What’s Happening on Mackinac? Snow! 12/14/17

I’ve been having a blast this week looking at all the winter photos folks are sharing from Mackinac Island.  So – instead of Throw Back Thursday – I wanted to share some of those photos with you tonight!

If these don’t put you into the Christmas spirit, well – I just don’t know what will!

A dray and a taxi do business as usual – even in a snowstorm. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

Snow from a porch in the interior of the island. (Photo: Pam Day)

Busy Original Murdick’s Fudge elves make a run for the ferry with a cart filled with Christmas fudge orders. (Photo: Rose Witt)

The Grandview Condos (where we’ve stayed the last two summers) all dressed up for Christmas! (Photo: Pam Day)

Early morning on Cadotte Avenue. (Photo: Jason St. Onge)

Round Island Lighthouse, surrounded by snow and ice. (Photo: Grand Hotel)

A taxi swings by the Christmas tree which stands in the middle of Main Street. (Photo: Orietta Barquero)


A snow-covered Grand Hotel. (Photo: Grand Hotel)

One more shot from the island’s interior. (Photo: Annie Lockwood)

Main Street during a blizzard yesterday. Temp was one degree. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

I confess.  I want to be there. 

But – the last two weeks we’ve had some pretty darn chilly days here in Beverly Beach, and I’ve gotten more in the Christmas spirit because of it.  Haven’t gotten out my snow pants yet, but I have put on a vest AND a jacket to walk Bodie the last few days!

Hope you have your shopping done!  I finished mine yesterday! 

God bless.


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.


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.


The sign on Goodfellow’s door.


Two empty shops on Main Street.


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


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.


Luggage carts from the ferry docks going to storage.


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


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


The lobby of the Chippewa Hotel.


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


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.


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.


Empty Main Street – Wednesday morning.


The other end of Main Street.


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.


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


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


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.


One Week Home 10/22/17

The Hortons have been back in Florida for almost a week now.  The bags are all unpacked, the dirty clothes from the road trip are washed, and I’ve pressed all the clean stuff that came home in the luggage and just couldn’t be worn until the travel wrinkles were removed.  We are glad to be home.

I love our house here.  And I love our neighborhood, our friends, and knowing Julie and Matt and the grandkids are just a 20-minute ride down the road.  Before we head back to Mackinac next summer, our beautiful Jordan will graduate from high school.  How can that possibly be?

Jordan and Matthew on Homecoming night. It was Jordan’s last Homecoming before she graduates and Matthew’s first as a Freshman this year.

Our trip home was different this year.  We went a different route because Jason’s house in Atlanta is still being reconstructed after Irma dropped two trees on top of it.  We saw some different scenery, but we kind of missed the “tried and true” routine of our normal route.  I think we were most disappointed that the fall leaves were just not yet in full splendor in the mountains.

Jill captured our early morning departure from Shepler’s dock . . .

. . . . and our departing ferry. What a beautiful sunrise that day!

We loved West Virginia. It reminded us a lot of the farmland in Georgia . . .

. . . . except there were more hills!

We crossed into Virginia through a tunnel through a mountain . . .

. . . . and enjoyed some spectacular mountains vistas through that state as well as North and South Carolina.  But the colors – they just weren’t there yet.

The sunset from our deck our first night back was beautiful . . .

. . . . and dinner out the next evening with some of our neighbors made us feel like we’d finally arrived home.

As Bodie stated so eloquently our first evening back, “There’s just nothing like sleeping in your own bed.”


In the week we’ve been gone, Mackinac Island has been dressing for Fall in a big way and showing off as only Mackinac can!

A beautiful view of the village of Mackinac Island and the Straits beyond. (Photo: Steven Davenport)

Trinity Church steeple against an awesome orange sky. (Photo: Pam Day – Ohio)

Cadotte Avenue and its gorgeous Maples. (Photo: Orietta Barquero)

The Cadotte Avenue trees again with Little Stone Church’s steeple shining through.  (Photoe: Tom Chambers)

A brilliant sky highlights the Mackinac Bridge. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

The Round Island Passage Light against God’s magnificent artwork. (Photo: Steven Davenport)

Just an unbelievable photo from high up in Grand Hotel of Cadotte, the Grand golf course, and the Straits!  (Photo: Patrick Conlon)


Dinner out our first night back at Breakaway’s. Eating outside right across the street from the Atlantic . . .

