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.

Through the Eyes of Fudgies – Part II 8/30/16

On Sunday you read about Kim and R.D.’s first-time visit to Mackinac.   Today it’s all about Debra and Glen!

Debra and Glen Phelps

As someone who came to the island for the first time over 15 years ago and has cried like a baby as I’ve left each year since then, I can recognize a total convert to Mackinac-ism in an instant.  Debra learned about the island from reading this blog and has wanted to come up here for years.  She came, she saw, she fell in love  – hook, line and sinker.  When she tried to book a room for next summer before they had even checked out from this visit, I knew I had a true-blue Mackinac fan on my hands!  Debra’s husband Glen is “almost” as Mackinac-in-love as Debra, and that will make for a very happy family over the coming year, as they plan their next trip.

Debra’s beautiful photographs have captured a vast segment of Mackinac’s beauty, and her words from her Facebook page tell the story of her island trip much better than I could.  From this point on, I’ll use Debra’s words:

Debra and Glen Phelps

Debra and Glen Phelps

"Mackinac Island is as beautiful and unique as I expected! It is like going back in time with the town, 'cottages', horses, carriages and bicycles (no cars allowed).

“Mackinac Island is as beautiful and unique as I expected! It is like going back in time . . .

. . . with the town, "cottages", horses, carriages and bicycles (no cars allowed)."

. . . with the town, “cottages”, horses, carriages and bicycles (no cars allowed).”

"The gardens and Lake Huron are gorgeous."

“The temperature today only reached a high of 70 degrees.”  (Spoken in amazement by a true Georgia girl!)

 

"And the temperature today only reached a high of 70 degrees." (Spoken in amazement by a true Georgia girl!)

“And the gardens and Lake Huron are gorgeous.”

"We toured the one and only opulent Grand Hotel today."

“We toured the one and only opulent Grand Hotel today.”

Many famous people have stayed hee since it opened in 1887. Somewhere in Time was filmed here. The pool is named after Esther Williams because she swam in their pool in a movie that was filmed here."

“Many famous people have stayed here since it opened in 1887. Somewhere in Time was filmed here. The pool is named after Esther Williams because she swam in their pool in a movie that was filmed here (This Time for Keeps).”

"The pictures don't do it justice. The porch is the longest in the world (660 feet). Glen liked the rocking chairs on the porch best."

“The pictures don’t do it justice. The porch is the longest in the world (660 feet). Glen liked the rocking chairs on the porch best.”

"More pictures of Mackinac Island . . . the cottages . . .

“More pictures of Mackinac Island . . . the cottages . . .

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. . . flowers . . .

. . . flowers . . .

. . . the Grand carriages . . .

. . . the Grand carriages . . .

. . . Lake Huron . . .

. . . Lake Huron . . .

. . . and the beautiful Arch Rock formation. Everything is truly beautiful."

. . . and the beautiful Arch Rock formation. Everything is truly beautiful.”

 

"Today the Hortons (who are in very good shape), the Harters (who can ride a tandem bike in total unison) and Glen and I (who are very out of shape) rode bikes on the 8.2 mile bike/horse road that completely circles the outer edge of Mackinac Island."

“Today the Hortons (who are in very good shape), the Harters (who can ride a tandem bike in total unison) and Glen and I (who are very out of shape) rode bikes on the 8.2 mile bike/horse road that completely circles the outer edge of Mackinac Island.”

"The sin was shining, the wind was blowing and the gorgeous lake waves were rolling in." We stopped for a photo at Devil's Kitchen."

“The sin was shining, the wind was blowing and the gorgeous lake waves were rolling in.  We stopped for a photo at Devil’s Kitchen.”

"Exercise is fun in this weather and when surrounded by such beauty."

“Exercise is fun in this weather and when surrounded by such beauty.”

"Yesterday we visited Grand Hotel where the movie Somewhere in Time was filmed. On the bike ride today, Ted showed us the tree from the scene where Elyse first saw Richard and she said, "Is it really you?" Here Glen and I are standing in front of that tree."

“Yesterday we visited Grand Hotel where the movie Somewhere in Time was filmed. On the bike ride today, Ted showed us the tree from the scene where Elyse first saw Richard and she said, ‘Is it you?’ Here Glen and I are standing in front of that tree.”

"Brenda took me to the staircase at Grand Hotel that Richard ran down to meet Elyse when she was calling him."

“Brenda took me to the staircase at Grand Hotel where Richard ran down to meet Elyse when she was calling him.”

"As I was walking Tessa this evening I noticed that the city building and churches are historic in keeping with all else on Mackinac Island. This is Little Stone Church where Brenda and Ted attend."

“As I was walking Tessa this evening I noticed the city buildings and churches are historic, in keeping with all else on Mackinac Island. This is Little Stone Church where Brenda and Ted attend.”

