Mackinac Island Spring Update – Vol. 3 – 4/11/2012

It’s the middle of April, and the weird weather continues.  The forecast was for snow on the Island today, and a friend who lives there said it sounded like “the gales of November” outside this morning.  It seems Mackinac is having its usual March weather in April this year.  I can’t imagine what this is doing to the lilac trees (they’re already blooming in Detroit), but since most of them are over a hundred years old, they can probably survive most anything Mother Nature sends their way.

Speaking of spring, the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau has a nifty little page on their web site that explains everything you want to know about spring on the Island.  That address is:

Newsy items:

  • I can’t remember if I mentioned this little new store last summer or not, and I never did get down to visit it, but it’s going to be one of my first stops this spring.  The name is Mackinac Island’s Finest, and it was opened to support the Mackinac Island Fire, Police, and EMS Departments.

The store is located at the front of the Arnold Dock, just off Main Street.

Inside, you'll find all sorts of items bearing the names of these three very important Island departments.

They've renovated the store over the winter and added more clothing and decor items. What a great way to support these services that none of us could get along without!

  • Take a good, long look at this photo and see if you can figure out where on the Island it is . .

If you guessed British Landing Road, you are correct!  In this vintage photo, the land was the location of the Early/Dousman farm, and it yielded approximately one hundred tons of hay yearly.  The farm is now the site of the Mackinac Community Equestrian Center and the oldest continuously run golf course in Michigan, Wawashkamo.

  • Our Easter weekend was packed with family and five special visitors from Michigan – the Bailey family.  Brian is the general manager of the Chippewa and Lilac Tree Hotels on the Island, and we’ve become great friends with him and wife Jeri-Lynn over the years.  With their three children, they stopped by overnight Friday on their way back home from spring break in Florida.  What fun!

  • Jeannette Doud’s column in the St. Ignace News this week was full of updates on store owners returning to the Island to ready businesses for the season.  She mentioned that Horn’s Bar will be opening on Friday, April 27.  She also reported the front porch of the Grand Hotel is being painted in preparation for its soft opening on April 27 and the big opening Thursday, May 3.  Hart’s Haven, Metivier Inn, and the Cloghaun are all being prepared for their near future openings.
  • The Pink Pony is opening Thursday, May 10.  The next day, May 11, both the Chippewa Hotel and the Lilac Tree Suites and Spa will reopen for the season.  And that’s straight from the horse’s (sorry Brian) mouth.
  • The St. Ignace News reported that more bones have been found on the Island, marking the second time in five months downtown excavations have revealed bones.  They were discovered when construction workers were digging to lay a water line under Frank Shama’s Gifts on Main Street.  The first bones (human) were found during excavation of the former McNally Cottage, site of the new Bicycle Street Inn.  The proper authorities were contacted, and tests will determine if indeed these bones are also human remains.  Sault Tribe repatriation specialist Cecil Pavlat said, “It’s unfortunate, but that island was a burial ground for our people, so anytime digging is involved, there’s a chance that bones will be found.”  If the bones are human, they could either be included in the proposed burial mound at Ste. Anne’s Cemetery or be reburied under the gift shop.  “Whenever possible,” Pavlat said, “the tribe would prefer to keep the remains at rest where they were discovered, so long as the location is safe.”

That catches up all the news for this week.  I have a few photos to post, and let me once again thank all of you who, over the winter, have made it possible for me to continue to share Island life with my readers.  You are awesome!

A photo of tulips and a passing freighter from last spring. (Photo by: Mission Point Resort)

It's not often we see Round Island Light from this perspective. Ben Horn was ON Round Island when he snapped this shot. In the background, the West Bluff homes, the Grand Hotel and the homes along the Boardwalk are visible.

I was so hoping I'd be able to share a photo this week of the Mackinac Bridge ablaze with blue lights for Autism Awareness Month, and here it is. A huge thank you to Dave Black of Mackinac Straits Photography in St. Ignace for allowing me to use this stunning photo. The swan in the foreground is a striking touch.

Hoping everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend.  See you back here next Wednesday . . . the countdown begins!  God bless.