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.

 

Week One of Six! 8/23/15

Our first week on Mackinac has been a mixed bag of weather.  We’ve had sunshine and warm temps.  We’ve had rain and cool temps.  We’ve had nice breezes and some fairly brisk winds.  Whatever the weather though, the joy comes from being here, and you won’t hear any complaining from us – rain or shine!

What an awesome way to start each day - Good Morning, Mackinac!

What an awesome way to start each day – Good Morning, Mackinac!  Since our condo is at the Mission Point intersection, it’s a great place to people/dog/carriage watch all day.  On the weekends at night we can sit on the deck and listen to live entertainment at Bistro on the Greens!  Pretty cool!

I don't think I've ever seen Mission Point as colorful as it is this year.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mission Point as brilliantly colorful as it is this year.  Just love all the pinks, reds, and yellows spilling out of the tiered garden at the front and from every available terrace and pot.

I took a stroll up to the East Bluff earlier in the week and - like every other tourist who ever makes it up that hill - I had to take this iconic shot of the Straits featuring the steeple of St. Anne's Church.

I took a stroll up to the East Bluff earlier in the week and – like every other tourist who ever makes it up that hill – I had to take this iconic shot of the Straits, featuring the steeple of St. Anne’s Church.  Would love to know exactly how many photographs and paintings have been created standing in this spot.

One of my all-time favorite Bluff cottages!

One of my all-time favorite Bluff cottages!

This is another one - seen through the trees. My old bike with its wicker basket looks perfectly natural sitting there, doesn't it?

This is another one – seen through the trees. My old bike with its wicker basket looks perfectly natural sitting there, doesn’t it?  Notice the rain gear in the basket?  Always prepared!

On Friday afternoon Ted and I rode down to the Mackinac Island Fire Department for the presentation of the check

On Friday afternoon Ted and I rode downtown for the presentation of the check from Max Jones to the Mackinac Island Fire Department.  Max, with his father John, Dr. Stephen Humphrey, and Mark Chambers rode across the State of Iowa as a fundraiser (only Max collected donations) for the department.  Generous givers donated $4,783 to the fund, with another $300 pledged.  Way to go, Max!  (Photo l-r: Paramedic Rick Linn, Asst. Chief Sam Barnwell, FF Ron Langworthy, TF Johny Morris, Max Jones, Asst. Chief Jason St. Onge, FF Tony Brodeur, and SFF Travis Vartanian.

Max with his fellow riders - his dad John, Dr. Steve Humphrey, and Mark Chambers. After the ceremony Max was presented with a special MIFD shirt, making him an honorary MIFD member.

Max with his fellow riders – his dad John, Dr. Steve Humphrey, and Mark Chambers. After the ceremony Max was presented with a special MIFD shirt, making him an honorary MIFD member.

Max and his wonderful family - mom Karrie, dad John, and twin sister, Ellie. The MIFD will use the funds to purchase more ice rescue equipment.

Max and his wonderful family – mom Karrie, dad John, and twin sister, Ellie. The MIFD will use the funds to purchase more ice rescue equipment.

There were a lot of weddings this weekend, and I was in the right place at the right time to capture two brides and grooms as they rode away in the romantic wedding carriages - this one from St. Anne's . . .

There were a lot of weddings this weekend, and I was in the right place at the right time to capture two brides and grooms as they rode away in the romantic wedding carriages – this one from St. Anne’s . . .

. . . and this one passed the condo after a wedding at Mission Point. Love that I got to photograph island wedding photographer Stephen Blair as he rode along beside the carriage. It takes a lot of stamina and skills to be a wedding photographer on Mackinac Island!

. . . and this one passed the condo after a wedding at Mission Point. Love that I got to photograph island wedding photographer Stephen Blair as he rode along beside the carriage. It takes a lot of stamina and skill to be a wedding photographer on Mackinac Island!

Speaking of passers-by, I glanced out the window this weekend to see a small crowd gathered around a carriage being pulled by a beautiful Friesian. It turned out the driver was island friend Ann Levy who - with Michigan's Sugar Queen - had just delivered the Golden Tickets to the island's fudge shops. This weekend was the Mackinac Island Fudge Festival, and if your box of fudge happened to contain a Golden Ticket, you won a free Mackinac Island vacation! Now that's worth buying a few boxes of fudge!

