One Week Home 10/22/17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

. . . . except there were more hills!

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

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

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

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

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

MEANWHILE, BACK ON MACKINAC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AND A FEW MORE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT’S NEXT?

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

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

God bless.

 

 

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A Rainy Day on Mackinac 8/17/17

Hi Friends!

The Horton clan awoke to heavy rain this morning on the island, and a few hours into the day it’s still coming down.  It’s one of those days when you don’t feel guilty for not going out and enjoying everything Mackinac has to offer, so I’m sitting here at the kitchen island, laptop open . . .

. . . looking out the front door glass at the rain creating little riverlets on the street, dog toys scattered everywhere, and pups watching the windows for any signs of Ted coming home from the weekly Men’s Breakfast at the Yacht Club.

After I wrote the last blog, I continued to push myself on my ankle, and I paid for it later in the week.  So, as of yesterday, I’m trying to do better.  I declared myself “off my feet” except for stuff I just couldn’t avoid doing, wrapped my ankle in the compression bandage the Med Center had provided, elevated it when possible, and really rested yesterday. This morning my ankle was less swollen than it’s been for three weeks, so I have the same plan for today.  Cough is basically the same.

And enough of that.

The good thing about “pushing it” is that I have lots of photos to share!

After church last Sunday I had to get a pic of the pots of geraniums lining the entrance to the church. Is there anything more welcoming than red geraniums?

On the walk home that day I slipped into the Grand Hotel’s gardens . . . .

. . . and came back out at the beautiful, curved red bench sitting strategically in a corner just off the sidewalk. It’s a great place to stop and rest on the walk up the hill or just to people watch!

Thanks, Jill, for getting this photo of two blog readers who stopped in the Island Bookstore recently. That’s Ashley and her mom Penny – both from Chicago! Thanks for reading the blog, ladies!

Loved these bikes with their “wheels of light” on Main Street the other night!

A typical busy day on Surrey Hill.  A visitor has pulled a chair out into the sun and is eating lunch (while texting, of course), people are walking down to the Grand stable to see the horses and the carriage museum it houses, and a private buggy, pulled by four Hackneys, waits in the shade for its passengers.

Bodie, in the closet and trying to figure out a way to get the dog treats out of my vest pocket.

Blog readers and friends Tony and Yvonne stopped by the condo one afternoon this week. They were at Grand Hotel celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. It was a nice day to sit on the porch and chat!

A beautiful sunrise captured by Max Jones.

Bodie and I left the island on Tuesday for his first grooming in Michigan. So proud of him – they said he was great for them in the tub and on the table. Still a little leery of the drying room, but he’s getting better at that too! He loves the ferry – and the taxi rides!

We were at a party downtown a few nights ago and got to enjoy a great sunset from the private dock.

Walking home after the party. We love Mackinac after dark.

We happened to get to this corner at the same time as a Mackinac Ghost Tour!

Beautiful Fort Mackinac.

Love this family of blog readers. You might remember Brittany as the college student who was in St. Augustine for a few weeks with her education major friends. She and the family called yesterday wanting us to join them at Sadie’s for ice cream, but I was determined to stay off my foot as much as possible. So I said, “Y’all come on up!” Loved visiting with Brittany, mom Lori, dad Craig, and brother Josh!

 UPDATE

Blake landed at his destination this morning around 4 a.m., after leaving Jacksonville early in the morning on Wednesday.  He texted this last night around 11 pm, and I had to laugh out loud. I can so see him, earbuds firmly planted and oblivious to everything else going on around him.  Blake’s text:  “You know, there’s that point in your day when you’re jamming out to some Jackson 5, some Commodores, some U2 – and then BOOM – wheels touch down in Istanbul. Surreal, but a very good moment”. He later flew on to Ankara.  Thank you so much for all the prayers that lifted for his safe journey.  Please continue to remember him as he settles into this new life.  (Photo is from a few weeks ago in Colorado.)

We have company coming in on Tuesday (Dave and Diane Bennick, who we stayed with on the trip up).  We love that we’re getting to see more of this great couple.  More “new family” coming in September!

Y’all have a great rest of the week.

God bless.

Notes from the Island 7/30/17

Hi Friends!

