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. 

img_3810

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!

pamdaykemdouds

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.

16473200_10210426992284572_3269361514503600317_n

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

oldmarthasweetshop

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.

oldleathercorralnewshopkem

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. 

kemgreenacoldsnowyday

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.

kemgreen

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.

westshore

Ice on the West shore.

eastsidecupolasuitesbeingadded

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

bayviewkemgreen

The beautiful Bay View Inn in the snow.

eastsidehighway

The highway on the east side of the island.

outlibrarydoor

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. 

kemgreenpuzzleinlibrary

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.

kemgreenfire

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!

MORE MACKINAC NEWS

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. 

img_3844

Nora Bailey tries out the ice rink.

img_3843

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.

img_3845

Mary Bailey playing some Snow-Golf during Winter Festival

A FEW MORE FROM THE ISLAND

tomchambersstannefriday

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

clarksatsunriserabbit

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

BODIE NEWS

img_3835

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!

AND FROM FLORIDA . . . .

img_3829

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.

Throw Back Thursday – “Big Groceries” 2/2/17

Personal Note: Today’s Throw Back Thursday is again from 2009.  I promise I’ll jump around more as I continue to post these, but the blogs from our first whole season on Mackinac bring back such great memories for me – AND they’re informational!

Header:  Thanks once again to Kem and Ed Green for this photo from their winter trip to Mackinac this week.  It shows the East Bluff from the ferry dock.

______________________________________________________________________

First posted: 5/28/09:  Today was a yucky day – yes, they DO occasionally occur on Mackinac Island.  It was cold, it was raining, and worst of all, I had to go buy “big groceries” on the mainland (I think buying “big groceries” is a southern term.  You go to the store to “pick up a few things” or you go after “big groceries”).  We had put it off for 10 days.  Now we have company coming in on Friday, and the trip HAD to be made.

I love the two grocery stores on the island.  There is Doud’s Market downtown, and there is the Harrisonville Grocery up in the Village (the Village is where the majority of the year-round residents live).  The Harrisonville Grocery is about three blocks further up the hill from us (yes, you can go even further up that hill).   If you wanted, you could get by without going off the island all summer for groceries by frequenting those two stores – and the drug store next to Doud’s (NOTE:  The drugstore is no longer there).  But, sometime you just have to buy those 12-roll packages of toilet tissue and paper towels, and the two local stores don’t stock that kind of thing.

I had a few things on my list I could not entrust Ted to figure out – a new shower curtain for the day-glo yellow bathroom, a new kitchen rug, a new lamp for the guest room, etc.  So I volunteered to go, and Ted was excited he didn’t have to (until I came home 7 hours later with a receipt list from Wal-mart’s that stretched all the way down our hall (I think I went a little overboard on the home decor).

IMG_0602Going to the grocery store off-island is a little different from going at home (at least getting there is different).  I called the taxi office at 10 a.m. and said I needed to be at the docks for the 11 o’clock ferry to Mackinaw City.  Then I put on all my wet/cold weather gear, grabbed my lists and Ted’s lists, and went out to wait.  As I watched people walk by in big coats and rain hats, I thought, “Every day on the island can’t be colorful and beautiful.  There have to some gray days, and this is one of them.  Just relax and go with the flow.”

The taxi came, and I asked Ted to get a picture of me climbing in.  This is not exactly what I meant. IMG_0607

This does give me the opportunity though to comment on one of the essential accessories for the island – the backpack.  I know not everyone reading this is as old as wood like I am, but I learned last year if you walk this island like we do and carry a shoulder purse around with you, you are going to end up as lopsided and hunchbacked as that Notre Dame guy.  So you get a backpack and keep yourself all evened up (Everyone asks me if my backpack is a Vera Bradley.  It does kind of look like one, but I actually bought it for $.99 off a bargain shelf at Walgreen’s).  Nobody believes that, but it is the truth.

I rode down to the ferry docks with one of my favorite drivers, Janeen.  Janeen loves Bear, and when I told her Bear had written a blog yesterday, she told me that the next time he writes an episode she wants to be in it.  On IMG_0610the taxi with me was Aaron, who I introduced myself to and asked his life story (when you write a blog, you cannot be shy).  He told me he was from California, and this was his second summer on the island as a bartender at the Grand.

When we got to the docks, I paid Janeen and carried my cold food container into the ferry office to wait with the other poor souls who had to leave on this dreary day.  The bad part was most of them would not be coming back after buying groceries.  They were off to other parts of the country, continuing vacations or going home.  As soon as the 11 o’clock ferry had unloaded its passengers for the island, there was a mad dash to the door to see who could be first in line to wait in the rain to get on the ferry.  I know better now.  That line IMG_0617isn’t going anywhere for at least 10 minutes.  They are just going to stand there and get wet.  How can you tell a local from a tourist?  A local is going to stand around and talk until the last minute and jump aboard the ferry as the gangplank is being pulled up.  A local is also going to go onto the ferry and sit at the back (to get off first), and read a book or a newspaper during the crossing (or take a nap).  A local would not be caught dead taking a picture of the Mackinac Bridge or the Round Island Lighthouse through the windows of a ferry (I’ll give you more of these tidbits as the summer goes on.)

