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 . . .

 

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. . . 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.

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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!

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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).

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Next up was Matthew . . .

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. . . who reeled in this beauty!

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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 . . .

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

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Matthew again . . .

 

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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!

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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.

Foggy Days, Rainy Nights and Other Good Things 10/13/2013

When I wrote the post on Wednesday,  I thought I’d have nothing to talk about tonight except packing boxes.  Amazingly though we’ve spent a lot of time outdoors this weekend – going first one place and then another, or just out with Maddie and Bear.  Of course that means putting packing into a higher gear for the next two weeks, but so be it!

Our closing date is Oct. 29, a Tuesday, and we’ll be leaving Mackinac on either the 30th or 31st (I typed that sentence really fast so I couldn’t start thinking about it).  Ted wants to be at the Bottom for the Georgia football game, and with that goal in mind, I have no doubt he’ll be there at the appointed time.  We still can’t talk much about leaving without getting a case of the “sentimentals”, but time is the only thing that will take care of that . . . time AFTER we leave the Island.

We’re still “homeless” for next summer, but we have 2-3 irons in the fire, and we’re hoping one of them works out.  Sure would like to get that buckled down before we leave the Island.

Friday started off as another October gift – sunny skies and mild temperatures.  This time last year we couldn’t venture out without several layers, and here we were walking the dogs without even a light jacket!  But when I happened to glance outside late in the morning, I thought, “Oh, no! Something’s on fire!”  But it wasn’t smoke, it was fog . . . rolling in from the lake in huge swirls.  And that’s how fast things change in Michigan!

Later in the afternoon I grabbed the camera and walked a few blocks further up the hill.

Late in the afternoon I grabbed the camera and walked a few blocks further up the hill . . . just as workers were coming home from town.

The fall colors shrouded in fog were eerily beautiful as I walked up and down each hill.

The fall colors, shrouded in fog, were eerily beautiful . . . .

. . . and popped out even more brightly than on a clear day.

. . . and seemed to pop out even more brightly than on a clear day.

Yards . . .

Yards . . .

. . . and streets are covered in crunchy leaves.

. . . and streets are covered in crunchy leaves.

I turned around at 7th Street and started back home . . .

I turned around at 7th Street and started back home . . .

. . . stopping to admire the apple crop at the Bradley's.

. . . stopping to admire the apple crop at the Bradley’s . . .

. . . and standing in the middle of the road by the condo to capture the ghostly carriage coming up the hill . . .

. . . and standing in the middle of the road by the condo to capture the ghostly carriage coming up the hill.

No ghost . . . it was Molly!

No ghost though . . . it was Molly!

On Saturday night I put together my old standby – corn salad – and Ted and I went downtown to a friend’s going away dinner.  The host has an apartment over the Island Slice Pizzeria, and I took that as an opportunity to shoot a few photographs of Main Street from a different vantage point.

The lights were just beginning to come on downtown when I began to take photos from the apartment's balcony.

The lights were just beginning to come on downtown when I began to take pics from the apartment’s balcony.

An hour or so later, more lights.

A little later – more lights.

When I went back inside I was told that the ladder in the corner of the room led up to the roof.  With Ted’s help, I managed to get up there without incident, and, oh my goodness, what a view!

Looking over roof tops to the lighthouses

Rain clouds were gathering as I looked over the roof tops toward the lighthouses.

The Arnold dock.

The Arnold dock.

Looking back toward Market Street.

Turning around to face toward Market Street, I could see Fort Mackinac.

Main Street - always beautiful at night.

Main Street – always beautiful at night.

The Iroquois

The lights of the Iroquois Hotel glow softly against the dark sky.

After I made it safely down off the roof and we'd eaten dinner, the threatening rain came.

After I made it safely down off the roof and we’d eaten dinner, the threatening rain came.  I walked back out on the balcony to capture the street lights reflecting off the wet pavement.

Oh my the way.  The hit of the party was a yellow lab puppy named Millie . . .

Oh by the way. The hit of the party was a yellow lab puppy named Millie . . .

. . . who was doggone tired after a day exploring the Island and went soundly to sleep on her mom's sweater.

. . . who was doggone tired after a day exploring the Island and went soundly to sleep on her mom’s sweater.

After dinner - as we waited for a taxi.

After dinner – as we waited for a taxi.

A slow drizzle accompanied us home.

A slow drizzle accompanied us home.

OTHER STUFF

Sweet Sally, a Baying Walker Coonhound belonging to Mary and John, checks out the steps

Sweet Sally, a Baying Walker Coonhound belonging to Mary McGuire, checks out Crow’s Nest Trail, which leads from Anne’s Tablet to Marquette Park.

Went to Nicole Doud's baby shower this afternoon at the Jockey Club. Nicole is one of the sweetest people I know, and Baby Doud is expected in December. We are all going to be fighting next summer to babysit!

Nicole Doud’s baby shower was this afternoon at the Jockey Club. Nicole is one of the sweetest people I know, and next summer we are all going to be fighting to babysit Baby Doud!

The Jewel Golfcourse - after the baby shower.

The Jewel Golf Course – after the baby shower.

Just before I started home this afternoon things really got busy on Cadotte!  With the summer flowers still blooming and the fall leaves shouting for attention

Just before I started home this afternoon things really got busy on Cadotte! With the summer flowers still blooming and the fall leaves shouting for attention, you hardly know where to look first!

Stephanie Fortino's feature about Bree's Mackinac Island Blog came out in this month's Town Crier.  Stephanie did a great job of writing the story and capturing my love for Mackinac and all its people.  I'm trying to get permission to reprint the article on the blog this week.  Will let you know later this week how that turns out.  Thank you, Stephanie!

Stephanie Fortino’s feature about Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog came out in this month’s Town Crier. Stephanie did a great job of writing the story and capturing my love for Mackinac, its people, and my readers. I’m trying to get permission to reprint the article on the blog, and I’ll let you know later this week how that turns out. Thank you, Stephanie!

The next two weeks will be dedicated to packing and saying a lot of goodbyes – just like we’ve done the last six years.  And we’ll be constantly reminding ourselves we’ll be back next summer – just like we’ve done the last six years – only next summer will be for a little shorter time. 

I find myself keeping three little phrases spinning through my head these days – God’s in charge.  God doesn’t make mistakes.  God’s time is perfect.

It’s all good.  God bless.

Better . . . . 10/10/2013

Ahhhhhhh . . . . A little calmer around here today.  

We headed out this morning to check on another rental for August and September, 2014, and it’s now at the top of our “possible” list.  Dogs are not a problem, which is always the #1 concern, and we really liked the house.  We should know something for sure within a week or so.

It feels good NOT to have a lot of news tonight.  Ted and I both are pretty ragged right now, but the emotions are leveling out, and we’re beginning to think like rational people again.  Time, time, time . . . what a wonderful panacea it is for all kinds of woes.

I do have a few pics to share – most from me, but a couple I borrowed because I loved them.  Here you go . . . .

The condo owners voted at the summer meeting to have storage sheds built, and they were begun last week . . .

The condo owners voted at the summer meeting to have storage sheds built, and they were begun last week . . .

. . . . and this was today.  They are going up fast!

. . . . and this was today. They are going up fast!  Now the owners can keep bicycles, grills, etc. in a protected space and won’t have to haul them inside when they leave for the winter.  Good plan!

"Throw the ball, dad, throw the ball!"

“Throw the ball, dad, throw the ball!”