Today we’ve been on the island for exactly two weeks, and our routine is beginning to gel.  As usual, a lot of it revolves around walking dogs!  Ted takes Maddie and Bodie out (separately) before breakfast.  Depending on the weather (and his mood), that might be a five minute walk for each of them, or a 30 minutes walk for each of them.  When he brings Maddie back and leaves with Bodie, I feed Maddie.  When Bodie gets back, he gets his breakfast, and Ted and I take our coffee out to the porch.  Maddie sits in Ted’s lap, and Bodie’s leash is attached to something sturdy so he won’t go rushing after anything that catches his interest. We’re usually out there a good hour at least, and it’s one of my favorite times of the day.  It’s cool, there’s usually a breeze, the birds are tuning up for the day, and early morning workers are walking or biking by on their way to various jobs.

I take Bodie on a long walk (usually an hour – depending on MY mood) about the middle of the morning, they’re both walked again after their dinner (at 4:30) and after we have OUR dinner, I take Bodie out for another long walk.  All of that is modified depending on what we have planned for the day, but Bodie (and I) are getting lots more exercise than we were in Florida, and we LOVE it.  Most of it is off-lead in the woods, and so far he’s really good about sticking pretty close! 

Bodie on Rifle Range Road,  just before he and Ted walked up to Fort Holmes in the background.

Thanks to everyone who wished sweet Jill a Happy Birthday on Thursday. Ted and I took her out to lunch at The Chuck Wagon. We arrived at 11:45 (they open at noon for lunch), waited in line until the doors opened, and then slid into the last three seats available at the bar. That’s how good The Chuckwagon is!

The Hollyhocks are BEAUtiful on Mackinac this summer. These are growing near the sidewalk in front of one of the lovely homes on the boardwalk.

Looking across the school yard at Little Stone Church and part of busy Cadotte Avenue.

Bodie, running to catch up with Ted, after he came back to check on me.  This is a great trail for all of us.  It’s long, we’ve never seen another person on it, and as far as I know, it doesn’t have a name. You’ll know you’re on it though when you come to that teepee grouping of logs leaning up against another tree.

I was coming out of the condo one day this week to walk downtown, and this couple was walking by with their children.  Dad had on a boot like people wear when they’ve broken a foot, and he was using crutches.  Mom was one of the most beautiful women I’d ever seen – seriously she looked like a model.  None of which is that unusual.  Except for this.

This sweet couple have seven children under 12! This is not a blended family.  These are all their children.  They asked me about the condo we are in, and I ended up walking as far as Grand Hotel with them.  Their names are Bethany and Garrett Graupner, and they were on the way to Charlotte so Garrett could interview for a pastor’s job there.  This family just made my day.  I named Garrett SUPERDAD for walking on crutches up as far as the condos, I crowned Bethany SUPERWOMAN for the poise and grace she showed with seven kids, an injured husband, AND doing it all while looking like Cindy Crawford!  Prayers lifting for this wonderful family as they make their way to Charlotte and that Garrett’s interview goes well!

PRAYER REQUESTS

Please pray that our son and the rest of the team soon receives the work permits they need in order to begin their work overseas.  They are supposed to be leaving the middle of August for their assignment.  They all have jobs in place, but must have the government work visas before they can leave.  I understand this is pretty typical for the country to wait until the last minute, but they can’t make plane reservations and other last minute plans until the work visas are in hand.

Also, please pray for an end to a nagging cough I’ve had for three weeks now.  It started after we left home, and just won’t let up.  It feels like an allergy thing (coughing when I start to speak, just a tickling), but it is beginning to be a real drag.  I’m going to give it another week, then if not better, I will have it checked out.  Ted had exactly the same thing for almost two months BEFORE we left Florida, but his finally went away.

See you back here soon!

God bless.

Throw Back Tuesday – Back Track and Forward March 4/11/17

Personal Note:  Loved reposting this blog today because of the many Mackinac friends – and blog readers – who happen to be in it!  Also, it was written at the end of the Lilac Festival that year and involves a parade!  Sweet memories.

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FIRST PUBLISHED JUNE, 18,2013

You will not BELIEVE all the photographs I have backlogged over the last few days!  I’ve been focusing mainly on Lilacs for a good two weeks now, and the Lilacs are still going strong, even though their “festival” ended yesterday. Tonight I want to catch up on a few other topics, throw in a few more flowers, and highlight some of the parade from yesterday. So, here we go . . .

