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.

 

Weekend News and Fun 6/9/2013

Oh my gosh, what a wonderful weekend we’ve had here on Mackinac.  SO MUCH to tell you about I don’t even know where to start . . . so, let’s start with Friday, which just happened to be . . .

MY BIRTHDAY!

Sixty-five.  How can that be?  I remember when I’d meet someone who was 65 and think, “Golly, that is really, really OLD!”  And now here I am . . .  really, really OLD!  But I don’t feel 65 – well except when I first get up in the morning and haven’t had my coffee.  And when I’ve walked up Cadotte more than once a day.  And when I’ve climbed the stairs from Marquette Park to Anne’s Tablet.  And when . . . well, you know what I mean.

My sweet Ted took me to dinner Friday evening at The Island House, which overlooks the Mackinac Island Marina.

My sweet Ted took me to dinner Friday evening at The Island House, which overlooks the Mackinac Island Marina.

We haven't eaten there in several years.  I don't know why except it's a little further to walk.  Our dinner was excellent, and the view of the Straits and the freighters passing between the lighthouses just don't get much better than this!

We haven’t eaten there in several years. I don’t know why. except it’s a little further to walk. Our dinner was excellent, and the view of the Straits and the freighters passing between the lighthouses just can’t get much better than this!

MEETING ANNA

A few weeks ago I received an email from Anna Marlis Burgard.  Anna is the author and principal photographer for the forthcoming book, “Island of America: A River, Lake and Sea Odyssey”.  She is finalizing publisher negotiations, and National Geographic Traveler will feature the book when it releases.  Anna has worked for quite a while in the illustrated book business as an editor, creative director and author, but she says the “Islands” book is certainly her biggest adventure.  She is planning to include Mackinac in the book, and while “noodling” around online she found Bree’s Blog and wanted to meet me and get my thoughts about the island.  “Would I be available,” she asked.  “Why, yes I would!” I replied.

I later learned she had been in contact with our Tourism Bureau Director Mary McGuire, and had three days of photography scheduled during her visit.

On Saturday Anna and I met at the Chippewa for lunch and had a happy time discussing what is – of course – the very best island – Mackinac! I learned that Anna has been researching this book for 1 1/2 years and will probably spend at least another year traveling before it’s ready for the printer.  It will be published in 2015.  I had a blast listening to her stories of all the islands she is visiting around the country, and I hope I was able to give her some local color about our “rock”.  I invited her to Little Stone Church for Sunday services, and there she was this morning! 

So enjoyed meeting you Anna.  I’m looking forward to the publication of your book, and we’re so excited you’re including Mackinac!

SUNDAY MORNING

This weekend – weatherwise and otherwise – has been awesome!  We’re finally beginning to get warmer temps, and walking to church this morning was a real treat.  Instead of layers upon layers, I ambled down the hill without a single “cold weather” wrap.  The sun felt great!

Walking back home, I stopped to snap a few photos.  Flowers are popping up everywhere now, and it constantly amazes me how flowerpots empty just yesterday can be filled with overflowing blossoms - overnight!

Walking back home after services, I stopped to snap a few photos. Flowers are popping up everywhere now, and it constantly amazes me how flowerpots, empty just yesterday, can be filled with overflowing blossoms – overnight!  I think we must have some flower genies on Mackinac!

The Grand golf

Everything is green, green, green . . .

. . . and the Grand Jewel Golf Course is manicured to perfection.

. . . and the Grand Jewel Golf Course is manicured to perfection.

SUNDAY WALK

After lunch and a long afternoon nap, Ted and I headed out with the pups for a walk in the woods.  They were so excited when we got out the leashes they were practically bouncing off the walls!

The Lilacs in the Village are joining those all over the Island in trying to outdo each other for color and variety.

The Lilacs in the Village are joining those all over the Island in trying to outdo each other in color and variety.  One block from our condo, we turned left onto Fourth and walked the short block to the gravel road where Fourth ends and Whitefield Road begins.

. . .

At that point, we are in the Mackinac Island State Park.

Just a few yards on the gravel, and we turned down Trail

Just a few yards on the gravel, and we turned down Fire Break Trail.

I'd walked Maddie and Bear down this trail a few days ago, and I wanted to show Ted the rock formation that had frightened Bear.

I’d walked Maddie and Bear down this trail a few days ago, and I wanted to show Ted something that had frightened Bear. This trail is really thick with vegetation this year.  All the snow this winter failed trees and branches, and although it’s hard to see in this photo, the dirt path is completely covered here by brush – but not so bad we couldn’t push our way through.

I love these woods walks.  It's out here that you find the real Mackinac - in the trees, in the wildflowers, in the wind and birds and small animals scurrying away at our footsteps.

I love these woods walks. It’s out here that you find the real Mackinac – in the trees, in the wildflowers, in the wind and birds and small animals scurrying away at our footsteps.

When I was out here a few days ago, Bear ran ahead of me and up over that hill.  A few seconds later, he began barking - something he normally doesn't do unless Maddie does it first.  I hurried ahead and found him backed off several feet and frantically warning me that there was a dangerous creature ahead . . . .