When I boarded I gave the dock worker my parking ticket number.  When you are on Mackinac all season, you can buy a valet parking ticket.  The ferry line keeps your car in storage on the mainland. Then when you are coming across, you give them your number, they call ahead, and your car is magically waiting for you when you get off the ferry.

It was raining and cold on the mainland too.  I made the drive to the Cheboygan Wal-Mart in under 20 minutes.  It was raining there also – only harder.  I shopped from 11:45 until 3:30, spending maybe the last 20 minutes of that time in the grocery aisles.  I told the checkout lady that I needed everything bagged for the island, which was her cue to call the produce department for some banana boxes, the best box made for hauling groceries.  NOBODY wants to get on a ferry with 50 little plastic sacks.  She got all my stuff into two boxes, 3 plastic bags, and my refrigerated stuff went into the bag I had left in the truck.  You have to plan every trip around the ferry schedules, so I was eyeing the 4:30 ferry back to the island.

I got lost getting out of Cheboygan because of detours.  I pulled into a auto repair shop and asked a man who was working on a car how to get to the Mackinaw City highway.  He looked at me very strangely and pointed to the stop sign three feet from where we were standing.  He said, “At that stop sign, take a right and you are ON the Mackinaw City highway.”  He asked where I was from (both Ted and I get a lot of that-something about our accents).  I said south Georgia, and he said, “Lady you really ARE lost!”  He found that extremely funny – I didn’t.

IMG_0624I arrived back at the ferry docks with about 400 Detroit Chamber of Commerce people who were going over to stay at the Grand for a few days.  A porter loaded a cart with my stuff and groceries another lady was taking over.  They shrink-wrapped the whole cart, then covered it to keep it dry on the trip over.

I sat down in the back row with some other islanders and leaned back to observe.  All the passengers except the back row were conducting business.  I started to go ask the captain if he would make an announcement that all cell phones, iphones, and blackberries must be tossed overboard halfway across.  I mean, why come to Mackinac Island if you are bringing all your worries and work with you?  The person I had the most empathy for though was a beautiful blonde lady.  She really could have been a model, and she was dressed beautifully.  Only one thing wrong – white stiletto heels and white slacks.  Hello?  Rain. . . . horses . . . . wet streets . . . . horses . . . . not a good mix with white.

IMG_0627I finally made it home around 6:30 – with so many people arriving, the taxis were mega-busy (they are expecting a total of 1700 Chamber people to arrive tonight).  I rode up the hill with a group of island residents and their children.  One busy mom of three had been on the mainland all day with her kids and was planning on taking them to a play on the island tonight.  I was in awe of her patience and good humor, and then I remembered I used to do that too – a long, long time ago.  Janeen was in the taxi behind us, bringing other folks home.  We happened to be in the handicapped taxi – that’s why you see bars.  That bar thing lets down into a ramp so wheelchairs can be loaded.

Ted was waiting at the boardwalk to unload the groceries (and other stuff).  He pretended he had been busy all day, and I just gave him a look that said he couldn’t have been as busy as I had been.  “Sweetie, all you did was go to the grocery store,” he said.

And he was right – that’s all I did.

P.S.  Bear read all your comments and emails about his blog yesterday, and was very pleased that you enjoyed it.  I told him that many of you had requested that Maddie write one also.  Bear said, “Why?”

View from the Deck

One of the livery carriages you can rent and drive yourself.

One of the livery carriages you can rent and drive yourself.

Saying Bye 10/14/16

It’s that time again.  The day before we leave Mackinac, and my emotions are all over the place.  I’m sad to be leaving.  I’m excited to be picking up Bodie.  I’m anxious to get home and see what our precious little neighborhood will be like post-Hurricane Matthew.   I’ve been tottering on the verge of tears all day, but I know I don’t have time for a melt down. So – I’m going to quickly toss up some of the photos I’ve taken over the last few days and ask that you be ok with that for now. 

1-patrick-conlon

The steady stream of horses leaving Mackinac is down to a tiny trickle.  The big barn is nearly empty now, and the majority of these gentle giants are happily munching pasture-land grass and hay on big farms in the U.P.  No more work for them until the spring.  Their only job is to get fat and sassy over the winter.

6

When I walked by Grand Hotel earlier today the front flower bed was already empty, and folks were busily pulling up the flowers in the bed in front of Sadie’s.  In the next few days the soil will be prepared and thousands of tulip bulbs will be planted for a spring blooming.

7

It seems as though Fall just can’t totally break through this year.  There are patches of beautiful foliage here and there, but only very few places where the color is rampant.  I think anyone coming up for the next two weeks will be the lucky winners of the “perfect time to see the best leaf show” award!

13

The hillside leading up to Fort Mackinac will be solid red in a few more days.

8

Downtown work is being done on the Stuart House . . . .

14

. . . and on Trinity Church.

 

9

Jill and I had what we thought would be our last lunch together on Thursday at Mary’s Bistro Draught House . . . but we managed to sneak another one in today with Ted at the Chuckwagon.  We have not been able to get together NEARLY enough this summer!

10

The case of the mysterious cameraman.  What a bunch of equipment these guys had!  We  THINK they were doing some filming for Original Murdick’s Fudge.

23-shady

I’ll just call this one “Shady Fall Street”.

24-hanging-baskets

It’s always a sad day when they take down all the beautiful hanging baskets from the city lamp posts.

