Visiting Mackinac in the Winter 2/5/17

You all know how I love visiting Mackinac during the winter.  I’ve gotten that opportunity three times, and if there was a way I could go every year, I’d be there in an instant.  With our Alaska trip in May already on the books (and the penny-saving in full swing), I knew a trip this winter was out of the question.  But I’ve just visited vicariously through Kem and Ed Green, and now you can do the same through their photos. 


Kem and Ed are friends we met through Bree’s Blog. They’re from Iowa, and of all my readers, they would rank right up there in the top five as “almost” loving the island as much as we do. Kem has wanted to spend a few days on the island during the winter for several years now, and this week her dream came true.  They arrived on Sunday, and since the winter ferry takes that day off, they also got to fly over to the island for the first time.  They loved all seven minutes of the flight!


When I got their visit details, I immediately texted friends Eugenia Murray and Pam Day, who are on the island during the winter.  I sent them a photo of Kem and Ed and asked them to be on the lookout to say hello.  Kem was in Doud’s on Monday and she said, “There was this woman who kept looking at her cellphone and then looking at me, looking at her cellphone and looking at me. She finally came over, showed me a photo of Ed and I and said, ‘Is this you?’ It was Pam Day!”  They just missed meeting Eugenia the night before in Cawthorne’s Village Inn. I had to confess to having them stalked.  Hmmm – maybe next time I should mention it to the “stalkees”!

Bless Kem’s heart, she came down with a bad cold the second day she was there and didn’t get in nearly as much hiking as Ed did.  But Kem’s dream of just nestling in, reading while watching the snow fall, and soaking up the quiet and calm of a Mackinac winter was thoroughly satisfied.  Ed took most of the pics that follow, as he roamed around the island for the next several days.


The weekly street hockey game.  The Mackinac Wings won against St. Ignace 7-1!


As usual, there is a lot of construction going on during the winter.  With very little snow and temps staying in the teens and 20’s, everything is moving along at a rapid pace.  Next summer Martha’s Sweet Shop will be replaced by a market and deli owned by Andrew Doud.


And the Leather Corral will be a new shop – owner to be announced soon.

The Greens also report the Chippewa has new floors and a new bar, and Twist N Sprouts is relocating. 


Ed got this great shot after snow arrived the night before.  The Scout Barracks building is on the left, and that’s the back of Fort Macknac in the center, with Lake Huron beyond.


Love that Ed trekked up Cadotte to get this photo of our old condos. And yes, the one we owned is now on the market.


Ice on the West shore.


Cupola suites are being added on the east side this winter at Grand Hotel.


The beautiful Bay View Inn in the snow.


The highway on the east side of the island.


One item of Kem’s wishlist for their winter visit was to go to the island library and read in front of the fireplace.   When she arrived she walked to the back of the library to see a very different view from when she’d been there this past summer. 


She was delighted to find a huge jigsaw puzzle set up in front of the window, waiting for anyone who wanted to while away an afternoon.

But . . . . what she didn’t find was a fire in the fireplace.  Kem and Anne St. Onge, the librarian, were the only ones in the library that day.  She and Anne struck up a conversation, and Kem mentioned she was so looking forward to curling up with her book in front of the fire, but she understood why there  wouldn’t be one with so few people there.  And then one of those things happened that makes Mackinac so magical.


Anne opened the grate, and built a fire.  And Kem’s wish came true. 

Thanks so much, Kem and Ed, for sharing your winter adventure with all of us!


This was Winter Festival Weekend, so the island was buzzing with visitors.  Among many other activities, folks got to participate in the opening of the Mackinac Ice Rink near the corner of Arch Rock Road and Huron Road. 


Nora Bailey tries out the ice rink.


The Bailey family (Mary, Jeri-Lynn and Nora – Brian was the photographer) also took part in the second Twilight Turtle Trek of the winter season.  Islanders and visitors were able to ski and snow-shoe for two hours along almost two miles of groomed, track set trails, lit by lanterns.  The final Twilight Turtle Trek will be March 4.