THE PEOPLE WE MEET!

New lady on the corner! Walk down Main Street as far as Shepler's Ferry, look directly across the street on the corner of Main and Astor, and you will more than likely see - during daylight hours anyway - the brilliant smile of Mert. As the Corner Concierge, Mert helps visitors with all things "Mackinac" and does it so easily and with such friendliness that you just want to stay and chat a while longer. She'd love for you to stop by - to ask questions, to talk about Mackinac, or just to say hi! Oh, and tell her "Bree" sent you!

New lady on the corner! Walk down Main Street as far as Shepler’s Ferry, look directly across the street to the corner of Main and Astor, and you will more than likely see – during daylight hours anyway – the brilliant smile of Mert. As the Corner Concierge, Mert helps visitors with all things “Mackinac” and does it so easily and with such friendliness you just want to stay and chat a while longer! She’d love for you to stop by – to ask questions, to talk about the Island, or just to say hi!  You will love her!

This beautiful family, Theresa, Allen, Amelia and Michael - from Tecumseh MI, met me last week at Sadie's for ice cream. Theresa is a frequent commenter on Bree's Blog and follows us in Georgia during the winter also.

This beautiful family – Allen, Theresa, Amelia and Michael – from Tecumseh MI, met me last week at Sadie’s for ice cream.  While we were there, Amelia chose my 4th flavor to try – Caramel Turtle Cheesecake!  A T-E-N!

Loved hanging out with this great family, and while we were in Sadie's Amelia chose my 4th flavor to try - Caramel Turtle Cheesecake! A T-E-N!

Theresa is a frequent commenter on Bree’s Blog and follows the Lake Blackshear Blog in Georgia during the winter also.  Loved hanging out with this great family!

A couple of days later, I turned the corner down French Lane and spotted Theresa and Allen trying to find all the hidden treasurers in Jeff's garden. They didn't know I was anywhere around until after I snapped this. They left the island the day of the Lilac Parade and watched it on Theresa's iPad in the car going home. LOVE IT!

A couple of days later, I turned the corner down French Lane and spotted Theresa and Allen trying to find all the hidden treasurers in Jeff’s garden. They didn’t know I was anywhere around until after I snapped this. They left the island the day of the Lilac Parade and watched it on Theresa’s iPad in the car going home. LOVE IT!

Richard! This sweet gentleman used to live all summer on the Island, and Ted and I first met him several years ago. Now he returns for a few days here and there, and I happened to spot him downtown this week, resting on a bench in the sun. Always good to see Richard!

Richard! This sweet gentleman used to live all summer on the Island, and Ted and I first met him several years ago. Now he returns for a few days here and there, and I happened to spot him downtown this week, resting on a bench in the sun. Always good to see Richard, and he always asks about Bear and Ted . . . in that order.

On the way home a couple of days ago, right by the big barns on Cadotte, someone called "Bree?" I turned and met Ted (I'll remember that name for sure) and his wife Rebecca. They were married on Mackinac just last year and were up for a visit. This sweet couple is from Aurora, Ohio, and their love of the island was so evident, they reminded me of ME!

On the way home a couple of days ago, right by the big barns on Cadotte, someone called “Bree?” I turned and met Ted (I’ll remember that name for sure) and his wife Rebecca. They were married on Mackinac just last year, found Bree’s Blog when they returned home from their honeymoon, and were up for a visit. This sweet couple is from Aurora, Ohio, and their love of the island was so evident.  They reminded me of ME!

Evi is a blog fan from New Jersey, and we met up - finally, after several attempts - at the Island Bookstore one evening last week! Hope to see you again soon, Evi!

Evi is a blog fan from New Jersey, and we met up – finally, after several attempts – at the Island Bookstore one evening last week! Hope to see you again soon, Evi!

Tommy and Gerald - our two teenage young men who stayed with us Saturday night. They are part of an A Cappela Choir from Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte, MI. We had a fun time with Tommy and Gerald, who challenged us to a game of Monopoly (who knew teenagers still played Monopoly). Three hours later, Ted was bankrupt, I was on the verge of bankruptcy, and Tommy was Donald Trump Jr.