15

Workers are busy cutting back greenery on the hill leading up to the fort. 

16

I’ve discovered that Fort Hill is by far the easiest way to get home now.  One steep incline to the top, then cut across behind the Governor’s Residence and the Jewel Golf Course.  Now that I can finally do it without stopping and without huffing and puffing, it’s time to leave.  Oh well – I’ll work on it again next summer.

17

View from the top of Fort Hill right next to the Governor’s Summer Residence.

25

Signs of Fall in the woods.

20-orietta

One of the best places to see lots of fall color right now is Point Lookout.  Thank you, Orietta Barquero, for this up-to-date look from the top of the stairs leading down to Sugar Loaf . . .

21-orietta

. . . and this one from the cemeteries.

img_2717

From Point Lookout today – thanks, Jill Sawatzki!

 

29

Doud’s is all decked out for Fall and Halloween.

fall

A gorgeous shot from Orietta Barquero of Fall reflected in a clear lake up toward the middle of the island.

 

22-patrick

A beautiful sunrise shot from Patrick Conlon on his commute to the island this week.

Ted was able to meet another cousin today when she arrived this afternoon for a church conference at Grand Hotel . . .

img_1771

Meet Marilyn McNitt from downstate Michigan. 

Lunch on our last day on the island at the Chuckwagon! Have a great winter, Donnie and Sharon!

Lunch on our last day on the island at the Chuckwagon! Have a great winter, Donnie and Sharon!

My head is just filled with things I want to say, but if I get started I might still be here at midnight writing, and Ted will not be happy with me.  We’re meeting friends for dinner later on, but we’ll make it an early evening and be on the taxi when it arrives at 7:15 Saturday morning.  And so begins the trip home.

What a crazy, amazing, emotional, happy, sometimes-frustrating, topsy-turvy summer we’ve had.  We’ve been so blessed to have met several of Ted’s biological cousins on his mom’s side of the family.  It’s so strange to think about this journey and realize that Ted began this year as an only child and will end the year with siblings, uncles and an aunt, and dozens of cousins.  Some of these folks will be in Florida over the winter, and we’re hoping to reconnect with them there.

Besides new cousins, it’s been a summer filled with visits with other family and friends.  From grandkids Matthew and Jordan right after we arrived, Jason, Jen and Alex just before we’re leaving, and friends from Georgia – R.D. and Kim and Glen and Debra – in between, we’ve been happily sharing Mackinac all summer.  And I’m pretty sure we have several among all those folks who will be returning to this magical spot!

This was the summer of a lot of moves.  We won’t be doing that again next year as we’ve already committed to being right here at Cedar Hill Condos for at least three months.  And by the way, if you’d be interested in renting the condo we’ve been in at any time (except when we’re here, of course), email me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com and I’ll get you the contact information.  It’s only available on a monthly basis – 3 bedrooms, 2 baths.  We love it!

One of the best parts of the summer was our Bree’s Blog get-together in September at the Chippewa.  So much fun!!  Hoping we can do it again next summer – only with even more people!  Heck, maybe we’ll have to rent out a whole dining room!

Bodie.  Oh my gosh – I’m so excited.  I’m also scared and anxious.  I have to keep preparing myself that he won’t be “just like Bear”.  He will be a 6 1/2 month old teenager.  Oh my gosh . . . . what a ride this is going to be (and I don’t mean the ride home, although that might get interesting also)!  We’ll pick him up south of Atlanta on Monday morning and drive straight to Beverly Beach – truck full of luggage, Maddie in the front seat, and Bodie in the back seat.  Geez, I hope the big fuzzy guy has a sense of humor!

As always, I’ve had so much fun sharing this beautiful island with all of you this summer.  I’ll be back on line once we get home, but I’m sure I’ll have something up on Facebook on Monday about Bodie – even if it’s just a pic or two! 

Till then . . . . . .

I love you all . . . . God bless.

Another Week is Gone 9/25/16

Another great week has come and gone, leaving us only three more weeks on Mackinac.  I just can’t believe we’ve been here over two months, but I can tell from all those “X’s” marked on the calendar that our days here are dwindling rapidly down.

No big story to tell today, so I’m just going to post photos I’ve been saving up this week.  With cooler weather arriving a few days ago, I’ve been throwing on jeans and long-sleeved tops – and occasionally another layer like a vest or sweater – and just going wherever a road takes me.  Fall is absolutely my favorite season on Mackinac!

img_1937

Visitors to the island this week saw more motorized vehicles on the street than they’ve probably ever seen before, regardless of how many years they’ve been coming. Main Street is being repaved from the boardwalk to the water treatment plant beyond Mission Point.  This work really needs to be done, and completing the project before the snow flies meant starting just after Labor Day.  Vehicles are not something any of us want to see, but the work neeeds to be done, and the project will mean a much nicer Main Street next season!

img_1938

While the paving is going on, all the street corners are being converted to handicap-accessible.  That work is already completed (after this photo was taken), and the corners look awesome.  (This photo and one above by Jill Sawatzki.)

img_1940

Jill also ran across the Michigan State Tennis Team one day up at Turtle Park.  They were enjoying a game of disc golf!

