Back in My Happy Place 7/27/17

Hi Everyone!

We’ve been on the island now for almost two weeks, and I think we’re about settled in.  I’m a little surprised that the first week was harder than usual for me – physically I mean.  I knew I hadn’t been exercising much in Florida since it had gotten so hot (short walks with Bodie just don’t equal “in shape” on Mackinac).  The first walk up the hill to our condo left me breathing hard and thinking, “Geez, what the heck is this?”  But, it’s amazing how fast that climb got easier each time I did it, and yesterday Bodie and I covered over two miles of trails – up and down hill – and came back to the condo feeling great.  It makes me feel better that Bodie is having to get in shape too, but for some reason, I think he’s having a lot more fun than I am during the process.

Weather – what can I say?  We came from over 100 degrees heat index in Florida to here where the temps haven’t gotten out of the 70’s for highs since we arrived.  Shorts and t-shirts during the day, a jacket at night for the last dog walk, and a lap blanket out on the porch in the mornings while we have coffee.  We’ve had a couple of days of rain, but that’s ok.  We’re on the island.  We just pull on the rain gear and keep on truckin’.

Bodie has amazed us by how well he’s taking the island busyness in stride. From the time he stepped off the ferry . . .

. . . and jumped right into the taxi, he’s handled it all with a maturity I really didn’t think he possessed yet. He’s been surrounded by horses, carriages and people and is amazingly calm about all of it.  Maybe Maddie’s “so what” attitude has rubbed off on him!  Still very excited though when he meets new folks one-on-one.  We continue to work on that!

The island is beautiful in July, and we were so excited when we got to the condos to find all the landscaping done, flowers blooming, and butterflies floating from bush to bush.

And, we’re excited that we’ll be right here in this same place until we leave mid-October!

OUR FIRST TWO WEEKS IN PHOTOS

We celebrated our first evening on Mackinac with dinner at the Chippewa (a tradition). The second night we went out with friends Buz and Patty from Oklahoma. They’re here until the middle of September, and we’re so excited we’ll be seeing lots more of them before they leave. I think it was the third night we finally ate at the condo, and then walked down to Sadie’s for ice cream.

One of those stormy days. It’s amazing how quickly I forgot how dirty a golden retriever can get on the wet streets of Mackinac Island! (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

One thing all that rain produces are lush gardens all over the island, like this one of the west bluff.

As I was leaving the reunion, one of Ted’s newly-found cousins, Diane Caruso, gave us this wonderful pillow she had made because she knew of our love for little Maddie. It’s wonderful to have something “homemade” in the Mackinac condo, and when we leave we’ll take it to Florida, and it will find a home there.

You all know Ted and I have a morning coffee ritual – wherever we are. Maddie in Ted’s lap . . .

and Bodie guarding the front porch seems to be the theme for this summer.

One of cousin Dave and Diane’s sons, Scott, and his wife Tina and their boys spent the day on the island the week we arrived. They stopped by to say hello and added another “personal” item to the condo . . .

. . . . this great candid shot of their family on vacation!

Ran into artist Mary Lou Peters in Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island this week. Love this sweet lady!

Backtracking some now – I know most of you saw this on Facebook, but just in case you didn’t, Ted and I stopped in to see Lowell and Faye for a few moments as we passed through Olivet. It was storming and we had to leave the pups in the car, so we didn’t get to visit nearly long enough!

And one day while we were at Dave and Diane’s, I met Mary Saul and Frankie Thill in downtown Spring Lake for a girls chat session. So happy to see these two sweet friends.

I dropped by Mackinac Mud Pottery this afternoon and was just in time to watch owner Jay Barch creating at the wheel. Love this shop filled with original items. Ted and I use coffee mugs from Jay’s shop on Mackinac and in Florida.

Heading down Fort Hill this afternoon. There it is – that Michigan blue water and sky!

Pretty zinnias at the Grand!

Fort Mackinac on a gorgeous July day!

INDULGE ME – PLEASE

You’re just going to have to indulge me now for this section.  I’ve taken about 352 photos of Bodie since we arrived, and if left up to me I’d force you to look at each and every one. But I’m going to take pity and try and just put up a few of the best ones.  I promise, promise, promise I will NOT do this in every blog this summer, but for this one . . . well, please indulge me.

Mackinac, as seen through Bodie’s eyes his first week:

First of all, the cars here are pulled by animals called horses. Horses are much bigger than me, so I leave them alone. I don’t even bark at them. I have to admit riding around in a carriage is pretty cool stuff!  Would you believe there are people here who sweep up after the horses when they poop in the street.  I sure am glad, cause I don’t think they make poop bags big enough for horse poop!