George was so busy watching Ted, Bear and Maddie he didn't even see me on the balcony.

George was so busy watching Ted, Bear and Maddie he didn’t even see me on the balcony.

Lunch Wednesday on the outside deck of the Pony with Terry and Sue.  What awesome weather we're still having!

Lunch Wednesday on the outside deck of the Pony with Terry and Sue. What awesome weather we’re still having!  Last year at this time we were all in winter coats, knit hats and boots.

The lobby of the Chippewa Hotel is decorated for Halloween . . .

The lobby of the Chippewa Hotel is decorated for Halloween . . .

. . . including the front desk!

. . . including the front desk!

Anna - waiting for a fare on her taxi outside the Visitors Center, which closes Sunday.

Anna – outside the Visitors Center waiting for a fare.  The Visitors Center closes on Sunday.

Just thought this was a cool pic - looking out a back window of the Visitors Center.

Just thought this was a cool pic – looking out a back window of the Visitors Center.

Wednesday was probably the first time I'd been downtown in a week.  The streets weren't crowded at all as we started home - after a stop at Doud's.

Wednesday was probably the first time I’d been downtown in a week. The streets weren’t crowded at all as we started home – after a stop at Doud’s.

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The brick pathway between Main and Market Streets.  We were on the way to the post office.

It's Fall, and you gotta have MUMS!

It’s Fall, and you gotta have MUMS!

Cute bike outside a home at Chambers Corner.

Cute bike outside a home at Chambers Corner.

Wednesday dog walk . . .

Wednesday dog walk . . .

. . . and Surrey Hill trees are showing off!

. . . and Surrey Hill trees were showing off!

A beautiful sunrise taken by an Island House photographer.

A beautiful Mackinac day – taken by an Island House photographer.

Jodi Gough was in the right place at the right time to catch a semi-truck crossing the Mackinac Bridge silhouetted against a blazing sunset.  Spectacular!

Jodi Gough was in the right place at the right time to catch a semi-truck crossing the Mackinac Bridge, silhouetted against a blazing sunset. Spectacular!

That’s it for now, dear readers.  Once again thank you for your wonderful comments, private emails, and all the encouraging words you’ve written and prayers you’ve lifted up.  I wish I could reach through my laptop screen and wrap you all in a big hug right now, so . . . . please consider yourself hugged!  God bless.

Fall? Who Said? 9/25/2013

After working Monday morning at the Stuart House, I took some time to walk through downtown with my camera.  Everywhere I turned were gardens, flower beds, flower pots and hanging baskets – all beautiful and happily blooming away.  You’d never know we’ve been in the 50’s for highs this week and frost warnings have been issued the last two nights. 

So . . . Fall might be here on the calendar – but Mackinac Island’s summer flowers are still blooming their little hearts out!

Our post office always looks good, but this year the entrance is surrounded by tall, beautiful flowers that are really showing off. Makes going after the mail a real treat!

Our post office always looks good, but this year the tall, beautiful flowers surrounding the entrance are really showing off. Makes going after the mail a real treat!

One of many hanging baskets at The Cottage Inn . . .

One of the many hanging baskets at The Cottage Inn . . .

. . . and a little frog named Bob who just can't stay away from his cell phone.

. . . and a little frog named Bob who just can’t stay away from his cell phone.

These beauties were outside Weber's, across

These beauties were outside Weber’s on Market Street.

Butterflies are still fluttering around also - like this one sipping at some flowers in front of a summer cottage on Huron Street.

Butterflies are still fluttering – like this one sipping at some flowers in front of a closed-for-the-winter cottage on Huron Street.

There are no words for the floral wonders at the Island House this year.

There are no words for the floral wonders at the Island House this year.

Every garden is a masterpiece of color, variety . . .

Every garden is a masterpiece of color, variety . . .

. . . and

. . . and uniqueness.

The side of Bay View is

Bay View of Mackinac is a riot of flowering bushes.

Doud's Market.  I remember these window boxes in the spring when they first were planted.  They have thrived all summer, and right now they are peaking!

Doud’s Market. I remember these window boxes in the spring when they first were planted. They have thrived all summer, and right now they are peaking.

Hanging basket outside Mary's Bistro.

Hanging basket outside Mary’s Bistro.

One perfect blossom - along the board walk.

One perfect blossom – along the board walk.

Cadotte from the Grand Hotel.

Cadotte Avenue from the Grand Hotel.

MORE SCENES FROM THE MONDAY AFTERNOON STROLL

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Looking across Marquette Park toward Fort Mackinac.  Not much Fall color yet – but it’s coming!

J.L. Beanery

J.L. Beanery Coffee House is a great place for breakfast – and awesome lunch sandwiches.

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Quiet street – from the Fort to the Island House.

The Mackinac Island Marine is another quiet place these days.

The Mackinac Island Marina is another quiet place these days.

The Island House

The Island House – tucked between Michigan blue skies and shamrock green lawns.

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A nice afternoon to visit across the white picket fence in front of the Windermere Hotel.

A shady curve of sidewalk leading to the library . . .

A shady curve of sidewalk leading to the library . . .

. . . where I ducked through the side yard to check out

. . . where I ducked through the side yard to check if the chairs were still out on the back deck.

Quite possibly the most beautiful boardwalk in the world.

Walking along the boardwalk these days is a treat to all the senses . . .

. . . especially the visual.

. . . especially the visual.  A Shepler ferry . . .

. . . and Arnold's freight boat.

. . . and the Arnold freight boat glide across sparkling blue water.

Chambers Corner

Chambers Corner and a glimpse up Market Street.

Little Stone Church

Little Stone Church through the changing leaves of the new trees that line Cadotte.  I wonder how many more years I’ll call them the “new” trees?

A touch of color on a Jewel Golf Course tree . . .

A touch of color on a Jewel Golf Course tree . . .

. . . and apples near the road that every horse on Mackinac are trying to swipe with every pass along the road.

. . . and apples near the road that every horse on Mackinac tries to swipe as they walk by.

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A wagon and a carriage stand side by side in the sunshine at Barn View.

NEWSY STUFF

Picking up the mail at the post office.

Picking up the outgoing mail at the post office.  The dray delivers it to the ferry, and the next morning the whole process starts again – in reverse.  (Photo:  Jill Sawatzki)

It's definitely Fall inside Doud's Market! (Photo:  Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island)

It’s definitely Fall inside Doud’s Market! (Photo: Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island)

Remember those empty blue barrels from the other day?  These are packed full and on their first leg of their journey to Jamaica.

Remember those empty blue barrels from the other day? These are packed full and on the first leg of their journey to Jamaica – along with what looks like some carpet.  (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Getting my coffee fix at Lucky Bean before opening the Stuart House on Monday morning.

Getting my coffee fix at Lucky Bean, before opening the Stuart House on Monday morning.  (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Meet the Green's - Kem and Ed from Des Moines, Iowa.  Kem discovered Bree's Blog last summer after visiting Mackinac, and if I've ever met anyone who mirrors how I felt with my first trip here, it is Kem.  Ed feels the same way, and they have a plan to be living (maybe full-time) on the Island in five years.  They're staying at the Chippewa and asked us to have dinner last night so they could ask questions about island life.  Such a nice couple.  I fell immediately in love with Kem's enthusiasm and positive attitude.  If anyone can make that plan come true, these two can!