img_1971

Walking to the condo at dusk – just after the streetlights came on.  Can you tell how quiet the island is becoming now that Labor Day has passed?  Still busy downtown during the day, but after the 6:00 ferries leave, you know Fall is upon us, and the huge crowds won’t return until next spring.

img_2018

I have to introduce you to Susan and Keith Miller.  They arrived on Mackinac on Monday, the afternoon of the blog dinner.  They didn’t know if they’d get to the island in time to eat with us (their home is in Phoenix, Arizona), so they didn’t RSVP the invitation to dinner.  They DID arrive in time and were in the Chippewa lobby when that group photo was taken – but they didn’t want to interrupt since they hadn’t made a reservation.  Jill discovered all this and talked to them later in the bookstore. Susan has been a blog reader for many years, and I’m so sorry I missed meeting them!  Next year, Susan and Keith!

img_2019

Yvonne and Tony stopped to talk to the Greens, Jill, the DaVanons, and me as we sat and rocked on the porch at the Lake View Hotel on Tuesday.  Later we  all walked down and saw them off on the ferry.

img_2029

Lowell wanted to walk up to Grand Hotel’s shade garden, so we headed that way.  We’d stop and rest occasionally, like here at the corner of Cadotte and Market . . .

img_2033

. . . and here, after we’d made it to the shade garden.  That beautiful cane Lowell is holding was a gift from Hilde and Bud.  Lowell loved it and used it the rest of his time on the island.  I have a feeling he’s using it at home too!

img_2035

Sweet Hilde and Bud in the shade garden.

img_2043

Another late afternoon walk home past Grand Hotel.

img_2054

We were up early Wednesday morning to see Lowell and Faye off on the 8:00 ferry . .

img_2064

. . . . always sad to see friends go home.

img_2073

Hilde, Bud,Ted and I rewarded ourselves for getting up early by stopping by the Chuckwagon for breakfast.  Love sitting at the counter and watching Donny work his magic on the grill!

On Friday morning we were up and off to town again . . .

On Friday morning we were up and off to town again . . .

. . . to see off Pam and Denise (with the bikes) and Kem and Ed (in the blue jackets). They left on the 11:00 Arnold ferry.

. . . to see off Pam and Denise (with the bikes) and Kem and Ed (in the blue jackets). They left on the 11:00 Arnold ferry.

Going back home up Fort Hill, I stopped to watch groceries going by conveyer belt from a dray into the supply room of Doud's Market.

Going back home up Fort Hill, I stopped to watch groceries going by conveyer belt from a dray into the supply room of Doud’s Market.

At Trinity Church, I took the path toward Turkey Hill. The fenced road above me is Fort Hill and the blockhouse against a beautiful Michigan blue sky.

At Trinity Church, I took the path toward Turkey Hill. The fenced road above me is Fort Hill and a Fort Mackinac blockhouse against a beautiful Michigan blue sky.

There were several apple trees along Turkey Hill (Spring Street) - all full of ripe fruit!

There were several apple trees along Turkey Hill (Spring Street) – all full of ripe fruit!

View across the Jewel Golf Course from the top of Turkey Hill.

View across the Jewel Golf Course from the top of Turkey Hill.

jjjj

Almost to the condo, I spotted a little tinge of rust in a few trees near the road.

img_2086

On Friday afternoon we walked up to the cemeteries, looking for fall color.  We didn’t find that much . . . .

img_2089

. . . but we sure enjoyed walking the trails – like this one leading from the cemetery to Turtle Park . . .

img_2095

. . . and this one from Turtle Park to the Surrey Hill Carriage Museum (more visions of Bear).

 

img_2099

How have I missed this giant butterfly created with colored rocks around two trees at the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly House at Surrey Hill?!

img_2106

Walking through Grand Hotel’s stable late in the afternoon, we came across two buses, parked for the night and ready to go as soon as the sun comes up the next day.  There’s even a top hat resting on the bus lantern.

As I end this post, I turn for a moment to look out the kitchen window.  Two Hackneys are standing in the corral, and I rise and tap on the window.  They both look up at me . . . .

. . . and as much as I feel myself beginning to prepare to leave in three weeks, I know part of my heart will stay here on Mackinac.

. . . and I know – as much as I feel myself beginning to prepare to leave for home in three weeks, and as much as I’ve missed our beautiful Florida home and wonderful friends, and as much as I know I can’t wait to pick up my Bodie-boy – I also know part of my heart will be staying here on Mackinac.

God bless.

49757 Postcard #10 9/12/16

Dear Friends,

Ted flew off the island with a bunch of buddies to play golf for two days on Drummond Island, so I went to church solo yesterday.  After joining the rest of the Little Stone Church congregation for lunch at the Gatehouse (a farewell gathering for our wonderful pastor Fred Zobel and his wife Mary), I decided to walk on downtown to Doud’s to pick up a few items I needed. We (the folks who have so far moved into the new condos) were planning a “thank you” grill-out for the condo construction workers we’ve all gotten to know so well this summer.  I thought my corn salad would be a good contribution. 