Speaking of passers-by, I glanced out the window this weekend to see a small crowd gathered around a carriage being pulled by a beautiful tuxedo-decked-out Friesian. The driver was island friend Ann Levy who – with Michigan’s Sugar Queen – had just delivered the Golden Tickets to the island fudge shops. This weekend was the Mackinac Island Fudge Festival, and if your box of fudge happened to contain a Golden Ticket, you won a free Mackinac Island vacation! Now that’s worth buying a few boxes of fudge!

There was a power outage downtown on Saturday for a few hours so Ted and I walked down to see what was going on. It wasn't affecting the Marina - which was full.

There was a power outage downtown on Saturday for a few hours so Ted and I walked down to see what was going on. It wasn’t affecting the Marina – which was full.

Doud's was dark inside, but it didn't seem to stop shoppers at all.

Doud’s was dark inside, but it didn’t seem to stop shoppers at all.

It was business as usual at the Pink Pony, except orders were taken and tallied the old fashion way - with pen and pencil. The ability to improvise on Mackinac never fails to impress me. While the lights were out the Chippewa hotel served 100 wedding reception guests a sit-down dinner without one single glitch. The reception dinner was held on the Pink Pony patio, and the wedding party never even realized the electricity was out until they came back into the hotel. The lights came back on as we were sitting at the bar chatting with some folks from Seattle, Washington.

And it was business as usual at the Pink Pony, except orders were taken and tallied the old fashion way – with pen and pencil. The ability to improvise on Mackinac never fails to impress me. While the lights were out the Chippewa hotel served 100 wedding reception guests a sit-down dinner without one single glitch. The reception dinner was held on the Pink Pony patio, and the wedding party never even realized the electricity was out until they came back into the hotel. Awesome job, Chippewa!

The lights came back on as we were sitting at the bar chatting with some folks from Seattle, Washington.

The lights came back on as we were sitting at the bar chatting with some folks from Seattle, Washington, and normalcy resumed.

Our view of the Mission Church steeple from our bedroom window. See those dark clouds . . .

Our view of the Mission Church steeple from a bedroom window. Those dark clouds . . .

. . . they blossomed this afternoon into a nice little thunderstorm, complete with lots of rain. You know, when you get stuck in a rainstorm on Mackinac, you just keep on going!

. . .  blossomed this afternoon into a nice little thunderstorm, complete with lots of rain. You know, when you get stuck in a rainstorm on Mackinac, you just keep on going and hope you have your rain gear packed in your purse!

It was wonderful to walk in the doors of Little Stone Church this morning!  We got to see many friends we hadn’t yet seen elsewhere and heard a wonderful message from our pastor, Reverend Fred Zobel, a retired U.S. Navy Captain. 

It’s almost 8 p.m. now, and the rain is gone.  The streets have been washed clean, the grass is even greener, and the only leftovers of the storm I see from my window are whitecaps in the Straits and waves crashing against the breakwater.  There was walkers and bikers on the lakeside trail at Mission Point, dogs are being walked, and folks are on the sidewalk heading into town. 

Ahhhhh . . . life is good!

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Don’t know if you’ve heard or not, but August 30-September 1 is the 3rd Annual Grand Garden Show, featuring the world’s #1 plant brand, Proven Winners.  Presenters will include Jamie Durie, host of HGTV’s show Outdoor Room, PBS talk shop host, gardening and lifestyle expert P. Allen Smith, and our very own award winning garden designer Jack Barnwell.  Rooms at the Grand are sold out for the event, but tickets for the presentations and tours of some of Mackinac’s most beautiful private and public gardens are still available.  I’ll be covering one day of the event, and I’ll be so excited to share it with you through words and photographs.

See you back here soon!

God bless.

Dresses Scarlet and Gold 9/29/2011

“Come said the wind to
the leaves one day,
Come o’re the meadows
and we will play.
Put on your dresses
scarlet and gold,
For summer is gone
and the days grow cold.”
–  A Children’s Song of the 1880’s

Ted, Bear, Maddie and I have been taking quite a few walks through the woods this week, and the folder on my desktop labeled “Fall Photos” is filling fast.  On Mackinac Island, even though the flowers of summer are so awesome, it is still the woods in autumn that just may be my favorite season for color.  Leaves are not at their peak, but they are changing very rapidly.  I hope you enjoy this first glimpse into the “dresses scarlet and gold” of Fall on Mackinac Island.

