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!

A CANOE

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 FEW PICS

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.

 

Through the Eyes of Fudgies – Part I 8/28/16

Writing about and photographing Mackinac Island has been one of my main passions for a lot of years now.  Sometimes I feel there can’t be a single blade of grass I haven’t held in my lens or a single adjective I haven’t used to describe my happy place.  I go through periods of feeling as if I have nothing new to offer and no story left to tell.  And then something happens, or somebody encourages me, or I see something differently – and suddenly all is right in my world again.

That happened this week, and through these next two blog posts I want to share how seeing the island through the eyes of four people visiting Mackinac for the very first time had me seeing the island as a “fudgie” again.

Two couples, Debra and Glen Phelps and Kim and R.D. Harter, visited this week from Albany, GA.  We’re all connected through the Dougherty County School System where five of the six of us spent a lot of years working in the business of educating children.  Kim and R.D. arrived last Saturday by plane and stayed with us at the new condo.  Debra and Glen arrived the next day by car, after three days of driving, and stayed at Park Place Suites on Market Street with their precious furbaby Tessa.  Both couples filled their Facebook pages with photographs and words describing their week here, and I want to share some of their photos and some of their words.

Tonight – Mackinac through the photographs of Kim and R.D.

KIM AND R.D. HARTER

From Kim’s Facebook post after they got home:  “A few things we learned on Mackinac Island this week: 1)  Taxis aren’t always cars.  2)  Horses always have the right of way. 3)  Bicyclists can be ticketed for speeding or blocking sidewalks.  4)  Hills can hurt going both up and down.  5)  Great Lakes water is salt free, shark free & quite chilly.  6) People help one another.  7)  Wind jackets are for wind, not rain.  8) August isn’t always hot.  9)  Customer service still exists some places.  10) Farewells are painful.  11)  Friends are appreciated.”

Now I could write a story about how Kim arrived at each of these  statements, but in the interest of time, I’ll just pick a couple.  Number 4 – A truth learned after your hosts have you – on the very first day – hike around for over eight hours up and down hills.  The next morning it hurts just as much to go down a hill as it does to go up one.  And Number 6 – Learned after watching a dray drop off several rooms of furniture and large appliances, and then watching any and every man in sight converge and work the next few hours carrying every bit of it into a neighbor’s condo.  Not paid workers, just men who happened to be around and saw the need.

Here are some of the Harters’ photographs – in no particular order . . .

Kim and R.D. at Arch Rock

Kim and R.D. at Arch Rock

When you leave south Georgia at 6 am, and it's already in the 80's and wake up the next morning in Michigan to 55 degrees, it's quite a shock - but a very welcome shock!

When you leave south Georgia at 6 am, and it’s already in the 80’s and wake up the next morning in Michigan to 55 degrees, it’s quite a shock – but a very welcome shock!

Through special permission from Grand Hotel our group loaded on a beautiful carriage drawn by gorgeous Hackneys and driven by friend Ben Mosley for a whirlwind tour of Mackinac.

Through special permission from Grand Hotel management, our group loaded on a beautiful carriage, drawn by gorgeous Hackneys and driven by friend Ben Mosley, for a whirlwind tour of Mackinac.

A little rain has to fall to make you appreciate the sunshine more! But this group was a foursome of troopers who kept going whether through sun or rain or fog or wind.

A little rain has to fall to make you appreciate the sunshine more! But this group was a foursome of troopers who kept going whether through sun or rain or fog or wind.

Mission Point - across a grassy lawn.

Mission Point – across a grassy lawn.

A yellow beauty from Grand Hotel's Rose Walk.

A yellow beauty from Grand Hotel’s Rose Walk.

The view out the front door of the new condo.

The view out the front door of the new condo.

The Island House's magnificent flower gardens

The Island House’s magnificent flower gardens.

A busy day in front of the Iroquois Hotel.

A busy day in front of the Iroquois Hotel.

Well, of course we took them to the Pink Pony!

Well, of course we took them to the Pink Pony!

All the shots in the rain were taken the same day - it was beautiful the rest of the time. This is looking down Mission Hill.

All the shots in the rain were taken the same day – it was beautiful the rest of the time. This is looking down Mission Hill from the East Bluff.

Trying to take a nap while waiting on the girls to arrive to tour Grand Hotel's gardens.

Trying to catch a nap while waiting on the girls to arrive to tour Grand Hotel’s gardens.

Amazement at the blue, blue water!

Amazement at the blue, blue water!

Bikes in Grand Hotel's bike lot.

Bikes in Grand Hotel’s bike lot.

Looking down from the top of Fort Hill.

Looking down from the top of Fort Hill before the Michigan Governor’s Summer Residence tour.

Approaching Grand Hotel.

Approaching Grand Hotel.

Dessert at Woods Restaurant.

Dessert at Woods Restaurant.

Crabapples in Grand Hotel garden.

Crabapples in Grand Hotel garden.

Girl Scouts raising the flag at the Governor's Summer Residence.

Girl Scouts raising the flag at the Governor’s Summer Residence.

The doors to St. Anne's.

The doors to St. Anne’s.

Mission Point lodging - through a screen and through the rain.

Mission Point lodging – through a screen and through the rain.

The Chippewa Hotel hot tub.

The Chippewa Hotel hot tub – overlooking the marina.

Kim and R.D. at Woods Restaurant bowling alley . . .

Kim and R.D. at Woods Restaurant bowling alley . . .

. . . and later at dinner.

. . . and later at dinner.

The Little Stone Church parsonage.

The Little Stone Church parsonage.

Last day goodbyes . . .

Last day goodbyes . . .

. . . came too quickly.

. . . came too quickly.

Leaving us with Numbers 10 and 11: Farewells are painful, and friends are appreciated.

Leaving us with Numbers 10 and 11: Farewells are painful, and friends are appreciated.

We’re hoping these sweet friends will return to Mackinac again soon.  And remember, next time we won’t call you fudgies!

Stay tuned for the next installment from fudgies Debra and Glen!  Their story and photographs are coming on Tuesday!

