When we topped that little rise around 1 pm Monday afternoon and saw the Mackinac Bridge towers for the first time, we knew we were almost there!
A few minutes later, Ted and a Shepler dock worker began the process of unloading the mountain of luggage and supplies we’d brought, and I walked into the main office to arrange three months parking for the truck and purchase a book of tickets. The young lady working the desk was new to me, but she started all the paperwork we needed quickly (so we could catch the 1:30 ferry), and Maddie and I watched the comings and goings of ferry passengers through the door. We’d only been waiting a moment when a Shepler employee I knew came through the door, gave me a big hug, and welcomed me “home”. Then he proceeded to tell me how much he and his wife still enjoy the blog and how – just that morning – he’d given a passenger my blog address. He said the lady was leaving the island and was upset she had to go. It was her first visit, and she had fallen in love with Mackinac. So he told her about Bree’s Blog and said, “Look it up. You’ll find out all the news, and you’ll feel like you’re on the island again!”
I loved that!
We rode the new Shepler ferry, the Miss Margy, over to the island. What an awesome boat she is, with all kinds of upgrades in seating and the ease of riding on the first level without descending any steps! It was our first time aboard the Miss Margy, and we look forward to many more passages back and forth on her this year and for years to come.
My heart was about to sail out of my chest as we passed the bridge and turned toward the island.
Jill (and her brother Mark and niece Ashlynn, who are visiting) met us at the ferry dock. After lots of hugs, we started toward Main Street, only to find Buz and Patty (the couple from Oklahoma who bought a unit in our condo complex after a chance meeting with Bear and I aboard a ferry years ago). They had been on the island for a summer visit and had told us they were leaving last Friday to go home. It turns out that was a little white lie. They stayed to welcome us back and spend a few days catching up. We were so excited to see them – I squealed like a 10-year-old when I saw Patty standing there! The whole crowd came to the condo with us and stayed until all our luggage arrived on the dray. Then they helped carry it inside and up the stairs.
Thank you so much, Buz and Patty, for the great surprise!
Sweet Ashlynn took Maddie on a walk while we got all our stuff inside.
Jill had to go to work, but Buz, Patty, Ted and I went out to dinner (the Pink Pony, of course) a little later in the evening. Another splendid Mackinac Island welcome!
After dinner, as Ted and I walked home, we stopped to chat with a few folks and take in the beautiful evening..
All the boats in the Port Huron to Mackinac race were safely in and crowded into the marina. Such a colorful, exciting event, and next week it will happen all over again as the Chicago to Mackinac Race begins!
A beautiful array of clouds over Fort Mackinac, as dusk settles over the island.
We didn’t even turn the TV on after we got back to the condo – bed was the only thing on our minds. We were TIRED. We fell asleep to the sound of horses hooves clip-clopping down the street outside the windows, which were open to a lovely breeze. Very peaceful sleep.
WHAT I’VE MISSED
We took our coffee out on the deck this morning and sat in the rocking chairs to watch the island awake.
I love the sounds of Mackinac. I closed my eyes and just listened as I sipped coffee and rocked. Here’s what I heard.
Birds – so many birds singing. I’d forgotten how much music they can make (I love the cry of the gulls at the beach, but we don’t have song birds where we are – or at least very few), each species with a different melody. Sometimes they sound like they’re in harmony, sometimes like they’re competing for the ear-piercing award, and sometimes their melody is so sweet and fragile it takes your breath.
Tires – Bicycle tires, burley tires, stroller tires, taxi tires, dray tires. They all make different sounds as they either whir quickly along, or gently scratch the road as they pass.
Horses – hooves, jingling reins and harnesses, an occasional scuffing snort or a high-pitched neigh to an approaching horse. Horses make this island work. I love them.
Adult People – Visitors shuffling along on the way to breakfast somewhere close by, quietly chatting, ready for that first cup of coffee. Island residents and workers, calling “good morning” across the street to each other, or as they meet on the sidewalk. Taxi drivers and dray drivers clucking to their horses.
Children – The picture of happiness and gleeful laughter as they take in their surroundings and all the things they don’t normally see on the streets at home.
Ferries – Horns blowing as they approach the harbor.
Freighters – Blowing a salute to the island.
Bagpipes – Bagpipes? At first I thought I was imagining it, but Ted and I both definitely heard bagpipes! And we had NOT doctored our coffee with anything stronger than half-and-half.
I heard all this – just rocking with my eyes closed this morning and sipping coffee. And I realized, even more than before I arrived, how much I have missed it all.
The gentleman with the bagpipe (in the middle of the group in foreground). As we walked downtown later in the morning we heard his music again and found him walking up and down the docks between the sailboats – playing beautiful Scottish melodies, some merry and some quietly haunting.
In the next three months it’s going to be my pleasure to bring you stories and photographs from my “heart’s home.” The magic of Mackinac awaits – I can’t wait to once again share it with you.
Thank you for each safe travel prayer you lifted.