A Week Filled with Good Things 10/1/17

Hi Friends!

Last week was busy and so much fun!  Ted’s sister Sheryl and cousin Heidi came for a visit, and we spent three days doing lots of touristy things, as well as just spending time getting to know these newly found members of our family.   After two weeks of above average temperatures (I think we hit 85 one day!), we had a cold front come through the first night our company was here.  From that point on we had absolutely beautiful blue skies, crisp temperatures, and the definite feeling of Fall in the air!

Sheryl and Heidi arrived on Tuesday morning, and I know they thought we were going to walk them all over the island before bedtime that night.

We started with lunch at the Tea Room at Fort Mackinac . . . .

. . . . which is absolutely one of the top five “view” spots on Mackinac!

We roamed around the fort, visited Sutler’s Store, and then walked back to the condo.  Later in the afternoon we walked over to the West Bluff, hiked Pontiac Trail, and walked around the Annex.  By the time dinner rolled around we were all starving, and we all turned in early that evening.

On Wednesday we had planned a special surprise for Sheryl and Heidi.  We started with lunch at Grand Hotel . . .

.. . . . and a visit to the Cupola Bar at the very top of the Grand.

Another one of those top five “view” spots on Mackinac!

We then went to the Grand porch and rocked for a little while, just watching people and enjoying the sunshine.

The big surprise arrived when Ben Mosley drove up in one of Grand Hotel’s vintage carriages and welcomed us aboard.  We spent the next hour touring several of the top tourist attractions on Mackinac, as well as just enjoying riding through the woods in a carriage drawn by two beautiful Hackneys showing off their footwork.

The tour started off with a ride through the Annex and out to Stonecliffe, followed by . . .

. . . riding up to Lookout Point via this wooded road which turns steeply upward at the cemeteries.

We took a few minutes to get off the carriage . . . .

. . . for a great view of Sugar Loaf, an expanse of wooded land, and Lake Huron in the distance.

Although those clouds looked a little menacing, we didn’t get a single drop of rain on our “parade”.

We next visited Fort Holmes, the highest spot on Mackinac . . .

. . . followed by a stop at Arch Rock.

It really doesn’t matter how many times we visit all these places. Each time is special, and I’m glad we made it to all these spots one more time this year.

Although Heidi and Sheryl both had been to Mackinac Island before, they saw a few places they’d never seen and really enjoyed the tour and the carriage ride!  We finished the day with dinner at the Chip and a taxi ride home.

Thursday was spent visiting with the current residents of an East Bluff cottage where Heidi and her family had past connections, lunch downtown, and then a visit with old friends of the family.

We were up early on Friday morning to take a taxi downtown and have breakfast at The Chuckwagon before the ladies caught the ferry off the island.  We were sad to see them go. We had spent Thursday evening at the condo, laughing and telling family stories.  It was just the best visit, and we hope Heidi and Sheryl both come back soon.  We DO have more places to show you because I promise you didn’t see everything (even though it may have felt like it).

A FEW MORE PICS

A shady walk down Huron Street right after the street cleaner had gone through.

The condo’s backyard furniture arrived this week! Condo picnic soon!

We had two cruise ships at the island on the same day.  The ship anchored offshore is the Hamburg.  It has too deep a draft for the big dock, so it anchors off Mission Point and shuttles tourists in aboard her four small launches.

Friends and blog readers Kem Green and Yvonne Pitsch stopped by to visit me at the Stuart House this week!

What are they? Morning Glories? Whatever they are, they are as big as dinner plates and beautiful!

Sunrise from the Chippewa Hotel. (Photo: Kem Green)

“I’d like to come in now please.”

The parade ground at Fort Mackinac.

Mums the word at Doud’s Market!

Pontiac Trail in the mist. (Photo: Kem Green)

The view over the Hackney’s backs!

This great bunch of friends and relatives got together on Shepler’s dock Friday morning. Some were leaving, some were staying.  Left to right: Mike and Pam Day, me, Sheryl, Heidi, Kem and Ed Green, Ted and Jill.  Love you all!

“I think I see dad coming!”

I’ve got a great story to share next time about a birch bark canoe our Mackinac Island public school children helped to build.  It was launched yesterday.  Coming up in a few days!