Out my window I get to see horses in a corral. Seriously, I do.

Mackinac has woods, and being in the woods means I can be off-lead. That makes me very, very happy!

Mom makes me practice my Sit/Stay command all the time here (so she can take photos of me).

Mom said we didn’t have room in the truck for both my crate AND my bed. I’d rather she brought my bed. Maddie shares hers sometimes, but it’s not quite as big as mine.

Mom and I go on long, long walks – usually twice a day, and I’m really getting a full tour of Mackinac. Mom LOVES to take my photo at the different places we visit. Like the gazebo for Somewhere in Time . . .

. . .this place called Anne’s Tablet . . .

. . . . and in the Grand Hotel gardens!

Today we were in Turtle Park and this guy was kicking a soccer ball around. I figured he needed help.

I ran out to help him with the ball, and he stopped what he was doing and gave me great pets!  I thought that was pretty cool, but since he didn’t have treats in his pockets, I ran back to mom when she called.

This is absolutely the best place I’ve ever been so far in my life. It’s summertime, but it’s cool. There are miles and miles of trails to run on. Just about every person I meet wants to pet me. Everyone of you should seriously pack up all your pets and bring them to Mackinac!  They will thank you forever!

ONE MORE THING

Jill and I sat downtown at Marquette Park this afternoon people-watching and drinking our Arnold Palmer Lite Ice Tea (99 cents at Doud’s).  I have it on good authority that Friday, July 28, is Jill’s birthday, so everyone feel free to wish her a HAPPY BIRTHDAY right here!  Yes, she’s going to kill me for doing that, but that’s the way it is with good friends.  We can get away with stuff!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JILLSKI!!

See you back here in a few days!  God bless.

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Mackinac Island Christmas Bazaar Trip – Post 3

It’s been a long day friends – but it’s all been worth it cause I’m sitting at my laptop on Mackinac Island tonight!

I arrived at the Pellston Airport 15 minutes EARLY and was met by Jill, Sue and this fellow (one of the permanent displays at the airport).

I arrived at the Pellston Airport 15 minutes EARLY and was met by Jill, Sue and this fellow (one of the permanent displays at the airport).

We collected my luggage, jumped in Sue's car, and we were off. We made it to Mackinaw City, crossed the bridge and pulled up with minutes to spare at the Arnold Dock to board the mighty Huron.

We collected my luggage, jumped in Sue’s car, and we were off. We made it to Mackinaw City, crossed the bridge and pulled up with minutes to spare to board the mighty Huron.

Friend Joan Barch met our boat, and she snapped this pic of me when I first realized how COLD it was - full shudder mode!

Friend Joan Barch met our boat, and snapped this pic of me when I first realized how COLD it was – full shudder mode!  39 degrees with a nice wind blowing.  A big change from sunny Florida!

Our first stop was the Original Murdick's Fudge Shop where Murdick elves have been busy for days creating fudge and other yummy treats to send out across the nation. Jill took this photo of Leanne, Sue, me, Bobby Benser, whose family owns Original Murdick's Fudge, and Joan.

Our first stop was the Original Murdick’s Fudge Shop where Murdick elves have been busy for days creating fudge and other yummy treats to send out across the nation. Jill took this photo of Leanne, Sue, me, Bobby Benser, whose family owns Original Murdick’s Fudge, and Joan.

We got settled in and went to meet Sue’s son Patrick and Joan at The Village Inn for dinner.  There are only two restaurants open in the winter – The Village Inn and The Mustang.  Had a great meal and then headed back to the friend’s house where we are staying.

I love that even though the majority of the businesses are closed downtown, they've still decorated for the Christmas season - like Horn's Bar . . .

I love that even though the majority of the businesses are closed downtown, they’ve still decorated for the Christmas season – like Horn’s Bar . . .

. . . Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island. . .

. . . Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island. . .

. . . and the Chippewa Hotel.

. . . and the Chippewa Hotel (Photo by Jill).

I’m sure there are others, but we didn’t venture off Main Street tonight.

Tomorrow will be a full day, and I’ll continue to post little snippets from my iPhone.  I’ll be covering all the activity at Original Murdick’s Fudge and everything going on for the Christmas Bazaar.  Tomorrow night is the Christmas Tree lighting on Main Street.  If you go to the Horn’s Bar website and click on their webcam a little before 5:00 p.m., you should be able to watch the lighting from there.

It’s going to be a great weekend, and I’m so glad all of you are along for the ride!

Now this old girl is going to bed.  It’s been a long time since 4:00 this morning!

See you tomorrow!