God bless.

 

Introducing . . . YOU! Part II 4/10/16

I am having SO MUCH FUN!  Y’all keep sending in pics (and stories and memories), and I keep writing them down (I have to admit I’ve laughed out loud at some and shed a few tears over others).  Y’all sure say some sweet things!

Ok.  15 more reader photos tonight.  I have another 15 already waiting, but PLEASE don’t let that stop you!  I can’t tell you how much seeing all your faces means to me, and I know everyone else is enjoying this as much as I am.

I will keep posting photos as long as you send them in, and on Thursday I’ll also begin to write again about Mackinac and what’s happening in Florida.

And here we go . . . .

Stefanie and Nick Anderson (and Hank the dog) - Ogden IL. These folks were married at the Harbor View Inn in 2010 and are expecting their first baby in August. They were back on Mackinac for their 5th anniversary. Stefanie's been reading the blog for years.

Stefanie and Nick Anderson (and Hank the dog) – Ogden IL. These folks were married at the Harbor View Inn in 2010 and are expecting their first baby in August. They were back on Mackinac for their 5th anniversary. Stefanie’s been reading the blog for years.

Heidi and Jerry Russell - Saginaw MI. Heidi has been reading Bree's Blog since 2009 and found it as a link on Grand Hotel's Blog.

Heidi and Jerry Russell – Saginaw MI. Heidi has been reading Bree’s Blog since 2009 and found it as a link on Grand Hotel’s Blog.  This great photo is from a recent vacation in Las Vegas!

You will probably all recognize Lowell and Faye Greene from Olivet MI. I have written about them often and just love them to pieces. In this photo they're with their grandson Mitchel and sons Timothy, Travis, and Todd. Lowell found the blog in 2012 while Googling "Mackinac Island" and then went back and read every post from the beginning, and says, "I haven't missed one since!"

You will probably all recognize Lowell and Faye Greene from Olivet MI. I’ve written about them often, have eaten lunch at their home, and spent a pretty special 3-4 days with them on Mackinac one summer!  Oh, and I  just love them to pieces. In this photo they’re with their grandson Mitchel and sons Timothy, Travis, and Todd. Lowell found the blog in 2012 while Googling “Mackinac Island” and then went back and read every post from the beginning.  He says, “I haven’t missed one since!”

Becky Goodspeed - Grand Rapids MI. Becky worked at the Iroquois Hotel the summer of 1972., and visits the island often. She found the blog in a 2013 Town Crier article.

Becky Goodspeed – Grand Rapids MI. Becky worked at the Iroquois Hotel the summer of 1972, and visits the island often. She found the blog in a 2013 Town Crier article.

This is Taylor and Derrick Franckowiak from Berkley MI. This beautiful couple got married last summer at The Chippewa on the day the power went out (I remember it well). Taylor went on to say the Chippewa staff handled everything, and they never wou

Meet Taylor and Derrick Franckowiak from Berkley MI. This beautiful couple got married last summer at the Chippewa Hotel on the day the power went out (I remember it well). Taylor went on to say, “All  the Chippewa workers were absolutely amazing about the whole thing.  They made it seem like nothing had happened, and the party went off without a glitch.”  Taylor found the blog in 2010 from a Facebook link and has been a reader ever since.  She even won a “Mystery Spot” (remember those?) contest in 2012 by identifying the Sugar Shack on French Lane.  Hmmmm . . . maybe I should do that contest again this summer!?

Meet Phil and Jeanne Smith from Byron Center MI. They just moved there two weeks ago from Cincinnati OH. Jeanne stumbled across the blog while researching Mackinac Island and has been a "silent reader" since 2013.

Meet Phil and Jeanne Smith from Byron Center MI. They just moved there two weeks ago from Cincinnati OH. Jeanne stumbled across the blog while researching Mackinac Island and has been a “silent reader” since 2013.  I don’t know where they are in this particular photo, but I’m loving all that green grass, trees and shade!

Kate and Scott Stuart - Huntington IN. Kate and Scott visited the island in the 80's and 90's with their children but didn't return again until 2007. They've come back twice a year since then. Kate found the blog while surfing the net for Mackinac Island tidbits and has been a reader almost from the beginning. They're going to be on the island in September also. September seems like it's going to be a very popular month with Bree's Blog readers!

Kate and Scott Stuart – Huntington IN. Kate and Scott visited the island in the 80’s and 90’s with their children, but didn’t return again until 2007. They’ve come back twice a year since then. Kate found the blog while surfing the net for Mackinac Island tidbits and has been a reader almost from the beginning. When I saw this photo I wrote Kate back and asked hadn’t we met before.  And we had – once on Market Street at a 9/11 service, and she was with a large group of blog readers who had photos made on the steps of the Stuart House last year.  She said, “One of the best things about the island is the people we’ve met over the years.  Everyone is so open and happy.  How can you be grumpy on Mackinac, right?”  How indeed, Kate?!  They’re going to be on the island in September also. September seems like it’s shaping up to be a very popular month with Bree’s Blog readers!

Meet Cindy Worswick from Shelby Twp. WI. Cindy found the blog on Google after a trip to the island in 2012.

Meet Cindy Worswick from Shelby Twp. WI. Cindy found the blog on Google after a trip to the island in 2012.

Y'all know these two from a couple of weeks ago! We had lunch with Paul and Elaine Williams (Yale MI) here in Beverly Beach, and their photo was on the blog. Paul remembers exactly when he found Bree's Blog because he "wrote it down in his journal". That was in 2010, and a few months later he and Elaine were on the island and recognized Bear and Maddie (not me, just Bear and Maddie). They introduced themselves, and we've all been buddies ever since.

Y’all know these two from a couple of weeks ago! We had lunch with Paul and Elaine Williams (Yale MI) here in Beverly Beach, and their photo was on the blog that week. Paul remembers exactly when he found Bree’s Blog because he “wrote it down in his journal”. That was in 2010, and a few months later he and Elaine were on the island and recognized Bear and Maddie (not me, just Bear and Maddie). They introduced themselves, and we’ve all been buddies ever since.

