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.

Another Week is Gone 9/25/16

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Sweet Hilde and Bud in the shade garden.


Another late afternoon walk home past Grand Hotel.


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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



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


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

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

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

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

God bless.

Settling In – Again 8/19/16

Yeah!!!  The Horton ship has landed for the final time this season (we hope, we hope)!

We are into the newly built Carriage Inn Condos and have slowly unpacked and stored our gear for the remainder of our Mackinac trip.  Good thing too!  We have four great friends arriving this weekend from Georgia.  The Harters are flying up on Saturday and staying with us, and the Phelps are arriving by car on Sunday (with their four-legged baby Tessa) and staying downtown.  Ted and I are promising to be the best tour guides we can possibly be during their stay.  Watch out Mackinac . . . four fudgies are hitting the island for five days!

Thanks so much to downtown friends who took us in when we were homeless for a few days.


My favorite spot was on their deck, where we had a full view of boats coming and going . . .


. . . and a full moon rising a few nights ago.

The new place has a pretty nice view also . . .


From the family room and front porch we can easily see over the Jewel Golf Course to Lake Huron.  That’s part of Grand Hotel on the right.


On the side we usually have two gorgeous Grand Hotel Hackneys for neighbors, and we can see up the hill to Grand Hotel stables.


From the kitchen window.


Landscaping out back gives us a large commons area with coming picnic tables and a barbeque grill.  The front isn’t landscaped yet, but it will be soon.


Condos from the back.

I’ll give you the inside tour a little later after pictures are hung and window treatments are up, but here’s a little peek . . . .


Love the family room/kitchen combination.  All sparkly and new and beautifully decorated by the owner.

It’s so different up here than being downtown, and we knew it would be.  We’re close to where our former condo was at Surrey Ridge.and that is bringing back wonderful memories of those days.  I can’t wait to go around visiting neighbors and start traipsing around on the wood trails.  We’re also enjoying meeting our new neighbors – a great group – and so far almost everyone has a fur baby (or two).  Ted and I are feeling right at home!


We wandered up to Surrey Hill (our old stomping grounds) with Maddie this afternoon and discovered this newly opened shop – the Paddock – near the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly House.  Had a great time checking this cute little place out!


Found a beautiful butterfly resting among the foliage outside Wings of Mackinac.  The Grand Hotel stable is in the background.

We’re excited to be settled in again and awaiting friends.  We can’t believe we’ve been here almost five weeks now.  Time is flying by – but then it always does when you’re enjoying what you’re doing!

Have a great weekend, and I’ll be back soon!

God bless.

The Festival of the Horse – Part I 7/26/2010

If you love horses (which I do), can ride them (which I can’t), and can’t seem to ever get enough of them (which I never do) – the next two days of this blog are for you! 

I worked all day Friday at the Burroughs Lot – below the Grand Hotel – at the Festival of the Horse.  My official duty was to sell tickets out near the sidewalk (I was supposed to catch people as they walked by on their way to or from the Grand), and I think I did a pretty good job (considering if food for the family was based on my salesmanship, we would be in mighty big trouble).  The fact that horses were coming and going into the lot all day did a lot for business – the fact that all the horses were beautiful, graceful, and majestic didn’t hurt either!

Wearing my volunteer t-shirt, button, and apron, I was pretty mobile all day and able to wander from street to tent to arena at will.  Therefore, I took a LOT of photos, and I’m so excited to share them with you below.  The four events I photographed at the arena on Friday were the “Exodus” Music Kur, the Driving Demos, the Hunter Jumper Demos, and the Friesian Force: “Puttin’ on the Ritz” Musical Kur.

Now, I didn’t have a clue what a “kur” was when I saw that on the program.  I knew it had to do with music and horses, but the word was totally new to me.  To figure out what a kur is, I first had to understand dressage.  Dressage is the “path and destination of competitive horse training, with all levels from amateur to the Olympics.  Its fundamental purpose is to develop, through standardized progressive training methods, a horse’s natural ability and willingness to perform, maximizing its potential as a riding horse.  At the peak of a dressage horse’s gymnastic development, it can smoothly respond to a skilled rider’s minimal aids by performing the requested movement while remaining relaxed and appearing effortless.”  In other words, dressage is like a ballet for horses.   A “kur” is a relatively new element in dressage, in which riders choreograph the horses’ movements to specific selected music.

I didn’t get over to the “Exodus” Kur in time to photograph a lot of it, but I did get a few shots:

Maryanke on "Regina" and Michelle on "Gysbert".


Michelle - riding Gysbert, her 8-year old Friesian who was born in the Netherlands.

Maryanke - answering questions from the crowd and riding Regina, her 13-year-old Friesian, who will foal early next year. Maryanke calls Regina her "Rapunzel" because of the horse's long, flowing mane (41" at last measure). Friesians' manes are never cut.

The driving demonstrations were presented just off the Cadotte Street sidewalk and drew quite the crowd when the action began. 

Lined up and ready to go, the carriages await their turn through the driving course.