God bless..

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Family Ties 8/10/16

I don’t know how to put into words what a fun, strange, wacky, emotional and unbelievable 48 hours these have been – especially for Ted, but for me also.

A few months ago, when all the research and DNA testing came together and Ted realized he really did have living blood relatives beside Julie, Jordan and Matthew, those relatives all existed in a hazy, almost other-worldly place “out there” somewhere.  We knew Ted’s birth mother’s family on paper and then from phone visits, emails and texts, and finally from packages that began to arrive in the mail with photos and family records.

On Monday, that hazy other-worldly place turned into flesh and blood in the form of Linda and Mike – two very real, warm, laughing, chatting, and filled-with-stories first cousins (one by blood, one by marriage).  We’ve talked into the nights, laughed, and shed a few tears.  We’ve been amazed at similarities between Ted and Linda (and between Ted and other cousins – according to Linda).  In photographs we’ve seen of some of the Lachmann men (cousins and uncles), it’s like looking at photos of Ted – the resemblance is striking.

Besides talking about family histories, we also tried to show Linda and Mike some of “our” Mackinac.  They’d both been to the island before, but only on day trips.  We quickly learned they’d spent most of their island time downtown, so we set out to acquaint them with a little broader look at Mackinac.

While we were waiting to catch a carriage tour, we discovered that one of Linda and Mike's passions is geo-caching. They had loaded the coordinates of several caches before making the trip, and they found one just outside the Market Street Inn.

While we were waiting to catch a carriage tour, we discovered that one of Linda and Mike’s passions is geo-caching. They had loaded the coordinates of several caches into their phones before making the trip, and they found one just outside the Market Street Inn.

Mike and Linda writing in their geo-caching names before returning the papers back where they found them.

Mike and Linda writing in their geo-caching names before returning the papers back where they found them.

Cousins with Fort Mackinac in the background.

Cousins – with Fort Mackinac in the background.

We had a great private carriage tour set up by Joe Plaza (special thanks to Blake, our tour guide and driver). The tour included many special spots on Mackinac - like Fort Holmes . . .

We had a great private carriage tour set up by Joe Plaza (special thanks to Blake, our tour guide and driver). The tour included many special spots on Mackinac – like Fort Holmes . . .

. . . Lookout Point . . .

. . . Lookout Point (overlooking Sugar Loaf) . . .

the Village, the cemetaries, Skull Cave, and the East and West Bluffs.

the Village, the cemeteries, Skull Cave, and the East and West Bluffs.

We ended our tour at Grand Hotel for lunch, and for a little rest in the rocking chairs on their famous front porch!

We ended our tour at Grand Hotel for lunch, and for a little rest in the rocking chairs on their famous front porch!

Heading back to town for a much-needed nap!

Heading back to town and the condo for a little down time!

Wednesday morning came way too soon, and we were back at Shepler's . . . .

Wednesday morning came way too soon, and we were back at Shepler’s . . . .

. . . and waving goodbye.

. . . and waving goodbye.

We have more of this newly found family coming on a daytrip on Saturday and two more cousins coming for a visit in September.  Mike and Linda (and other family members) winter in Florida (on the west coast), so I’m sure there are going to be other family visits when we return home.

A very special and loving thank you, Linda and Mike, for your warm welcome of Ted and me into the Lachmann clan.  We can’t wait to spend more time with you (and other family members) in the future. Love and hugs coming your way!

God bless.

 

 

 

Photo Night! 9/23/15

Are you kidding me?!  We’ve been here almost SIX WEEKS?!  Are you kidding me?!

Oh. My. Gosh!  It’s just unbelievable how fast these weeks have flown by.  And we’ve been so busy I know I haven’t shown you nearly enough of beautiful Mackinac – and that’s why you come to this blog!!  So, I’m going to try to remedy that, because . . .IT’S PHOTO NIGHT!!

Here’s a sampling of what I’ve captured through my lens during the last couple of weeks.  There are a LOT of pics, but believe me, there were a LOT more I could have posted. But then you’d have been here when you should have been working – or sleeping – or eating!