This is Sarah and her beautiful family from Richland MI. Sarah found the blog on Google 4 years ago. She's been going to Mackinac since she was a child.

This is Sarah and her beautiful family from Richland MI. Sarah found the blog on Google four years ago. She’s been going to Mackinac Island since she was a child.

Meet Pam Pruder, bride Amy (Pam's daughter), and Amanda. This was from Amy's wedding at Grand Hotel last summer. They're from St. Clair Shores MI, and Pam's been a reader for about four years.

Meet Pam Pruder, bride Amy (Pam’s daughter), and Amanda. This was from Amy’s wedding at Grand Hotel last summer. They’re from St. Clair Shores MI, and Pam’s been a reader for about four years.

Joleen and Bruce Griffin and daughter Aria from Madison WI. Joleen found the blog through The Town Crier over five years ago, and she went back and read everything. After she began reading the blog she remembered meeting me at the old Grand Stables many years before, but had no idea then I was "Bree the Blogger" until she connected all the dots.

Joleen and Bruce Griffin and daughter Aria from Madison WI. Joleen found the blog through The Town Crier over five years ago, and she went back and read every post. After she began reading the blog she remembered meeting me at the old Grand Stables many years before, but had no idea then I was “Bree the Blogger” – until she connected all the dots.  Hoping to see you on the island this summer, Joleen!

Meet Jan and Don Weir from Indianapolis IN and Harbor Springs MI. Jan has been a blog reader "for a long time". She and Don travel to Mackinac at least twice a year. They are professional Nantucket basket weavers and sell their baskets at Scrimshanders on the island (inside the Chippewa Hotel).

Meet Jan and Don Weir from Indianapolis IN and Harbor Springs MI. Jan has been a blog reader “for a long time”. She and Don travel to Mackinac at least twice a year. They are professional Nantucket basket weavers and sell their baskets at Scrimshanders on the island (inside the Chippewa Hotel).  How awesome is that!?  LOVE those baskets!  I need to introduce them to the Conlons in Harbor Springs!

Jason and Kimberly Bott from Saukville WI. Jason discovered the blog while researching the island before their first visit in 2009 The Botts became engaged, were married, and found out they were pregnant with their first child on Mackinac. "The Island is a very special place for us," Jason says.

Jason and Kimberly Bott from Saukville WI. Jason discovered the blog while researching the island before their first visit in 2009.  The Botts became engaged, were married, and found out they were pregnant with their first child – all on Mackinac. “The Island is a very special place for us,” Jason says.

Meet Becky, Dave, and nine-year-old twins A.J. and Emma from Indianapolis IN. Becky has been visiting the island since she was six months old because her grandparents had a cottage there. She used to spend two weeks on the island each summer of her childhood. She found Bree's Blog several years ago on Google.

Meet Becky, Dave, and nine-year-old twins A.J. and Emma from Indianapolis IN. Becky has been visiting the island since she was six months old because her grandparents had a cottage there. She spent two weeks on the island each summer during her childhood. She found Bree’s Blog several years ago on Google.

And that’s our second set of 15! 

Ok – keep ’em coming!  I’ll post 15 more one day this coming week, and will continue to post as long as you send them in!  Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who have already sent in your photos.  I love each and every one!

More to come . .

YES, IT’S STILL SNOWING ON MACKINAC!

A dray driver passes the Stonecliffe gate. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

A dray driver passes the Stonecliffe gate. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

NO, IT’S NOT SNOWING IN FLORIDA

Happy Bear!

Happy Bear!

God bless.

Slow News Week! 2/9/16

Hi Everyone!

Did y’all survive the Super Bowl?  As one who doesn’t care that much for football, AND seeing as how I was alone on Super Bowl Sunday (Ted was in Georgia overnight), I am dazed and amazed that I watched as much of it as I did.  I was definitely for the Broncos . . . for no other reason than Blake lives in Colorado.  So, MY TEAM WON!  And that’s enough about football!

It’s really been slow around here for things to write about.  Let’s see.  I’ve had internet trouble for two days straight, but I think it’s fixed now (picture me rapping my knuckles on my head – knocking on wood).  I could talk about the weather, which has been VERY windy and rainy this week (windy enough the chairs on the decks are sliding around on a regular basis, but so far nothing has jumped the rails).  We have a FREEZE warning issued for tonight (but I can almost guarantee you it won’t reach 32 here on the coast).

Wind and rain out the bedroom window. A good night to curl up with Amazon Prime. Has anyone else been watching Poldark? A PBS series. Awesome!

Wind and rain out the bedroom window a couple of nights ago. A good night to curl up with Amazon Prime. Has anyone else been watching Poldark? A PBS series. Awesome!

Oh, I bought Bear and Maddie new toys today . . . 

It's been an hour since I took this photo, and Maddie has already destroyed her pink hippopotamus and is working on pulling the stuffing out of Bear's giraffe.

It’s been an hour since I took this photo, and Maddie has already destroyed her pink hippopotamus and was working on pulling the stuffing out of Bear’s giraffe.  I took it away from her and hid it.  Bear will get it back when she’s out of the room snoozing.

Like I said, it’s a slow news week.  So . . . . I’m just going to post a few more winter pics from Mackinac because I know everyone enjoys those!

clarkbloswickmightyhuronnorthofisland

There was enough ice in the Straits this week that the Mighty Huron was forced to go around the back side of the island to reach the Arnold dock.  But, no one is complaining at all.  Islanders are just happy they’ve had ferry service for so many months this winter!  (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

tomchambers

Tom Chambers captured a beautiful view up Main Street this week.

 

clark

Another Clark Bloswick exquisite photograph.  As one person said, the Iroquois Hotel looks like a miniature castle.

john lou deroshia

From John Lou Deroshia – looking across the Mackinac Island Public School yard to the Straits.

 

josh carley

Early morning  – and a dray is heading down Marquette Street.  (Photo: Josh Carley)

From Bobby Lee: People have been looking out these same windows on the dock for almost 125 years, and more times than not, horses have been just outside when they've checked.