The Carriage Museum lot always boasts some of the first trees to make the complete change-over, and this year is no different.

Little Maddie is always excited to get to go "woods-walking". She couldn't care less about the leaves, but she sure can sniff out the rabbits.

OK - you know I'm not going to know what the plants are. That said, these low-growing plants are turning the forest floor red all over the Island.

Here's a strange phenomenon I'm noticing this year. Instead of each tree slowly turning from yellow to red all over, they seem to be changing colors limb by limb.

A new "canopy". These trees didn't completely grow into each other until this summer. Now they form an arch.

Looking down Cupid's Pathway from the entrance to Turtle Park.

Beautiful red berries against slowly dying leaves.

An old tree begins its color change in Marquette Park.

Vividly colored pots of mums outside Little Luxuries . . .

. . . and the Chippewa Hotel.

Another of those "one limb at a time" trees stands out against the green of the Grand golf course.

Surrey Hill, as the fog crept in on Tuesday afternoon.

Bear, waiting for me to catch up after our walk.

Jason (my oldest) and his wife Blair are flying in Thursday afternoon, and I’ll pick them up at the Pellston Airport at 3 p.m.  We can’t wait to see them, and hope we get at least a couple of good days before they leave on Sunday.  The Weather Channel is predicting gale-force winds on Friday, before the bottom drops out on the temperatures, and we awake to highs in the 40’s on Saturday.  They live in Atlanta, and it’s still in the high 80’s and low 90’s there.  They are looking forward to true Fall weather (I think they’re going to get it!).

See you Friday with the Mystery Spot, a few pics, and a little story about meeting a famous author and discovering something exciting about the new book she’s writing!

Just Another Mackinac Monday

I know I’ve said this before, but whatever I have planned for each day NEVER works out – therefore, I’m going to stop planning.  Take today for example.

Ted announced he was going kayaking again, and I didn’t even blink.  I calmly said, “Have fun, my sweet”, poured my second cup of coffee, walked back out on the deck, picked up my book, and started reading.  Even when he added that he was going to blow up the kayak BEFORE he left the condo and carry all 40 lbs. of it down the hill (he ROLLED it down before), I kept myself firmly planted in the deck chair.  It was a beautiful thing to see – me, being cool about Ted kayaking.  He was so proud of me.

Have any of you read this? It's totally unlike anything I'd normally read, but Jeremy at the Island Bookstore suggested it, and I'm really enjoying it!

But then I noticed how beautiful the hollyhocks are in front of the condo this year, so I got up and took a photo.

Then Maddie started going crazy barking, and I snapped this shot . . . .

. . . . and then watched as Ted walked/ran/half-flew across the lawn, carrying a boat on his shoulders and battling wind gusts that threatened to elevate him and the boat 10 feet off the ground. Ted sure knows how to keep me entertained!

So . .  instead of reading, I got up and started cleaning house – which is always SO much easier when no one’s around.  I cleaned a little, read comments on the 911 blog, commented back, did some Facebook chatting, then cleaned a little more.  Ted called to tell me where he was on the water, and I asked him to call me back when he was on dry land.

When he did call back, he said, “Why don’t you come down to the Pony, and let’s eat lunch out on the back patio?”

I was changing clothes before he had even flipped his phone shut.

I rode my bike downtown – to get there faster – and found Ted already outside at the Pink Pony, downing one glass of ice water after another.  I ordered a beer (it was five o’clock somewhere), and then we both ordered hot wings for lunch.  It was so great to be downtown on a beautiful August day in one of my favorite places!  So many good memories at the Chippewa and Pink Pony!

The Pony back deck is the greatest place - right by the water, where a cool breeze is always blowing, and the music is always good.

They've even expanded the deck out a little more this year, so when I say waterfront seating, I mean waterfront seating! How's that for a view!

We sat at the bar for lunch so we had the whole marina in front of us.

Hmmmmmmm . . . . .

Yep! That about sums it up!