Let's start with cuteness, with a capital "C" - for Chester! Chester belongs to friend Bart, who also happens to be a volunteer fireman on Mackinac. So . . . now the Mackinac Island Fire Department has an official Dalmatian fire dog mascot!!

Let’s start with cuteness, with a capital “C” – for Chester! Chester belongs to friend Bart, who also happens to be a volunteer fireman on Mackinac. So . . . now the Mackinac Island Fire Department has an official Dalmatian fire dog mascot!!

I wonder what we can get into today!

I wonder what we can get into today!

A walk to the ferry one morning took me by The Island House and its magnificent gardens . . .

A walk to the ferry one morning took me by The Island House and its magnificent gardens . . .

. . . . and Fort Mackinac, framed by newly mown grass and that incredible Michigan-blue sky.

. . . . and Fort Mackinac, framed by newly mown grass and that incredible Michigan-blue sky.

So excited to see good friend Frankie when we met a few days ago in Mackinaw City. We rode over to Petoskey and had lunch at Stafford's Bay View Inn. What a charming place and what yummy food!

So excited to see good friend Frankie and her friend Sue when we met a few days ago in Mackinaw City. We rode over to Petoskey and had lunch at Stafford’s Bay View Inn. What a charming place and what yummy food!  It was a great day, Frankie!

View that same day when I got back to the island - looking at the steeple of Mission Church from one of the high bedroom windows. A peaceful sunset on Mackinac.

View that same day when I got back to the island – looking at the steeple of Mission Church from one of the third floor bedroom windows. A peaceful sunset on Mackinac.

We FINALLY made it up to Fort Holmes last week! This is what it looked like the last time I was up there (two years ago) . . .

We FINALLY made it up to Fort Holmes last week! This is what it looked like the last time I was up there (two years ago) . . .

. . . and here it is now!!

. . . and here it is now!!

What an awesome job they did reconstructing this fort, both outside . . .

What an awesome job they did reconstructing the fort, both outside . . .

. . . and inside. The fort's history is told on placards around the wall.

. . . and inside. The fort’s history is told on placards around the wall.

As you top that last rise of the road past leading up past the cemetery and the structure comes into view, it just takes your breath away . . .

As you top that last rise of the road leading up past the cemetery, and the structure comes into view, it just takes your breath away . . .

. . . and so does that view from the "top of the island".

. . . and so does the view from the “top of the island”.

From Fort Holmes we walked to Lookout Point up one of my favorite paths . . .

From Fort Holmes we walked up one of my favorite paths to Lookout Point  . . .

. . . and even though there was very little "color change" looking out toward Sugar Loaf . . .

. . . and even though there was very little “color change” looking out toward Sugar Loaf . . .

. . . we did see a few leaves changing in the tops of a couple of trees.

. . . we did spot a few leaves turning red in the tops of a couple of trees.

This tree downtown next to the Richard and Jane Manoogian Art Museum is always one of the first to show its fall colors.

This tree downtown next to the Richard and Jane Manoogian Art Museum is always one of the first to show its fall colors, and this year is no different.

Even though summer is officially over on the calendar, Mackinac's flowers are still blooming their hearts out - like here at The Cottage Inn on Market Street.

Even though summer is officially over on the calendar, Mackinac’s flowers are still blooming their hearts out – like here at The Cottage Inn on Market Street . . .

And near Anne's Cottage on Main Street.

. . . and near Anne’s Cottage on Main Street.

The hanging baskets are still going strong.

The hanging baskets are still going strong and continue to grow more beautiful each day.

And these pink and green bikes . . .

These pink and green bikes . . .

. . . seem to match these pink and green baskets on the front of this downtown cottage.

. . . seem to match the pink and green baskets on the front of a downtown cottage.

A freighter passing . . . as seen between downtown condos.

A freighter passing . . . as seen between downtown condos.

So good to run into Pam and Mike Day (from Ohio) while out biking the other day. These two might love Mackinac as much as I do . . . notice I said "might" . . . it's pretty close though. They're on the island around this time every year and are two of the sweetest folks I've ever met!