Tommy and Gerald – our two teenage young men who stayed with us Saturday night. They are part of an a cappella choir from Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte, MI. We had a fun time with Tommy and Gerald, who challenged us to a game of Monopoly (who knew teenagers still played Monopoly) after returning from singing for their supper at the Seabiscuit restaurant. Three hours later, Ted was bankrupt, I was on the verge of bankruptcy, and Tommy was Donald Trump Jr.  During that Monopoly game, they also put away two large bottles of juice, a huge bowl of popcorn, a whole bag of tortillas, a jar or salsa and a jar of cheese dip – with a little fudge as dessert .  LOL – they SO reminded me of Jason and Blake at that age!  We enjoyed having Tommy and Gerald with us – they were smart, well-mannered, and fun – a tribute to their families.

The choir group after church on Sunday.

The choir group after church on Sunday.

Blog readers Traci and Bill stopped by the Stuart House this morning while Mike Forrester was visiting, so Mike became our photographer. Traci and Bill are from Pulaski, Tennessee, and it was so nice to hear a Southern accent! It was a spur-of-the-moment visit for them (the best kind). They drove 13 hours to get here and plan just to relax and "do Mackinac" with no real set agenda (the best way). Have fun, you two!

Blog readers Traci and Bill stopped by the Stuart House this morning while Mike Forrester was visiting, so Mike became our photographer. Traci and Bill are from Pulaski, Tennessee, and it was so nice to hear a Southern accent! It was a spur-of-the-moment visit for them (the best kind). They drove 13 hours to get here and plan just to relax and “do Mackinac” with no real set agenda (the best way). Have fun, you two!

FOUR-LEGGED CRITTERS

Out snapping Lilac photos the other day near The Gate House, I ran across this sweet puppy, obviously tied out while mom and dad lunched on the patio just a few feet away. The Gate House provides water dishes for pets! A cutie-pie!

Out snapping Lilac photos the other day near the Gate House, I ran across this sweet puppy, tied out while mom and dad lunched on the patio just a few feet away. The Gate House provides water dishes for pets! A cutie-pie!

This precious baby was enjoying the shade at Park Place Suites, which is pet-friendly!

This precious pooch was enjoying the shade at Park Place Suites, which is pet-friendly!

Back to front Grand Hotel omnibuses, the first driven by Shelby and the second by new driver Caleb (I hope, I hope I'm right on that name).

Back to front Grand Hotel omnibuses, the first driven by Shelby and the second by new driver Caleb (I hope, I hope I’m right on that name).

New neighborhood pooch, Charlie!

New neighborhood puppy, Charlie . . .

. . . and our condo neighbor, Judy, is back for the summer with her sweet Buddy.

. . . and our condo neighbor, Judy, is back for the summer with her sweet Buddy.

It's not often you can wake up with two Budweiser Clydesdale in your front yard, but it happened this week! These two, Duke and Jack, were here with four of their team-mates for the Lilac Parade! That's Kyle on Duke's back.

It’s not often you can wake up with two Budweiser Clydesdales in your front yard, but it happened this weekend! These two, Duke and Jack, were here with four of their team-mates for the Lilac Parade! That’s Kyle on Duke’s back.

A FEW MORE FLOWERS

Only had to walk down Cadotte to find this big clump of Lady Slippers - near where the old Grand stable once stood.

I only had to walk down Cadotte to find this big clump of Lady Slippers – near where the old Grand stable once stood.

Lilacs!

Dark Lilacs . . .

. . . and light Lilacs!

. . . and light Lilacs!

A friendly group of Pansies . . .

A friendly group of Pansies . . .

, , , and one loner.

. . . and one loner.

A very, very small section of Jeff's garden on French Lane.

A very, very small section of Jeff’s garden on French Lane.

The always-charming Cloghaun B & B, with its luscious gardens in full bloom.

The always-charming Cloghaun B & B – surrounded by Lilacs.

A curve on Cadotte . . .

A curve on Cadotte . . .

. . . . and Mahoney Avenue.

. . . . and Mahoney Street.

THE PARADE!  THE PARADE!

The mighty Clydesdales!

The mighty Clydesdales!