Meet the Greens – Kem and Ed from Des Moines, Iowa. Kem discovered Bree’s Blog last summer after visiting Mackinac, and if I’ve ever met anyone who mirrors how I felt after my first trip here, it is Kem. Ed feels the same way, and they have a plan to be living (maybe full-time) on the Island in five years. They came over to the Stuart House on Monday and asked us to have dinner with them at the Chippewa Hotel (where they’re staying) last night so they could ask questions about island life. Such a nice couple! I fell immediately in love with Kem’s enthusiasm and positive attitude. If anyone can make that plan come true, these two can!

When the Greens came by the Stuart House Frankie and Hershey were visiting for a few minutes so everyone introduced themselves.  This morning was very foggy so Kem went out shopping and stopped in to see Frankie at Benjamin's.  She asked where Hershey was, and Frankie said "Upstairs in the apartment."  So Kem said, "Why don't we take her for a walk?"  Do you see now why I'm crazy about these two.  Kem got Hershey, called Ed at the Chippewa and they all went for a walk in the fog!

When the Greens came by the Stuart House Frankie and Hershey were visiting for a few minutes, so everyone introduced themselves. This morning was very foggy so Kem went out shopping and stopped in to see Frankie at Benjamin’s. She asked where Hershey was, and Frankie said “Upstairs in the apartment.” So Kem said, “Why don’t we take her for a walk?” Do you see why I’m crazy about these two. Kem collected Hershey, called Ed at the Chippewa, and they all went for a walk in the fog!

And speaking of fog.  The morning started off bright and beautiful, but Jim Ryerse captured the fog bank as it rolled in.  So eerie-looking!

And speaking of fog. The morning started off bright and beautiful, but Jim Ryerse captured the fog bank as it rolled in. So eerie-looking!

It looks like I'm not going to get out to Silver Birches after all this week, but the Town Crier interview worked out.  Stephanie Fortino, the reporter who wrote the wonderful story about Lowell & Faye's trip to the Island rode up to the condo this afternoon, and we all chatted for over two hours.  The story should run in the October Town Crier.

Stephanie Fortino, the reporter from the St. Ignace News/Town Crier who wrote the wonderful story about Lowell & Faye’s trip to the Island, rode up to the condo this afternoon, and we all chatted about Bree’s Blog for over two hours. The story should run in the October Town Crier.  I love working with Stephanie – another enthusiastic – and very professional – young lady.

WEDNESDAY WALK

After Stephanie hurried down the hill to catch the ferry, Ted and I took Maddie and Bear for a long walk.  I am always amazed at some of the bizarre formations of the island's

After Stephanie hurried down the hill to catch the ferry, Ted and I took Maddie and Bear for a long walk. I am always amazed at some of the bizarre forms aged or dead trees take on over the years.  These trunks on Cupid’s Pathway seemed almost fossilized.

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Rays of sunlight breaking through thick still-green foliage.

Now that Bear is feeling better, he is getting rid of a lot of pent-up energy on every walk.  Once off-leash in the woods he breaks into an all-out run and races through bushes and over fallen trees like a pack of wolves is after him.

Now that Bear is feeling better, he is getting rid of a lot of pent-up energy on every walk. Once off-leash in the woods he breaks into an all-out run and races through bushes and over fallen trees like a pack of wolves is after him.

Then he stops, digs a hole . . . .

Then he stops, digs a hole . . . .

. . . . grabs a stick . . .

. . . . grabs a stick . . .

. . . and chews.

. . . and chews.

And then he starts all over again!

And then he starts all over again! 

How they like to end every walk . . . running up the hill at the Carriage Museum to get treats from Denise!

How they like to end every walk . . . running up the hill at the Carriage Museum to get treats from Denise!

Well, I guess you didn’t know when you sat down to read this you were going to be here this long!  I’ve really been out a lot with the camera this week! 

I still haven’t worked out the details with Liz Ware about my night at Silver Birches, but hopefully that is still going to happen. 

One big bit of news.  We had an offer on the condo this week, but after counter offers and re-counter offers, we just couldn’t get together on price.  So . . . no sale on that one. 

Hoping everyone is having a good week.  Stay safe, stay well, and I’ll see you back here in a few days!  God bless.

Mackinac Island Winter Update 2/24/2013

Hi All!

The weather continues to be the main topic of conversation on the Island this week.  More snow, more cold temps, but unfortunately . . . no ice bridge.  What I’m hearing now is that with the days getting longer, the hope of an ice bridge is fading.  If those of you on the island know different on this, please comment so everyone will know!

The weather was so bad this weekend that the Mackinac Island Boys and Girls Lakers Basketball teams couldn’t leave the island to participate in The Northern Lights League conference tournament being held in Hannahville.  In fact there were no flights off or on the island for two days straight.  So, in true Island spirit, the girls team played the “All Stars”, and the boys played the Island Fire Department in the Mackinac Island Public School gym.

Friend Jeff Peterson happened to be on the island for the game and captured Friend Jeff Peterson was on the Island for the last few days and was able to get to the game.  He caught #33 Laker Will Barnwell getting this three-point basket.  After a VERY hard-fought game, the Fire Department defeated the Lakers 80-78.

Friend Jeff Peterson was on the Island for the last few days and was able to get to the game. He caught #33 Laker Will Barnwell getting this three-point basket. After a VERY hard-fought game, the Fire Department defeated the Lakers 80-78.  Anyone know the girls game score?

A VERY big event this weekend was the monthly (during the winter) 20% off sale at Doud’s Market.  It was today (Sunday), and my Island reporter Jeff Peterson said Doud’s was packed!

Here it is the dead of winter, and all three cash registers are open and busy at Doud's Market.  That Andrew sure knows how to throw a sale!

Here it is the dead of winter, and all three cash registers are open and busy at Doud’s Market. That Andrew sure knows how to throw a sale!  (Photo: Jeff Peterson)

And how do all those groceries get to the store when there are no ferries?  They're flown in!  A carrier is pulled behind a snowmobile to the airport, groceries are unloaded from the plane into the carrier, and back to Doud's it goes, where it is unloaded into the store. (Photo: Doud's Market)

And how do all those groceries get to the store when there are no ferries? They’re flown in! A carrier is pulled behind a snowmobile to the airport, groceries are unloaded from the plane into the carrier, and back to Doud’s it goes, where it is unloaded into the store. (Photo: Doud’s Market)

Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor

It’s official!  The Grand Hotel announced this week its brand new addition for 2013 – Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor, which will serve Hudsonville Ice Cream.  Sadie’s is named after the Scottish Terrier belonging to Mr. and Mrs. R.D. Musser, proprietors of the Grand Hotel. Sadie is famously known for her “Best In Show” win at the 2010 Westminster Dog Show.

SadieLogoforweb

Sadie’s will be located just outside the east entrance to the Grand, where Margaret’s Garden was formerly located.  Grand Hotel’s interior designer, Carleton Varney, has created a traditional ice cream parlor in which guests can choose from 24 Hudsonville flavors, or order up shakes, malts, sundaes and a special Grand Sundae made to share with large groups.  Sadie’s will be open daily to the public with no admission charge.

Oh my goodness, I will have to pass it every time I walk downtown!  Oh Woe! What is a girl to do???!!!

To read more about Sadie’s and view some wonderful photos of its creation over the winter, please click here: http://blog.grandhotel.com/?p=2844.

Winter Photos!