So good to run into Pam and Mike Day (from Ohio) while out biking the other day. These two might love Mackinac as much as I do . . . notice I said “might” . . . it’s pretty close though. They’re on the island around this time every year and are two of the sweetest folks I’ve ever met!

As you may or may not be aware, last weekend the island was host to the Republican Leadership Conference, and five or six of the candidates in the running for the Republican Presidential nomination were here to speak. While waiting for Carly Fiorina to arrive, I ran into one of my favorite Mackinac Island photographers, Steven Blair. Steven owns Artistic Mackinac Gallery & Studio on Astor Street.

As you may or may not be aware, last weekend the island was host to the Republican Leadership Conference, and five or six of the candidates in the running for the Republican Presidential nomination were here to speak. While waiting for Carly Fiorina to arrive, I ran into one of my favorite Mackinac Island photographers, Steven Blair. Steven owns Artistic Mackinac Gallery & Studio on Astor Street.  If you’re ever in the market for beautiful photography of beautiful Mackinac, you need to stop into Steven’s shop.  Bet you don’t walk out empty-handed!

I managed to get a few shots of Fiorina - both arriving on the Shepler dock . . .

I managed to get a few shots of Fiorina – both arriving on the Shepler dock . . .

. . . and close up, as she walked down for a meet & greet at Mary's Bistro.

. . . and close up, as she walked down for a meet & greet at Mary’s Bistro.

This photo of me with Jeb Bush is from two years ago. He was on the island to speak at the Detroit Chamber of Commerce conference and was leaving just as I arrived from volunteering with Shepler's that day on the mainland. There were maybe three people standing around, and I don't think any of them realized who he was.

This photo of me with Jeb Bush is from two years ago. He was on the island to speak at the Detroit Chamber of Commerce conference and was leaving just as I arrived from volunteering with Shepler’s on the mainland that day. There were maybe three people standing around, and I don’t think any of them realized who he was.  He was carrying his own luggage.

What a difference two years makes! This is Bush's arrival last week! (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

What a difference two years makes! This is Bush’s arrival last week! (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Being so close to town this year, I've spent more time out and about after dark. These next three photos are from an after sunset stroll to the condo from dinner at the Chippewa. Lady Liberty stands guard over the marina.

Being so close to town this year, I’ve spent more time out and about after dark. These next three photos are from a sunset stroll to the condo after dinner at the Chippewa. Lady Liberty stands guard over the marina.

The Island House . . .

The Island House . . .

. . . and Mission Church.

. . . and Mission Church.

We had lunch recently with Steve and Cindy, who bought our condo. They are so sweet and love the condo AND Mackinac a lot. They're from Atlanta and spend most of the summer up here - just like we did.

We had lunch recently with Steve and Cindy, who bought our condo. They are so sweet and love the condo AND Mackinac a lot. They’re from Atlanta and spend most of the summer up here – just like we did.

Things you never want to see on Mackinac - fire trucks! Last Sunday morning a piecing alarm went off just across the street from us, followed within two minutes with the arrival of our Mackinac Island Fire Department. Turned out a sprinkler system pipe had sprung a leak and set off the alarm. Geez - sure wouldn't wish THAT on anyone. But, so glad it wasn't a fire, and our firemen were on it in record time!

Things you never want to see on Mackinac – fire trucks! Early last Sunday morning a piecing alarm went off just across the street from us, followed within two minutes with the arrival of our Mackinac Island Fire Department. Turned out a sprinkler system pipe had sprung a leak and set off the alarm. Geez – sure wouldn’t wish THAT on anyone. But – so glad it wasn’t a fire.  Our firemen were on it in record time!

On the way off island for a final grooming appointment before going home. . . .

On the way off island for a final grooming appointment before going home. . . .

. . . and spreading "Bear love" wherever he goes.

. . . and spreading “Bear love” wherever he goes.

We ran into Mary Lou Peters, my favorite watercolor artist, in the Island Bookstore this afternoon. Love this lady!

We ran into Mary Lou Peters, my favorite watercolor artist, in the Island Bookstore this afternoon. Love this talented lady!