From Bobby Lee: People have been looking out these same windows on the dock for almost 125 years, and more times than not, horses have been resting right outside.  I love that about Mackinac.  Very little truly changes on the island. 

Personal Note:  I was wrong about my doctor’s appointment.  It’s Wednesday, the 17th, not the 10th.  Darn it .. . one more week!

 

Returning to Mackinac 6/19/2014

Through the water-splashed ferry windows, a glimpse of the Grand Hotel, the Iroquois, and the Chippewa.  Cyclists following the never-ending roadway circling the island.  Horse-drawn carriages standing on Main – suspended in time.  My heart beats more rapidly, and my feet do a happy dance against the ferry floorboards.  I am returning to Mackinac. 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

I woke yesterday morning at 4:30 to an empty bed. I laid there a few minutes, waiting for Ted to return, but when he didn’t, I rose and found him sitting in the dark sunroom with a cup of coffee.

“What are you doing?” I asked sleepily.

“Just woke up and decided to sit out here a while,” he said.

Instead of stumbling back to bed, as I’d usually do in such circumstances, I made myself a cup of coffee and joined him in the peaceful darkness.  Bear and Maddie were like “what’s happening – are we leaving again?”  But they soon settled with us on the porch and went back to what everyone is usually doing at that time of day – sleeping.

With back-to-back Michigan and Florida trips, we’ve added almost 2900 miles to the odometer in the last 2 1/2-3 weeks.  Add to that the trip Ted left on yesterday around 8 a.m. (a “guy” trip to an Atlanta Braves game – and probably the reason he couldn’t go back to sleep), and it all adds up to a hectic, exhausting, but ultimately very fun way to start the summer season!  Our everyday routine is a little out of whack, but once Ted gets home from Atlanta (today), I think we’ll get back to normal quickly . . . until we leave again.

I don’t even know where to start, so for this post I’m just going to hit the high points on the Mackinac trip.  On Sunday, I’ll catch you up on the beach house and what’s happening at the ri’vah!

MACKINAC ISLAND – MICHIGAN

Returning to the island as a visitor instead of a resident is a little disconcerting.  The “perks” of owning on Mackinac are plentiful, and having been privy to that, it’s a little hard to adjust to going back as a vacationer.  The biggest single adjustment was going from having a resident’s pass for the ferry to buying tickets – or books of tickets.   I confess I was very happy just flashing my pass to board a boat (or not flashing it because everyone at Shepler’s knew us.  Of course they still know us, and we now have much longer to chat as we tear those little stubs out of the book).  Buying tickets is fine . . . just different.  The second biggest adjustment was rephrasing our standard “we have a condo on the island” answer to the question, “Where are you staying?” to “We’re renting a condo here”.  Ok, ok, ok – I know I sound like a spoiled brat.  I know it. I accept it.  I will adjust.  Sigh.

What we didn’t have to adjust to was our welcome being any different.  Everywhere we went we saw friends, and we gave and received so many hugs during our stay that our mouths stayed permanently stretched into grins of greeting.  We loved, loved, loved seeing everyone, and as I mentioned a few blogs ago, it was as if we’d never left – or sold.  Friends are friends are friends, and we thank the good Lord everyday for those we hold in our hearts across this beautiful country of ours!

IMG_0551.2

These kids in town for a school trip posed endlessly for me, with not a single gripe. Of course, we continued to feed them free fudge during their photo session, so they were VERY cooperative!  🙂

Another adjustment was “working” on the island.  Although Ted and I volunteered during our summers there, having a “real” job was a little different.  I stayed downtown a lot more than usual this trip – dashing in and out of the two Original Murdick’s Fudge shops on Main Street a few times a day, then combing the streets and boat docks for folks with Murdick’s bags.  I had no qualms at all about approaching total strangers and saying, “I’m doing some photography for Original Murdick’s Fudge.  Would it be ok to snap a few pics of you holding up your bag/fudge?”  I was never turned down.  Jill was amazed, and asked, “How do you get people to do that?”  I think it’s the Southern drawl, which I admit to pushing a little bit more into the syrupy range when begging for something!  I had a blast, and if you go to the Original Murdick’s Fudge Facebook page, you’ll see quite a few of my photos, with more to come.

You know one of the first places we visited was The Island Bookstore, which just keeps getting better and better each year.  How do they do that?

You know one of the first places we visited was The Island Bookstore, which just keeps getting better and better each year. How do they do that?  (Notice Ted is in jacket, and even though you can’t see it, Jill has on a few layers.)

 

The first day or so were pretty cold and rainy, so rainy we had to run onto a B & B's porch for shelter on one trip to town!

The first day or so were pretty cold and rainy, so rainy we had to run onto a B & B’s porch for shelter on one trip to town!

 

Have I mentioned how much we loved being in the Mission District?  We were out on the street more at dusk than we ever were living up the here.  You get some really amazing photos at that time of the evening.

Have I mentioned how much we loved being in the Mission District? We were out on the street more at dusk than we ever were living up the hill. You get some really amazing photos at that time of the evening.

 

Another "first stop was the new shop opened by friend Joan Barch's son, Jay.  His original pottery designs are flying off the shelves.  Ted ordered a coffee mug for me, and Jay and I talked about him designing a special set of "beach" plates for our Florida house.  He is quite the talented young man!

Another “first stop”
was Mackinac Mud Pottery, the new shop opened by friend Joan Barch’s son, Jay. His original pottery designs are flying off the shelves. Ted ordered a coffee mug for me, and Jay and I talked about him designing a special set of “beach” plates for our Florida house. He is quite the talented young man!

 

Guys night at the Pink Pony.  These friends got together practically once a day!

Guys night at the Pink Pony. These friends got together practically every day.  I’ve never heard so many reasons to “go to town.”

 

I discovered Chief "Duck" Andress sitting at the corner of Fort and Main Streets and plopped down beside him to catch up on what was happening in the village.

I discovered Chief “Duck” Andress sitting at the corner of Fort and Main Streets and plopped down beside him to catch up on what was happening in the village.