Mary Bailey playing some Snow-Golf during Winter Festival



Beautiful St. Anne’s Church on Friday.  (Photo: Tom Chambers)


A Clark Bloswick sunrise (did you spot the bunny)?



Bodie turned 10 months old this week and added counter-surfing to his repertoire of tricks.  I turned my back to grab a drink from the frig, and he helped himself to the pimento-and-cheese sandwich I’d just made.  Oh, the mischief in those eyes!



Visitors Dale and Jean, Spring Lake MI neighbors of newly-found cousins Dave and Diane Bennink, dropped by the Visitor’s Center at Fort Matanzas to meet Ted.  They were in St. Augustine for a few days of vacation in a warmer climate.

Speaking of newly-found family, Ted is flying to Albuquerque NM on Tuesday to spend a few days with his birth mother’s brother, his Uncle Ken.  Uncle Ken is 94 years old, and he and Ted have spent many, many hours on the phone since Ted discovered his birth mother’s family.  They can’t wait to meet in person and share stories, and I can’t wait to hear them when Ted returns on Friday. 

Have a great week!

God bless.

All’s Well That Ends Well . . . 9/17/2010

This has been a tough week.  Being sick was no fun, and I really feel like I haven’t put much effort into the blog in several days.  And with the kids coming in Thursday afternoon, I’ll be taking a few days off to enjoy them – so I guess you’ll just have to label this week’s posts as “the blog that almost was” and look forward to better things from me next week.

Before I sign off for the week though, I have a couple of exciting things to share with you, and then I’ll offer up “Random Photos” a day earlier than usual.

The excitement started with an email from an artist in Illinois who wanted to use one of my photos as a model for a watercolor he had been asked to paint.  Spencer Meagher told me that a lady in New York had contacted him about doing a painting of Robinson’s Folly as part of his “Places I’ve Never Been, Things I’ve Never Done” series, which he began September 1 of this year.  She had referred him to a past Bree’s Blog post in which Robinson’s Folly was pictured.  I emailed him the original of the photo, and below are the results.

My photo of Robinson’s Folly (the large outcropping of limestone on the right of the photo). Small Point Inn is also pictured.

Spencer’s watercolor. How cool is that!

In the emails we sent back and forth this week, I learned that Spencer visits Mackinac Island quite often and photographs scenes that he later paints.  For some reason, he had never photographed this particular landmark.  If you’d like to visit his website and look at his other work, some of which includes Mackinac Island scenes,  you can find him at

Another day I was contacted by Maggie who is a freelance writer for “The Mackinac Journal”, a northern Michigan monthly magazine.  She was doing a story on the horses leaving the island for the winter and had seen a blog post from last year, with all the photos of the horses coming down the street and entering the ferry.  She asked if I would email her the originals, in their highest resolution, to see if any could be used by their graphics artist to illustrate her story.  I received an email from her today that the photos were perfect, and she will be sending me a copy of the magazine when it hits the stands in October.  I’ll be getting full photo credit, so I’m very excited!

So very, very strange how this blog-thing is turning out.  A lady in New York who reads my blog tells an artist in Illinois to request a photo from me to do a painting she wants.  A writer in Cheboygan finds photos she needs to write a story on the horses leaving the island.

And all I wanted to do was write “letters home” to Georgia friends while we were in Michigan.  Amazing.  And so, so much fun!

I walked downtown – camera in coat pocket –  late this afternoon, knowing my “random photos” would all be done in one probably two-hour session.  I just hadn’t been out much again this week, so my random shots were few, and I needed to add to the ones I had that were usable.  I had in mind sticking to a theme of “Mackinac from Different Angles” and taking photos of places I see every day – but from different perspectives.  And I did some of that.  But I branched out from that theme also – proving once again I am no good at all at “going with a plan”.  Maybe that’s why random photo day is so popular – it’s just my “random mind” at its best!

A red flower, purple leaves plant from The Grand flower garden. Sorry, Mary, but I don’t think we covered this one on the tour. If we did – I forgot!  Sure is pretty though!

Looking across the school playground, through the trees, to the water.