When I was here a few days ago, Bear ran ahead of me and up over that hill. A few seconds later, he began barking – something he normally doesn’t do unless Maddie does it first. I hurried ahead and found him backed off several feet and frantically warning me that there was a dangerous creature ahead . . . .

, , , this rock cairn someone had recently formed!  For Bear, who knows every rock and branch and tree out here, this was different and therefore worth

, , , this cairn rock sculpture someone had recently formed! For Bear, who knows every rock and branch and tree out here, this was different . . .

gggggg

. . . and therefore. it was worth it to sound an alarm.

Maddie, jumping over a couple of small trees that had fallen across the path.

Maddie, jumping over a couple of small trees that had fallen across the path.

Out of the State Park and back into the Village.

Out of the State Park and back into the Village.  Lilacs . . .

14

15

. . . and Bleeding Hearts.

. . . and Bleeding Hearts against a neighbor’s fence.

Cadotte Avenue runs all the way through the Village and into the State Park - where it dead ends into Annex Road.

Cadotte Avenue runs all the way through the Village and into the State Park – where it dead ends into Annex Road.  I love the Village!

vvv

Two “drive it yourself” buggies – grown children in the first one, grandparents and grandchildren in the second – followed by a taxi.  Where else but on Mackinac!

OTHER GOODIES!

My friend Frankie and sweet Hershey are on the Island for a few days.  They stopped in to see Jill at the Island Bookstore.

My friend Frankie and sweet Hershey are on the Island for a few days. They stopped in to see Jill at the Island Bookstore.  Sorry, Hershey, no treats in my pocket.

After a party downtown Saturday night, Ted and I waited at the cab stand for a taxi home. God painted quite a beautiful tapestry across the sky that evening.

After a party downtown Saturday night, Ted and I waited at the cab stand for a taxi home. God painted quite a beautiful tapestry across the sky that evening.

A wedding photographer was doing some special shots out on our lawn late this afternoon.  I rushed inside to get the big lens, but only caught them as they rode away.

A wedding photographer was doing some special shots out on our lawn late this afternoon. I rushed inside to get the big lens, but only caught them as they rode away.

The Lilac bush at the corner of our back yard.

The Lilac bush at the corner of our back yard.

My sweet boy.

My sweet boy.

I  begin volunteering tomorrow at the Stuart House and will be there every Monday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. for the rest of the season.  If you’re on the Island on a Monday, I’d sure love it if you’d stopped by and said hi!

Happy, Happy Birthday this weekend to our special brother-in-law, Charlie/Frog McMichael, and a Happy, Happy Birthday also to Mr. Pat Pulte, owner of the Murray Hotel and the Inn on Mackinac!  Pat is one of the Mackinac 7 – a group of talented artists who live and work on the Island.  Pat, I have my eye on that painting of the Stuart House on Market Street!

The Lilac Festival is in full swing this week, culminating in the Lilac Festival Parade next Sunday afternoon.  Stay tuned for all the fun!

Mackinac Island Winter Update – Vol. 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catching Up! 10/18/2011

Stunned.  Humbled.  Happy tears.  Grins.  Wide eyes.  Little nods.  Smiling head shakes.  Stillness. Joy.  Wonder.

I could go on . . . . but not today.  Today and tomorrow I’m going to do as promised and write and post pictures from our next-to-the-last week on the island.  Before we leave, I’ll tell you what today and your comments and emails have meant to me.  But not now.  For now, I will read each one another time or two or three – and I will hold each one close to my heart.  I love you, my friends.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I’ve been saving photos up for days now, so I’m going to spread them over the next two days, or you’ll be reading all night!

These first ones came from last Thursday.  Ted and I biked down the hill and ate breakfast at the Pancake House with Jill.  I can’t believe it, but that was the first morning we’d gone to town for breakfast all summer!  I think that has something to do with my laziness in the mornings, but breakfast is always great when you eat it out, and this one was no different.

After Ted left the table to go run errands, Jeremy (another Island Bookstore friend) came in and joined us.  Jill and I sat with him while he ate, then went roaming the streets, looking for photo ops.  We didn’t get far before we spotted Frankie and Hershey coming out of Doud’s, so they joined us in our quest.

Thursday was the first of several wild and crazy weather days. Rain had come in overnight, but the winds weren't up that high yet. Even so, the beautiful trees next door at the Carriage Museum property had lost a lot of leaves.

Everyone in town has been talking about the Halloween decorations at the Island House, so that was our first stop. Oh yeah! Creepy crawlers everywhere . . . .

. . . including up in the trees . . .

. . . and even the flag pole! Yikes!

We were walking toward Mission Point when we saw a rocking chair riding a bike . . . it was really Fernando, a dock porter who is usually balancing 10 suitcases on his handle bars. A rocking chair was a piece of cake!

Even though Fall has officially arrived with the colder weather, we still have beautifully blooming flowers. . . .

. . . that will continue on until that first frosty morning - like these gorgeous dahlias.

You know I love side streets, and this one - Truscott Street - ends at Mission Hill and is a beauty any time of year. Mission Hill leads up to the East Bluff.