 

The really awesome thing about Mackinac is that no one really thinks about actually setting dates or appointments to see anyone.  You just know if you step outside, you will eventually see everyone you know . . . like Molly and her new team of greys, Dawn and Chico!

The really awesome thing about Mackinac is that no one really thinks about actually setting dates or appointments to see anyone. You just know if you step outside, you will eventually see everyone you know . . . like Molly and her new team of greys, Dawn and Chico!

 

This was taken just after they'd hung the flower baskets and a few days before the lilacs began blooming.

This was taken just after they’d hung the flower baskets and a few days before the lilacs began blooming.

 

Walking home to the Mission each evening gave me lots of opportunities to photograph St. Anne's at twilight.

Walking home to the Mission each evening gave me lots of opportunities to photograph St. Anne’s at twilight.  On this evening a Jamaican service was going on, and I wish we’d gone in.  It’s held around 9:00 p.m. one night a week – late like that because the Jamaicans are working all day.

 

Do you remember when the Indian Drum was on the Arnold Dock?  It's now in the Horse Corral, and doing a great business.  Love, love, love this place (tons of cute clothes), and Trillium Heights friend Rogene was working the day we went in!

Do you remember when the Indian Drum was on the Arnold Dock? It’s now in the Horse Corral, and doing a great business. Love, love, love this place (tons of cute clothes), and Trillium Heights friend Rogene was working the day we went in!

 

Imagine dray after dray of annuals arriving on the island at the docks . . .

Imagine dray after dray of annuals, which have just arrived on the island at the docks, . . .

 

Imagine watching dray after dray of annuals pass on the street and stop at cottages to drop off their summer gardens.  Here, Brigadoon and St. Anne's Cottage lawns are filled with flowers to be planted later in the day.

. . . being dropped off at summer cottages all over the island.  Here, Brigadoon and Anne’s Cottage lawns are filled with flowers to be planted in their gardens later in the day.

 

This is where we'll be staying for six weeks in August/September.  Excited!

This is where we’ll be staying for six weeks in August/September. Excited!

 

The white sails of a boat from Robinson's Folly.

The white sails of a boat from Robinson’s Folly.

 

A glimpse into a hidden backyard garden.

A glimpse into a hidden backyard garden “somewhere” on the island.

 

Bear's favorite grass to roll in?  Horse poop fertilized Mackinac grass, of course!

Bear’s favorite grass to roll in? Horse poop fertilized Mackinac grass, of course!

 

There was a 7-hour power outage one of the days we were there, and downtown just practically shut down.  The shops closed, and so did some of the restaurants, although a few offered cold plates and sandwiches!

There was a 7-hour power outage one of the days we were there, and downtown just practically shut down. The shops closed, and so did some of the restaurants, although a few offered cold plates and sandwiches!

 

White bleeding hearts.  Don't think I've seen these before - only the red.

White bleeding hearts. Don’t think I’ve seen these before – only the red.

 

There were no tulips at the Grand Hotel this spring, but Mission Point more than made up for it.  I fell in love with their endless gardens of tulips - all pink!

There were no tulips at the Grand Hotel this spring, but Mission Point more than made up for it. I fell in love with their endless gardens of tulips – all pink!

 

I happened by Original Murdick's fudge shop one evening just after they'd tucked the electric blankets over the marble table tops.  This ensures the marble isn't too cold the next morning for the first batch of fudge.

I happened by Original Murdick’s fudge shop one evening just after they’d tucked the electric blankets over the marble table tops. This ensures the marble isn’t too cold the next morning for the first batch of fudge.

 

Lilacs . . .

Crabapple blossoms . . . 

 

Lilacs . . .

Lilacs . . .

 

Lilacs . . . (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Lilacs . . . (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

 

Lilacs! (Photo: Katy Rise)

Lilacs! (Photo: Katy Rise)

Being back on the island was awesome.  The mixture of scents, noises, sights, and tastes can be conjured up only one place on earth – and that’s Mackinac!  Best of all though was . . .

Talking over the fence in the Mission - being neighborly in the good, old-fashioned way!

. . . talking over fences – being neighborly in the good, old-fashioned way . . .

 

. . . walking home from church down lilac-framed paths . . .

. . . walking home from church down lilac-framed paths . . .

. . . sitting on the front porch with the pooches . . .

. . . sitting on the front porch with the pooches . . .

 

. . . and hanging out with good friends - old and new (Sue, Molly, and Jill).

. . . and hanging out with good friends – old and new (Sue, Molly, and Jill).

It was an awesome trip, and we can’t wait to get back up there in August!  In the meantime, there will probably be another couple of trips south, and on Sunday I’ll catch you all up on the beach house progress.  Here’s a peek . . .

Our little neighborhood at dusk.

Our little neighborhood at dusk.

 

Our house, with the beginning of the second floor balcony and the sky balcony above that.

Our house, with the beginning of the second floor balcony and the sky balcony above that.  We were hoping the siding would be on, but we missed that by a few days, and the day we left the windows and doors were going in.

 

 

Bear - hanging out in the kitchen.

Bear – hanging out in the kitchen.

 See you back here on Sunday!  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.

It’s All About the Lilacs 6/11/2013

Mackinac Island is expanding as the ferries lower their gangplanks and discharge thousands of visitors – here this week for one thing – the Lilac Festival.  Each day of the Festival is filled with activities, and there is guaranteed to be something of interest for everyone.  As you walk the sidewalks downtown you’ll notice groups here and there listening attentively as they follow experts assigned to discuss the history of our Mackinac Lilacs.  After you know everything there possibly is to learn about Lilacs, you’ll have many, many choices on how to spend your time the rest of the week.  You can:

  • Go to a concert in Marquette Park
  • Take an Architectural Walking Tour
  • Watch a Street Hockey Tournament at Windermere Point
  • Go to the Movies at Mission Point Resort
  • Attend a Grand Hotel History Lecture
  • Attend an Author Luncheon at Hotel Iroquois’ Carriage House Dining Room
  • Walk along on a Nature Tour
  • Play Lion’s Club Bingo at the Community Hall
  • Listen in on Jazz Night at the Gate House
  • Tour the Governor’s Summer Residence
  • Take a Harbor Cruise on the Ugly Anne
  • Learn some Irish Dance steps at Windermere Point
  • Attend “A Taste of Mackinac” at Harbour View Inn
  • Sample the fruit of the vine at a Wine Tasting at Hotel Iroquois’ Carriage House Dining Room
  • Attend the Feast of Epona Blessing of the Animals at Little Barn at Mission Hill.
  • Go on a Cannonball BBQ Hayride to British Landing
  • Attend the Market Street Art Walk
  • Go to a Pooch Party at Mary’s Bistro
  • Watch the Pet Parade from the Public School to Windermere Point
  • Attend the Dog & Pony Show at Windermere Point
  • Cruise around the Island with the Star Line Ferry
  • Become a Captain for a Day at the Shepler Ferry Dock
  • Attend the Lilac Festival Parade in downtown Mackinac Island

Each day this week the crowds get a little larger, and as we approach Sunday, June 15, and the culminating event –  the Lilac Festival Grand Parade at 4 p.m. – our little island is rocking with happy visitors enjoying the beauty and scent of the Lilacs, the taste and aroma of freshly made fudge, and the unique and historic excitement of touring Mackinac at one of the Island’s prettiest times of year.

Monday morning I walked downtown past Carriage Tour wagons bringing visitors up toward Surrey Hill and opened the Stuart House Museum.

Monday morning I walked downtown past Carriage Tour wagons bringing visitors up toward Surrey Hill.  As I said, the crowds are growing!

Blog reader Yvonne, her husband Tony and their nieces and nephews dropped by from Iowa.  I met Tony and Yvonne last year (with their dog Bear), but this year they left Bear behind and brought these lucky young folks instead.  What an awesome aunt and uncle they are!

It wasn’t long after the Stuart House Museum opened that blog reader Yvonne, her husband Tony, and their nieces and nephews dropped by from Iowa. I met Tony and Yvonne last year (with their dog Bear), but this year they left Bear at home and brought these lucky young folks instead. They’re staying at Park Place Suites on Market Street and loving it!

Another blog reader, Joan from Shelby Township, dropped by also, but I forgot to get my camera out.  She’ll be back later in the summer though – I’ll take some photos then!

My friend Frankie and sweet Chocolate Lab Hershey were visiting for a few days, and I dog-sat Hershey while Frankie went to lunch.  She was staying just across the street at the Lilac House, so she dropped Hershey off and walked over to Main Street.

Hershey watched Frankie leave . . .

Hershey watched Frankie leave . . .

. . . then took up her vigil by the door until she returned.

. . . then took up her vigil by the door until she returned.  She sure got lots of loving by visitors to the Museum while she waited for Frankie!

Frankie was leaving the Island today, so a few of us met at the Chuckwagon this morning for breakfast to see her off.  We wanted to sit at the back table so we could chat, so we waited outside – sitting on the steps of the Haunted Mansion – until the table emptied, and we could run inside and grab it.  There’s always a crowd at the Chuckwagon – because the food is ALWAYS good!

ff

Frankie, Bonnie, Judy, me, and Jill.  Frankie and Hershey left on the 12:30 boat, going home to Grand Rapids.  See you again soon, Frankie!

LILACS, LILACS EVERYWHERE!

Even with the crazy Spring we’ve had here on Mackinac, it looks as though the Lilacs are right on schedule and will be in full bloom this week and next.  There is no way we could have planned for that to happen, but it sure is nice when it works out like that for the Festival!

vvvvv

Different varieties are blossoming at different times, but this year I think every Lilac bush and tree will be in full blooming splendor by the weekend.  This was taken from the porch of the Lilac House, where Frankie was staying.

Over near the Marina, we found this horse tie-up nearly covered in Lilac blossoms.

Over near the Marina, we found this horse tie-up nearly covered in Lilac blossoms.

These next few photos are of he same bush.  We unofficially named it "the most beautiful Lilac bush on the Island" - at least for today.

These next few photos are of the same bush. Jill and I unofficially named it “the most beautiful Lilac bush on the Island” – at least for today.  I think these blooms are as dark a purple as I’ve ever seen on a Lilac.

14

15

Sorry, I just couldn't get enough of it.

Sorry, I just couldn’t get enough of it.

vvvvvv

Lilacs in Marquette Park . . .

. . .

. . . and hanging baskets contrasted with the white of the Jane & Richard Manoogian Art Museum.

Lilac/lavender/purple just seems to look good anywhere, doesn't it!

Lilac, lavender and purple just seem to look good anywhere, don’t they!  This flowery bathtub sits in the yard of the Lilac House.

FOGGY HARBOR

nnnnnn

The fog didn’t burn off until shortly after noon today, turning freighters into ghost ships – passing nearly unseen through the Straits.

Moored sailboats

Moored sailboats in the marina, as the fog began to slip away.

As the fog cleared,

As the fog cleared, the Iroquois Hotel appeared, and people began to be seated at their beautiful waterside tables . . .

. . . and soon

. . . and soon the entire east side of town was visible.  First the fort, then Anne’s Cottage, Brigadoon, the Yacht Club and the Island House.

There’s lots more to come this week, and I’ll be back in a day or two with more news.  In the meantime, if you’re in Michigan, why not think about hopping up to the Island for the rest of the week – or at least the weekend.  The fun has just begun!

The Week . . . So Far 8/21/2012

WE HAVE A WINNER!  She is Renita Dompier!  Please see end of this post for this week’s Mystery Spot answer.

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island must employ a “think tank” full of fun folks to come up with new and exciting ideas and events.  You just never know what might be happening next at the historic hotel, and this week – with no fanfare at all – they began what has to be the most fun idea of the summer for their guests . . .

. . . . movies on the lawn! When the sun set on Saturday and Sunday evening, folks brought out towels and blankets and settled on the grass below the Grand for a family movie on a giant screen. What a “grand” idea! Don’t know if this is going to be an on-going weekend thing or not, but it sure was a hit!