The Mackinac Island Airport from a Great Lakes Air plane. (Photo: Robert McGreevy)

The Mackinac Island Airport from a Great Lakes Air plane. (Photo: Robert McGreevy)

Other things besides groceries and passengers arrive by plane now.  Here a Cawthorne Village Inn employee is picking up a few cases of beer.

Other things besides groceries and passengers arrive by plane now. Here a Cawthorne Village Inn employee is picking up a few cases of beer.

An awesome pic of Sugar Loaf from the air. (Photo: Travis Sredinski_

An awesome pic of Sugar Loaf from the air. (Photo: Travis Sredzinski)

Can you guess where this is?  I really had to look closely.  It's the Fort Cemetery.  The gravestones are almost covered in snow. (Photo: Travis Sredzinski)

Can you guess where this is – I really had to look closely. It’s the Fort Cemetery. The gravestones are almost covered in snow. (Photo: Travis Sredzinski)

Don't know who took this photo, but I think that's Heather May on her birthday doing some sledding down Fort Street!

Don’t know who took this photo, but I think that’s Heather May on her birthday, doing some sledding down Fort Street!

Ice on the north shore on Feb. 21.  It was 8 degrees that day. (Photo: Grand Hotel)

Ice on the north shore on Feb. 21. It was 8 degrees that day. (Photo: Grand Hotel)

More ice mountains.  (Photo: Travis Sredzinski)

More ice mountains. (Photo: Travis Sredzinski)

It's just my personal opinion, but I think Steve Humphrey is a tad too far away from the shore here. (Photo: Orietta Barquero)

It’s just my personal opinion, but I think Steve Humphrey is a tad too far away from the shore here.  Those are West Bluff cottages behind him. (Photo: Orietta Barquero)

I love this photo of Diane Karkau on her snowmobile downtown.  (Photo: Travis Sred

I love this photo of Diane Karkau on her snowmobile downtown! (Photo: Travis Sredzinski)

Who can tell me where this is?  It was a Mystery Spot this summer! (Photo: Travis Sredezinski)

Who can tell me where this is? It was a Mystery Spot this summer! (Photo: Travis Sredzinski)

I know you’ve noticed the photos I included of the awesome ice mounds that are forming along the north shore of the Island.  Not only does Travis Sredzinski take great photos, but he captured the ice on a video that I know you will love!  You can watch it here: http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/rsrc.php/v1/y2/r/5l8_EVv_jyW.swf?v=10101275329855662&ev=0

All in all, a pretty busy week!  Hope everyone at your house is doing well.  February is almost over, so can Spring be far behind?  Have a great week, and God Bless.

For Those of You Who Don’t Read the Blog from Lake Blackshear

 

parrish

FINALLY!  I’ve been waiting all winter for the publication of Heart of Ice, and it’s out on February 26.

Well then, Brenda, just how did you come to have a copy already . . . . I know you’re asking!

OK – I’ll tell you! P.J. Parrish is actually the two-sister team of Kristy Montee and Kelly Nichols.  They write fabulous novels that make the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.  This latest novel is set on Mackinac Island, and one day a couple of summers ago Jill introduced me to Kristy.

Me with Kristy Montee
Me with Kristy Montee

Kristy had actually been reading my blog and took some island details for Heart of Ice from what she read.  We have chatted back and forth since then, and this week the book arrived in the mail!

My autographed copy!
My autographed copy!

And when I turned to the Acknowledgement Page . . . .

ggggg
Jill and I got a thank you, along with Jane, Kathy, Tam, Cass and Jeremy
at the Island Bookstores on Mackinac and in Mackinaw City!

How cool is that!

So now I can’t wait to settle in and start reading Heart of Ice and figuring out all the places they talk about in the book.  Here’s a little preview of what it’s about:

Florida PI Louis Kincaid wants to wear a badge again. But before he can, he must return home to Michigan – and some unfinished business.  He hopes to bond with ten-year-old Lily, the daughter he only recently learned existed, and reunite with girlfriend Joe Frye.  But new clues to an unsolved murder put his plans on ice.  A trip with Lily to enchanting Mackinac Island turns grim when the child falls on a pile of old bones; the dangerous discovery reopens the cold case of Julie Chapman, a teenager from one of the wealthy summer families, who vanished two decades ago.  And when Louis is forced to cooperate with a tough state investigator who once worked with Joe, tensions skyrocket.  Now, what was supposed to be a time of building lasting ties splinters into disturbing fragments, personally and professionally, as Louis pursues a mystery entangled in dark family secrets and twists even he can’t predict.

Sounds like I’m going to have to find an unoccupied cushion on the couch and curl up.  With over 10 inches of rain expected here over the weekend into Monday, and flood warnings posted, I’d say it’s the perfect time to read!

If you’ve read something you really, really liked and want to share, please tell us about it in the comments section!  Always looking for a good read!

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PRAYERS

1)  Please keep Lowell Greene and his wife Faye in your prayers.  Lowell goes into the hospital on Monday morning for a heart cath and possibly a stent. Jill and I visited Lowell and Faye last fall in Olivet, MI, and he and Faye will be visiting the Island in June. 

2)  I talked with Chris Ann for a few minutes on Wednesday and it was so wonderful to hear her voice.  She sounded very weak, but I understood everything she said and even got a small laugh from her when I said some stupid, silly thing.  When I talked to Burton, he said Hospice had come the day before and washed her hair, and they continue to juggle her pain meds for the best combinations.  Both of their Michigan children and their families have been there this weekend.   Chris Ann is very close to the end of her journey.

Mackinac Island Spring Update – Vol. 5

Note on Header:  No, you didn’t go to sleep and wake up on Christmas Eve.  But I bet you’re wondering, “What the heck is THIS about?”  You’ll find out . . . later.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Oh. My. Goodness.  Where do I even begin?

News from the Island is arriving on a daily – sometimes hourly – basis now, and it’s hard to believe there will only be one more Spring Update after this one before we are back there ourselves!  Our “go” date is Saturday, May 12, and barring any problems, we’ll arrive sometime on Monday, the 14th.

It seems by this time each year I’ve usually started packing, so I keep thinking I’m behind . . . maybe I just feel more confident now about getting everything done in a shorter amount of time.  Jason and Blair will be here for the weekend, so packing plans will be put off until after they leave.  With our kitchen completely torn apart with a slower-than-pouring-molasses kitchen remodel, I just couldn’t face a bedroom filled with half-packed suitcases too.  The granite countertops arrived from Atlanta Monday – and went BACK to Atlanta Monday.  Snafu on the cabinets (not level).  Cabinet man coming tomorrow.  My fingers and toes are crossed that the kitchen is finished by this Friday.  PLEASE, Lord!