 

 

Three Weeks To Go . . . . 9/8/15

I know this blog was supposed to be Part II of the Grand Garden Show, but I decided to break up all those flower gardens with some photos of daily life around the island this week.  We’ll get back to the garden show in the next post!

Labor Day is over, and the island has already made the subtle swing into the relaxing season of Fall.  The huge crowds left on Monday, and although there are still plenty of folks downtown, you can just feel the island beginning to breathe a little more slowly.

I even started back volunteering at the Stuart House this week. I worked all day Saturday and will be back on duty on Thursday! It felt great to be back!

I even started back volunteering at the Stuart House this week. I worked all day Saturday and will be back on duty Thursday! It felt great to be back inside this historic Mackinac building!

There are several new businesses in town, and one of my favorites is a new shop opened by Nicole Doud, who also owns Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island.

There are several new businesses in town, and one of my favorites is a new shop opened by Nicole Doud, who also owns Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island.  She’s calls it the Little Luxuries Artists Market.

The Artists Market carries items handmade in the USA (there are a lot of Michigan and Midwest artists). Nicole loves craft fairs and markets, so she is concentrating on unique handmade gift items. The market has a modern vintage feel with wood floors and vintage display pieces. Nicole loves supporting independent artists/makers, and it is a consignment shop as well. I love it!

The Artists Market carries items handmade in the USA (there are a lot of Michigan and Midwest artists). Nicole loves craft fairs and markets and loves supporting independent artists/makers.  Concentrating on unique handmade gift items, the Artists Market has a modern vintage feel with wood floors and vintage display pieces.  I love it!

Bear's new favorite spot - with his head between the porch rails and overseeing the carriage, bike, and pedestrian traffic down below.

Bear’s new favorite spot – with his head between the porch rails overseeing the carriage, bike, and pedestrian traffic down below.

Sunday was a beautiful day on Mackinac! The second annual Labor Day Weekend sailboat race was in full swing when I spotted the boats from our window and went over to take a photo.

Sunday was a beautiful day on Mackinac! The second annual Labor Day Weekend Sailboat Race was in full swing when I spotted the boats from our window and went over to take a photo.

Mission Point was beautiful in the sun . . .

Mission Point was beautiful in the sun . . .

. . . and the wind was spreading the seeds of this purple plant far and wide.

. . . and the wind was spreading the seeds of this purple-flowered plant far and wide.

The Mackinac Island version of AAA.

The Mackinac Island version of AAA.

Stormy Labor Day weather didn't stop Ted from joining approximately 40,000 other walkers for the Annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. This photo is just before he joins the crowd at the beginning point in St. Ignace.

Stormy Labor Day weather didn’t stop Ted from joining approximately 40,000 other walkers for the Annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. This photo is just before he joins the crowd at the starting point in St. Ignace.

LOL - no, he's not walking in the wrong direction - just turned around for a photo op before reaching one of the bridge towers.

LOL – no, he’s not walking in the wrong direction – just turned around for a photo op before reaching one of the bridge towers.  The bridge walk covers 5 miles and ends in Mackinaw City.  This was Ted’s sixth bridge walk.  Yes, I’ve done it . . . . once.

This morning was foggy, and I had to go off-island for an appointment and a little grocery shopping.

This morning was foggy, and I had to go off-island for an appointment and a little grocery shopping.

Coming back across the Straits this afternoon was a very rainy ride. Would you believe there were folks who opted to ride on the top deck with no cover!

Coming back across the Straits this afternoon was a very rainy ride. Would you believe there were folks who opted to ride on the uncovered top deck!?

You know it's a crowded ferry when the baggage section is packed on full of luggage and bikes that a few bikes had to be transported on the front deck!

You know it’s a crowded ferry when the baggage section is packed so full of luggage and bikes that a few bikes had to be transported on the front deck!

Coming up before we leave . . . . 1) Part II of the Garden Show and garden photos from two downtown summer cottages and the Iroquois Hotel.  2)  An update on Silver Birches.  3) A report on the marine rescue boats and equipment used by island rescue units and the U.S. Coast Guard.  4)  An update on Fort Holmes

Less than three weeks left on the island.  How can that be?

See you back here in a few days!

God bless.

Mackinac Island Spring Update 4/7/2013

Five weeks to go . . . I think.

Ted has had a possible 3-day job come up May 6-8 here in Georgia (the week we would be doing our final packing to leave).  If that job commitment is made, there’s a chance we won’t get out of here Mother’s Day weekend.  We’ll just have to wait and see what happens . . .