FFFF

Do not try this at home – at least not if you are MY age!

This couple had a choice spot to watch the parade - right in the shade - and sweet smell - of beautiful Lilacs!

This couple had a choice spot to watch the parade – right in the shade – and sweet smell – of beautiful Lilacs!

We had serious bands . . .

We had serious bands . . .

. . . and not so serious bands.

. . . and not so serious bands.

We had beautiful performing horses . . .

We had beautiful performing horses . . .

. . . and

. . . horses performing beautifully . . .

. . . and a couple of silly horses!

. . . and a couple of silly horses!

vvvv

We had musical marching groups . . .

. . . and patriotic marching groups.

. . . and patriotic marching groups.

We had clowns in groups . . .

We had clowns who came in groups . . .

. . . and some alone.

. . . and some who came alone.

We had celebrity local dogs, like Chloe and Bella, who represented Wheels of Mackinac . . .

We had celebrity local dogs, like Chloe and Bella, who represented Wheels of Mackinac . . .

. . . and dogs whose names we'll never know - but who will grow up to be service dogs all over the country.

. . . and dogs whose names we’ll never know – who will grow up to be service dogs all over the country.

We had beauty queens who rode in carriages . . .

We had small beauty queens, teenage beauty queens .  .

. . . and some who walked.

. . . and grown-up beauty queens.

And we had bicycles in all sizes and shapes.

And we had bicycles in all sizes and shapes.

Grand Marshall of the parade was our neighbor Donald "Duck" Andress. Duck rode in a carriage this year instead of on horseback, but his son

Grand Marshall of the parade was our neighbor Donald “Duck” Andress. Duck rode in a carriage this year, but his son Jamie – seen behind him in the white headdress – continues the tradition of their family by riding on horseback.

Are you asleep yet?

I think that catches us up to today in photos.  As you can see, it’s been a busy time on the Island, and today the Island was taking a great big breath and relaxing after a tremendously successful Lilac Festival.

God bless.

An Uncle and Nephew Meet at Last 2/12/17

Ted’s trip to Albuquerque this past week to meet his 94-year-old Uncle Ken Lachmann (his birth mother’s brother) turned into two full days of story-telling, family history sharing, and a relationship – already established through hours of phone conversations – that was cemented by their face-to-face meeting.  

Cousin Heidi (Ken’s daughter) picked Ted up at the airport Tuesday evening, and the next morning Ted and Uncle Ken met for the first time over breakfast at the assisted living complex where he has an apartment.  The next two days were filled with stories from both men’s pasts and with a guided tour of the New Mexico city and surrounding area.  Ted has found it very interesting to discover that so many of his birth family (grandmother, uncles, aunts and cousins) followed the road to education careers.  “It must be in our blood”, he keeps saying. 

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Uncle Ken and daughter Heidi, who also lives in Albuquerque.

Uncle Ken returned from World War II as an Army combat veteran and recipient of the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster.  When years battling the frigid winters of Michigan began to aggravate health conditions caused by combat injuries, his physician suggested a change of climate, and Uncle Ken moved his family to Albuquerque in 1966. He had an established career in education in Michigan, and was soon named principal to a school in Albuquerque. 

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During the Reagan administration he was named the National Distinguished Principal of the Year from New Mexico.

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What a surprise!  While going through a family album, Ted came across this photo of our condo on Mackinac Island, taken from a Carriage Tour wagon during a Lachmann family trip to the island in 1997 – 11 years before we bought there.

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Sightseeing!  San Felipe de Neri Catholic Church.  Built in 1793, it is one of the oldest buildings in the city.

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The Sandia Mountains divide New Mexico.  On the Albuquerque side, there is desert . . .

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. . . and via a tram system you can ride to and over the top of the Sandia Mountains and arrive at a ski resort!

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Sunset from the restaurant at the top of the Sandia Resort and Casino.  Ted joined Uncle Ken, Heidi, and Uncle Ken’s son Peter and his wife Lisa for dinner on his last night there.

Ted arrived home Friday afternoon, brimming with stories of his trip.  We’re both so happy this journey has continued to be one of happy “at-long-last” meetings.  Even though Ted’s birth mom is gone, her family has been welcoming in every way possible.  We look forward to meeting more of this wonderful group in the near future!