Newsy News

  •  As reported earlier, the Mackinac Island Lilac  Festival is June 8-17 this summer. The Tourism Bureau wants everyone to please remember the Island is surrounded by very cold water and is not having the same bloom season as neighboring states or even counties. Mary McGuire at the Bureau says, “So many people are calling from points south thinking our lilacs are blooming…but gratefully, they are not.”
  • Fort Mackinac opens May 3!  It’s a really special year as the fort (and the entire island) will be celebrating the Bicentennial of the War of 1812.  The very first skirmish of that war took place on Mackinac Island when British soldiers surprised and captured the American outpost on July 17, 1812.
  • The Grand Hotel began “going green” several years ago, and this week the “Detroit Free Press” featured an awesome article on the Grand’s usage of good old American ingenuity to handle problems the “green” way.  Click here http://www.freep.com/article/20120429/BUSINESS06/204290503?fb_ref=artsharetop&fb_source=home_oneline    for the article, which includes 23 behind-the-scenes photos of “eco-friendly initiatives that include recycling, composting and reducing the use of paper.”
  • While we’re on the subject of green living, here’s a link to a slideshow of six places in the world where cars are banned.  Bet you can guess where one is!  http://www.care2.com/greenliving/6-places-where-cars-are-banned-slideshow.html.
  • Starline Ferry will begin passenger service from both Mackinac City and St. Ignace to the Island on Friday, May 4.
  • Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island is now officially open for the season.
  • Mackinac Island’s Finest will open Friday, May 4.
  • If you’ve visited Mackinac Island, I ‘d guess one of the things you did for entertainment was stand and watch a fudge maker in one of the many Island fudge shops.  But, just in case you missed it, here’s a short little video of fudge being made at one of the Ryba Fudge Shops:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AsaJ3siTfc

New Places

It seems hardly a day has gone by for the last week-and-a-half that I haven’t heard of another new shop/restaurant/happening place opening on the Island this summer.  It’s always good to have new places to check out, and these sound pretty darn special!

  • The Huron Street Pub & Grill.  This is the old Patrick Sinclair’s Irish Pub, and this year it’s under new ownership.  During the winter the inside was renovated, and the outside’s been given a facelift.  It’s open and already getting great reviews!

Photo by: Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau

  • Mackinac’s Little Gallery.  This is located on Market Street in the building occupied for years by Wolfgang’s Gallery.  The accent here will be “everything Mackinac”, with a special emphasis on the Island’s horse culture.  From the looks of some of the art I’ve seen online, it’s going to one of my first stops after we’re settled in.
  • TwistN Sprouts.  Don’t you love that name!  This eatery will feature yummy, HEALTHY goodies – like make-it-yourself salads, a signature Chicken Salad, and a yogurt bar with toppings sold by the ounce.

Good-for-you frozen yogurt with fruit medley. A wonderful alternative to one of your rations of fudge each day!

TwistN Sprouts is on Main Street. If I’m not mistaken, it’s right next door to Alford’s Drug Store.  Opening mid-May!

  • ella & ivy.  Imagine my surprise and delight when one of my readers, Anne Standard (she worked on the Island during the summer “back in the day”, and I met her and her mom for lunch one day), emailed that she was opening a new shop on the Island.  A two-hour phone call followed, and although I don’t have pics yet, I can tell you that Anne’s shop (named for Anne’s little Maltese “Ella” and a dear friend’s dog “Ivy”) sounds as though it will be another favorite on the Island.  It’s located in the Horse Corral Mall right behind Martha’s Sweet Shop.  Anne plans to carry really nice home decor and gift items along with note cards, candles, pillows, throws, doggie items, etc.  Anne’s retiring the end of June and will come up from Florida a few times before then to work on the shop.  She hopes to open by mid-June.  More to come later!

New Note Cards

Don’t you just love to discover something brand new from the Island . . . something no one has seen yet, and you have a chance to own before most anyone else does!  My Georgia/Mackinac Island friend, Jane Winston, has completed just such a project, and I think you are going to love this!

Jane is wonderfully creative – she’s a published author, she’s a college professor, she’s an actress – shall I go on?  One of her more recent ideas was to produce a set of Mackinac Island specific Christmas note cards.  She thought including a Santa on each card would be great fun for a souvenir purchase and for folks wanting to jot a few lines to a friend at Christmas.  One thing Jane professes not to be is an artist.  So she mentioned her project to a group of friends in Georgia, and Margaret Mathews said, “Sounds fun!”

Jane and Margaret looked at hundreds of Mackinac Island photographs – some of Jane’s, some on Goggle – I think they might have even looked at a couple of mine.  Margaret created the watercolor art for five different scenes.  Here’s a quick look at two of them and a mini-look at the set:

Jane will be marketing the cards on the Island this summer, and one of the places you will be able to find them is the Island Bookstore (I’ll let you know other shops soon).  A set of ten cards (two of each scene) with envelopes will be $12, or Jane can ship them to interested folks for $10 + shipping (contact Jane at jwins1939@gmail.com).

I am so excited about this project!   I think they’re going to sell like hotcakes on a cold Mackinac morning!

Photos, Photos,Photos

Our wonderful friends, Chris Ann and Burton Nelson, are back at their beloved cottage on Cobble Beach in Mackinac City. This was Sunday’s sunrise from their backyard. Welcome home, you two!

The new Grand Hotel stable near our condo. Friend and blog reader Joyce Kozlowski, who was on the island for the Geo-caching Weekend, snapped this photo. Love the colors!

A busy Main Street – as the town of Mackinac Island readies for another season. (Photo:  Barbara Metting)

Daffodils are blooming at the Grand Hotel, which welcomed its first guests of the season April 27!  (Photo:  Barbara Metting)

The Island Freight and Garbage drays are sporting a new look – nice! (Photo: Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau)

Miranda, with Martha’s Sweet Shop, is busy baking this week. Have I mentioned that Miranda is our favorite brownie-maker on the Island?

One of my favorite ways to view the Island is over the back of a horse. Barbara Metting took this photo of Cadotte as they approached the Grand Hotel in a taxi.  I’m still getting used to the huge trees being gone, but by the time the new ones put on their spring clothes, the avenue will take on its fresh “new normal” look.  And those trees will grow fast!

Barbara also took this photo of our condo. I see the lilacs in our front yard are just beginning to get some spring leaves.

Barnwell Landscape and Garden Service has filled the window boxes outside Doud’s Market with pretty young plants and flowers.

Robert McGreevy shared this photo of the Wildred Sykes passing through the Straits on April 19. The Wildred Sykes is a favorite freighter of Mackinac Island residents.

Frankie Thill and sweet Hershey arrived on the Island this week. Frankie is busy opening up the house in the Mission District where she is house-mom to Ryba Bicycle Rental employees. Hershey will definitely be one of my first featured “Dog-Eared Page” celebrities (news on that later in this post)! (Photo: Barbara Metting)

Someone’s in the kitchen at the Grand! Six bakers baking . . .! (Photo: Grand Hotel)

Horses are still arriving daily – all fat and frisky from a winter off-island. (Photo by: Steven Blair Kopacki from his new gallery – Artistic Mackinac Gallery and Studio)

A shot by Shepler’s Ferry, where business is booming at the Mac City dock. Hmmm . . . there’s two of my favorite Pat’s –  taking care of business.  The “Pat” on the left, Patrick Conlon, . . .

. . . caught on camera this other-worldly sunrise Tuesday morning off the Mac City dock.

One more breath-taking sunrise. This one’s by Steven Blair Kopacki of photosbyblair.com.

Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog News

I’m trying to spruce up my blog a bit and will be testing some new themes over the next couple of weeks.  Consequently, if you’re subscribed to the blog, you might get a notice that a new post has been published, when really all that has happened is I’m goofing around with the page.  Please be patient with me as I am not a techie, and all of this will be trial-and-error.  By the time we get to the Island, I’ll either have a new look online – or I’ll go back to the old tried-and-true.