I only have a few photos tonight, and most of the ones I do have deal with more snow . . . something the island will be happy now to see end.  The first of the Grand Hotel workers arrived this week, and most of them came from very warm climates.  I’m hearing there are a lot of very happy Jamaicans seeing their first snow ever and enjoying it immensely!  I just can’t quite comprehend that the Grand “soft” opens at the end of this month and officially opens one week later, on May 2.

I read in The St. Ignace News this week that P.J. Parrish, the author of “Heart of Ice” – set on Mackinac Island – will be participating in the Mackinac Island Library Summer Author Series.  As you know “P.J.” is actually the pen name for two sisters, Kristy Montee and Kelly Nichols.  They’ll be at the island library on June 28 at 4 p.m. – can’t wait to hear them!

The Seabiscuit Cafe is already open!  Love, love, love their English Pot Roast Muffins!  Oh my gosh – now my tummy is growling!

April 4 and it is snowing on the island.  That cart just arrived with the first of this year's merchandise for Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island.  Have I mentioned that Nicole's shop will be twice as large this year?!  Oh my goodness, do NOT tell Ted!

April 4 and it is snowing on the island. That cart just arrived with the first of this year’s merchandise for Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island. I chatted with Nicole this afternoon, and she said more snow is forecast for the end of the coming week.  Good grief!  Oh . . .have I mentioned that Nicole’s shop will be twice as large this year?! Oh my goodness, do NOT tell Ted – he will chop up my charge card. (Photo: Nicole Doud)

The Father Marquette statue welcomed April to the Island through a veil of snow flakes.

The Father Marquette statue welcomed April to the Island through a veil of snow flakes. (Photo:  Clark Bloswick)

gggggg

For the entire month of April the Mackinac Bridge is illuminated by blue lights as part of an autism awareness campaign.  So beautiful.  (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Perfect place - perfect time.  Clark Bloswick was walking down Astor Street when he spotted the Huron coming straight on to the Arnold dock.

Perfect place at the perfect time. Clark Bloswick was walking down Astor Street when he spotted the Huron coming straight in to the Arnold dock.  I swear when we get to the Island I’m tracking down Clark Bloswick and Robert McGreevy and following them around all summer.  Maybe that way I can get some fantastic shots too!

Greg Main posted this photo of the new street lights that are being added.

Greg Main posted this photo of the new street lights being added downtown.  The light with the speed limit sign is older, and you can see the new lights beyond that one are brighter and seem to direct more light down on the street.  Love them!

As the weeks tick by, I’ve begun to think seriously about Bree’s Blog, and where I want to go with it this summer .  Coming up in June will be what I hope is one of the best stories yet from that magical spot.  It involves a wonderful, loyal reader and his wife and the amazing way the Island is helping make a dream come true.  That’s all I’m giving away for now . . . . :)!

That’s all for tonight.  Have a great week, think SPRING, and God bless.

I Think I’ll Go Outside a While . . an jus’ smile 9/30/2012

It’s a beautiful mornin’ ahhh
I think I’ll go outside a while
An jus’ smile
Just take in some clean fresh air boy
Ain’t no sense in stayin’ inside
If the weather’s fine an’ you got the time
It’s your chance to wake up and plan another brand new day
Either way
It’s a beautiful mornin’ ahhh  – Rascals

Makes you want to sing along, doesn’t it!

We’ve had three days of beautiful mornings – and days – this weekend, and being outside is all I’ve wanted to do.  I LOVE Fall – wherever I am.  In the South, Fall usually continues past Christmas and New Year’s Day (I’m talking Fall temperatures – the trees lose their leaves before then).  Winter (meaning we might throw on a fleece layer over a long-sleeve cotton shirt) usually arrives sometime in January.  So, even though we’ll leave here after the beautifully-colored leaves have probably all been blown from the trees, we’ll arrive in Georgia in time for another Fall that could last two more months.  We are so blessed.

The ri’vah is calling me more strongly each day.  We’ve been gone a long time now, and I’m yearning to see family and our sweet friends and to sit on the sun porch, coffee mug in hand, and watch the birds at their feeder and the lake shimmering with sunlight.

But that’s five weeks away, and right now I’m planning on enjoying Fall on Mackinac in all its brilliant glory.

So much to talk about from the Island, but first . . . .

Ted’s Trip to Chicago and the 39th Ryder Cup

Ted was invited along on the trip with a group of guys he’s gotten to know well since we made Mackinac our summer home.

The group drove to Traverse City and flew to Chicago on a charter. Now I ask you – does this group look like they could have fun or what!

Beautiful homes they passed on the way to their hotel.

Along Lake Michigan, with the Chicago skyline in the background.  Ted loved the biking, walking and running trails, but said there was no time in their schedule for exercising.  Uh huh.