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Ted and his Uncle Ken.

MACKINAC NEWS

Another Bree’s Blog reader and friend, Yvonne Pitsch, spent part of last week on Mackinac.  I love that folks are going up during the winter!

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Yvonne in full snowmobile gear.  I think she has a “secret source” she grabs a snowmobile from when she’s there.  I’ll have to talk to her about that!

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And she chose a week where there was plenty of the white stuff!  (Photo: Yvonne Pitsch)

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From Jason St. Onge and the Mackinac Island Fire Department.  This was a practice session coordinated with the Detroit Fire Department.  Horn’s Bar and Grand Hotel provided the buildings for their drills, and the wonderful Windermere Hotel and Mayor Margaret Doud treated everyone in both departments to a prime rib dinner at Cawthorne’s Village Inn.  Love the dedication of these fire fighters – and the generosity of Mackinac Island residents and businesses! 

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A beautiful and ethereal panorama by Greg Main.

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Bobby Lee says he got soaking wet to get this shot, but it was sure worth it, Bobby!

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Peace, calm, quiet.  An almost Heavenly scene of the full moon over Little Stone Church.  Thank you, Gregg Neville, for sharing.

It seems everyone is loving the Throw Back Tuesday and Thursday features, so they’ll be continuing.  Wishing everyone a very happy Valentine’s Day on Tuesday!  Love you all!

God bless.

Counting Down to Home 10/2/16

Only two weeks left on Mackinac, and my thoughts are turning more and more toward home! The excitement is building daily as I think of picking up Bodie in Atlanta and getting back to family and friends – these two weeks will fly by!

But – before all that – we’ve got Jason, his girlfriend Jen, and her little boy Alex arriving on the island on Thursday, and we are over the moon excited about that!  It will be Jen and Alex’s first Mackinac visit, and we’re praying for good weather and more fall colors.  The really fun thing is they’re not telling Alex (who is seven) where he’s going (this is his Fall break).  They’re just getting on a plane Thursday morning, and when he gets off in Pellston, we’ll be there to meet them (he thinks we’re in Florida).  We can’t wait to see his face when we arrive on Mackinac, and he’s greeted by no cars and horses racing up and down the corral outside the windows!  What fun!

In the meantime, Ted and I have been busy this week, and the weather has been great!  Here’s some photos of what we’ve been up to:

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Meeting blog readers always makes my day! This sweet couple, Neil and Erica, hailed me at the four corners intersection as Jill and I were walking down to the school Wednesday morning for International Day.  They’re from Illinois, and I believe it was Erica’s birthday (found that out later on Facebook).  Happy Belated Birthday, Erica!

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A sure sign that it’s Fall.  An open gate to a turn-out behind the West Bluff tells us the horse normally here has already left the island for down-state.

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One of those seemingly never-changing photos.  Sweet George making one of his many daily trips on Grand Hill to pick up a dray to be transported somewhere else on the island.  (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

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Work continues on the paving of Main Street.  This has been a beautifully synchronized project, with most of the work being done at night. 

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The project was divided into segments of road. First a night was spent preparing each segment, and the next night that segment was paved.  The weather cooperating helped a lot!  (Two night photos by Jill Sawatzki)

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Newly paved section of Main Street looks great!

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On Wednesday, Ted and I had lunch at Mary’s Bistro with our Little Stone Church minister and his wife, Fred and Mary Zobel.  Today was Fred’s last Sunday as our minister, and in the years ahead, he and Mary plan to travel and enjoy friends and family all across the country.  After lunch Ted and I walked home the long way – heading west on the Boardwalk.

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For some reason, I’ve always been fascinated by Cattails.  I know they can be a nuisance plant in some artificial landscapes, but left to Mother Nature they stand out as an unusual and distinctive plant.  That velvety “tail” is actually the Cattail’s  flower.  Did you know that every part of this plant is edible, and humans have found uses (besides food) for other parts.  They’ve been used for rush bottom furniture, baskets and mats, and the downy seeds have been used to stuff pillows and mattresses.  During World War II the seeds were used to stuff life jackets.

