Throw Back Thursday – The Islanders Get Their Home Back 10/26 17

Personal Note:  I loved reading back over this blog, first published October 31, 2009.  Some of the businesses listed in this post are no longer open, and restaurants open all winter have changed since 2009.  So please remember, if you’re planning a winter trip to Mackinac THIS (2017-18) winter, you need to check what’s open and what’s not!

Header Photo by Jill Sawatzki. 

The Islanders Get Their Home Back

In Amy McVeigh’s book, Mackinac Connection, she quotes Jessie Doud, owner of Jesse’s Chuck Wagon Restaurant until this past year, who was asked about winter on Mackinac Island.  Ms. Doud said, “The words I would use about winter are ‘quiet’ and ‘peaceful’.  We get our home back. I don’t mean that as a slur on the tourists, because come spring we are ready for everyone to come back and for all the activity to begin again.  I guess you’d say I can’t wait for it (the summer season) to end and can’t wait for it to begin.”

Today I want to share with you some pictures I’ve been taking this week as the “town” of Mackinac Island slowly closes its doors to all but the winter residents (around 500) and the few hundred tourists who come over during the winter to snowmobile and cross-country ski.

Yes, there are a few businesses still open.  The city offices are here and working all year – the island still has to have lights and water and garbage pickup.  The public school is open year-round, as is Doud’s Market and Alford’s Drug Store.  The Village Inn will be open all winter, except for two weeks at the end of November (hunting season!).  The Mustang never closes, nor does Sinclair’s Irish Pub.  St. Anne’s Catholic Church becomes the social hub of the entire community now, regardless of church affiliation.

I noticed, even before the last Grand employee had left the island, businesses had begun maintenance work for next spring.  One of the fudge shops was getting a new tile floor, another was getting new paint.  The islanders stay as busy as possible with outdoor work right up until that first heavy snowfall stops all the activity in its tracks.  Maintenance will continue indoors on some businesses until the cost of heating shuts everything down until spring.

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La Galerie’s display windows, completely bare. The doors have special slanted mats in front of them to prevent melting snow from getting into the shop.

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The sign on Goodfellow’s door.

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Two empty shops on Main Street.

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Shepler’s Ferry Dock – no boats, no people.

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These workers were carrying the awnings from the Mackinac Island Bike Shop somewhere to put in storage. All the stores with awnings do the same thing. That’s easier that having to replace all those awnings that heavy snow would have broken during the winter.

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Luggage carts from the ferry docks going to storage.

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Decked Out, a very nice clothing store, empty and locked.

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Murdick’s Fudge, getting a new coat of paint before the snow falls.

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The lobby of the Chippewa Hotel.

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The Pink Pony – two nights before this photo was taken, it was full of costume-clad goblins.

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Sweet Anna. I finally got to photograph her somewhere besides in front of the Grand shoveling up horse poop. She was leaving the island, on her way back to college.

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Jill took this shot early one morning this week, before she left. It’s boxes and boxes of empty beer bottles, waiting to be picked up for recycling.

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Empty Main Street – Wednesday morning.

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The other end of Main Street.

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A new shop – opening in the spring!

It’s now Friday night – around 10:45 p.m.  Ted and I have just gotten back from our date night.  About an hour before we started to town, the rain started again.  There are no taxis running after five o’clock now unless you have reserved one in advance.  We didn’t.  So we put on all our rain gear and started down the hill.  We laughted as we walked, saying that back home in Georgia, we probably wouldn’t even venture out in our car on a night like tonight – we certainly wouldn’t think of putting on rain gear and walking somewhere.  Yet, here we were, splashing through puddles with rain blowing in our face- and laughing about it!

We ate dinner at the Village Inn, and about 10 minutes before we were leaving, the wind started blowing like crazy.  We walked up the hill with Ted holding on to me so I wouldn’t be blown away.  That stretch of Cadotte behind the school where there are no trees to block the winds off Lake Huron is the worst, but we got home ok.  So the last Friday in the month played itself out as the other Fridays in October did – with crazy weather.

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Downtown tonight – just as we got into town, the rain stopped.

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The Village Inn tonight. They have placed a pool table in the middle of the floor where about 10 dinner tables were this summer.

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On the way up the hill tonight, we stepped into the little entrance gazebo of the Jockey Club to get a little protection from the wind for a minute. Behind Ted you can see a snow fence. It has been placed all along Cadotte bordering the Grand’s property. It will prevent snowmobiles from crossing onto the golf course.

Time to go to bed.  We got a lot of packing done today – tomorrow we clean.  Sunday we leave.  Sometime tomorrow I will sit down and write the last blog of the season.  I can’t believe that day is finally here.  I   just   can’t   believe   it.

 

Jason Days 8/18/2013

Hi everyone!  As reported, last week was busy – not so much ON the island as OFF!  I’ll try to write again on Tuesday to catch you up on what all was happening over that week, but tonight gets dedicated to Jason’s visit!

It’s so much fun when one of the “kids” comes – even when the kid is 41 (choke . . . how can that be)!  Each of our adult children love Mackinac Island, and each loves it for a different reason.  For Jason it’s the interaction with new people and the ability to be partying one moment and taking a solitary walk up the hills the next.  He and Ted have always played off each other in the funniest, zaniest way, and putting the two of the them together in one house is asking for instant laughter on a regular basis.  Ted calls him and Blake his “bonus sons”, a name which they both find somewhat silly, but in their heart of hearts, they also love that concept and the relationship they have with him.