A new page.  Some of you may have already noticed there is a new “tab” in the post header called “The Dog-Eared Page.”  This will be a new item on the blog this season and will feature the lucky dogs who live on the Island year-round and the lucky ones who come to visit with their humans.  It is Under Construction right now, but you can click there and give me your opinion about the page.  It will be a mostly pic and caption page – no stories (unless warranted).  I’ll post there as often as I find an owner who’d like to have their four-legged companion’s photo on Bree’s Blog.  By the way, decades ago I dreamed of one day owning a little bookshop where I’d bring my dogs to work everyday and spend my time reading and sharing books and stories with my customers.  I didn’t have a clue where this bookshop might be located or how that dream might come true – but I DID already have a name picked out – The Dog-Eared Page.  I’m finally using the name – but for a totally different reason!  It’s funny, but the first time I walked into The Island Bookstore, that dream came to mind again.  If my Dog-Eared Page had ever become a reality, I would have wanted it to be just like The Island Bookstore – but with dogs.

WHEW!  That was quite a bit of news tonight, wasn’t it!  Countdown has begun . . . see you back here next Wednesday . . . over and out.

Mackinac Island Spring Update – Vol. 4 – 4/18/2012

25 days and counting.  I can’t believe it.  The winter that never was (in the South at least) slipped by in the bat of an eye, and in a week or so the suitcases will come out of the closets, and Maddie and Bear will begin to wonder, “Where we going?”

As always when this time of year comes around, I find myself looking back over the last six months and hoping they’ve been productive.  The blogs have kept me busy, Bear and I have enjoyed our Pet Partners work, and Ted’s been faithful in driving veterans for hospital and doctor visits.  We’ve had great times with friends, we’ve traveled more than usual, and – as we say every year – we haven’t had nearly enough time with the kids and grandkids.  But we know they’re all planning on trips to the Island this summer, and once they’re there we can pretty much hold them captive for awhile!  How great it is they love Mackinac almost as much as we do!

I don’t have a lot of news from the Island today, but I have some totally awesome photos I’ll get to shortly.  Friends on the Island let me know that just when the weather seemed to be warming to the point that lilacs might be in jeopardy of blooming really early, Mother Nature intervened with  . . . . . . .

. . .Snow! Mary McGuire from the Tourist Bureau took this photo early today (Wednesday), and she's hoping that this reversal back to colder weather will send the lilac buds back into hiding. For the next two weeks it looks like the highs will be holding in the low 50's, so we'll just have to wait and see if the Lilac Festival in June arrives during or after the lilacs bloom.

I loved the message Doud’s Market posted today on FacebookSpring is here!! The staff at Doud’s Market is busy getting the store ready for a bustling summer season!  Doud’s Deli reopened this past week.  You can grab a slice of pizza to go or order a pizza to take home with you.  (Spring hours vary, so call ahead before placing an order, 906.847.3444)  We have delicious homemade soups, freshly-made salads and sandwiches to go and a wonderful meat selection to choose from.  We will be adding some new items to our deli menu this season as well.  Stay in touch as we stock the Market with new items and new delicious deli items!  Our hours are currently 7:30AM-7:00PM, Monday-Saturday; 10AM-5PM, Sunday. Hours will be changing in the next few weeks to extended hours.”  Can’t wait to visit Andrew and all the workers at Doud’s!

Since 1967 the Michigan Recreation & Parks Association (MRPA) has offered travelers ages 50 and over a unique opportunity to stay at the Grand Hotel at a significantly reduced rate during the off-season.  The program offers an all inclusive package including ferry, taxi, hotel stay, breakfast and five course dinner, all tax and gratuities, carriage tour, Fort Mackinac visit, golf chipping and putting competitions, bocce competition, crafts, dancing, carriage tours and more! Each fall over 1400 seniors participate in the various dates offered (Sept. 25-28; Oct. 8-11; Oct. 14-16; and Oct. 21-24). If you’d like more information about this opportunity, you may call Karen Aune at 517-485-9888.

MRPA has graciously allowed me to publish winners in the photo contest offered participants in 2011’s Grand Experience.  I found these photographs to be fresh, exciting, and so very original.  As I’ve said so many times, we all see Mackinac through different eyes, and our cameras capture moments in time we will turn back to remember over and over again when we think of our journeys there.  I hope you enjoy these as much as I did!

A totally different vision of the Grand Hotel's Tea Garden. Third Place - Scenery/Architecture Category. "Glorious" by Van Weimer

The entrance to one of Mackinac's most beautiful homes. Second Place - Scenery/Architecture Category. "Gate" by Carl Sturgeon

A butterfly greets visitors to the Island. First Place - Scenery/Architecture Category. "Welcome to the Island" by Dolores Surletta

Touring the Island in the fall. Third Place - People/Activities Category. "Fall Carriage Ride" by Linda Stephas

A perfect cup of tea. Second Place - People/Activities Category. "Tea Time" by Peter (Pat) Koloff

Awesome black & white photo! First Place - People/Activities Category. "Taxi" by Phyllis Neumann

Only one porch like this one in the whole world! Third Place - View of the Grand Category. "My Dream of a Porch" by Marcie Steidmann

Simple touches mean so much. Second Place - View of the Grand Category. "Awareness" by Caroline Medwith

Ahhh . . . the Herb Garden. First Place - View of the Grand Category. "Quiet Moments in a Quaint Garden" by Linda Meyer.

One more news item about the Grand Hotel.  This summer the Grand will celebrate its 125th anniversary, and nobody celebrates quite like the Grand.  On July 10th a 125′ cake will be wheeled onto the Grand porch for hotel guests to enjoy, and during the weekend of July 13-15 there will be receptions, fireworks, presentations, concerts, and tournaments.  Bill Semion of Examiner.com wrote a wonderful article about this birthday party, and you can read it here:  http://www.examiner.com/road-trip-travel-in-detroit/mackinac-island-s-grand-hotel-ready-to-party-for-its-125th-anniversary.

Here’s a few more photos Island friends have shared this week:

Getting ready for the season and the big celebration, the Grand is getting a fresh coat of paint. (Photo by: the Grand Hotel)

A beautiful early morning view of a freighter slipping through the pass. (Photo: Jeri-Lynn Bailey)

Here come the tulips! (Photo: Mission Point Resort)

The Seabiscuit opened for the season this week. (Photo: Sonnet Quinn)

Jeri-Lynn Bailey snapped this photo during Spring Break in Florida, but wouldn't that just be the perfect Mackinac Island lawn mower!

Friend Maryanke Alexander and her beautiful Jetske, who she thinks (our fingers are crossed) is in foal. Jetske will be on the Island this summer with Maryanke.

Easter morning at Windermere Point. (Photo: Doud's Market)

While I was going through some of Ted’s photos from last fall, I found this one of the condo.  There it sits, on Surrey Ridge, empty for six-and-a-half months.  If buildings could talk, I like to think this one might be saying . . . “They’ll be here soon.  My doors will be unlocked, my windows will be flung open, and the breeze will rush through my rooms.  Rugs and mats will once again cover my bare floors; sheets and blankets and pillows will be placed on my beds.  Groceries will come up the hill, and happy dogs will settle on my deck and watch the season unfold from their favorite perch.  They’ll be here soon.  They’ll be here soon!”

See you next Wednesday!  God bless.

Mackinac Island Winter Update – Vol. 14 – 3/7/2012

This past weekend Islanders got what they’ve been waiting for all winter – a big snow event!  Fourteen inches of big, fat, fluffy snowflakes fell over a two-day period, turning magical Mackinac into a white wonderland.  If I could have chosen one time to be on the Island this winter, this would have been the time!