. . . . and watching a lady lead her pet turtle around with a weed eater. I kid you not. She says she takes him for a walk about once a month by cutting the grass with the weed eater.  He will follow her anywhere – lured by the sweet grass smell! She walked off down the sidewalk with him following right behind her.

The beautiful Cloghaun Bed and Breakfast – all decked out for Halloween. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

A group of horses walk up Spring Street below Fort Mackinac (after coming down Turkey Hill), headed for the ferry and a few months of rest and relaxation in the UP. (Photo: Pam Day – Ohio)

There’s been a few days of rough ferry rides since we left. Jim Mishler captured waves crashing on the Mackinac shore during one storm.

8,000 tulip bulbs being planted in Grand Hotel’s garden so we can all enjoy the tulip display in May!  (Photo: Orietta Barquero)

Maddie: “Just what I’ve been waiting for – Bodie’s head on a platter.”

One of my favorite spots to leaf peek – Mackinac Island cemeteries. (Photo: Pam Day – Ohio)  That’s Pam’s husband Mike on the bike.

A vintage postcard, discovered by Roger Priebe, of the Chippewa Hotel Restaurant in the late 60’s.

Good morning from Grand Hotel. (Photo: Bob Decker)

A beautiful rainbow over the homes of Sunset Inlet. (Photo: Cat Brooks)


A good question – and one I’ll be thinking about a lot between now and the end of the year – and have been thinking about most of the summer.  Until then, I’m going to take a break from writing, but I’ll be back here at least once a week with some of my earlier posts.  Everyone seems to enjoy those, and I’ve sure got plenty to share.  So, stay tuned for Throwback Thursdays!  And, of course, you can always keep up with us on Facebook!

You all continue to be a source of great happiness for me, and I love each and every one of you.  You can’t imagine what it means to me to have you in my life. 

God bless.



And Away We Go 10/13/17

The bags are packed.  Ted took more than half our stuff over to the truck this morning and started the process of arranging it so we can once again get back home with everything we brought with us.  That part never seems to get easier.

I’ve got the last laundry load going, and anything that gets worn from this point on won’t get washed until we’re back at home in the sunshine state.  All that’s left to do is go out to eat this evening, try and get some sleep ,and be ready when the taxi arrives at 7:15 Saturday morning so we can make the 8 o’clock ferry.

I can’t believe it’s time to go.

I thought I’d post a few pics from around the island this week.  I wish I had a lot more fall colors to show, but those last three weeks of warmer-than-normal weather postponed the height of the “leaf” season on Mackinac.  It’s coming though, and those of you who have plans to visit Mackinac the last two weeks in October should be in for a great show!


Not much color yet on Market Street, but what is there sure is pretty!  (Photo: Tom Chambers)


Bodie (and yours truly) is sure going to miss our after-dinner walks in the cool, crisp air.


All the corn stalks and mums downtown herald the fall season.  There was a bride and groom in that carriage passing in front of the Chippewa Hotel!


Dinner last night in the Chippewa Dining Room.  Ted splurged and had the Cowboy Steak, and I had the Pasta Di’Angelina with Chicken.  Yum!


Looking down Market Street to the sparkling waters of Lake Huron!


Also going to miss watching Grand Hotel horses play in the corral outside the condo!


Fall colors in the maples that line Cadotte are coming on strong!


A brief visit to Petoskey this week – a great little Michigan city with a booming downtown.  Colors were more prevalent there.  Strange because they are south of Mackinac.


Fall decorations at Shepler’s dock in Mackinaw City.


“Mom.  Would you tell me the story one more time about why we’re leaving? I’m sure I loved the beach as much as I do Mackinac, but I can’t remember why just now.  You say it’s gonna snow here soon?  What’s snow? You say it’s like beach sand, except whiter and colder? I gotta tell you, mom, snow sounds pretty nice.  But I guess sand does too.  Oh wait! Is the beach where the crabs are? And that big grassy area where all the neighborhood dogs run and chase each other?  I remember now!  Ok . . . let’s go to the beach!  But, mom.  We can come back here next summer, right?  Oh good.  Thanks, mom.”