Here's a good one to end with! We stopped in at Sadie's this week so Ted could have a Jersey Mudd. Not to be outdone, I ordered their "special of the day", a Brownie Scotch sundae. Someone on Faceebook asked me if it was the camera angle that made my sundae look five times bigger than Ted's. No, it really WAS five times bigger!

Here’s a good one to end with! We stopped in at Sadie’s this week so Ted could have a Jersey Mudd. Not to be outdone, I ordered their “special of the day”, a Brownie Scotch sundae. Someone on Faceebook asked me if it was the camera angle that made my sundae look five times bigger than Ted’s. No, it really WAS five times bigger!

I can’t WAIT until tomorrow.  For some reason, this seems to be a week when a pretty good number of Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog readers are on the island.  Since I’m working at the Stuart House tomorrow, everyone I could get in contact with is going to show up at the Stuart House at 10:30 a.m. for a group photo, with Jill doing the photography honors.  IF you read Bree’s Blog and you’re on the island and want to join us – whether you’re from out of town or an island reader – please come on by Thursday morning and join in the fun!  10:30 a.m. at the Stuart House!!

Excited to see everyone!!!

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!

Countdown 10/30/09

No tissues needed for this one – I promise!

Ted and I have been packing all day.  Let me correct that – I have been packing all day.  Ted has been cleaning out, cleaning up, and cleaning away five and one-half months of accumulated stuff that two weeks ago he wouldn’t have dreamed of tossing away.  Now, faced with 1) Do we pack it up and take it home? or 2) Do we leave it here until next year -even though it has been here for five and one-half months, and we have never put our hands on it? or 3) Do we throw it away? 

Because of the recycling rule here on the island, all those choices had to be made today – because today was the last pick-up for garbage/recycling before we leave.  Anything we need to get rid of at the last minute will go into one large bag and be given to Duck across the street, who is going to put that bag out for us next week on garbage day.

I’ve gone through dresser drawers and closets and selected what goes home and what stays.  It was pretty easy.  Anything summery goes home, even though we spend our summers in Michigan.  That is because by the time we come up here in mid-May of next year, we will have already had at least two months of summer in Georgia.  So the summer clothes have to go back.  I’m taking home a few “winter” items – one warm coat, a couple of sweatshirts, some lightweight sweaters.  I’m even going to throw in my heavy-duty gloves and earmuffs because we will be going to northern Arkansas for New Year’s with our grandchildren.  Every year we go, and every year I wish for snow.  So far – no snow.  I am beginning to think that snow is just not something I will ever be able to cross off my wish list.  But I will continue to hope for it – and be prepared!

We have been doing other “get ready to leave” things today.  Ted has cleaned up and stored two of our now three bicycles upstairs in the third bedroom.  He’s saving his out until the last day because he will still go into town each day to the post office.  I have taken all the sheets, bedspreads, blankets, and quilts off all the beds and have washed and dried them.  I’ve spread up the beds with just the bedspreads and sham-covered pillows (well except for ours, which is still fully “clothed”).  All the good sheets and blankets are stored in closets and dressers.  Sometime before we leave I will follow the example of the Grand Hotel and Chris Ann and cover up as much stuff as I can with old sheets, just to keep the dust off everything.   Next year, I can just imagine me walking in, snatching all those sheets off the furniture, and shouting, “We’re back!”

The forecast is calling for more rain for Friday and Saturday.  We were promised sunshine and warmer temps today, but the clouds hung on, and it never got out of the 40s.  No snow in sight though.  Sigh.

I’m posting my last round of random pictures tonight, with captions.  What photos you will see before we leave have already been taken, because there is no time to go out and take more.  We plan to have one final “date night” on Friday, then eat in on Saturday night, before leaving Sunday morning.  My plan now is to post both nights, and possibly one short one on the road Sunday night, if we find a dog-friendly hotel with wireless.

Hope you enjoy the pictures!

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Ted crossing the finish line Saturday after walking in the Great Turtle Race and Half Marathon.

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Ted and I after the race. This is terrible, but Jill got there before me and actually took this picture and the one of him crossing the finish line. Thanks, JIB!

 

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Little Stone Church at twilight.

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I was walking by Jewel Golf Course this week, and suddenly the sprinkler heads popped up and steam and water started spewing out. "Bout scared me to death! They were blowing all the water out of the pipes in anticipation of freezing temperatures.