View from the 40th floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, where they stayed the first night.

On Tuesday, they attended the first practice round of the Ryder Cup and the Pro-Am Celebrity Tournament.

Some of the celebrities they spotted playing were Michael Phelps, George Lopez, Bill Murray and Justin Timberlake (sorry, no close-ups).

The 17th hole. Golfers they watched practice were Phil Mickleson, Bubba Watson (go Georgia!) and Zack Johnson.

After a full day at the golf course, one of the guys gets in a little power nap on the train.

Since Ted had never been to Chicago, the guys took him to the Trump Tower Terrace bar, where you can look down the Chicago River to Lake Michigan.  What an unbelievable view!   They ate at Gibson’s Steak House on Monday night and at Topo Giogio’s Italian Restaurant in Old Town Tuesday evening.

Night in Chicago.

View of Lake Michigan Wednesday morning from the Embassy Suite.

In the Tribune Tower (home of the Chicago Tribune) there is a tangible piece of history from each of the 50 states embedded into the building. Ted found Michigan’s block, which held a bit of Fort Brady from Sault Ste. Marie.

The guys flew into Traverse City early Wednesday afternoon, drove to Mackinaw City and caught the 4:30 ferry to the Island.  I didn’t get to hear much about the trip until Thursday morning ’cause Ted went straight to sleep in his recliner after dinner.  What a great trip for everyone!

Fire Drill

The Mackinac Island Fire Department is one of the best-trained group of firefighters anywhere – they practice and drill constantly.  On Thursday evening our Fire Department conducted a training event at British Landing Dock, with the help of SEMCO energy.  The training involved burning propane tanks ranging from the “grill” sized tanks to the “home heating” style tanks, which are becoming more prevalent on the Island. 

Battling the flames are Assistant Fire Chief Jason St. Onge, Harold Jonas, Travis Vartanian and Ben Mosley.  The flames were visible from St. Ignace.  (Photo credit:  Dan Seeley)

Preparing to take care of their equipment, after the fire was out.  The lights of St. Ignace are visible across the lake.  (Photo Credit:  Dan Seeley)

The Weekend in Photographs

Friday morning’s sunrise. (Photo Credit: Patrick Conlon)

Maddie thought it was a good day to sleep in the sun (a fluffy fleece blanket only made it better)!

Jill and I hopped a ferry Friday afternoon for St. Ignace and hair appointments. All I did was get my boring gray covered, but Jill went crazy with a PINK streak!

Jeremy’s reaction to Jill’s PINK streak! Not to worry, by Sunday morning, she had washed it out.

A sign of the season. Our recent cold snap was hurtful to some of our beautiful summer flower baskets. These from Main Street Inn & Suites came down this weekend.

More Fall signs – the shops are decorated for Autumn. These mums and scarecrows are outside of Decked Out.

Little Luxuries has some great Halloween goodies. Hey! That pumpkin matches my backpack!

Ted and I popped in at Ella & Ivy’s in time to wish Anne’s mom a Happy 90th Birthday!  She had flown up from Florida to spend the week with Anne and commented it quite a bit chillier in Michigan!  What a sweet and beautiful lady.

Steven Kopacki closed his gallery at 6pm Saturday evening and took a fall hike to Fort Holmes where he took this picture. It was taken at dusk, no flash, no tripod, looking southeast, full moon and fall color. Did you see the freighter in the moon reflection in the water. Steven’s gallery is offering 20 to 30% off on canvases and prints thru Oct 14th: www.photosbyblair.com

The peacefulness and beauty of the water near Mission Point Resort on Sunday morning promised another wonderful day outside! (Photo credit: Mary McGuire)

Late this afternoon Ted and I decided to take the pups up to Lookout Point. The trees at the Carriage Museum are turning more golden each day, and Wednesday is the last day they will be open – no more doughnuts till next year!

One of my favorite trees at the back entrance of the Carriage Museum (that’s the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Exhibit over the dropoff there).

All paths to Lookout Point lead first through the cemeteries.  Today was a wonderful day for a Drive-it-Yourself buggy ride!

The trees at the cemeteries had much more color than Surrey Hill – just 1/2 mile away.

A canopy of gold.

The view from Lookout Point out to Lake Huron – so much change from when Ted was up here a week ago!

Lots of summer picnics have been enjoyed under this little shelter at Lookout Point!

The road not taken – at least not today. Next week we’ll go through here to Ft. Holmes.

We had started our walk late and then stopped to talk with several folks along the way. It was WAY past Maddie and Bear’s dinner time . . . .

“I wonder if this leads to Afternoon Snack Trail?”