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There are stairs leading to the West Bluff from M-185 (Lakeshore Drive) – 205 stairs to be exact.  After approximately half of those, you walk along a cliff to the next set of steps and can see carriages and cyclists below.

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The next set . . .

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. . . (I swear it seemed like more than 205 in all) . . .

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. . . brings you to the top and an incredible view!  There are 15 landings along the way, so you can stop and rest if you need to.  Yes, I needed to!

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We wandered behind the West Bluff cottages, chatted with a few horses (this one was certain Ted had horse treats in his pocket) . . .

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. . . and found a few more hints of Autumn between this horse’s ears.

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Walking home after dinner in town Friday evening – past the beautiful and Halloween-decorated Cloghaun Bed & Breakfast . . .

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. . . and Grand Hotel.

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On Saturday I met long-time blog reader Barbara Blem and her husband Roger for the dedication of a plaque memorializing Mackinac College, which Barbara attended.  There was only one graduating class (in 1970), and there were 30 students in that class. 

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The plaque was dedicated 50 years to the day from the College’s inaugural in 1966.  Around 18 former students attended the ceremony, which included viewing the College recruitment film.  The graduates also were given a tour of Silver Birches, arranged by Liz Ware.  Silver Birches was once part of the College campus, as was Stonecliffe.

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The plaque will hang by the west entrance to the Arts Council Theatre, where there is also a Mackinac College Memorial Garden with plantings in the College colors of blue and green.  Thanks so much, Barbara, for inviting me to this event!

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Walking my bike up the hill later in the morning, I noticed the first fallen leaves on the Jewel Golf Course’s green grass.

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These brightly colored Mums and the faint touch of gold in some of the trees are still just hinting at what is to come.

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I parked my bike for a moment in the archway leading to the Jockey Club and shot the flowerbeds of Grand Hotel through the arch.  Just wondering when those flowers will disappear magically overnight and the next morning will find gardeners busily planting tulip bulbs!

Stay tuned in the next couple of days for a follow-up story on the little Beagle, Murph-E, who was adopted from a research lab facility two years ago by island residents Jennifer and Kirby King. What a remarkable turn-around he has made – from living five years in a cage and never touching grass – to his loving home now on beautiful Mackinac Island.

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You are going to love this one!!

God bless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come Walk With Me! 9/17/16

Oh. My. Gosh! What beautiful weather we’re having on Mackinac this week!  All the humidity is gone, the temps are in the high 60’s during the day and low 50’s at night, and we’re beginning to see a red leaf here and there.  I can feel Fall standing just behind the curtains – waiting backstage for just the right moment to appear in all her glory!

With that thought in mind, I set out with my camera on a walk a couple of days ago.  I didn’t capture too much in the way of fall colors, but I sure had fun looking!  My photo idea for the walk was to focus on Mackinac fences, and I did that some, but it really just turned into one of my “happy walks”!

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Just past the new condos is this tall wooden fence.  There is one on both sides of the road here, and they hide some of Grand Hotel”s maintenance equipment.  The gates are seldom open, but if you happen by at the right (or wrong) time, you might spot someone leaving on a riding lawnmower!

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This open fencing borders the back side of the first nine holes of Grand Hotel’s Jewel Golf Course.  Since we’ve moved right across the street from the course, Ted has been “climbing the fence” after the flags are removed in the afternoon and trying to improve his golf game (yes, it’s ok to do that – I promise he won’t get in trouble).

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This beautiful team of horses came by while I was at the golf course fence.  Pretty sure they are Percherons.

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Looking across the golf course to Little Stone Church.

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This serpentine white picket fence surrounds the Michigan Governor’s Summer Residence.  Wonder where that bench on the dray was going?

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The Governor’s residence is to the right of this photo.  I’m standing at the summit of Fort Hill, looking out over the harbor – a fantastic vista!

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I turned left, walked up a small hill, and spotted a team of dray horses through the trees.

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Sometimes a fence can be a living thing – like this hedge at the back of Fort Mackinac.

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The North Sally Port entrance to the fort.  On July 17, 1812, American troops marched through this gate to surrender to the British.  This is not a public entrance but is used by State Park and Tea Room employees, tour groups with a State Park escort, and service vehicles.  And it’s handicap friendly.

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I cut through the open area beside the fort and passed several private residences on my way to. . . .