Please remember us as we travel back to Florida.  We’re skipping Atlanta this year and going home by a new route – through the Carolinas instead of Kentucky and Tennessee.  Hoping to see some fall colors along the way!

I’ll be posting on Facebook as we wind our way south.  We’re excited to get back to our Florida home, friends, and family.  I’m hoping the cool weather will follow us home, cause our Florida friends have sure had a hot, humid, and stormy summer.  They are ready for a cool-down!

God bless.

Company and Canoes 10/7/17

Hi Friends!

We’ve had such a great week on Mackinac.  It feels like Fall again, and today (Saturday) is one of those rain-all-day, blustery times when you want to pull on a sweatshirt, and a pair of sweatpants and fleecy socks and just sink into the sofa with a good book.

Fortunately, the rain held off until our company, Dave and Diane Bennink, had come and gone. They were only able to be here for one night, but we sure enjoyed them while they were here!

There were a few places we didn’t hit when Dave and Di visited last summer, and one of those was the Tea Room at Fort Mackinac. It has one of the best views of Mackinac’s downtown and marina area, and even though it was windy we chose to sit right out there on the edge of the cliff and enjoy the sunny day and the activity down below.

Di visited with the horses that were in the turn-out corral next door (this is one of Grand Hotel’s Hackneys). It’s been SO HARD not to sneak carrots and sugar cubes out to these beautiful creatures all summer. But – we’ve faithfully abided by the rules.  They did tell us we could bring horse treats up to the barn and they’d mix it in with their regular food. It’s not what we might feed them that’s the problem – they just don’t want anyone to get fingers nipped in the process.

We had dinner with Dave and Di at 1852 Grill Room at Island House Hotel, where the food and the sunset were fabulous.

Ted and newly found cousin Dave – walking ahead of Di and I on the way back from the fort.

We’re hoping y’all come back next summer for a longer visit!


One of our sweet condo neighbors, Craig Harris, texted me a couple of weeks ago to share that a birch bark canoe was being constructed at the Mackinac Island Public School, and students were taking part in the process.  Unfortunately, that was the week I was off-island for appointments every single day – so I missed the construction part.

But – I was on hand last Saturday when the canoe was launched!

Howard Kimewon (far left) of Manitoulin Island, Ontario taught the students how to complete a birch bark canoe and also taught them terms from Anishinaabemowin, the language of the Anishinaabe people – also known as Ojibwa. Our neighbor Craig (to the right of Kimewon) volunteered to help with the project after hearing about it while taking a Ojibwa language class that Kimewon offered on the island last winter.

The skeleton of the canoe (made of white ash Kimewon harvested, sawed, and milled) was constructed in the Mulcrone Car Wash in St. Ignace and brought to Mackinac Island by ferry.  Kimewon was commissioned to build two canoes by the Michilimackinac Historical Society.

The canoe is 14.5 feet long. Sheets of paper birch bark line the outside and are affixed with straps and clamps to form them into shape.

Fibers from American basswood trees that are soaked in water to be malleable are used to stitch the bark together. The materials were all harvested from the forest by Kimewon.

The canoe was launched off Windermere Point by Kimewon and John Perault . . .

. . . and the two men paddled for about 10 minutes within sight of the West Breakwall and the Round Island Passage Light . . .

. . . before coming back to shore.

The canoe was loaded on a dray for transport by to the school and will eventually be paddled to St. Ignace.  What a fantastic experience for our island school children!

(Some material for this story from the 9/21/17 edition of The St. Ignace News article written by Stephanie Fortino.)


A huge load of luggage (for this late in the season) lined up and awaiting transfer to a Shepler Ferry for transport back to the mainland.  (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Hmmmm. What’s missing from this picture?

The hanging baskets!  All the gorgeous baskets that were hung in one day in the spring are removed in one day in the fall. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

A not-so-often-seen view across to the Iroquois Hotel.

The parade ground at Fort Mackinac late in the season. As you can see, the fall colors have not arrived yet.  Those three weeks of very warm temps seem to have stopped the colors from appearing except in bits and pieces around the island.