The Grand is always thinking ahead, and according to a recent Matt Mikus article in the Town Crier, future plans may include:  1)  expansion of the exercise and spa facilities;  2) two hotel rooms expanded into family-style suites; and 3) an ice cream parlor where Margaret’s Garden Shop now stands (Margaret’s would move inside so guests could watch florists at work).  The ice cream parlor would offer such goodies as banana splits, malts, ice cream, AND Jersey muds!  Ted is ecstatic!  In all changes, the historical character of the hotel will be maintained, and one thing that will never change is the requirement of coat & tie for gentlemen and proper dress for ladies in the hotel and dining room after 6:30 p.m.  The Grand Hotel now owns four restaurants on the Island, and the option of casual dining is available at each of these off-site dining facilities – the Jockey Club, Woods, the Gate House,and Cawthorne’s Village Inn.

Monday was a busy day at the Stuart House.  Nearly 60 folks visited the museum during by 10-2 shift, and some of those folks were Bree’s Blog readers!

Ok, ok. Sophie doesn’t read the blog, but she sure was cute! Here she is showing off her new collar from Ella & Ivy!  She and Ella had fun playing while mom shopped.

Sophie’s mom Kathy IS a blog fan!  (Good grief, I lost the paper I wrote everything down on – but I believe Kathy’s husband was George and their two children were Ally and Anthony).  The family was staying at the dog-friendly Park Place Suites on Market Street.

Another blog-reading couple stopped by that morning – Karen and Neil from Fort Gratiot, MI. Jill was going to take the photo, but professional photographer Steven Blair, whose studio and gallery is just across from the Stuart House, saw us posing and walked over to get us all in the shot. Thanks, Steven! Karen and Neil stayed their first night at the Island House and were moving over to the Lake View Hotel the next night, when children and grandchildren were arriving.

Speaking of Steven, when I got off work, I walked over to check out the little garden he’s planted behind his studio. Would you believe those are tomato plants!? He’s growing four types of tomatoes and a few squash and pumpkins in that tiny space – all organic. I have never seen tomato vines that high, and yes, he promised to share when they got ripe!

We have zinnias in our condo flower beds this summer! Love them!

Incredible sunset on Sunday evening. (Photo: Mission Point Resort).

Reader Photographs

Fran from Florida.
Sunrise flag-raising on the Arnold Dock.
Fran spent a day this month on the Island with her two boys. They arrived early, when the downtown area was quiet, and then spent the day hiking in the middle of the Island.

Jean Lenard – Powell, Ohio
Lamp post and gardens at the Iroquois Hotel – in July.

Shannon Hoorn – Grand Rapids, MI
First weekend in August, 2012.
Mackinac Island from her son Nick’s perspective at Fort Mackinac.

Dave Crans – Canfield, Ohio
Dave was on the Island for five days recently and was lucky enough to be here on the evening of August 10 when that unbelievably beautiful rainbow appeared.

Personal Note:  There’s a very good possibility Ted and I are going to be out very late on Thursday evening (dinner and party at Woods Restaurant following golf tournament Ted is playing in).  If Friday’s blog isn’t posted before we leave for dinner, I’ll publish it sometime during the day on Friday.  See you then!

Mystery Spot Contest

The object of the Mystery Spot is to be the first to identify where the object is located. When you think you have the answer, email me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com. I’ll check my email several times a day, and as soon as we have a winner, I’ll post the winner’s name at the top of this blog so you can stop guessing (you may have to refresh your page for this to show up). Is there a prize for the winner?  Yes there is; but the prize is secret, and the only ones who will know what it is are the winners. To be fair, I’m asking residents of Mackinac Island to please NOT guess. This is just for readers who don’t live here . . . but would like to! And the Mystery Spot is   . . . .

Where is it? Hint: This is NOT at Turtle Park.

Again, please email your answers to me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com.  PLEASE DO NOT ANSWER IN THE “COMMENTS” SECTION OF THE BLOG.  Remember, I’ll post the winner at the top of this blog as soon as someone gives the correct answer.

Mystery Spot Answer

This week’s Mystery Spot was the chimney of the Michigan Governor’s Summer Residence located at the top of Fort Hill.

Unexpected Gifts and Fun Moments 8/14/2012

Enjoy the little things in life because one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.  Anonymous

Blake and I received an unexpected gift last Friday evening.

We rode over to the mainland on the 8 p.m. boat.  I’d never been to Anne’s cabin before and wanted to find it before dark.  Carp Lake is only a 12-minute drive to the Pellston airport, and every little minute of sleep would count since Blake had to be at the airport at 5:30 Saturday morning.  Anne was so sweet to invite us to stay over with her, even though I’m sure she knew full-well we’d make enough noise getting up and getting out that she’d be up mighty early too.  But she invited us anyway.

We found the cabin with no problem, and as we turned into her drive, we looked straight through her yard –  past garage and house – to the most incredible sky and rainbow I have ever – ever – seen.

“Oh, Blake!  Look at the light!” I said, practically falling out of the truck in my haste to get my camera out of my bag.

Blake was as spellbound as I.  Anne was coming out the side door to meet us, and I think we had the decency to at least say “hello” before rushing by, pulling her with us into her own backyard.

Blake hurried out to the end of the dock, turning on his camera and adjusting it as he slid to a stop just before going off the end.

I stood with Anne near her fire pit.  The rainbow seemed to have been born in Mackinaw City . . .

. . . then traveled through Heaven, coming down out of the clouds to touch Earth again miles and miles away.  As beautiful as it looks here, the photograph does not even begin to touch how this scene truly looked.

Special light, special rainbow, special moment shared.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Around 8:30 Monday evening, I’d just walked into the den when I heard voices outside yelling, “Hi, Brenda!  Hi Ted!  Hi Maddie!  Hi Bear!”  Ted heard them too, so I knew I wasn’t imaging things!  We rushed to the window and looked out to find a wagon full of people and dogs and hay stopped on the street beside our boardwalk.  It was a birthday hayride for little Jordan Fisher – who’d just turned three years old!