"Notice that even police and firefighters ride bikes!"

“Notice that even police ride bikes!”

"Today it rained on Mackinac. But it did not keep anyone from continuing to enjoy this paradise. Glen and I went on the "once a week" tour of the Governor's Cottage this morning. Because of the rain and the very steep hill that it sits on we took a taxi which is a horse drawn carriage."

“Today it rained on Mackinac. But it did not keep anyone from continuing to enjoy this paradise. Glen and I went on the “once a week” tour of the Governor’s Cottage this morning. Because of the rain and the very steep hill that it sits on, we took a taxi which is a horse drawn carriage.  Glen and I are standing on the porch of the Governor’s Cottage, which has been used by Michigan governors and their dignitary and presidential friends for many years.”

"Later in the day when the rain broke, I walked up and down "our street" and took some more pics. This is the rental horse stable, 'Cindy's'".

“Later in the day, when the rain broke, I walked up and down ‘our street’ and took some more pics. This is the rental horse stable, ‘Cindy’s'”.

"When we got back to Park Place Suites, Tessa and I were sitting in our courtyard and the 'garbagemen' came in a horse drawn dray! I do love this place!"

“When we got back to Park Place Suites, Tessa and I were sitting in our courtyard and the ‘garbagemen’ came in a horse drawn dray! I do love this place!”

"Tonight's walk took me to the end of our street that runs into Lake uron and gave me the opportunity to admire the Mackinac Bridge at night."

“Tonight’s walk took me to the end of our street that runs into Lake uron and gave me the opportunity to admire the Mackinac Bridge at night.”

"Then off I went to get some delicious Moomer's Ice Cream (at the No Name Café), followed by Taps at the fort.

“Then off I went to get some delicious Moomer’s Ice Cream (at the No Name Café), followed by Taps at the fort.

"Today Ted, Glen and I visited Fort Mackinac that overlooks beautiful Marquette Park where I let Tessa play."

“Today Ted, Glen and I visited Fort Mackinac that overlooks beautiful Marquette Park, where I let Tessa play.”

"I feared that it would just be old buildings. I was wrong! The many buikdings were filled with period furnishings, historical information and activities for children."

“I feared that it would just be old buildings. I was wrong! The many buildings were filled with period furnishings, historical information and activities for children.”

"There were also gun and cannon demonstrations. And there was an outdoor restaurant with the best view in town!"

“There were also gun and cannon demonstrations. And there was an outdoor restaurant with the best view in town!”

"After the fort, Ted took Glen and me for a walk on Anne's Tablet Trail (one of many trails) through a beautiful wooded area. The tablet seen on the trail honors the memory of a local author from years ago."

“After the fort, Ted took Glen and me for a walk on Anne’s Tablet Trail (one of many trails) through a beautiful wooded area. The tablet seen on the trail honors the memory of a local author from years ago.”

"Ted led us through the woods to the East Bluff where more pretty vintage cottages were lined up with million dollar views and beautiful flower gardens."

“Ted led us through the woods to the East Bluff where more pretty vintage cottages were lined up, with million dollar views and beautiful flower gardens.”

"I loved our walk so much that I immediately went a second time showing it to Tessa!"

“I loved our walk so much that I immediately went a second time, showing it to Tessa!”

"Bittersweet picture of Shepler's Ferry that took us away from the island."

“Bittersweet picture of Shepler’s Ferry that took us away from the island.”

"I am leaving a piece of my heart here and am sad to leave. But how blessed I am to have experienced this paradise! Glen and I love Mackinac Island so much that we plan to visit again next year. I hope all of you who have followed this trip with me will visit the island too."

“I am leaving a piece of my heart here and am sad to leave. But how blessed I am to have experienced this paradise! Glen and I love Mackinac Island so much that we plan to visit again next year. I hope all of you who have followed this trip with me will visit the island too.”

A few more of Debra’s photographs. . . .

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Ted and I had a blast showing Kim, R.D., Debra, and Glen Mackinac Island.  To paraphrase the slogan from the former Atlanta Journal, “We covered Mackinac like the dew.”  We tried our best to wear them out each day, but they were real troopers and just kept on going – even in the rain!

Hope you’ve enjoyed the island through the eyes of these four fudgies!

God bless.

 

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

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

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

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

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

KIM AND R.D. HARTER

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

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

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

Kim and R.D. at Arch Rock

Kim and R.D. at Arch Rock

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mission Point - across a grassy lawn.

Mission Point – across a grassy lawn.

A yellow beauty from Grand Hotel's Rose Walk.

A yellow beauty from Grand Hotel’s Rose Walk.

The view out the front door of the new condo.

The view out the front door of the new condo.