So glad these four sisters (and blog readers) introduced themselves last Saturday when the canoe was being launched. They come to Mackinac every year and stay at the Windermere. Glad Jill was there to be in the pic also!

A new kid in town. This “pretend” coyote has appeared in several areas around the island as a deterrent for those pesky – and messy – Canadian geese. Don’t know what affect he’s having on the geese, but apparently the squirrels and bunnies have figured out he’s not real! (My apologies for not saving the photographer on this photo. Bruce LaPine? Tom Chambers? Jason St. Onge? Greg Main?

The ending of a lovely night with Dave and Di. A drop off at the condo under a partially-obscured-by-clouds  full moon.   I do love this place.

By this time next Saturday we’ll be on our way back home.  It’s not nearly as much fun to pack up for the trip back as it is when we’re heading north.  But – we’re ready to get back to Julie, Matt and the grandkids, our Beverly Beach friends, and our home.  They’ve all endured the wrath of Irma while we’ve been gone, and even though our house had very little damage, others in our neighborhood were not so fortunate.  Also, Flagler Beach sustained much more property damage from Irma from storm surge than it did last year from Hurricane Matthew.  It’s going to be hard to see our little old Florida beach town so changed.

Hope to have one more post before we leave, but if not, I’ll let you know when we’re safely home.  Love you all.

God bless.


A Week Filled with Good Things 10/1/17

Hi Friends!

Last week was busy and so much fun!  Ted’s sister Sheryl and cousin Heidi came for a visit, and we spent three days doing lots of touristy things, as well as just spending time getting to know these newly found members of our family.   After two weeks of above average temperatures (I think we hit 85 one day!), we had a cold front come through the first night our company was here.  From that point on we had absolutely beautiful blue skies, crisp temperatures, and the definite feeling of Fall in the air!

Sheryl and Heidi arrived on Tuesday morning, and I know they thought we were going to walk them all over the island before bedtime that night.

We started with lunch at the Tea Room at Fort Mackinac . . . .

. . . . which is absolutely one of the top five “view” spots on Mackinac!

We roamed around the fort, visited Sutler’s Store, and then walked back to the condo.  Later in the afternoon we walked over to the West Bluff, hiked Pontiac Trail, and walked around the Annex.  By the time dinner rolled around we were all starving, and we all turned in early that evening.

On Wednesday we had planned a special surprise for Sheryl and Heidi.  We started with lunch at Grand Hotel . . .

.. . . . and a visit to the Cupola Bar at the very top of the Grand.

Another one of those top five “view” spots on Mackinac!

We then went to the Grand porch and rocked for a little while, just watching people and enjoying the sunshine.

The big surprise arrived when Ben Mosley drove up in one of Grand Hotel’s vintage carriages and welcomed us aboard.  We spent the next hour touring several of the top tourist attractions on Mackinac, as well as just enjoying riding through the woods in a carriage drawn by two beautiful Hackneys showing off their footwork.

The tour started off with a ride through the Annex and out to Stonecliffe, followed by . . .

. . . riding up to Lookout Point via this wooded road which turns steeply upward at the cemeteries.

We took a few minutes to get off the carriage . . . .

. . . for a great view of Sugar Loaf, an expanse of wooded land, and Lake Huron in the distance.

Although those clouds looked a little menacing, we didn’t get a single drop of rain on our “parade”.

We next visited Fort Holmes, the highest spot on Mackinac . . .

. . . followed by a stop at Arch Rock.

It really doesn’t matter how many times we visit all these places. Each time is special, and I’m glad we made it to all these spots one more time this year.

Although Heidi and Sheryl both had been to Mackinac Island before, they saw a few places they’d never seen and really enjoyed the tour and the carriage ride!  We finished the day with dinner at the Chip and a taxi ride home.

Thursday was spent visiting with the current residents of an East Bluff cottage where Heidi and her family had past connections, lunch downtown, and then a visit with old friends of the family.