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With all the wet weather, mushrooms are popping up everywhere. The true islanders know which ones to pick and cook that aren't harmful. I haven't got a clue.

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I took this one the night I was walking home from the Grand "closing". A lone walker, pushing her bike home in the rain.

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A group of Grand employees, the morning after it closed, rushing with all their belongings to catch the ferry.

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The sun going down - Tuesday night as I was walking to town.

 

 

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Ted and I went over to St. Ignace on Wednesday morning. This is a shot of one of the Shepler ferries, out of the water for the season.

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The trip back from St. Ignace - the closed Grand from the ferry.

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Taken the night of the Grand "closing" on that walk home in the rain. This is one of the main horse barns, mostly boarded up.

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Grand Hill at twilight.

Yesterday, after seeing Jill off on the ferry, we ate lunch in town at Millie’s on Main.  It was their last day, and they were closing at 4 p.m.  We ate some really good homemade spaghetti and then decided to splurge and get peach cobbler for dessert.  Oh my gosh!  They brought us both out a helping that was the size of a dinner plate!  They were trying to get rid of everything, and they didn’t even charge us for the cobbler.  Delicious!

After all that food, we walked home, picked up the dogs and went for a long walk up to Ft. Holmes (finally).  I am sorry to say that the leaves were probably two weeks past their peak.  I am so sorry I never made that trip up there for the third shot of the series, but the weather has just not cooperated.  Even though a lot of the trees have lost their leaves, it was still a beautiful walk.

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The road up to Lookout Point.

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The edge of one of the cemetaries.

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Ted, Maddie (can't see her in the leaves), and Bear - ahead of me as usual. You just can't walk fast AND take photos!

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At the crest of the hill to Lookout Point - this gift.

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Sugar Loaf - two weeks past its peak. Next year, I will hike up there - regardless of the weather - and catch it at full color. A promise.

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The trail up to Ft. Holmes, the highest point on the island.

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We were at Ft. Holmes at maybe 4 p.m. The sky was already darkening - the clouds moving in helped with that.

A picnic table sits at the top of the Ft. Holmes hill, under a beautiful orange tree.

A picnic table sits on the Ft. Holmes hill, under a beautiful orange tree.

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The fastest way back down to the cemetaries? Take the steps!

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About half-way down - looking back up.

On Saturday morning, you’ll have some photos of Mackinac Island – after the Grand closes and the islanders “get their island back”.  If you’ve never seen downtown at that time of year, I think you will be in for quite a surprise!

A Midnight Ride and A New Resolution 8/18/09

It never occurred to me to take a camera to the movies last night. Oh, how I wish I had! 

Judy had reserved a taxi to pick us up at 11 p.m. after the movie was over.  But there was some confusion over where we would be waiting, so it was almost 11:30 before we boarded the taxi.  We were the only passengers, and Judy (our carriage driver was named Judy also) radioed the taxi office to get permission to take us to Surrey Ridge via Mission Hill.  She said if the taxi has a light load, they can often make the run that way instead of going through town. 

To get to Mission Hill, you turn off Main Street at the Bay Cottage onto Truscott St.  At the end of Truscott, there is a sharp left turn, and you are on Mission Hill – very steep and only for carriages with brakes.  The hill brings you out right in the middle of the road (Huron) running east and west in front of the East Bluff cottages.  At the top of the hill, we turned left, and the view when we made that turn was among the most beautiful I have ever seen.  I had never, in all our nine years coming to the island, been up on the East Bluff at night.  The panorama spread out before us of the lights from the town below and the seemingly endless span of the Mackinac Bridge was breathtaking.  The bridge at night is decked with miles of sparkling, colored lights.  Like looking at a 5-mile long string of Christmas tree lights reaching across the waters from Mackinaw City to St. Ignace, the bridge appeared like something in a fantasy land.  Added to that were the lights of the vehicles moving across the bridge, looking like tiny play cars and trucks as they made the trip back and forth from the lower to the upper peninsula.  Judy and I were speechless, and I thought to myself how blessed the cottagers are who live on that bluff in the summer, or all year long, and can look out at that vista every single night.