The post tonight is all about the beauty of Mackinac in the cold of winter.  Through photographs from friends on the Island, I hope you will sense the quiet peacefulness of this special place at this time of year.  Every season on the Island has its own story to tell, and tonight the story is serenity.

Photos by Robert McGreevy

Leap Day (Feb. 29) dawned with rough water - giving a hint of what was to come.

On the first day of March, the first snow flurries arrived. The flag at the Post Cemetery, always flown at half-staff, could barely be seen through the wind-whipped snowflakes.

Photos by Harbor View Inn

On Friday night, the heart of the storm hit the Island.

Downtown looked pretty deserted. The snowmobiles parked along the street probably belong to folks who left the island for the night or weekend. When they return, they'll have to blow snow off their "ride" before they can go home! I can't even imagine what riding through this would be like . . . . but I'd like to find out!

Street lamps cast a blue tint on the east end of Main Street. That first white house is the art museum.

Photo by Nicole Doud

Nicole and Andrew's dog, Charlie, gets an early morning walk through wonderland on Saturday morning.

Photos by Doud’s Market

Doud's Market Sign on Saturday morning. Yes - of course they were open!

I wonder if snowmobiles have those electric seat-warmers like some cars have.

At last! Islanders could ride their machines without having to skip all over the road looking for snow patches! This is Main Street in front of the marina.

Fort Street. The Trinity Church steeple blends into the gray skies, as more snow falls.

The lady on the hill sits wrapped in her blanket of white.

I love all these photos, but this is one of my favorite. The Island library has just enough color to peek out from all that white. This would have been a great day to sit in front of the library fireplace, read a good book, and occasionally glance out the back door at the half-frozen Straits.

Market Street - a real, live snow globe.

The boardwalk - out past the library.

Photos by Heather May

A big, very old lilac tree . . .

. . . stands as a silent sentinel at the corner of this Cadotte home.

Another Cadotte home. I love that splash of blue against all that white.

The Lucky Bean Coffee House (Mackinac newest coffee spot). Come spring, there will be a cute little table and chairs outside that front door so you can sit and enjoy their yummy hot drinks and fresh-baked pastries.

The Cloghaun Bed & Breakfast . . .

. . . and the Metivier Inn Bed & Breakfast. Do you remember how the yards of these two inns look during the summer? Each is a riot of flowers in every color in the rainbow.

A quick glimpse down Hoban Street shows snowmobiles parked across from the Cawthone Village Inn.

French Lane looks empty except for a few tree branches that gave way under the heavy snow.

The Shepler Dock. You can see on the far right that someone started to walk out to the end, and then had a change of heart.

This photo of Fort Street shows a little more of Fort Mackinac. You can see, in the upper left corner, where the awning is missing. All Mackinac awnings are removed at the end of the season so winter storms can't ruin them.

I think in most places, it's the streets that are snowplowed. On Mackinac, it's the sidewalks. Love it!

Sigh.  Sigh.  Sigh.  What a wonderful world up there in the frozen north.  Of course, I’m not the one shoveling the snow!

Come on back next week, and I’ll see what news I can round up from our favorite Island.  See you then.  God bless.

Mackinac Island Winter Update – Vol. 8

For some reason, I’m missing the Island more today than usual.  Maybe it’s because I haven’t written about it for two weeks.  Or maybe it’s because we’ve been away almost three months now, with more than 3 1/2 months to go before we return.  The winter – if you can call what we’re having in south Georgia “winter” – seems to be creeping by.  Our weather here is as weird as it is in most other places in the U.S. this year.  Last winter was really cold for the south – we even had snow!  This year it’s just been a long progression of warm days, with almost no lows below freezing and consistent highs in the 60’s and 70’s.  Now that the Island finally has snow and ice in the harbor, I’m longing to be there to see it – blanketed in white, with no cars and trucks to mar the beauty.  Ahhhh . . . . Mackinac.

The one good thing about taking a little vacation from blogging is that tonight I’ve got lots of news and pics to share.  First off, an update from Greg Main, penned January 10 – just before the serious snow began to fall.

     “What we’ve been experiencing of late as far as weather is concerned on Mackinac Island could easily be termed a January thaw, but something about that perspective just doesn’t sit well with me.  It isn’t so much this wacky, warmer-than-it-ever-should-be-at-this-time-of-year climate that has enveloped such a large area of the country so far; nor is it the pathetic bits of snow here and there on the island – snow which has been rapidly disappearing the past few days –  which gives me reason to hesitate referring to our current state of weather as a ‘thaw‘.  It doesn’t seem proper calling this a ‘thaw’ because we haven’t yet had a sustained period of cold, snow, skim-ice-in-the-harbor type of weather we’re used to seeing.  What hints of winter we did get now and then – single digit temperatures at night, wind-chill advisories – lasted barely long enough to warrant discussing, let alone complaining.                                         

     Not until December 28, the first day the water in the Straits ‘steamed’, a sign of very cold air and the first of seven such steams which many say are necessary before ice begins forming on the water, was there any indication of a beginning to what Mackinac Island is used to seeing regarding winter weather.  Main Street was bare on the 29th until flurries began falling at 1:30 that afternoon.  A very brisk southeast wind prohibited this moderate snowfall to accumulate on the streets, rather pushing it into drifts along the curbing.  Not to be denied by the lack of road cover however, I was not surprised to watch, as I rode my bike home from work  a few hours later, someone on a snowmobile taking full advantage of the small amount of curbside snow, screaming westward through town, a trail of snow dust in the wake.  Truly, when the ‘official’ beginning of snowmobile season on the island is November 15th and snow doesn’t arrive for another 6 weeks, well, a person can be expected to wait only so long before the need for transportation via the internal combustion engine takes over.  For a couple of  days, heavy travel on the streets caused the snow to be packed down so hard, biking was relatively easy.  It was by bike that I ventured out to the Myers’ home New Year’s Eve for their annual get-together.

     It’s always good to take a load off in (arguably) the most comfortable, inviting room of any house anywhere.  Burning logs in the fireplace, sink-your-body-into furniture, a beverage at hand, surrounded by the natural warmth of wood walls and ceiling, excellent craftsmanship, good company and ( the favorite of many) a window bed, combine to create a most relaxing atmosphere even though the boisterous party crowd are but a few feet away.  It’s always good to see Grace Armour again and to be introduced to someone new and while the crowd there consisted of mostly familiar faces, many of whom I see several times a month, it’s still nice to meet, greet and eat on New Year’s Eve at British Landing.

     You may recall, the usual exodus up to Fort Holmes for the midnight countdown was changed last year.  A beach fire at the Bogans was the chosen option, and that was also the case this year.  Many thanks to Jim and Mary Bogan for the use of  their beach.  I do have some videos of the fire and fireworks (shh!), and I will get them onto my youtube page as soon as I can find time.  They are rather long and require uploading patience, something I’m still working at.  Given that a possible ‘new’ tradition was started in town with the Great Turtle Drop,  Anneke Myers decided there should also be a British Landing turtle drop, of sorts.  Fashioning a turtle from snow and sticks, the countdown began . . .10 . .9 . .8 . . . and at 1, the snow turtle left her hand, arching upward, landing in the fire, perfect timing.  As for the event in town, I heard there was a large turnout for it, but the only other information I received was what I read in the St. Ignace News.  No first-hand account.