Last wood path before home . . . what an awesome weekend!

I left out a very important part of Saturday.  A group of visually impaired children and teenagers visited the Island this weekend, and one of the highlights of their trip was a visit to Jack’s Livery Stable, where they were introduced to all things horse – including a ride!  I was so excited to be  invited to come with my camera, and I’ll have that story for you Wednesday.

The days will begin to fly by now, and I’m hoping I can give those of you who can’t come for Fall a real sense of what Mackinac is like during this season.  It’s a wonderful time to be here – maybe some photo will convince you to plan a trip in the next few weeks . . . everyone is offering specials!  And if not a photograph, what about a little movie – taken Saturday afternoon on my way home:  http://youtu.be/_RWwwSVYHRg

See you Wednesday!

Stick Season 9/23/2012

“She calls it “stick season,” this slow disrobing of summer,
leaf by leaf, till the bores of tall trees rattle and scrape in the wind.”
–   Eric Pinder

We haven’t gotten to “stick season” yet, but would you believe that the weather report called for possible SLEET this past weekend!  It didn’t happen, but could it be . . . . could it possibly be . . . that we might see SNOW before we leave?  You know how I am about that white stuff . . . I’ll keep you posted!

Ted and I were going to Mackinaw City on Friday to say goodbye to Chris Ann and Burton (they leave on Monday or Tuesday for Florida – by way of lower Michigan visits to family and friends).  But the weather was so bad (rain, cold) that Chris Ann called and said, “Please don’t get out in this.  We’ll see you later in the year – maybe in Georgia!”  We were already geared up for rain when she called, so we decided to go ahead and walk downtown for breakfast/brunch/lunch – whichever we were hungry for when our tummies said , “It’s time to eat!”

It’s hard to explain how important rain gear is to someone who doesn’t live on Mackinac.  In the “real world”, we throw up the umbrella for the two-step walk to the car from our front doors, park in garages attached to shopping malls, and scarcely give a thought to getting wet, even on a really rainy day.

Here, it’s a little different.

On Mackinac Island, rain gear is a necessity, and buying the good stuff is well worth the dollars and cents!

Take the Carriage Tour drivers.  One of the first things they are told when they are hired is, “Bring good rain gear!”  Cold-weather gear is provided, but not rain gear.

The first-time college-kid drivers tend to scoff at this advice.  They may even show up at the beginning of the season with NO rain gear.  But the first time they’re in the middle of a shift and the skies open up, leaving them stuck for the rest of the day on a carriage – soaking wet and miserable – they use the first opportunity they have to: 1) go on-line and order the best rain gear available; or 2) phone home and ask mom to send same.  It’s a wet lesson, learned the hard way, but from that point on, at even the hint of anything other than sunny skies, the rain gear goes out the door with them to work.

I bought my men’s size small rain pants just before we came back for our second summer on the Island, and Julie and her family gave me a great rain coat with hood and some rain boots for Christmas that year.  This was after realizing that walking back from town in a windy downpour, with only an umbrella, gets you nothing but soaked.

So – enclosed in rain gear – Ted and I set off for town during a little break in the weather.

Before we’d even reached Main Street, the skies darkened once more, and we made a run for it past Marquette Park . . .

. . . and into the Richard & Jane Manoogian Art Museum – which we had not visited all summer. The new exhibit upstairs is dedicated to the 125th anniversary of the Grand Hotel, and it is amazing. From an upstairs window we watched the rain clouds move from Mackinaw City to the Island.

Shooting through the rain-drenched window gave downtown the blur of a watercolor painting . . .

. . . and seemed to accent the emptiness of the marina.

When the rain let up a little, we walked over to see Anne at Ella & Ivy and found Ella modeling an adorable doggie raincoat.  Everything in Anne’s store is 50% off – except the artwork.

We also stopped in at Little Luxuries (Ted went to Island Bookstore while I explored). Nicole has so many Fall items out now . . .

. . . including Halloween fun things!

Today begins Mackinac Island Restaurant Week (September 23-29), and Island restaurants are trying to outdo each other with special menus at fantastic prices.  To see what some of your favorites have to offer this week, click here: http://mackinacislandrestaurantweek.org/.

I met back up with Ted at the bookstore, and then we popped into Jesse’s Chuckwagon for one of their fabulous hamburgers (Rodeo Burger for me and Bleu Cheese Burger for Ted).

The Chuckwagon is traditionally a locals favorite, and Ted and I enjoyed eating breakfast there many, many times when we’d vacation on the island years ago (we don’t get downtown for breakfast much since we moved “up the hill”). This may have been our very first time there for lunch, and the hamburgers were great!