The Island House's magnificent flower gardens

The Island House’s magnificent flower gardens.

A busy day in front of the Iroquois Hotel.

A busy day in front of the Iroquois Hotel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazement at the blue, blue water!

Amazement at the blue, blue water!

Bikes in Grand Hotel's bike lot.

Bikes in Grand Hotel’s bike lot.

Looking down from the top of Fort Hill.

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

Approaching Grand Hotel.

Approaching Grand Hotel.

Dessert at Woods Restaurant.

Dessert at Woods Restaurant.

Crabapples in Grand Hotel garden.

Crabapples in Grand Hotel garden.

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

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

The doors to St. Anne's.

The doors to St. Anne’s.

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

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

The Chippewa Hotel hot tub.

The Chippewa Hotel hot tub – overlooking the marina.

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

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

. . . and later at dinner.

. . . and later at dinner.

The Little Stone Church parsonage.

The Little Stone Church parsonage.

Last day goodbyes . . .

Last day goodbyes . . .

. . . came too quickly.

. . . came too quickly.

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

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

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

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

God bless.

 

49757 Postcard – #8 8/13/16

Dear Friends,

There’s so much news this week, this will be more like a letter than a postcard!

I guess I’ll just go in order of importance, so here we go . . .

MORE FAMILY!

Ted has gone from being an only child to discovering he has two half-sisters, Sheryl and Deb, and a half-brother, Ross.  He had another half-sister, Rhonda, who passed away in 2011.  He also has an Aunt Marcia, an Uncle Paul –  and an Uncle Ken, who is 93 and lives in Arizona.  Because of some health issues in their families, we haven’t had a chance to meet the half-siblings yet, but something tells me that might happen before the summer is over and we return to Florida. We sure are hoping so!

Today, another first cousin, Kel Bennink and his wife Gwen, arrived on Mackinac for a day trip.  Throughout this process of learning more about Ted’s birth family, we’ve been told over and over how Ted looks like the “men in the family”.  Today we saw how true that is!

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Kel and Gwen arrive this morning on Shepler’s.  Kel says Ted is a carbon copy of his brother Marv, but Ted and Kel look a lot alike also.  At least that’s what Gwen and I thought.

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Standing side by side on the Grand Hotel porch, the resemblance is even more pronounced.

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We had a great few hours with the Benninks, showing them a little of the island and having lunch together at the Chippewa.

We are loving meeting all these new relatives – what a wonderful new family Ted (and I) can now claim!  Happy Birthday on Sunday, Gwen!

WHERE TO NEXT?

Sunday night will be our last night in the condo in the Mission, and boy are we going to miss this beautiful place!  Being able to sit out on the deck and people watch, with freighters passing in the background, has been just about a perfect arrangement.  We are going to be “homeless on Mackinac” for one night (not really, we’re bunking in with friends), and then we’ll move up the hill into the new condo on Tuesday.  We’ve hiked up there a few times already to check everything out.  It’s two hills short of where our old condo was, but the Grand Hill hasn’t gotten one bit less steep.  But, for the first time since we moved into our new house in Florida, we’re going to be in a one-level residence.  I’m going to enjoy that.  As soon as we’re settled, I’ll be showing you around the new place!

PHOTOS FROM AROUND MISSION POINT

Since we’re leaving this area and won’t be down here nearly as much, I wanted to give you one more night of photos from this end of the island.  Mission Point is so beautiful this year.  The Ware family, who bought the resort a year or so ago, is really doing a phenomenal job with renovations, new shops and cafes, and gorgeous landscaping!

I mean really, could it get anymore relaxing than this? Two Adirondack chairs, under the trees, and by the water. Sigh.

I mean really, could it get anymore relaxing than this? Two Adirondack chairs – under the trees, and by the water. Sigh.

A freighter passes as we walk Maddie this afternoon along the lakeshore trail.

A freighter passes as we walked Maddie along the lakeshore trail this afternoon.

Masses of flowers are scattered everywhere around the Mission Point Executive Putting Green.

Masses of flowers are scattered everywhere around the Mission Point Executive Putting Green.

Small Point Inn - across a field of wildflowers. (Thought of you, Irene!).

Small Point Inn – across a field of wildflowers. (Thought of you, Irene!).

The Mission Point gazebo - scene of nearly a wedding a day since we arrived four weeks ago.

The Mission Point gazebo – scene of nearly a wedding a day since we arrived four weeks ago.

Who knows what these are? They grow along the path that runs in front of the resort. At first I thought, "Cherry Tomatoes"?

Who knows what these are? They grow along the path that runs in front of the resort. At first I thought, “Cherry Tomatoes”?

Sound of Gong! Nope, they're a species of Rose. Someone help me out here!