We were up early on Friday morning to take a taxi downtown and have breakfast at The Chuckwagon before the ladies caught the ferry off the island.  We were sad to see them go. We had spent Thursday evening at the condo, laughing and telling family stories.  It was just the best visit, and we hope Heidi and Sheryl both come back soon.  We DO have more places to show you because I promise you didn’t see everything (even though it may have felt like it).


A shady walk down Huron Street right after the street cleaner had gone through.

The condo’s backyard furniture arrived this week! Condo picnic soon!

We had two cruise ships at the island on the same day.  The ship anchored offshore is the Hamburg.  It has too deep a draft for the big dock, so it anchors off Mission Point and shuttles tourists in aboard her four small launches.

Friends and blog readers Kem Green and Yvonne Pitsch stopped by to visit me at the Stuart House this week!

What are they? Morning Glories? Whatever they are, they are as big as dinner plates and beautiful!

Sunrise from the Chippewa Hotel. (Photo: Kem Green)

“I’d like to come in now please.”

The parade ground at Fort Mackinac.

Mums the word at Doud’s Market!

Pontiac Trail in the mist. (Photo: Kem Green)

The view over the Hackney’s backs!

This great bunch of friends and relatives got together on Shepler’s dock Friday morning. Some were leaving, some were staying.  Left to right: Mike and Pam Day, me, Sheryl, Heidi, Kem and Ed Green, Ted and Jill.  Love you all!

“I think I see dad coming!”

I’ve got a great story to share next time about a birch bark canoe our Mackinac Island public school children helped to build.  It was launched yesterday.  Coming up in a few days!

God bless..

The Island – and That Witch Irma 9/16/17

(I’m having publishing issues this afternoon.  I apologize if you’ve received notice of TWO blogs.)

Hi Friends!

It’s been an absolutely gorgeous week on Mackinac.  With Ted still on the mend (more on that later), I’ve been back and forth to town more times in the last two weeks than I’ve been the entire time we’ve been here – and I have photos to prove it!

Yes, we still have hanging baskets overflowing with beautiful blooms, but . . .

. . . everywhere I turn leaves are beginning to get dressed for fall!

One of my daily stops! I know most people have seen the outside of our post office, but you may not have ventured inside! This is where we pick up our mail each day from our post office box.

The way every day looked this week! I was taking another break on Fort Hill (carrying groceries home). Just couldn’t resist this view of the Trinity Church steeple and Lake Huron.

A scene from Fort Hill. This 8-week-old golden retriever puppy was getting a ride up in the arms of her mom. In a few months she’ll be pulling her owner up that hill!  What a cutie!

Another view from Fort Hill. A wedding carriage awaits a bride and groom from inside Trinity Church.

Boats of all sizes in the harbor this week:  Starting in the foreground with the 81′ Isle Royale Queen III – the Sip n’ Sail Cruise ship that will take you out to the Mackinac Bridge on a sunset cruise, complete with live entertainment.  They offer numerous other charter cruises also.  A great time – we know from personal experience!  Almost hidden in the middle is the private yacht Blue Moon, 198′ of pure luxury.  No idea who was aboard, but she sure was an impressive ship (another photo below).  On the other side of the Star Line dock is the 300′ Victory I, a Great Lakes Cruise Ship that regularly docks at Mackinac (another photo below).

The Blue Moon

Victory I

I always find it difficult to actually throw garbage in these beautiful containers!  But – that’s why they’re there.

Black-eyed Susans at Market Street Inn.

One afternoon I hitched a ride home from the top of Fort Hill with a three-horse-hitch carriage driver (he took pity on me when he saw the grocery bags). A lovely ride to the condo, chatting with the driver and other passengers.

Already a touch of color in the trees at Surrey Hill.

From the “only on Mackinac file” – a cage full of live chickens, riding to the ferry dock atop a Grand Hotel bus. (Photo: Jason St. Onge)


Ted has come a long way in the week-and-a-half since he severely pulled a hamstring muscle and came home from the medical center on a walker.  He actually followed doctor’s order for a total of three days (a record for him) and rested, took his meds, and kept heat applied.  He really didn’t have a choice because any time he moved it HURT!After three days, all bets were off.  He’s pushed himself and graduated yesterday from walking to riding his bike.  Of course, yesterday was Friday – and Friday is Pink Pony night.  And neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night could stay Ted from the completion of his Friday night trip to the Pony.  So off he went – on foot, not on a bike – with a promise to me that he’d take a taxi home.  And he did.