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. . . the Somewhere in Time gazebo, scene of dozens of island weddings each summer.

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The view from inside the gazebo.

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From the gazebo, it’s just a short walk over shaded dirt paths to Anne’s Tablet, where you can stand at that split rail fence and see . . .

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. . . the entire marina, the bay, Round and Bois Blanc Islands, and both lighthouses.

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There are many short trails that meander near Anne’s Tablet.  One takes you to . . .

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. . . the edge of a cliff that drops straight down.  Careful on that one!

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Another leads to a fence-bordered set of very steep stairs leading down to the back of Marquette Park in town, and one leads to . . .

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. . . . the East Bluff, where Victorian cottages reign over . . . .

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. . . what could possibly be the best of all views of town and the Straits of Mackinac.

I retraced my steps to the back side of the fort, then took a shortcut through the State Park Maintenance buildings area. Love this old building that has probably know many uses over the years . . .

I retraced my steps to the back side of the fort, then took a shortcut through the State Park Maintenance buildings area. Love this old building that has probably known many uses over the years . . .

. . . but right now is mostly used for storage.

. . . but right now seems to be mostly used for storage.

Beyond the maintenance area I come to this fork in the road I know so well.

Beyond the maintenance area I come to this well-known fork in the road.

Picking the road on the left and walking just a few steps, I come to the Cupid's pathway sign. Directly across from that sign is the shortcut path we would take through the woods going home to Surrey Hill.

Picking the road on the left and walking just a few steps, I come to the Cupid’s pathway sign (on the right). Directly across from that sign is the shortcut path we would take through the woods going home to Surrey Hill.

I've found myself avoiding this path all summer because it was one of the most frequently walked paths Bear and I. We'd choose it as the shortcut for one of our adventures and as the shortcut for our way home from anywhere.

I’ve found myself avoiding this path all summer because it was one of the most frequently walked paths for Bear and I. We’d choose it as the shortcut to one of our adventures and as the shortest way home from those adventures.  I knew what was going to happen, but I turned down the path anyway.  Just a few steps, and tears filled my eyes and rolled down my cheeks.

That tree up ahead (the one on the left and closest to the path) is the one I'd slip behind and hide while Ted, Maddie and Bear walked on ahead. As soon as Bear would look back and not see me, he'd fly down the path to find his lost mom.

That tree up ahead (the one on the left and closest to the path) is the one I’d slip behind and hide while Ted, Maddie and Bear walked on ahead. As soon as Bear would look back and not see me, he’d fly down the path to find his lost mom.  And then he’d dance happily all around, and sometimes . . . .

. . . many times that would be followed by one of his famous "Bear zooms" through the woods at full speed.

. . .  that would be followed by one of his famous “Bear zooms” through the woods at full speed.

My heart has been so heavy this summer without my sweet boy. I love this photo of us taken several years ago on a beautiful Fall day.

My heart has been heavy this summer without my sweet boy. I love this photo of us taken several years ago on a beautiful Fall day.  I’m praying for many years ahead on Mackinac, sharing this beautiful island, with Bear’s blessing, with Bodie.  Just the thought of Bodie makes me smile

That special path takes another fork toward the end. One way leads to the back of the carriage museum at Surrey Hill and the other, which I took, comes out behind the building which houses one of the island's fire trucks.

That special path takes another fork toward the end. One way leads to the back of the carriage museum at Surrey Hill and the other, which I took, comes out behind the building which houses one of the island’s fire trucks.

Behind the fire truck building, a walk across the area which houses the offices of the electricity company, out into the open in front of Grand Hotel Stable . . . . and I'm back to the condo!

Behind the fire truck building, it’s a short walk across the area which houses the offices of the electricity company, then out into the open in front of Grand Hotel Stable.  And I’m back to the condo!

Can’t tell you how excited we are to have dinner planned on Monday evening with a dozen or so blog readers.  Right now my reservations list includes Lowell & Faye, Kem & Ed, Yvonne & Tony, Hilde & Bud, Joleen & Bruce, Pam & Mike Day, and Jill.  If you’re a blog reader and going to be on the island Monday, Sept. 19, and want to join us at the Chippewa at 6:00 p.m., please email me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com so I can add you to the list!

God bless.