Across the street from Frankie's house someone had put four chairs and a table out by the road - free to anyone who wanted to take them off. At the end of the season, you can get some great deals!

Turning off Truscott onto Wendall Street took us in front of the the western end of Mission Point Resort, where the trees were really pretty. It's this area of Mission Point where guests stay if they bring their dogs.

I can't believe I haven't been down at this end of Main Street since the leaves started turning. Thanks, Frankie, for suggesting it!

This winding little lane runs behind Mission House, where many of the State Park employees live.

This photo was yesterday's header. There are those chairs again - I cannot walk by an Adirondack chair without snapping a pic. Just can't do it.

Mission Point's gardening team this year has absolutely done a fantastic job. Each new bed is a dazzler!

The sidewalk in front of Mission Point . . . .

. . . and Japanese Scarlett Round Berry Trees (I totally made up that name - no clue).

Miss Hershey Kiss - taking a breather.

Turning back toward town now - the fort sits framed by Autumn.

Back at Surrey Ridge just in time to catch this buggy coming down the road . . . .

. . . . turns out to be Doc Bill Chambers, the owner of Carriage Tours. I think he was wondering who the crazy woman was standing on the side of the road taking his photograph. But after he went by he yelled, "Send me a copy!"

Fast forward to Saturday.  The weather was nuts.  Rain (the kind that pelts your skin).  Wind (the kind that blows your umbrella upside down).  We had plans to meet two blog fans (Sue and Andy Stejskal) at the Cottage Inn that morning (Ted had met them this spring when they were walking by the condo), but the weather was just too bad to go downtown at 10.  Instead, they met us at the Pony for lunch and to watch the Michigan/Michigan State game.  Sue is a Special Deputy with the Centreville, MI Sheriff’s Department and owns two cadaver dogs – one is Chili (an 11-year-old wirehaired dachshund who recently won a national award) and Buzz (a chocolate lab).

Sue, with a photo of Chili on her ipad.

Ted and I with Andy and Sue. They will be back on the island and staying at the Cottage Inn for Winter Bazaar (I'm jealous). AND . . . in the spring, Sue will be bringing Chili and Buzz to the school on the island for an educational program.

Brian Bailey, the General Manager at the Chip and the Lilac Tree, joined us for a while.

I couldn't find a taxi anywhere when I started home that afternoon. Found out later they were delivering tons of people out to the Woods for a wedding reception. So I said, "What the heck, I'll walk home - what''s a little more rain." I turned down the end of Market Street to try and get a good shot of the waves out on the lake. I'd heard several stories about the roller coaster rides everyone was getting on the ferries.

When I reached the Grand, the gardeners had been busy. As I'd walked by going to town, they were pulling up all the annuals from the Grand's flower beds. Now they were already tilling the soil, getting ready in a few days to plant next Spring's tulips. Again - full circle.

The Grand looked majestic against that cloudy sky. Can you tell me what's missing . . . . . . . the flags. They'd all been taken in because of the high winds.

Looking down Cadotte - just after another shower.

Waves were pounding Round Island Light House.

It’s really hard to describe just how rough it’s been on the Straits the last few days, so I’m adding this photo taken aboard one of the Shepler ferries on Saturday.

This was the top deck, and, of course, there were no passengers sitting up there. That IS where the pilot house is though.

Ok – that’s all for tonight.  Tomorrow I leave on the 8 a.m. boat to cross to Mackinaw City and help out at Shepler’s for the Win-some Women Conference.  There will be 1,000 women coming and going each day Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and I’m going to be a greeter at the entrance gate those three days until 1 p.m..  And guess what – more weather coming in . . . . in fact . . . . there could be SNOW on Wednesday or Thursday.  Of course, there are also supposed to be 25-35 mph winds again.  Snow – bring it on.  Winds while I’m on the ferry – not so much!

See you back here Wednesday with some big Island changes for next year!


Ted’s Turn 8/18/2011

Bet you thought you were going to get a post slam full of Blake pics, didn’t you!  OR . . . no post at all!

But you know me – I’m addicted to this little writing binge I’ve been on for three summers, and I had to put SOMETHING up, since I didn’t say I wasn’t going to post today.

So . . . I grabbed Ted’s camera card, and here’s a little of his work (Blake pics tomorrow – maybe – IF I can get him to sit still long enough)!

Eagle Point Cave - Located on Tranquil Bluff Trail (requires climbing).

Mission Point from the East Bluff - on a perfect day about two weeks ago.

Looking over downtown and the Straits to the Mackinac Bridge.

The marina from the front porch of The Island House (we had lunch there Sunday).

OK - I had to throw one of mine in. This is Gizmo, the little munchkin who lives across the street. He's Chief Duck's pride and joy. Gizmo loves to chase Bear around Duck's house, but so far he hasn't caught him. He HAS come away with some blonde hair from Bear's tail in his mouth though!

That’s it for today.  I know it’s been kind of a sporadic week of posts, but what can I say . . . Blake’s here!

See you on Friday with “something – I don’t know what” and the Mystery Spot!