I believe these four Haflingers were the only horses participating in the festival that do not reside on Mackinac Island. To me, they look like beautiful miniature Palaminos.

Ben Mosley - driving two of the Grand Hotel Hackneys. Hackneys are born with this high-stepping gait.

I was not standing where I could hear the information about this carriage, the horse, or its driver, but I couldn't pass up showing them just because of a little detail like that. Beautiful!

Another of Michelle's Friesians. Friesians are very versatile and can be trained for riding or for driving.

One of the most FUN events to watch was the 4-H Club students riding their ponies and horses for the Hunter and Jumping Demos.  I won’t post captions on these, as they pretty much speak for themselves.  These students ride horses that are themselves part of the 4-H program, on loan to the island during the summer.  The majority of them leave the island for the winter months and are used by 4-H Clubs in other parts of the state for training riders.





The last activity of the afternoon was the Friesian Force: “Puttin’ on the Ritz” Musical Kur.  The four horses trained together for weeks before this performance, and they were a huge hit.  The riders and their horses were dressed in tuxedos for the kur – I just wish I could play the music in the background as you look at these pics.  Again, no captions needed.










My friend Frankie - working the admissions table.

The Grand Hotel Hackneys leaving the Burroughs Lot to head back to the stables.

Our island vet, Doc Al, in his buggy, pulled by his two Standard Bred horses. One of these horses - Skip - is the sweetie who got jittery and pitched me out of a buggy last year. You can read that story at

 Tomorrow there will be photos from the Breed Horse Show and a few more random shots from this weekend.  Then on Wednesday – a vintage baseball game!  See you Tuesday morning!

Getting Up Early 5/28/2010

My sweet husband Ted takes the early morning dog walking shift nearly every day – a sweet favor from him I can’t repay often enough.  It’s not that I don’t want to get up – it’s just that before I can really appreciate the morning, I need to wash my face, drink two cups of coffee, work yesterday’s crossword puzzle, and maybe even read a couple of chapters of whatever book I’m into at the moment.  Early morning dog walking means hitting the floor, throwing on clothes, and sprinting to the backdoor.  I just don’t handle that well. 

But Wednesday morning I was coerced into going along for the first walk of the day with Ted, Maddie and Bear.  When I say coerced, I mean there was a lot of guilt talk from Ted about being so, so lonely out there with no one to talk to on the trails.  I totally dismissed that ploy, so he was reduced to the only foolproof method he knows to get me moving – the threat of a tickling session.  Nothing can get me motivated faster than thinking I’m about to be tickled.  So Wednesday morning my feet hit the floor, I threw on some clothes, and I sprinted for the backdoor with the rest of the crowd. 

Once I’m up and out and over my pouting, I always appreciate the pleasure of being on this beautiful rock before the real activity of the day begins.  What we see early in the morning – up in the Village where we live – are children on the way to school, drays on the way into town to meet the freight boats, maybe the street cleaner making an early pass up the hill, and Denise and Kim arriving for work at the Carriage Museum.  On this particular Wednesday there was a little haze, and it was cool enough for a couple of warm layers – a perfect morning for a walk. 

We headed through the woods, and the photos below are from our walk through the Annex and along Pontiac Trail, which rims the cliffs of the West Bluff. 

Looking across an expanse of lawn in the Annex out toward the Mackinac Bridge.

Someone has been busy really early in the season to have these beds this far along already. Tulips are still reigning in the flowerbeds across the island.

The lighthouse from Pontiac Trail in the early morning haze.

One of many Victorian homes along the Trail. The huge lilac bushes almost hide this one from view.

Ted, Bear and Maddie reach the West Bluff.

Back home on the balcony for that coffee - which I discovered I didn't need nearly as much as I usually do!

 Other Notes:   

A reader this week wrote she was coming to the island Wednesday with a group of 4th graders from Gladstone, MI.  The students were spending the day on the island and singing on the Grand Hotel porch that afternoon.  I walked down to see if I could get a couple of pictures and thoroughly enjoyed being entertained by this cheerful, talented group of children – as so did everyone else on the porch!   


These students from Jones Elementary School in Gladstone could not only sing - they could dance!

 Random Pics from the Week:  


A close-up of the goose-chasing Border Collie. He was so focused on his master he didn't even blink at me as I circled him to take photographs.

Well, hay! Not necessarily beautiful, but it sure is necessary!

Master Horseman Ben Mosley out on a training ride with the Grand Hotel's two new hackney horses.

Hot pink geraniums in front of the Jockey Club Restaurant.

The weather is looking spectacular for Memorial Day weekend.  If you haven’t been to the island yet this spring, and you’re close enough to make the trip on a spur-of-the-moment basis, I highly recommend coming on up! 

Pop in here Saturday and Sunday morning for a picture or two, and I’ll see you back on Monday morning with another full-length blog. 

Have a great weekend, wherever you spend it.  And please don’t forget to give thanks for all the soldiers who have given their lives in defense of this wonderful country.  God bless. 

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” . . . John F. Kennedy