We rode on into the night, going home by the same roads that Ted and I travel when we go to the East Bluff or the fort.  We turned right at the Governor’s Summer Residence, and we were in the deep, dark woods – no lights of any kind except for the tiny green light on the driver’s radio, just above her head.  I think it was kind of spooky to Judy (my friend), and she asked the driver, “How do the horses see where they are going?”  The driver said that from her vantage point, up on the driver’s seat, she could actually see the the lighter color of the road, as distinguished from the trees of the woods.  The horses, even though their night vision is basically the same as ours, would just instinctively follow the paved road.  The driver would instantly know if they went off the road because the steady “clip-clop” would become muffled.  She reached up and turned on an overhead light that illuminated the woods around us and the road in front of us.  I truthfully liked the dark better.  It was such a different feeling to be traveling through these ancient woods at night, in the dark – a brand new perspective of this island that I love so much.

This morning I awoke with a whole new attitude toward what I was going to do with the rest of our time on the island.  I had seriously been letting the healthy aspects of island living take care of themselves, pacifying myself that all the hill walking was making up for the tremendous amounts of fudge I have consumed lately.  So today I made a deal with myself to get back to the weight room at least three days a week, and to start watching my sugar consumption a little more.  A great Monday morning resolution, huh!

I biked into town first thing to ship my laptop back to Georgia.  I left it in the very capable hands of Sara at the UPS office, who promised it would be in Albany on Wednesday.  Then I rode to the Grand Hotel weight room for some upper arm work.  As I’ve said before, you don’t worry about  leg muscles up here – they get all the exercise they could possibly need.  It’s my upper arms that are falling (no pun intended) apart.  When I got into the exercise room, there were two guys on the cardio equipment, and one lady who was working out with free weights.  I took one look at her and thought, “Wow, I want whatever she’s having!”  She was slender, she was toned, she was very attractive.  I felt like yesterday’s leftovers standing next to her.  So I grabbed my little 5 lb. weights (she had the 8 lbs., or I would have gone for those), and started my biceps routine.  I think I was on rep 4 when she said, “Excuse me, but could I just show you the right way to do that?”  I thought, “Well, sure – I’ve been doing it this way for 30 years now, and I still have flabby arms, so I’m not too old to learn.”  In the next 30 minutes Elizabeth taught me more about the correct posture, positioning, and reasoning behind every exercise I did than I had learned in any gym or book in many, many years.  It turns out she is a personal trainer in Washington, D.C., here on the island visiting her parents who live on the West Bluff.  She was so nice and helpful.  We talked about nutrition, what’s good to eat, what’s not and why.  So, on the day I decide to tackle my wayward ways in exercising and eating, I meet a personal trainer – how convenient is that!  Here’s Elizabeth.

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Ted and I took the dogs for a long walk this afternoon.  After stopping by the Carriage Museum so Maddie and Bear could visit Scooter and get hugs from Denise, we walked up by the cemetaries and hooked up to a road/trail that came out at Sugar Loaf (and yes, that’s a man attempting to climb the giant limestone rock).

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From the base of Sugar Loaf, we climbed the stairs up to Lookout Point (Ted swears that this was the fastest way home, but it seems every walk with him lately includes some steps!)

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A private tour carriage was already at Lookout Point, and we chatted with the driver and her passengers a few minutes. 

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I took the first of three pictures of Sugar Loaf from a certain point at the lookout.  I will take the second in the middle of September, and the third in the middle of October.  If last year is any indication, those three pictures will catalog the fall season as it comes to Mackinac Island.  Here it is for August 17.

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We walked back through Turtle Park and Trillium Heights.  In Trillium Heights, there is a yard where this scarecrow stands guard over the owner’s beautiful garden and flowerbeds.

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We arrived back home just in time to start dinner.  I heard by email from Blake that he is safely in Beijing and settled into the hotel where he will be staying for a few days while he participates in a training course.  Then on Monday he will fly to his home base city of Chongqing.  I was confused about the hours of his flight, and he arrived at 10:30 this morning (Monday) – not Monday night.  Thank you God for safe travels, and thank all of you blogging friends for your prayers.