There are three ways to get back to the condo from downtown.  The easiest hill to climb is the one by the Grand Hotel, but that would have meant walking all the way back down Market Street to make that turn up Cadotte.  The other two ways were the much closer (and much steeper) Turkey or Fort Hills.  With a purse and a pretty heavy grocery bag, I decided to bite the bullet and climb Fort Hill – the steepest, but the shortest route. 

img_1850

The Michigan Governor’s Summer Residence sits at the top of Fort Hill.  That’s where I was heading.

img_1852

Totally amazing what a grocery bag with only two cans of corn and a few other items can weigh!  My first stop – looking down on my alternative route, Turkey Hill – not as steep a climb, but longer.

img_1853

Fifty steps later – an official rest stop under a great big, shady tree!

img_1856

Almost to the top!

img_1860

At the summit I walked about 50 more steps over to the top of Turkey Hill – in time to say hello to some horse riders!

img_1865

A few steps later I turned at the sound of horses behind me, and a friendly driver called out, “Hey! I know you!  Hop on board!”  Thank you very much, I sure will!  I was dropped off at the corner of our condos, as he made the turn up to Surrey Hill.  I love it when that happens!

 

img_1873

The grill-out today in the backyard.  Craig manned the grill, and his wife Meredith helped workers Joe and Ken fill their plates.

img_1879

Another of our favorite workers is Steve.  He’s from Jamaica, and we all wonder when in the world he ever sleeps.  He works around the condos all day, then works downtown until three in the morning.  Superman!  That’s neighbor Eugenia sitting with Steve.

The weather is going to be great the next couple of weeks – highs in the 60’s, lows in the 50’s!  There’s a crispness to the air, and I can’t wait to experience another Fall on Mackinac!

Grand Hotel cupola in the fog a few days ago. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

Grand Hotel cupola, in the fog a few days ago. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

Sunrise from Windermere Point. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Sunrise from Windermere Point. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Wish you were here!

A Fish Tale 7/29/16

Our alarm was set for 5:45 Thursday morning, but long before that Ted was awake and monitoring the weather radar on his phone.  When I awoke minutes before the alarm sounded, the first thing I heard was rain hitting the bedroom windows, and only a few seconds later Ted’s phone rang.  It was Captain Chris Becker, owner and operator of North Shore Fishing Charters.

“Let’s wait a couple of hours and see if this rain lets up,” Chris said.  “Looking at the radar, I think we’ll be good to leave about 9:30 (we were previously scheduled to leave at 7:00 am).  I reached for my phone on the nightstand and texted Jordan and Matthew in their bedrooms two floors below us.  “Go back to sleep,” I texted.  “Leaving for the boat at 9:00.”

By 9:00 the clouds were scattering, it was cool, and there was a slight breeze as we walked into Doud’s Market with our cooler-on-wheels, already packed with ice.  We filled it with bottles of water and deli sandwiches, then walked back over to the marina.  Where over 200 sailboats had filled the marina the day before, that morning most of them were gone, and folks with reservations to dock in the marina had begun to fill the empty spaces.

Brian Bailey and his son Kyle, who we’d invited along, were already waiting, and Captain Chris, aboard the North Shore Leader, tied up a few moments later.

It didn't take long to get underway, and Chris spent the first few minutes explaining all the insruments that help him find the fish, how the "facilities" worked . . .

It didn’t take long to get underway, and Chris spent the first few minutes of the trip out explaining all the insruments that help him find the fish, how the “facilities” worked . . .

 

IMG_0772.JPG

. . . and making sure all the fishing licenses were in order.   Jordan and Matthew didn’t need them, and neither did I since I was just along to “record” the day.

IMG_0780.JPG

It didn’t take long at all to get 7 or 8 miles out from Mackinac,  We used the time to tell Chris how we all knew each other, and he told us how he came to be a charter boat captain!

IMG_0848.JPG

This was my first ever charter fishing trip, and I was amazed at just how much WORK it is for the captain.  Not only does he drive the boat and find the fish, but he also baits and sets all the lines, nets the fish, and manages to keep everything untangled – even with a group of non-professional fishermen aboard.  This one shot of him “sitting” was toward the end of our trip, as we were about to start back.  The rest of the time he was in constant motion.

I’m so sad to the first fish caught was by Ted, and it happened so fast I wasn’t ready with the camera!  Of course we teased him the rest of the day that it was also the smallest fish caught (it was).

IMG_0798.JPG

Next up was Matthew . . .

IMG_0806.JPG

. . . who reeled in this beauty!

IMG_0808.JPG

No scales aboard, but Chris said it was probably 8-9 lbs. – a fine Lake Trout!

Ted and Matthew’s catches were followed by about 30 minutes of non-stop action . . .

IMG_0821.1.jpg

In quick succession, Lake Trout were landed by Kyle. . . .

IMG_0827.1.jpg

Matthew again . . .

 

IMG_0836.1.jpg

Nice!

And Brian!

And Brian!

After all that instant gratification, there was an hour or so of lull.  We shifted positions several times, occasionally having a fish take the bait, but then having it shake it off as it was reeled in.

—I made myself useful - not only by recording all the fish caught (except for Ted's), but also making sure all the goodies on board were ok for everyone else to eat - including chips, donuts, sandwiches and Twillers!

—I made myself useful – not only by recording all the fish caught (except for Ted’s), but also making sure all the goodies on board were safe for everyone else to eat – including chips, donuts, sandwiches and Twizzlers!

Before we headed back in Kyle caught a second fish, and . . . .

. . . Jordan caught the largest fish of all (Matthew will argue about that until the end of time, but hers really was the largest)!