Another great thing about all the time I spent downtown this last week is that I got to say “hi” to several blog readers who were on the island.  I know I’m going to forget someone, and I took no pics, but I LOVED running into and talking with Mary (Valentine) Stancik, Irene and Gary Cowley and their beautiful Border Collie Brandie, Barbara and Roger Blem, Ron and Susan Jennings, Jim and Marcia Shrauger, and a lovely lady who hailed me from her bike on Market Street and stopped to tell me she’d been a blog reader for years – please forgive me that I can’t remember your name.  Love, love, love each and every one of you!


As with Matthew last summer, our Sunset Inlet neighborhood sustained some damage when that witch of a hurricane, Irma, swept through Florida like a freight train.  After her path shifted west, we thought our part of the state would feel little of her effects, but we were wrong.

Our house lost some siding, but only on one side. Inside, except for a few drops of water on one window sill in the master bedroom, all was dry.

As with Matthew, the canal behind our house, which comes in from the Intracoastal,, rose over the seawall and into yards (this photo was taken from our backyard) . . .


. . . but it only came up a little higher than last year and didn’t get into anyone’s home.

Most of our neighbors had similar damage to us – siding, soffit, and a few lifted shingles.  But a few had more serious damage – water coming in through sliding doors and windows.  Some are having to go through the whole “dry out” process with fans and de-humidifiers.

With Matthew, Sunset Inlet lost power for about 2 days.  With Irma, it was twice that.  But, after lessons learned with Matthew, many neighbors had purchased generators and were more prepared.  Still, generators were mostly run for lights and refrigeration, not AC.  It was hot – very hot.

But here’s the story I want to tell about Irma.  I’d say about half of our full-time residents rode out Irma at their homes.  The next morning, they fanned out and assessed damage, not only at their own homes, but at homes where residents had either evacuated or, like us, were away in other places.  We knew by noon the next day that we had lost siding and were dry inside.  Friends emptied what little we had left in our frig and freezer and picked up siding out of our yard.

As water slowly receded in Sunset Inlet, and they awaited the return of electricity, several neighbors spent an entire day helping another of our neighbor’s mother clean out her house, which had been totally flooded just up the road from where we live.

Then  – several families went together and rented a boom lift, and because we have several men in Sunset Inlet who are in construction, they took the lift house to house and accessed damage on roofs or on soffits  . . . .  and FIXED it!

Our neighborhood heroes!

Love these guys!

Getting it done!

So, I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who coordinated, participated in, and contributed in any way to what you did for us and for every other Sunset Inlet resident.  I know I’ll leave someone out, but SPECIAL THANKS to Mark & Shauna, Todd & Brandi, Bruno, Frank, Angelique and Marty, Ernie, Jeff, David, and Toney.  Love each and every one of you and so appreciate your awesome hearts for our community!

So happy to report also that Julie, Matt, Jordan, and Matthew’s home only sustained minimum damage also!


Of all our friends and family touched by Irma, it was Jason’s home in Atlanta which had the most damage.

Two 90-foot trees from his neighbor’s yard fell on Jason’s house.

After the trees were removed, the full scale of the damage was revealed.

The trees fell between the master bedroom and a guest bedroom. It was flooding rain and the wind was blowing about 60 mph when they fell, and all that continued for at least 12 more hours.

The tree has been removed, a tarp is in place, and the house is being dried out with fans and de-humidifiers.  He’ll need a new roof, six new windows, new flooring on the main and lower levels due to water damage, new light fixtures (water flowed through them into downstairs), new mattresses, etc.  We’re so thankful Jason had just left his house when this happened.  Also thankful Jason – after a day of being shell-shocked – is handling all this with his usual sense of humor and finding the positives in all of it.  As he says, “It’s all good.”

There’s a quote by Taylor Lakin that reads, ” Hardships are some of the most amazing blessings we could be given.  How else would we become stronger, better, and reminded to be grateful for who and what we have in our lives?”

Love and hugs to you all!

God bless.