Nope, they’re a species of Rose (at least that’s what someone told us). Can anyone help me out here!

A COUPLE OF EXTRAS

Robert McGreevy, great shot of the US Brig Niagara which stayed overnight

Robert McGreevy’s great shot of the US Brig Niagara which docked overnight a few days ago.  The wooden-hulled brig is a teplica of the ship that served as the relief flagship for Oliver Hazard Perry in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.  It is one of the last remaining ships from the War of 1812. 

Thanks to Cousin Kel for this shot of Ted and I today in front of Little Stone Church.

Thanks to Cousin Kel for this shot of Ted and I today in front of Little Stone Church.

That’s it for tonight, I think.  I’ll be back when we’ve made the move up the hill, and we’ve gotten our luggage unpacked – again!

God bless.

Settling In – The First Time 7/24/16

We’ve almost been on Mackinac for a week, and we’ve settled comfortably into the condo in the Mission.  Having stayed here for six weeks last summer, it was easy to slip right back into very familiar surroundings. We knew where everything was, and we’ve been enjoying our views on this end of Main Street.

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Mornings find us out on the deck – coffee in hand – watching the island wake up.

That deck is also a great place to be in the afternoon – with a book or newspaper (although I’ve tried to avoid all news from the “outside”).  The other day I was sitting out there, reading, and I heard someone yell, “Hello, Brenda!”  I glanced up to see a man on a bike, waving as he rode by and then disappeared into the Mission Point tunnel of trees.  I’m really not sure who he was, but it was fun that someone knew it was me up there.

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Thursday’s Town Crier announced our arrival.  It ‘s always a mystery to me who collects all this information and provides it to the newspaper!

We went to the Little Stone Church today,and it’s there we saw most everyone we know who we hadn’t already seen during the week.  Nothing makes us feel more welcome than to have island friends wrap us in hugs and say, “Welcome home!”

In the week we’ve been here we’ve spent some great times with Patty and Buz, attended a friend’s birthday party, picked up extra bikes for the summer from our former condo’s owners (thank you Cindy and Steve for your continued graciousness), and inspected (twice) the condo we’ll be moving into once it’s finished (where we’ll settle in for the second time).  There’s been a girls day with Jill, Patty, and Sue, trips to Doud’s and the Island Bookstore, and walks with Maddie in Mission Point.

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Maddie is loving the cooler weather and enjoying her walks again.  She especially enjoys ending the walks sitting on a Mission Point bench and having admirers stop and fuss over her!  When I walk Maddie alone, I use Bear’s old leash.  Yes, it’s way too big for her, but it makes me feel good to still use it.

There have been so many “Bear moments”.  The other day, when we went after the bikes, we walked up and through the Grand Hotel stable.  From there we’d usually see Denise, who works for Carriage Tours at the Surrey Hill Museum.  She’d always spot Bear at the bottom of that hill and yell for him.  We’d release him from his lead, and he’d go flying up the hill – straight into Denise’s arms as she’d kneel to welcome him. Exact same scenario this week – except Denise was standing there, and there was no Bear to send.  Broke my heart – again. It will get better the longer we’ve been here, but those “first times” are going to be brutal.

Tonight we’re going on a Sip ‘n Sail Sunset Cruise, tomorrow there’s a grocery run off island and a porch party tomorrow evening.  And on Tuesday we pick up Jordan and Matthew at the Pellston Airport.  We can’t WAIT for the two of them to get up here!!  Oh, the fun we’ve got planned!

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I haven’t captured the Mission Point beaver family on film yet, but this almost-chewed- through tree trunk proves they’re continuing their building project just off-shore in the Mission.

 

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The Pink Pony (in the Chippewa Hotel) has its own exclusive store now (just off the Chippewa’s lobby).  There’s a new logo and a whole new look to their merchandise –  it is awesome!

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Sailors fold the sails aboard a tall ship that visited the island this week.  (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Mission Point flowers are absolutely incredible this year!

Mission Point flowers are absolutely incredible this year!

Beautiful beds of day lilies are everywhere. These are in the yard of the condo where we're staying.

Beautiful beds of day lilies are everywhere. These are in the yard of the condo where we’re staying.

It’s been rainy today, so after church and lunch with Patty and Buz (who leave tomorrow for their home in Oklahoma), we’ve been hunkered down for a lazy afternoon.  It’s about time to get ready for that Sip ‘n Sail Sunset Cruise (I don’t think there’s much chance of seeing the sunset), so I’ll close now.

It’s so good to be on Mackinac for the next three months.  Each time we return there’s always a little moment when I secretly wonder if the island could possibly be as wonderful as I remember it.  And each time the island laughs at me and says, “I’m even MORE wonderful than you remember!”

And it always is.

God bless.