No dogs anywhere, but something spooked the geese in the Burroughs Lot into flying. They are silhouetted against the Mackinac Bridge.

A brightly colored kite flies high against the cloudy sky.

Little Stone Church, as we normally see it photographed.

The Little Stone Church Steeple and bell. On Sunday mornings at the beginning of the service, and at the end of every wedding – as the bride and groom leave the church – a person standing in the center aisle pulls the rope and rings the bell. You can hear it for miles. 

The beautiful stained glass window you see upon entering the church door . . .

. . . . and the one you see as you go out the church door . . .

. . . which is always open and welcoming. As I’ve said before, this church drew me in just as the island did, and that was before I ever had the privilege of hearing Dr. Vince Carroll speak.

One more of the church. This one is from the walkway which goes to the lawn behind the church – where we have our coffee and cookies fellowship on Sunday mornings.

The Town Crier office. Our weekly newspaper is published once a week during the summer.

The windows in La Galerie were filled with beautiful fall displays, like these gorgeous bags.

A scarecrow waves a welcome from his bike.  He’s in the yard of one of the homes used for employee housing on Cadotte Avenue.

A Mackinac Island street in the middle of a Fall weekday. By Friday afternoon the streets will be full again.

A peek inside one of my favorite island shops – Little Luxuries on Mackinac Island.

A row of signs we are very familiar with – Scrimshanders, The Chippewa Hotel, and . . .

. . . what else! The Pink Pony!

Doud’s Market was hopping this afternoon – but it always is! Ya gotta have food, but I could just stand outside and admire the flowers!

The taxi stand. As I walked by, two ladies were muttering that the “phone doesn’t work”. I interrupted them and said I’d be glad to give it a try. I explained that they wouldn’t hear a dial tone when they picked it up. It just automatically rings upstairs to the taxi dispatcher, which it did – and they ordered their taxi.  I remember thinking the same thing the first time I used that phone, which hangs inside a marked box on the front of the building.

The east end of town.

The sign for Harbor Place Apartments, another good place to stay during the winter if you come here to ski, or just to enjoy the solitude. The apartments are all waterfront.

The beautiful Hotel Iroquois, which looks a lot smaller from the front . . .

. . . than it does from this side view!

The Windermere Hotel, as seen from Windermere Point.  Wow – I should have brought Bear and Maddie, the geese dogs!

The back of our lovely library, as seen from the beach. Rocking chairs across the back porch are available day and night for a quiet place to read, or to just enjoy looking at the water and watching the boats.

From the sidewalk, across the street from the boardwalk. A little further down this road is the school, then you are out of town.

I always wonder, when I see this lone tree on the beach side of the street, what made it stronger than the others that must surely have been here in the past.

The pumpkins growing beside the horse barn seem to have doubled in size over the last few days.

A few leaves are beginning to turn now. For some reason, I think the change is going to be fast this year.

Our condo through the trees.

I don’t think I will be writing while Jason and Blair are here, but I will probably post some pics at least a few nights between now and Monday when they are leaving – so check back every now and then just to see what’s up.  Have a great rest of the week, stay safe, try not to get a cold, and if you’re in northern Michigan, stay WARM!  God bless – and thank you for your prayers this week.  I am so blessed.

Jack Frost and Friend Jill 10/2/09

IMG_8027There was frost on the pumpkin this morning.  Well, actually there wasn’t a pumpkin near our condo to judge by, but the lawn in front of us was covered with white crystals.  It was exactly 32 degrees when we got up, with promises of highs only in the 50’s.  It is a gorgeous day on the island.  Blue skies, plenty of sunshine, no clouds, no wind.  A perfect fall day.

I’ve gotten so used to the hush of the island that I don’t even think about it usually – until something interrupts it.  Wednesday and today there have been workers  replacing doors in two of the condos in our building.  I wasn’t here yesterday for the noise, but this morning the banging and drilling started early.  It was quite an intrusion into our quiet little universe, and I’ll be glad when the hammering stops, and the only sounds again are clip-clips and the calls of seagulls, crows, and geese.