The wagon was filled with parents, grandparents, Jordan’s little sister Jenavieve, friends and family pooches!

Friend Joan Barch, with her daughter Julie Fisher and grandchildren – birthday boy Jordan and little Jenavieve.

There might be a few other places where moments like this happen . . . a horse-pulled hay wagon, filled with friends, who stop by and yell “Hello!” up to your open windows.  But I don’t know where they are, and I just feel so, so blessed to be living here, where little moments like this happen on almost a daily basis.  Geez, I love this place!

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Readers’  Mackinac Island Photographs

Deborah Crawford – Midland, Ontario, Canada
From a July, 2010 visit to the Island. Deborah told this shot while sitting in Margaret’s Garden at the Grand Hotel and said, “This photo just shows everything I love about the Island – flowers, horses, beautiful scenery wherever you look.”

Patti Foote – Buffalo, N.Y.
Patti and her sister visited the Island in June, 2011. They saw this same kitty twice during their visit.  Here he’s on a fence near the boardwalk.

Jean Lenard – Powell, Ohio
Photo taken on porch of Iroquois Hotel in July, 2012.

Paul and Elaine Williams – Yale, MI
From August, 2007. Photo was taken as they walked on the road behind the West Bluff houses. Paul and Elaine visit the Island several times every summer.

Mystery Spot Contest

The object of the Mystery Spot is to be the first to identify where the object is located. When you think you have the answer, email me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com. I’ll check my email several times a day, and as soon as we have a winner, I’ll post the winner’s name at the top of this blog so you can stop guessing (you may have to refresh your page for this to show up). Is there a prize for the winner?  Yes there is; but the prize is secret, and the only ones who will know what it is are the winners. To be fair, I’m asking residents of Mackinac Island to please NOT guess. This is just for readers who don’t live here . . . but would like to! And the Mystery Spot is   . . . .

Where is it?

Again, please email your answers to me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com.  PLEASE DO NOT ANSWER IN THE “COMMENTS” SECTION OF THE BLOG.  Remember, I’ll post the winner at the top of this blog as soon as someone gives the correct answer.

See you on Friday!

Road Trip to Charlevoix 8/9/2012

Getting either Ted or I off Mackinac (except to grocery shop or take Bear to the groomers) is much like pulling hen’s teeth (I think that’s a Southern expression).  But, since neither Ted nor Blake had explored any of the harbor towns within an hour’s drive of the Island, we jumped on the ferry Wednesday morning and pointed the truck south on Hwy. 31.

Charlevoix was our lunch destination – Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant to be exact.  Frankie and I ate there once, and I remembered the views and the food being more than excellent.  We drove past the Pellston airport and Petoskey on the way, then Bar Harbor.  Once in Petoskey, we were traveling pretty much on a by-the-water highway all the way to Charlevoix, passing several beautiful harbors and marinas.

We arrived at the restaurant around 12:30, and because we wanted to be on the outside deck, we had a 30-minute wait.  We left our name and walked under the draw bridge and along the water-side pathway.

The marina at Charlevoix is very busy. The car ferry to Beaver Island departed yesterday at 8:30 a.m. and would be returning before we finished lunch.  It’s about a 2 1/2 trip to Beaver Island from Charlevoix, and reservations ARE required to cross on that ferry.

The marina is located on Round Lake, and the narrow passage at the top of the pic leads into Lake Charlevoix, which is quite large.

The marina shore is lined with gorgeous homes and condos, many with very impressive landscaping – like this one. Those chairs sure did look inviting, but the “private property” sign on the iron fence stopped me from trying them out!

Boats enter a canal from Lake Michigan . . .

. . . pass by the outside deck of Stafford’s Restaurant . . .

. . . then pass under the drawbridge into the marina.

This is the car ferry returning from Beaver Island. The bridge goes up on the hour and half-hour, but only remains open a few minutes. While it is raised, cars are backed up on both sides of the bridge.

After lunch, which was just as good as I remembered, we walked beside the canal and onto the long dock jutting out into Lake Michigan.

The beach here is a mixture of coarse sand, pebbles and rock, all carved out thousands of years ago by glaciers.

The entrance into the canal from Lake Michigan is guarded by the Charlevoix South Pier Light, built in 1948 and now listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.

It was another beautiful day in northern Michigan . . .

. . . and Blake, who has traveled quite a lot in Asia, said the only other place he’d seen water this blue was in Thailand.

All three of us marveled, once again, at the sparkling clarity of Great Lakes waters.

We spent an hour or so downtown in Charlevoix, exploring the shops . . . but you know guys! They were anxious to move on to other things (I did do a little early birthday shopping for Blake though).

Hanging out with Blake.

We returned back to the Island the long way – taking the route that leads through Good Hart, Cross Village and the Tunnel of Trees.  Beautiful, beautiful ride!

It’s now Thursday evening, and we’ve just returned from dinner at the Carriage House Restaurant in the Iroquois Hotel – Blake’s pick for tonight.  He loves everything about the restaurant – the view, and especially the food!

Three very full, happy people!

The walkway to the Carriage House Restaurant – one of the most beautiful flower displays on the Island.

The sky, as we waited at the taxi stand, was turning all shades of pink, gray, and blue.

By the time we pulled into the Grand Hotel to drop off riders, the colors were beginning to fade . . .

. . . then – just as we made the turn-around at the end of the Grand porch – one last ray of sun illuminated the opening at the top of the stone gateway to the West Bluff.  Awesome night on the Island!

Blake and I will be leaving the Island after dinner on Friday night.  We’re going to drive over to Carp Lake and spend the night with a girlfriend who has a place there.  Blake has to catch the 6:30 a.m. flight out of Pellston on Saturday morning, and there are no ferries that early – so he has to get off the Island Friday evening.  I’ll get him to the airport Saturday morning, then take the first ferry back over so I can work at the Festival of the Horse activities.

I’ll get pics Friday and Saturday of the Festival and have them here for you on Monday – along with anything else that comes along!

Have a great weekend!  God bless.