I never did get back to my book.  After lunch I stopped at the bookstore for a newspaper, went by the bank, picked up the mail at the post office, and got some bananas at Doud’s.  Then I rode my bike up Turkey Hill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  ok, ok, I was trying to see if you were paying attention.  I WALKED my bike up Turkey Hill – very, very slowly . . . then rode the rest of the way home – even took one of the trails through the woods and didn’t fall off or anything.

Oh, Ted left his kayak downtown at a friend’s house.  Yeah!!!  No more drama going up and down the hill!

Did I ever mention how much I LOVE this island . . . . even when nothing goes as planned!

Georgia comes to Michigan 8/4/09

12:45 p.m.  Dawn and Stevie just called to let us know they are passing Gaylord, MI – one hour away from the ferry docks.  Ted rushed through a shower and headed down to catch the 1:30 ferry going over to Mackinaw City.  He should arrive just as our Georgia friends are parking their car.  That means they will be on the 2 o’clock ferry to the island, on a taxi up the hill by 2:30, and here at the condo by 3 p.m. at the latest – depends on how many other stops the taxi has for folks going to the “village”.  Before they arrive I need to brush Bear one more time, vacuum the downstairs one more time, wash my hair, and put on some mascara.  Well gee, I haven’t seen them since the middle of May – I think mascara is in order!  More later!

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Here they come!

 

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Dawn's here!

It’s now 9:10 p.m.  It’s been a full afternoon.  Dawn and Stevie arrived, put their luggage in the guest room, and said, “Let’s go!”

We decided to start off with a walk up to the West Bluff, taking the dogs so we could wear them out and leave them later on.  We cut up carrots to feed MacGyver and headed out.  MacGyver was not being cooperative today.  There was a new horse in the corral next to him, and it seemed he was more interested in that horse than carrots.  We walked on, and found Bonnie and Don in their garage feeding the chipmunks.  How lucky can you get!  We made introductions all around, and Bonnie got Charlie to actually crawl into her hand for the seeds she was offering him.

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Bonnie and Don offered to give us all a tour of the gardens.  A lot had changed since she had shown me the garden a week ago.  Would you believe they spray painted these flowers white so they could enjoy them longer!

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Bonnie showed Stevie and Dawn the “dog pond”, and we took Dawn’s picture next to “Pearl” one of the many turtles on the island that was auctioned off several years ago.

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Bonnie showed us through her home.  We especially loved the train room.  One of the owners of the home had been the CEO of Lionel Trains.  There is a huge room with trains, train tracks, houses, and every imaginable accessory you could think of that would make up a child’s (or Stevie’s) dream world of trains. 

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Ted and the dogs had come in the other way so he could see the trains without bringing the dogs through the house.  Bear was waiting patiently for his “mom” when we  made it back outside, and Maddie was trying to figure out how she could catch Charlie the chipmunk.

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From Bonnie and Don’s, we walked on to the West Bluff, and Dawn and Stevie got their first glimpse of that fabulous view.

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We walked past all the West Bluff homes and past the Grand Hotel porch, where I took a picture of Dawn in front of the flowers that line the front of the Grand.

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We got back to the condo around 5 p.m., and the boys headed to the Pink Pony, while Dawn and I stayed behind to rest a bit and feed the dogs. 

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A while later, Dawn and I walked down the hill and met the guys at the Pony for drinks, then we ate dinner at the Chippewa dining room.  We headed home after that so I could get this blog done.  I truly think the boys were planning on going out again after we got home, but once we hit the house, they decided they would just stay here. 

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It’s amazing how fast our visitors learn that once you have hiked up and down our hill once or twice, it’s just as much fun to stay at the condo and turn in early as it is to go out again. 

Tomorrow will be a fun-filled day.  The sun is supposed to be out, the temps in the 70’s – a fantastic day on the island.  We are so glad Stevie and Dawn are here!

An Invitation from the Governor of Michigan 7/23/09

Ted, Blake and I were invited by the Governor of Michigan to take a tour of her summer residence today, and we accepted her invitation. 
Oh, all right!  Everyone who visits the island in the summer gets the same invitation.  Every Wednesday from June through August, between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., you can tour the Governor’s Summer Residence.  And, it’s free!

We got up early and walked the dogs (a very short walk because we wanted to be at the Governor’s at 9:30 a.m. on the dot).  Blake  and Ted were going to Cheboygan grocery shopping after the tour, so Ted wanted to be there when the doors opened.