     Leaving the beach fire crowd shortly after midnight, the ride back to town along the shore road, guided by fresh batteries in my two-dollar flashlight,  the dark sky reminded me of the night after Christmas.  Needing to get some cleaning done at the Medical Center that night, I headed out the door around 7 o’clock, and my eyes were immediately drawn to the western sky.  A marvelous night-sky view of a bright, crescent moon with a sparkling Venus to the left of it, both of which were situated perfectly over the festive lighting of the Mackinac Bridge.  I’m sure others had to see it also both here and on the mainland.  Had it not been so incredibly windy at the time, some of my photos may have been keepers, but it was all I could do to lean into the wind down at the boardwalk in front of the Cable Cottage, let alone try holding a camera still enough to take good photos.  Even while using a tripod or leaning against the light pole, the wind buffeted the pole, the pod, the camera and me enough to shake the clarity out of any photo I took. An opportunity lost, for sure.

     The New Year ushered in the type of snowfall that movie-makers dream of.  Huge, heavy flakes, falling straight down, rapidly piling up on the ground, clinging to trees, fence railings, people and leashed animals.  It was the type of snowfall which bends the branches of conifers and piles straight up on branches and twigs, mirroring their respective shapes.  What a marvelous time to be out shooting video or taking photos.  I actually carried an umbrella as these flakes were so close to being rain, they instantly returned to a water state as soon as they landed on anything relatively warm.  The umbrella was used to protect my camera, and I’m sure I must have looked strange to some who saw me walking around with it during a snowfall.  The wind remained non-existent until just after noon.  The calm only added to the tranquility while walking the East Bluff and trails beyond Arch Rock.  These are some videos I hope to get posted online soon.

     January 3rd was another day of note this year as the morning arrived bearing a temperature of 10 degrees and . . .the second steaming!  Something else was notable about that day, but it was nowhere near as impressive as watching the steam out on the lake, moving back and forth by light, fickle, variable winds.  Two down, five to go before the lake sufficiently cools (so it’s claimed) to allow the formation of ice.  As of today, we’re stuck on two and the forecast for tomorrow, Wednesday, is more of the same until very late in the day when a cold front passes through, temperatures fall sharply and ‘a very significant’ (weather forecaster’s words) amount of snow is possible overnight, all day Thursday and into Friday morning.  Looking out at green grass, grounded snowmobiles and bikes a-plenty on the streets, a significant amount would surely come in handy right now.  However, we’ve missed out on several such events over the past few years so I, for one, am not holding my breath.

     Snow is certainly needed and wanted at this point.  Our ski trails are either bare pavement or muddy right now and don’t even allow for pleasant walking.  What remains on the sidewalks and streets in town is either wet pavement, slush or sand-covered ice, with just enough wiggly ruts rigidly embedded in it to keep bikers on the alert.  Many of us have a lot of trips to the dump on our agendas which also requires ample snow.  The forecast looks promising temperature-wise, with teens and twenties for highs through Sunday – but will the snow arrive?  Given our recent history, it’s a coin toss.
What little snow cover we did have on the streets was greatly decimated on the 5th during a sunny, 48-degrees-in-the-sun day.  Only a few areas which were truly cemented to the pavement survived that Spring-like onslaught, and even those areas are now nearly history as this past week has remained much-above normal for temperatures.

     I have nothing to pass along as far as City Council meetings due to not being able to attend any since they started beginning at 3 p.m. instead of 5.  This was started due to the airport being closed, which prevented some who were required to attend from being able to fly off after the later meetings.  With the last ferry leaving the island at 5 o’clock, air travel was the only way.  As of last week, the crew was still coming to the island to work on some of the new electronics at the airport, so I’m surmising flights after dark are still not happening.  The next question is, after night flights are allowed again, will the council meetings be changed back to 5 p.m. or has everyone become accustomed to the earlier start time?  If it remains at 3 o’clock, I won’t be able to pass along any more first-hand information  of what I see and hear, but anything noteworthy is usually printed in the local newspaper anyway.

     The few days we did have snow greatly benefited both the Mustang Lounge and Village Inn as travel time and ease was no concern with snowmobiles.  Now, however, both places are relatively quiet again at night, with only a couple bikes outside to indicate the lack of business.  Snow.  We need a lot of snow.  I think I wrote that in my last email, also.  The island truly comes alive when we have ample snow.  I guess there is nothing more to pass along at this time or, if there is, my memory fails me.  Until next time, I hope you’re all doing well, have as much snow as you need and want (or not) and are enjoying the early beginnings of 2012!”

Thank you, Greg, for sharing your insights into all the happenings on Mackinac!  What would we do without you in the wintertime??!!

Many of my readers sent emails after they received their Vera Bradley catalog a couple of weeks ago.  The entire photo shoot for the catalog took place on Mackinac Island!  I remember the 2-3 days they were there – mainly because good friend Jane Winston (who lives on the island in the summer and in Georgia during the winter) was asked to be in one of the photos (we now have a celebrity in our midst!).  You can view the catalog online at http://www.verabradley.com/catalog/shop_catalogs.jsp (when the page comes up, click on “2012 Spring Catalog”.  Someone said it’s almost like playing the “Mystery Spot” game on last summer’s blog, trying to guess all the locations.  By the way, the top photo on page 11 shows Jane walking with two models.  Jane’s the one in black (I had to point that out because she looks like a model herself, and you never would have guessed which one she is).  AND . . . . . there’s a Vera Bradley VIDEO – also shot on Mackinac this past summer.  View the video here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=rbBUz6tViQk), but be forewarned.  As soon as you finish with the catalog and the video, you’ll be on the phone booking your stay for this summer!  Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful photography and video work.

Here’s another link I want to share.  I’ve talked with this young woman several times over the last couple of summers, and she graciously allows me to occasionally swipe one of her photos for this blog.  On January 19 she posted some great photos of the “blizzard-ish” conditions on the island (she and her family live there year-round).  Her blog is called Mackinac Mommy, and the address is:  http://mackinacmommy.blogspot.com/2012/01/from-blue-skies-to-blizzardish.html.

Ok – PICTURES!  Thank you, thank you to everyone who shared!

Sunrise over the ice on Lake Huron, taken by a cast member at Shepler's Ferry.

An otter plays off the Arnold dock. (Photo: Arnold Ferry Line)

Someone asked about the construction progress on the new Bicycle Street Inn on Main Street. Looks like work is going strong! What I've heard is that the Inn will open in Spring 2013, but shops on the first floor of the new building will be open this summer. (Photo by Island Bookstore)

Andrew Doud does a little snow blowing outside his store. The wooden structure at the front door is added each winter to keep icy winds from entering the store when someone comes in off the sidewalk. (Photo: Doud's Market)

Last ferries of the day - a little over a week ago. (Photo: Heather May)

Brrrrrr . . . this REALLY looks like winter has arrived! (Photo: Mackinac Bridge webcam)

A snow-covered Island House. (Photo: Island Bookstore)

A little bit of everything - bikes, sleds, snowmobiles, and construction equipment. (Photo: Metivier Inn)

The Metivier Inn is beautiful in her winter dress. (Photo: Metivier Inn)

The new Grand Hotel stable (at Surrey Ridge) is really going up fast! From what we hear, Grand Hotel horses will be housed there beginning in April. (Photo: Metivier Inn)

A frosty Grand Hotel porch. (Photo: Grand Hotel)

That’s the update for today!  If you haven’t read about our trip to Colorado yet, you can click here for Part I (Part II will post Friday):  http:bree1976.wordpress.com.

Have a wonderful week, and I’ll see you back here next Wednesday!  God bless.