The Chuckwagon is a tiny restaurant, but if things go as planned, they may be increasing in size in the next year or so.  Then more folks will be able to enjoy this special place where you can sit at the counter and watch the food be prepared.

We splurged on a taxi ride home (hardly ever do that in the daytime), but we used the rain as an excuse :)!

Someone is already picking pumpkins out of the patch at the horse barns!

Saturday was another gray and rainy day – the wind and cold didn’t help either.  We had plans to go to friends for dinner, and when the forecast for sleet came on at the Weather Channel, I started adding another layer to my planned outfit.  But – not only didn’t it sleet – it stopped raining!  And . . .

. . . Shepler’s Ferry in Mac City captured this dazzling double rainbow late in the afternoon . . .

. . . and Patrick Conlon captured the sunrise this beautiful Sunday morning.

After church and lunch, we took the pups out for a long walk.  They’ve been cooped up most of the week – with short potty breaks being their only outside time.  They were ready to run!

Colors are showing above the Carriage Museum.  Loving that blue sky!

Glimpses of yellow through the trees . . .

. . . and the first red leaf I’ve seen this year!

It felt great to be outside in the woods!

Lots of new smells to sniff out after a rain . . .

Bear runs ahead, then waits till we catch up . . .

. . . and today he ran and ran just for the sheer joy of it!

Even Maddie was allowed off her leash to chase a squirrel up a tree!

It’s after dinner now as I sit finishing this post.  Ted leaves on the 9 a.m. ferry Monday morning with Island buddies to drive to Traverse City.  From there they are flying to Chicago, and on Tuesday they’ll be attending a practice round of the Ryder Cup Golf Tournament. They’ll be back Wednesday.   He is excited!

I’ll be at the Stuart House Monday from 10-2, and if you read Bree’s Blog and you’re visiting on the Island, I’d love for you to stop by so we can meet.

Have a great week, and I’ll see you back here Tuesday night or Wednesday morning!  God bless.

Spring . . . Summer . . . Fall? 8/19/2012

Hmmm.  There’s a little nip in the air.  It  warms up nicely by two or three o’clock (“nicely” being low 70’s, not mid-80’s), but then the thermometer mercury begins sliding back down the tube.  Friday and Saturday were very windy, and although I don’t think Fall is quite ready to declare “I’ve  arrived!”, it’s certainly lurking out there somewhere – throwing us a few more sunny, warm days to pamper us, before beginning to turn green leaves into gold and warm breezes into chilly winds.

To be frank, I’m ready for Labor Day.  As big as our crowds on the Island have been all summer, it seems for the last two weeks they’ve been even bigger!  Because of the crowds, I haven’t been downtown as much this summer; but at the same time, I’ve been thanking the good Lord for all the business for the shops, hotels, and restaurants.  The economic numbers have begun to come in, and Mackinac Island is coming back strong.

When I drew the shades up Saturday morning, I knew I just couldn’t stay home.  The sun was shining, the air was cool, it was breezy, and the sky and water were matching shades of blue.  Perfect!  Jill and I had been trying to get together for weeks, and Saturday we finally both were free at the same time!

Jill met me at the condo, and we took the long way downtown, walking down Fort Street. The weeping willow tree shows just how windy it was!

We ate outside at J.L. Beanery, moving to the dock, and sitting at tables in the sun. From there we could see the marina, the lighthouses, and the Straits. I called Ted at the Visitors Center and asked him to walk out on the back deck. From there he could turn in our direction and see us waving at him.  I think he was a little jealous he was working, and we were playing.

When we left the Beanery, we noticed a wedding party across the street at the Island House . . .

. . . . where a very handsome Marine and his beautiful bride were posing for wedding photographs.  Just before this pose, he had swept her up in his arms, and she had taken off his hat and put it on her head – as in the final scene in “An Officer and a Gentleman”.  SO romantic . . . and I didn’t have my camera ready!

I needed a baby gift for my Georgia friend Dawn’s about-to-be-born grandson, so I shopped in Little Luxuries, while Jill ran in the bookstore to put her “left-over” sandwich in the frig.  She was working the late shift on Saturday, so that would become her dinner.  Then we crossed the street to visit Anne at Ella & Ivy’s.  Both places were crowded with customers, and little Ella (Anne’s Maltese) was getting plenty of pampering by everyone who walked in.  We said “Hello!” to Loretta in Martha’s Sweet Shop, but she was so busy she couldn’t break away even for a second.  We all decided after Labor Day we had to have a Girl’s Lunch to celebrate a great season!

