top of the lookout at Arch Rock, we had a great view of the Mackinac Breeze coming in from a sailing trip in the Straits. The Breeze is owned and operated by Captain Bruce, and I've been invited to do a blog from her when the weather warms a little more.

As we were leaving the "rock", we got a chance to see those two new Grand Hotel hackneys, once again out on a training drive.

Cathie and Charlie in front of Arch Rock.

After our tour and after Ted got home, we had dinner and spent another evening simply talking to each other.  No radio, no TV programs – just four adults having conversation about dozens of topics.  Such a wonderful evening on the island. 

It’s been a great week, and I’ll see you back here Saturday and Sunday mornings with a few pics, then on Monday morning for the next full-length blog.  Have a wonderful, wonderful weekend – stay safe, stay well, and God bless.

And thank you for a house full of people I love.” . . . Terri Guillemets

The Mr. Kitty Project/Right Out My Back Door 8/20/09

Thursday is the last day of the Mackinac Island Music Festival, and Ted and I have plans to attend the final event Thursday night.  I’m taking the night off from blogging to enjoy some quality time with my husband.  Tonight I’m doing kind of a “two for one” blog – two totally different subjects that should have been used on two different days.  So I offer them to you today as a “substitute” for two days of blogging. 

See you back here Saturday morning with my interview of Stu Stuart, the hilarious comedian who performs nightly on Mackinac Island (meeting him for lunch Friday – hope I don’t choke laughing!).


Ted and I get ourselves into some of the strangest situations.  Or maybe I should say Ted gets me in some of the strangest situations!

Ted was at the Pink Pony last night, and when he got home he told me about meeting a nice couple from Ann Arbor MI, who were staying at Mission Point Resort for the 4th or 5th year.   Every year they have noticed a tortoise shell cat that seems to “belong” to no one, but is obviously being fed by different people at the resort throughout the year.  The cat, named Mr. Kitty even though he is a “she”, is often seen in the mornings sunning herself on the driveway at Mission Point.  At night she can be found  hanging around the back entrance to the movie theatre.  I actually saw her one night when Judy and I were coming out of the movies.  A furry shape flashed by in the dark, and I said to Judy, “That was a cat!”  Cats are pretty rare on the island – tons of dogs, very few cats. 

When Rennie and her husband Dave arrived this year, they noticed Mr. Kitty didn’t look so good.  Her fur was matted all the way down her back, and cats don’t usually get matted.  Rennie, who works at a cat clinic in Ann Arbor, decided the cat should be adopted (by her and Dave), but the logistics were impossible.  They didn’t have anything to transport a cat in back home, and after leaving the island today, they were traveling somewhere else for two days before returning to Ann Arbor. 

Now, don’t think that Ted gave me all this information.  What he basically said was, “I met a nice couple, and they are going to contact you about a cat at Mission Point.”  Luckily, right after he got home, I got a comment on my blog from Rennie, about this cat, asking me to give her a call if I could possibly help solve this situation.  Ted had told them what an animal lover I am and that I had rescued animals before (ONE animal to be exact – our beloved Lab mix Bud, who died two years ago at the wonderful old age of 14).  He had obviously also told them my blog address.  Rennie left her cell phone number on the comment.

Before I called Rennie back, I called Doc Al to see if he even “does” cats.  He said “sure”.  If we could catch the cat, he would be glad to check it over.  So I called Rennie, and we came up with a plan.  I would g0 down to Mission Point, see if I could find the cat, catch it, and transport it somehow to Doc Al.  If the cat was healthy, or relatively so, Rennie and her husband would come back in September, prepared to take the cat home with them.  They said they would handle the vet bills. 

So this afternoon I biked downtown, bought some cat food, biked to Mission Point, and looked all over for the cat.  Nowhere to be found.  I left my name and number at the desk of the gift shop after talking to the girl in charge.  She has worked there for four years and knows the cat well.  She also has noticed that the cat doesn’t appear as healthy as she did last year.  So, IF they can catch the cat, and IF they can get her in a box or carrier, and IF she doesn’t have something dreadfully wrong with her, Mr. Kitty might get adopted and spend the rest of her life inside being a house kitty . . . . . more to come on all that, but please notice who is going after cat food and searching for the cat.


Tonight after supper I told Ted I was going to take Bear out for a little one-on-one time.  I love being out on the streets in the early morning – although I’m not doing much of that this summer.  But my very favorite time is early evening.  The sun is going down, the day trippers have left the island, and all I have to do is walk out my door to be in my own private wonderland.  

Just across from the grounds in front of our condo is a livery stable, and at this time of night the carriages have all been brought home by “happy to see the barn” horses and are lined up ready for another busy day tomorrow.


The Carriage Museum, a place of almost  constant activity during the day, with carriage after carriage filled with excited visitors coming and going, is closed down and peaceful in the waning light.


The Wings of Mackinac Butterfly House, adjacent to the Carriage Museum, sits serenely in the gathering dark.  Inside, through the large glass windows, I can see butterflies dancing merrily through their private garden.  I wonder if, at this time of day, they realize happily that they are no longer photo opportunities, but simply butterflies again. 






Bear and I turn toward home.  The sky is beautiful over the swaying trees.  Rain is coming tonight, but you would never know it from this sky.


Where else could I find this – the busy, crowded streets during the day, filled with people and bikes and horses and carriages, and the quiet, calm streets during the evening, filled with a peaceful stillness like no other I have ever  known.   In my mind and heart, no other place like this exists, and the wonder of it is that to find it, all I have to do is walk right out my back door.