. . . Jordan caught the largest fish of all (Matthew will argue about that until the end of time, but hers really was the largest)!

The last chore for Captain Chris before bringing us back to the island was to clean and filet the fish.

Captain Chris cleaned and fileted the fish (thank goodness).  They tried to talk me into it, but I politely refused, saying the Captain would undoubtedly do a much better job!

A couple more pics . . .

Matthew - into that fishing!

Matthew – into that fishing!

Jordan - really just along for the ride (like me), but caught the largest fish (sorry, Matthew - I had to say it one more time).

Jordan – really just along for the ride (like me), but caught the largest fish (sorry, Matthew – I had to say it one more time).

It was truly a spectacular day  out on Lake Huron.  The temperature was perfect, the water was mirror-calm, and there was a little breeze.

As we turned for home, we even spotted the old Bois Blanc Lighthouse, almost hidden in the trees.

As we turned for home, we even spotted the old Bois Blanc Lighthouse, almost hidden in the trees.

Approaching Mackinac Island.

Approaching Mackinac Island.

Back home with our catch!

Back home with part of our catch!

Thanks to Jill for being at the dock to welcome us back!

Thanks to Jill for being at the dock to welcome us back . . .

Thanks to Captain Chris Becker for an awesome trip (www.northshoresportfishingcharter.com).

. . . and thanks to Captain Chris Becker for an awesome trip www.northshoresportfishingcharter.com.

Oh!  What did we do with the fish?

Thanks to Brian and Jeri-Lynn Bailey for grilling part of the catch up last night and inviting us over for dinner!

Brian and his wife Jeri-Lynn grilled up part of the catch last night and invited us over for dinner!  And we all have some in our freezers for a later date!

What a fun day  . . . making memories with Jordan and Matthew!

God bless.

Introducing . . . YOU! Part III 4/14/16

WooHoo!  Another great week of opening emails and seeing smiling faces!  As of now, I’ve received 51 photographs. Tonight I’ll post another 15, taking the number posted up to 45, and leaving only six.  BUT – I’m hoping by Sunday I’ll have enough to post another 15!  Regardless, I’ll post the remaining ones on Sunday.

As I said, you keep sending them in, and I’ll keep on posting them.  No deadline on this!  I’ll just place them into the blog as I receive them!  Include your name, a photo as an attachment, where you’re from, and how and when you discovered Bree’s Blog.  Easy!

Ok . . . here we go!

paul wright

Meet Paul Wright and his lovely wife Bette Ann from Lathrup Village MI.  Paul and Bette Ann have been visiting the island since 1975, and I know you’ve already figured out this photo was taken on Grand Hotel’s front porch!

Mary Hughes

Meet Mary Hughes from Marion OH.  Mary found the blog two years ago on the Mackinac Island News & Views Facebook page and has read every post!  I’m in awe that some of you do that!

jamie, melody, nathan, Evan James

This great family is Melody James, her husband Jamie, and sons Nathan & Evan.  They hail from Zeeland MI and found the blog link from a Mackinac Island business website in 2010.  I met Melody for the first time in 2011 when she stopped by the Stuart House to say hi.

This smiling face belongs to Deborah Crawford from Midland Ontario, Canada. Deborah has been reading for 6-7 years after finding the blog link on Google. The photo is from a Memorial Day weekend at Colonial Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City, and the handsome gentleman in the photo is a re-enactor portraying Deborah's 6 X great-grandfather, Ezekiel Solomon!

This smiling face belongs to Deborah Crawford from Midland Ontario, Canada. Deborah has been reading for 6-7 years, after finding the blog link on Google. The photo is from a Memorial Day Pageant weekend in 2008 at Colonial Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City.  The handsome gentleman in the photo is a reenactor portraying Deborah’s 6 X great-grandfather, Ezekiel Solomon.  Ezekiel’s trading post was one of the first structures studied by archaeologists at the fort site, and it has now been completely reconstructed.

Ezekiel was also Michigan's first Jewish settler, and this marker

Ezekiel was also Michigan’s first Jewish settler, and this marker at the fort tells his amazing story.  How cool is that!

Meet Marlena and Larry Black from Kansas City MO. Marlena had wanted to visit Mackinac since she first saw the movie Somewhere in Time. She was researching for their first trip in 2012 and discovered the blog. She said, "I've laughed with you, cried with you, and prayed for and with you." Bless you, Marlena, my friend - and thank you.

Meet Marlena and Larry Black from Kansas City MO. Marlena had wanted to visit Mackinac since she first saw the movie Somewhere in Time. She was researching for their first trip in 2012 and discovered the blog. She said, “I’ve laughed with you, cried with you, and prayed for and with you.” Bless you, Marlena, my friend – and thank you.

Meet Anita Henry from Sandusky MI. Anita has been a blog reader since 2009.

Meet Anita Henry from Sandusky MI. Anita has been a blog reader since 2009.

Two dear friends from Albany GA - Marty Harris, who passed away in February, 2014, and Betty Hester.