Jill had books to return to the library. I never tire of walking in that beautiful building. On Saturday, the back doors were open, and we could look straight through to the lighthouse.  We enjoyed looking at the beautiful art of the Mackinac Seven, a group of local artists who display their work in the library each August.

I browsed through the Used Book section (Hardbacks-$2, Softbacks-$1) and through the DVD and VHS rentals. I thought of all the old movies I had stacked up at home and made plans in my head to ship them to the Island library when we return to Georgia. As you can tell, the wind was kicking up a little more by now, and the waves and whitecaps were becoming more numerous.

Outside the library, I met Jane from Kalamazoo, MI, a fan of Bree’s Blog, with her precious daughter (hope I remembered that name correctly).  Good grief, look at my hair!  Well, I said it was a windy day!

The boardwalk, on the west end of Main Street, was lined with visitors – all enjoying their day on the Island.

Even the sidewalk on Cadotte was crowded . . .

. . . and many visitors stopped to watch a few innings of the vintage baseball game, played every Saturday in the open space below the Grand Hotel.

Saturday night Ted and I headed back downtown for date night.  We had drinks at the Pony, then walked down the street to Mary’s Bistro for dinner (their signature dish is the spit-fired chicken with mashed potatoes). I get it every time we go there – yummy!

We tend to favor restaurants on the water, and Mary’s fills that bill. We usually eat outside on the deck at lunch, but at night inside is more cozy.

Saturday was a great day – spending time with a good friend, visiting other good friends, and capping it off with a sweet date with Ted.  Blessed – so blessed.

Random Pics from the Weekend

Blog reader Yvonne Pitsch and her husband Tony (from Iowa) were on the Island this week, and we made plans to meet up on Friday morning as I walked with Bear down to the ferry (grooming day in Cheboygan).

Bear loved meeting ANOTHER Bear – their German Shepard/Collie mix. What a sweet dog! Tony and Yvonne were staying at the dog-friendly Harbor View Suites downtown. So good to see you again, Yvonne, and to meet Tony and Bear!

Bear on the ferry Friday morning. With the wind like it was, it was going to be a bumpy ride both ways, so we headed to the lower deck. There were a few brave folks who opted to “try it out” up top, but by five minutes into the ride, they were downstairs – not because of the ride, but because of the spray off the water.

The Tale of the Skirt

This morning I decided I would try something new – riding my bike to church, wearing a skirt.  Ted had gone down ahead of me, so I finished dressing, took Maddie and Bear out one more time (in case we decided to eat lunch downtown), locked up and got on my bike.  I was very conscious of trying to ride “ladylike” and also keep the skirt (mid-calf length and full) from getting into gears and bike chain and sprockets.  I was doing a darn good job too . . . until I reached the Grand.  Suddenly, instead of the whir of bike wheels, I heard the “click, click, click” of something wrong.  I was going VERY slowly and had time to stop the bike before it stopped on its own.  I was right next to a stopped carriage, and the driver looked over and said, “Uh, oh!”  My skirt was totally wrapped in the back gears.  Because it was long and full, I was able to get off the bike.  There was nothing to do but rip the material out of the gear (the wheel would no longer turn), leaving about an inch of the skirt in the gear.  I couldn’t see the damage, but I asked the driver his opinion.  “Ah, you can’t even tell it’s torn,” he said.  “Just be thankful you didn’t fall.”  Well, I was, but I also had a feeling the damage was a little greater than what he was letting on.

I ripped the rest of my skirt out of the gears and walked the bike around the corner to Margaret’s Garden Shop at the Grand.  Parking the bike, I walked inside, explained my problem, and asked if they had some sharp scissors.  “Just do the best you can,” I said.  They cut out the ragged edge, straightening the line as best they could, and swearing that because the skirt had an underskirt, it looked right in fashion.  I thanked them and walked the bike the rest of the way to church.

They missed a couple of ragged tears . . .

. . . but like they said, with the underskirt, it doesn’t look really, really bad. Maybe I’ll just cut the other side the same way!

Lesson learned:  Don’t try the skirt thing on a bike again.

Favorite Photos from the Weekend

Sunrise this weekend from Mackinaw City. (Photo: Patrick Conlon, Shepler’s Ferry Line)

One of the most gorgeous dawn photos I’ve ever seen.  Wow and double Wow.  (Photo:  Abby Holstrom)

Another busy week ahead – working on Monday, friends possibly coming on Tuesday, lunch with Frankie on Wednesday, Ted in golf tournament for Medical Center on Thursday, with accompanying dinner at the Woods for wives that evening, and off-island for appointments on Friday.

Have I mentioned it’s been a busy summer?!

See you on Wednesday with the full report.  Have a great week!