Jason arrived on the 11:34 flight into Pellston from Detroit.  It's a tradition to start his visit with lunch at the Pink Pony - before we even go to the condo.  This year was no different!

Jason arrived on the 11:35 flight into Pellston from Detroit. It’s a tradition to start his visit with lunch at the Pink Pony – before we even go to the condo. This year was no different!

Lunch was followed by a walk up the hill and Jason disappearing into the guest bedroom for a short nap.  I have to admit that Ted and I were both soon also napping away in our recliners.  We slept about 30 minutes – Jason woke up three hours later (this is the son who NEVER slows down).

This is a night photo, but the afternon of the three-hour nap the windows were up, there was a breeze blowing steadily through into the bedroom, and if you awoke and looked outside the trees in the backyard make it appear you're sleeping in a treehouse.  Jason said he woke up several times, but each time the windows, trees and breeze just put him right back to sleep.  He said, quite simply, "It was the best nap of my life."

This is a night photo, but the afternoon of the three-hour nap the windows were up, there was a breeze blowing steadily through into the bedroom, and if you awoke and looked outside, the trees in the backyard made it appear you were sleeping in a treehouse. Jason said he woke up several times, but each time the windows, trees and breeze just put him right back to sleep. He said, quite simply, “It was the best nap of my life.”

Before he arrived Jason had already checked out everything going on on the island during his visit.

“Leo Kottke is playing in the park Thursday night! We have to go to that!” he said via email.

I knew about the concert – all part of the Music in the Park program on the island – but I didn’t have a clue who Leo Kottke was and neither did Ted . . .

Ted and I must have been the only ones who didn't know about this entertainer though because he drew the largest crowd of any entertainer in the part this summer!

. . .  but we must have been the only ones on the island who didn’t know about this musician, because he drew the largest crowd of any entertainer in the park this summer!

It turns out Leo Kottke is a fabulous guitarist and also a great teller of stories.  He has a huge following, even though he has only sold a few records/CDs in his lifetime.  He was simply awesome.

It turns out Leo Kottke is a fabulous guitarist and also a great teller of stories. He has a huge following, even though he has only sold a few records/CDs in his lifetime. He was simply awesome.  We brought blankets, wine and paper cups and spread out on the grass of Marquette Park with everyone else.  The weather was perfect!  After the concert and dinner at the Seabiscuit Cafe, we headed home.  An early night!

On Friday Jason, Ted and Andrew Doud met up at Wawashkamo for a golf game.  Jason had never played that course and really enjoyed the game and learning all about the history of the land on which the golf course was built.

On Friday Jason, Ted and Andrew Doud met up at Wawashkamo for a golf game. Jason had never played that course and really enjoyed the game and learning all about the history of the land on which the golf course was built.

Friday afternoon Jason and I rode around the Island, stopping occasionally for pics (taking them, not having them taken).  Why don’t any of our children or grandchildren like posing for photographs!?  Could it be because every time they look my way they’re staring into a camera lens?

Didn't have my camera with me on this trip so I was using my iphone, which doesn't work well for "far off" photos like this one.  But I couldn't pass up getting a shot of this couple who had waded out to the little stone/rock/sand bar with two chairs, a bottle of wine and glasses.  That's what I call getting away from it all!

Didn’t have my camera with me on this trip so I was using my iphone, which doesn’t work well for “far off” photos like this one (or cropped enlargements like the one above). But I couldn’t pass up getting a shot of this couple who had waded out to the little stone/rock/sand bar with two chairs and a cooler of goodies. That’s what I call getting away from it all!

Dinner was pizza at Goodfellow’s and then a little TV at the condo.  Another good day.

Saturday began with breakfast at the Chuckwagon, where we watched Donny work his magic with a grill filled with omelets, bacon, ham, hashbrowns and sausage.

Saturday began with breakfast at the Chuckwagon, where we watched Donny work his magic on a grill filled with omelets, bacon, ham, hashbrowns and sausage.

Then we rode out to Silver Birches where we'd called ahead for a return visit so Jason could check out this great renovation project.

After breakfast we rode out to Silver Birches, where we’d called ahead for a return visit so Jason could check out this great renovation project.

Liz once again showed us around, and we were amazed at the work that had been done since our last visit.  I volunteered to come out and help do anything I could, and in return Liz offered an overnight stay before the end of the season.  I am psyched about that!

Liz once again showed us around, and we were amazed at the work that had been done since our last stop-in. I volunteered to come out and help do anything I could (clean old furniture, paint, scrub windows), and in return Liz offered an overnight stay before the end of the season. I am psyched about that!

We rode back to the condo up British Landing road, which means I walked a lot.  Even Ted and Jason stopped for a breather at the entrance to Wawashkamo.

We rode back to the condo up British Landing Road, which means I walked a lot. Even Ted and Jason stopped for a breather at the entrance to Wawashkamo.

After freshening up, we rode back into town and had lunch at Bistro on the Green at Mission Point and ended the day with dinner at the Pink Pony.

After freshening up, we rode back into town and had lunch at Bistro on the Green at Mission Point.  We ended the day with dinner at the Pink Pony.

It's unbelievable how fast this visit went by.  Before I could hardly turn around, it was Sunday morning . . .

It’s unbelievable how fast this visit went by. Before I could hardly turn around, it was Sunday morning . . .

. . . and we were back on the ferry on the way to the airport.

. . . and we were back on the ferry and on the way to the airport.

The good thing is Jason might come back for Halloween – like he did last year.  Hmmm . . . maybe he can find the rest of that gorilla suit he lost parts of last year!

Hurry back, sweetie!  Loved you being here!