Two dear friends from Albany GA – Marty Harris, who passed away in February, 2014, and Betty Hester.  Betty has read Bree’s Blog for many years.  Marty is the awesome lady who peaked my interest in getting Bear and I certified as a Pet Therapy team, and she and Betty supported and encouraged me every step of the way.  The beautiful plaque behind them is of Marty and her loyal therapy dog, Hero.  April 30th is National Therapy Animal Day, created by Pet Partners to “recognize the exceptional therapy animals who partner with their human companions to bring comfort and healing to those in need”.  Bear and I both miss being involved in this fulfilling work.  Betty, you REALLY need to come visit us on Mackinac!

Meet Susan and Lee Stahl from Lakeside MI. they'd been coming to Mackinac Island for 38 years as "boating fudgies", anchoring their boat at the island marina each year. In 2012 their boat wasn't ready, and they decided to drive up. They spent a week at the Grand Hotel and "we finally felt like we were locals", says Susan. "I can still hear 'clop, clop, clopping outside our bedroom window. It was the best vacation ever." Susan found the blog that year on their way home by Googling "why they chopped down the trees on the way to the Grand". Up came the blog, and she's been reading ever since. They were on the island when they were filming Somewhere in Time with their teenage daughters, who are both now in their 50's. Susan says, "The island is always in my heart." Yes, Susan, I know that feeling well.

Meet Susan and Lee Stahl from Lakeside MI. They’d been coming to Mackinac Island for 38 years as “boating fudgies”, anchoring their boat at the island marina each year. In 2012 their boat wasn’t ready, and they decided to drive up. They spent a week at Grand Hotel and, “We finally felt like we were locals”, says Susan. “I can still hear clop, clop, clopping outside our bedroom window. It was the best vacation ever.” Susan found the blog that same year – on their way home – by Googling “why they chopped down the trees on the way to the Grand”. Up came the blog, and she’s been reading ever since. They were on the island when they were filming Somewhere in Time with their teenage daughters, who are both now in their 50’s. Susan says, “The island is always in my heart.” I know that feeling well, Susan.

This is Jeani and Jerry Gabor from Sun Prairie WI. Jeani is a frequent commenter and found the blog four years ago on the Mackinac Island web site.

This is Jeani and Jerry Gabor from Sun Prairie WI. Jeani is a frequent commenter and found the blog four years ago on the Mackinac Island web site.

Meet Cindy Cislak from Indianapolis IN - and her beautiful granddaughter Kira. Cindy and her husband started coming to Mackinac in 1985 with their two children, and they've come every year since. There are now 10 coming each year - including their childrens' spouses and four grandchildren. Cindy has followed the blog since the beginning, and she's come by several times to say hello at the Stuart House. In fact, Cindy may be the very first reader who came by and introduced herself to me there. Cindy says, "Even after all these years, Mackinac is still magical!" Amen, Cindy.

Meet Cindy Cislak from Indianapolis IN – and her beautiful granddaughter Kira. Cindy and her husband started coming to Mackinac in 1985 with their two children, and they’ve come every year since. There are now 10 visiting each year – including their childrens’ spouses and four grandchildren (the two granddaughters – four and seven years of age – are already planning Macknac weddings). Cindy has followed the blog since the beginning, and she’s come by several times to say hello at the Stuart House. In fact, Cindy may be the very first reader who came by and introduced herself to me there. Cindy says, “Even after all these years, Mackinac is still magical!” Amen, Cindy. This photo is from the Carriage House at the Iroquois Hotel.

Meet Lisa Foose from Medina OH. She found the blog five years ago on Google.

Meet Lisa Foose from Medina OH. She found the blog five years ago on Google.

This is Kathy and George Strukel with two of their darling grandchildren. They've just moved to Tampa FL, and they've been coming to the island since they were married in 1985 - first with kids, then grandkids, and now with their precious little furbaby, Sophie. I have a photo of all of us together on the Stuart House steps in 2010. Kathy found the blog on Google years ago.

This is Kathy and George Strukel, with two of their darling grandchildren. They’ve just moved to Tampa FL, and they’ve been coming to the island since they were married in 1985 – first with kids, then grandkids, and now with their precious little furbaby, Sophie. I have a photo of all of us together on the Stuart House steps in 2010. Kathy found the blog on Google years ago.

This is Megan Murray from Frankfort KY, where she's a 4th grade reading and writing teacher. Megan is Ann M.'s sister (Ann was in the first installment of Introducing . . . You!, and she was the one who told Megan about the blog). The sisters' grandparents had a cabin on Carp Lake, and they vacationed there for two weeks each summer. Megan says, "I've been reading the blog for 5-6 years and have very found memories of Carp Lake, Mackinaw City, and Mackinac Island."

Meet Megan Murray from Frankfort KY, where she’s a 4th grade reading and writing teacher. Megan is Ann M.’s sister (Ann was in the first installment of Introducing . . . You!, and she was the one who told Megan about the blog). The sisters’ grandparents had a cabin on Carp Lake, and they vacationed there for two weeks each summer. Megan says, “I’ve been reading the blog for 5-6 years and have very fond memories of Carp Lake, Mackinaw City, and Mackinac Island.”

I love this pic! This is Jay Rupprecht, and that charming creature next to him is Louie the Loon, the mascot of the Class A farm team for the L.A. Dodgers who play in Midland MI.