I had forgotten that you aren’t allowed to take pictures on the inside – bummer! So, we took some pics as we waited in line to go in, then I did the next best thing  – took pictures of the brochure! 

The home was built in 1902 for Chicago lawyer Lawrence Andrew Young and was later owned by the Hugo Scherer family of Detroit. In 1944, the Mackinac Island State Park Commission purchased the home for its original cost of $15,000, and since then, has provided the care and maintenance of the residence and surrounding gardens.  It was renovated and restored in 1996-97.  The home has eleven bedrooms, nine and one-half bathrooms and a full basement.  The interior features Georgia yellow pine (I knew there were some Georgia roots up here somewhere) and the exterior is constructed of Michigan white pine. 

Since 1945, Michigan’s governors have used this home to host important events with national and state leaders, including Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Ford, and George H.W. Bush, and governors from across America.  The house was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.  Michigan governors have a long tradition of sharing the home with the public, and the present governor, Jennifer M. Granholm (Michigan’s first female governor) continues that tradition.  Only the downstairs is open for the tour, but it does include that grand front porch overlooking the Straits of Mackinac.  What a view!

In the summer, you will see Gov. Granholm, her husband and children at the residence quite a lot.  They often entertain family and friends on the front porch, and we have often seen the governor, an avid runner, on the roads throughout Mackinac Island.  They have a degree of privacy here, and the home can easily be secured. 

We did get there on time, but a line had already formed at the side entrance, where Boy Scouts from Lansing, MI stood sentinel.

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For the third morning in a row, early morning fog played havoc with my photography attempts.  This morning, looking through the porch to the Straits, the lighthouse was barely visible.  Regardless, the view from the residence’s location, has to be one of the best on the island.

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Ted took my picture with Blake on the porch.  I suggested to Blake that after his last year in China he move to Michigan and run for governor.  Ted and I would be glad to “house sit” this beautiful home for him while he was away working for the state.

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Shannon, who arranged our flag birthday surprise for Matthew, was selling brochures on the porch.  I asked her for a contact to get clearance to feature one of the scout troops in an upcoming blog.  Now I have to make that connection and see what we can work out.

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The following two pictures came from that brochure.  I tried to take a “picture of a picture”, usually something that doesn’t work out too well.  But maybe you will be able to get an idea of just how beautiful the downstairs in this home is.  There are several pieces that are original to the house, including a tall case clock and a child’s high chair and tea cart in the dining room.  As governors have come and gone, they have brought personal items from their homes to add to the house and make it more “theirs”.  When a governor goes out of office, that piece is usually left because of the difficulty of moving furniture on and off the island.  So the house’s decor is a wonderful eclectic blend, and as you can see, it all works together just fine.

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Look at that beautiful Georgia yellow pine.

Through the french doors of the dining room, you can see the sunporch, originally part of the front porch.

Through the french doors of the dining room, you can see the sunroom, originally part of the front porch.

 This picture of the side view of the residence was taken earlier in the spring on a clear day.  The second picture was taken today.

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After the tour, Blake and Ted headed for the ferry, and I walked downtown for some final pictures of the harbor.  All the boats had come in, and some of them had already left the docks after a big night of partying.  Here’s the last picture from my “spot” – Monday a.m. and Wednesday a.m.

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And here’s a few more for the sailors out there – or if you just love pictures of the water and boats and hard-working people who love to compete.

A crew member takes a few minutes' rest after a long sail.

A crew member takes a few minutes' rest after a long sail.

Masts and flags.

Masts and flags.

Cleaning up after the race.

Cleaning up after the race.

Business as usual for the carriage tours lined up below the fort.

Business as usual for the carriage tours lined up below the fort.

 

A worker rides through the marina asking if anyone needs gas, ice, lights, etc. before leaving.

A worker rides through the marina asking if anyone needs gas, ice, lights, etc. before leaving.

Leaving for the next port.

Leaving for the next port.

Other updates from yesterday:  1)  Blake’s lip is almost back to its normal size, and he has learned it’s best to keep your mouth closed when you are biking around the island.  2)  Bear is well. 

 

And just something I happened to see as I was turning the corner off Market Street going up Cadotte this morning.  Have no clue what these people were dressed up for, but it was an interesting sight.