All the noise started me thinking about the adjustment back to life in the “real world” that is coming soon.  Even yesterday, driving in the little town of Cheboygan, I found myself having to think about driving rules that I’ve used since I was 15.  But I know the instincts will all return quickly, just as the skill of riding a bike returned, even after almost 40 years between bike rides. 

Jill called about 2:30 this afternoon and wanted me to come downtown to play.  Thursday is her day off from the bookstore, and she had taken care of all her errands.  I had finished everything I had planned to do today at the condo, so I said “Sure, I’m on the way!” 

I packed up all the photographs I’ve been passing out, in case I saw anyone on the streets, put on two layers, threw the earmuffs in my bag, and biked down the hill. 

Jill and I met at the Little Stone Church.  We rode on into town and stopped at Wolfgang’s Gallery to give Helen a picture Jill had taken of her and Millie.  Millie is a Portuguese Water Dog who has a restaurant named after her on the island – Millie’s on Main.  The photograph shows them in the Island Bookstore – with Millie getting a treat, of course.


Then we rode by Weber’s Florist to deliver a picture to Patti.  The door was closed, with the “On a Delivery” sign taped to the front.  I was going to slip the envelope under the door, but I looked through the window into the shop and saw Patti preparing to go out the backdoor.  I caught her before she could get on her bike and delivered the photo.  It shows Patti waving to friends as she stands beside a full stand of lilac plants.  I took it this spring soon after we arrived.  Patti said today that she had sold three stands of those lilac bushes over the summer.



We went to see Ted in the Visitor’s Center and found him practicing his expertise at the cup and ball game.  He told us they were testing the aerators in the harbor, so we walked out to the marina to check it out.  In the photo below, you will see air bubbles coming up next to several posts. In the winter, when the Straits of Mackinac are freezing over, the aerators run continuously to keep ice from forming around the dock pilings.  The ice would be so heavy that the marina could literally be destroyed if it was allowed to push against the pilings.  Wow!  Talk about stuff we don’t have to worry about in south Georgia!




Jill and I decided a coffee was in order – we were cold!  J.L. Beanery was a short walk down the marina, and Brett was 10 minutes away from closing.  The view out of the Beanery windows is pretty special, even when the harbor is almost empty of boats.




As we headed back to the Visitor’s Center to pick up our bikes, we happened to glance up to the  top of the Bay View Bed & Breakfast.  There stood a minister, a bride, a groom, and several attendants.  You just never know where you will spot a wedding on Mackinac Island!


We were going to the library when I saw Ben coming down the street with two of the Grand hackneys pulling a carriage.  He and a Grand stable worker take the hackneys out each afternoon to exercise them.  I hailed him down in the street to give him some photos I’ve taken of him and the Grand horses over the summer.


The island library is something I’ve wanted to show you all summer, and until this afternoon I’ve just never taken the time to do it.  The library was dedicated in 1992 and sits right on the Lake Huron shore.  It stays open year-round, and there is a wood-burning fireplace inside.  To me, the walls look they were painted the exact color of Lake Huron, which you can see out the window.  Today, there were several people sitting around the fireplace reading books and newspapers, while others worked on computers or searched the racks for a special book.  There are used books for sale, and you can rent movies. 




As if all that isn’t enough to make you want to come check out a book, there is even a backporch right on the beach, with rocking chairs.  And if the rocking chairs are all in use, just make yourself comfortable down at the shoreline.




Friday night about 10 of “us girls” are going out to dinner and then to see Julie, Julia, which has finally arrived at Mission Point Resort.  Then Saturday night is date night. 

The next new post will be Monday morning.

NOTE:  Please remember me in your prayers this weekend.  I lost my mom two years ago on Oct. 3.  She died from a stroke she suffered a week earlier, and went to be with our Lord on her 86th birthday.  I miss her and think about her every day.  My sadness is made easier because I know she and my daddy are together now in Heaven.  All the years of missing him are behind her, and now they both know only joy.  Knowing that, and knowing that one day I will see them both again will make Saturday easier.  For those of you who will lift me up this weekend, I thank you.