I love this pic! This is Jay Rupprecht, and that charming creature next to him is Louie the Loon, the mascot of the Class A farm team for the LA Dodgers, who play in Midland MI where Jay works.  Jay and wife Peggy live in Frankenmuth MI (another favorite town of ours) and have been blog readers for about five years.  They were married on the island in 2004 in the Mission Point gazebo.  Jay says, “We love the island, and my wife says it’s the only place on earth where I calm down and can actually relax some.”  Their long-term goal is to become full-time Mackinac Island residents!  Hold on to that dream, Jay and Peggy!

This is Kathleen and Jim Tilson, enjoying a sweet treat at Sadie's in 2014. They hail from Indianapolis IN. Jim first went to the island with his grandparents back in 1953 and has returned many times. He and Kathleen honeymooned there in 1973. Jim says, We've been there at all times of the year - including December. Each time we go we say 'it's the perfect time to visit.'"

This is Kathleen and Jim Tilson, enjoying a sweet treat at Sadie’s in 2014. They hail from Indianapolis IN. Jim first visited the island with his grandparents back in 1953 and has returned many times. He and Kathleen honeymooned there in 1973. Jim says, “We’ve been there at all times of the year – including December. Each time we go we say ‘it’s the perfect time to visit.'”

And that’s your next 15!

Keep ’em coming, y’all!

WHAT’S HAPPENING ON MACKINAC!

It's hard to believe this is an April 10 photo! (Photo: Carolyn May)

It’s hard to believe this is an April 10 photo! Carolyn May captured the conditions on Cadotte Avenue from her snowmobile.

I believe this was actually a few days before the middle of April snow storm began. A beautiful shot of Anne's Tablet and the town below. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

I believe this was actually a few days before the middle of April snow storm began. A beautiful shot of Anne’s Tablet and the town below. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

This robin seemed to be considering heading back a little south as it contemplated its reflection in the icy puddle. (Photo: Robert McGreevy)

As it contemplated its reflection in an icy puddle, this robin seemed to be considering heading back south.  (Photo: Robert McGreevy)

 

A downtown scene - after it'd been snowing for 24 hours straight. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

A downtown scene – after it’d been snowing for 24 hours straight. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

Not your typical April photograph! (Photo: Greg Main)

Not your typical April photograph! (Photo: Greg Main)

April 11, and the snow is still falling. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

April 11, and the snow is still falling. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

The same day, and through the snow workers make their way up the hill past Grand Hotel. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

The same day, and through the snow workers, residents, taxis and drays make their way down the hill past Grand Hotel. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Island friend Kay Berke was returning home from Europe and was able to spot the island from thousands of feet overhead! What a photo catch, Kay!

Island friend Kay Berke was returning home to Illinois from Europe and was able to spot the island from thousands of feet overhead! What a photo catch, Kay!

Cutest. Photo. Ever. Andrew Doud (owner of Doud's Market) patiently shows his oldest son, Louie, how to stock shelves. Generation to generation. And that's how it's done on Mackinac.

Cutest. Photo. Ever. Andrew Doud (owner of Doud’s Market) patiently shows his oldest son, Louie, how to stock shelves. Generation to generation – that’s how it’s done on Mackinac.

Although the temps have risen this week into the 40’s, Mackinac is really blustery right now, with wind chills in the 30’s.  Everyone is hoping the snow will melt soon, and that before long the Grand Hotel tulips (which are already breaking above the ground) will be basking in a glorious, warm Mackinac Spring!

FLORIDA NEWS

Nothing that even resembles snow here in Sunset Inlet. A different view of our neighborhood from Cat Brooks - a neighbor "across the way". That's her husband Eddie in the kayak.

Nothing that even resembles snow here in Sunset Inlet. A different view of our neighborhood from friend Cat Brooks – a neighbor “across the way”. That’s her husband Eddie in the kayak.

We were so excited to see Mike, Jeanine and Siena Forrester a couple of weeks ago. They drove down for dinner with us from St. Augustine, where they were enjoying Spring Break. Dinner at the Funky Pelican and a tour of the Flagler Beach pier! Love these folks!

We were so excited to see Mike, Jeanine and Siena Forrester a couple of weeks ago. They drove down for dinner with us from St. Augustine, where they were enjoying Spring Break. Dinner at the Funky Pelican and a tour of the Flagler Beach pier! Love these folks!

I pulled over on the side of the road last Thursday morning on the way to volunteer to capture the sun rise.

I pulled over on the side of the road last Thursday morning on the way to volunteer to capture this sunrise.

A day of shopping, lunch, and more shopping ended in a furniture store - trying out couches. I think the owners thought we were going to all take naps before we moved on to our next stop.

A day of shopping, lunch, and more shopping ended in a furniture store – trying out couches. I think the store owners were afraid we were going to all take naps before we moved on to our next stop because they sure moved us quickly away from the mattress display!  Love these ladies – all Sunset Inlet neighbors – Lisa, Sue, Jennifer and Sharon.

You never know what will be waiting where Hwy. 100 runs into the ocean in Flagler Beach!

You never know what will be waiting where Hwy. 100 runs into A1A in Flagler Beach.I love this intersection – especially since the specialty kite store has opened just across the street!

angelique2

Another sunrise – this one captured by friend and neighbor Angelique Delage. I love that our little house is in this one!

Ok – I think that catches us up!!

Have a great weekend and keep those photos coming in!  Love y’all!

God bless.