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NOTE:  Historical information and pictures of the Governor’s Summer Residence taken from the Mackinac Island State Park Commission’s brochure, The Michigan Governor’s Summer Residence, Mackinac Island, Michigan.

Terrific Tuesday 7/15/09

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What a wonderful day this has been!  I’ve had tears in my eyes at least three times!  Happy tears!

Matthew was up practically all night – he slept with Julie, and she didn’t get more than a couple of hours shut-eye.  He was just so excited!  She said it seemed like every 30 minutes Matthew was asking, “Is it my birthday yet?”  And finally, it was!

His day started with presents, with help from Bear who kept hoping someone had given Matthew dog biscuits.  No luck.  Then the questions began again.  “What is my surprise?  Where are we going to get it?  How big is it?  When can we leave?”  Ted and I just smiled and kept on getting ready, urging Matthew and Jordan and Julie to hurry up – we had to be somewhere by 9 a.m.  Of course, Julie knew what was going to happen, and Julie had told Jordan yesterday – so Matthew was the only one in the dark.  And it was driving him crazy!

At a little after nine, we all got on our bikes.  We told Matthew just to follow us  “Where?  Where?”  We arrived at the fort and locked our bikes just outside.  The fort wasn’t open yet, but they were expecting us, and we went in before the gates officially opened.  Soon we saw a group of Boy Scouts approaching, along with a scoutmaster and Shannon, who coordinates the scout activities for the park service – and Shannon was carrying a large box.  We all followed this group onto the fort grounds and to the flagpole where the huge fort flag flies each day.

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The scoutmaster asked Matthew to step closer to the flag pole, and then Shannon opened the box and presented two of the scouts with the flag that had been inside.   The scouts attached the flag to the halyard’s snap hooks and stood ready.  At precisely 9:30, a bugler played Reveille, followed by the shooting of a cannon.  At that moment every U.S. flag on Mackinac Island was raised.

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As soon as the flag had reached the top of the pole and had flown for a few seconds, the Scouts began to lower it again.  I think it was at this point that Matthew began to realize what was happening.  The Scouts retrieved the flag and stepped over to the side to fold it.  They asked Matthew if he would like to help.

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When the flag had been completely folded, with the last corner tucked inside, the scout presented the flag to Matthew.  Shannon brought over a certificate that had been signed by Phil Porter, the Director of Mackinac State Historic Parks.  Tears of pride welled up for our little grandson and for this great country in which we live.

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Another special flag was flown as soon as Matthew’s flag had been taken down.  The Park Service was expecting its 20 millionth visitor sometime today, and that lucky person would receive the second flag.  When the two special ceremonies had been completed, the flag that is normally flown was raised.  That flag is huge and can be seen over the fort when you come into the harbor on the ferries.

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Matthew was so excited.  He decided immediately that this would be a much better “show and tell” than the horseshoe we had found.

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 We left our bikes at the park and walked downtown to pick up Matthew’s birthday cake and a package for him at the post office from another set of grandparents.  Then we went back and got our bikes and started home – with the flag box in my bike basket and the cake in Ted’s.  Just before we got to the trail through the woods that we use as a shortcut, my cellphone rang.  It was Blair, our daughter-in-law, calling to let me know that she had just dropped Blake off at the Atlanta airport.  The tears came again.  A few more hours, and I would see my 6’1″, 32 year old, youngest son!

I had sat on my bike and talked to Blair for at least 20 minutes, and when I got home the cake was on the counter and GDaddy was putting on the candles.  He lit them, Matthew made a wish, then he blew them all out.  I made a wish also – that we would have many more summers here with our family sharing these wonderful moments.

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 At 6:24 p.m., Blake’s plane landed in Pellston, and I finally got to hug my son.  He looked wonderful.  We waited at the docks for the 7:30 ferry to take us across to Mackinac Island, where the rest of the family waited.  He walked around the ferry during the crossing, snapping pictures to load onto Facebook tonight or tomorrow.  We ate supper at the Chippewa Hotel, and then we all took a taxi home. 

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It does this mother’s heart so much good to know he is sleeping upstairs right now under the same roof that we are.  The next two weeks will fly by, and I plan to enjoy every minute and try to stretch them out as long as possible.  Thank you, Lord for bringing him safely home and safely here to us . . . more happy tears.

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