The Beach, the Island . . . . and Places Far Away 7/2/17

Hi Everyone, and a huge Happy Fourth of July Weekend!

We’re nine days away from leaving for Michigan, with an arrival date on Mackinac penciled in on or about July 16.  Once we reach Michigan, we’ll be visiting family along the way, and our gang will be spending a few nights with cousins Dave and Diane Bennick near Grand Haven.. There’s also a family reunion where we’ll get to spend more time with cousins who visited us on the island last summer AND meet relatives we have yet to see face to face.  Dave assures us that Bodie and Maddie are welcome and that there are four Golden Retrievers in their neighborhood for Bodie to play with.  LOL – this should be very interesting!

Bodie says he sincerely hopes everyone has a soft spot in their hearts for teenage goofballs who always seem to find a way to get into trouble – even when they’re not trying.


Bruce LaPine shared this and the next two photos toward the end of Lilac Festival week. A Shelper’s boat rounds the breakwall, framed by lighthouses and white lilac blossoms.

The flower beds outside Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor at Grand Hotel are flourishing!

More beautiful lilacs – overhanging a white picket fence and framing the Mackinac Bridge.

This is soooo cool . . . .

In honor of the 130th anniversary of Grand Hotel, David Lorch, PhD, LEGO designer, and engineer, created a 9 ft. replica of Grand Hotel made entirely out of LEGOS.

The details are impeccable and include people, horses, a Grand omnibus . . .

. . . . even the chess set on one end of the front porch and pots of geraniums!

I can’t wait to tell you about this . . . . . .

Mother and daughter team, Barbara Toms and Marcia Dunnigan (on the right), have joined together with artist Sharon Griffes Tarr (far left) to create the Mackinac Island Cottage Cookbook.  These three ladies held a book signing at the Island Bookstore last week.

The book is a compilation of Barbara and Marcia’s tried and true personal recipes. Their cottage (shown above on the book cover) is always filled with warmth and laughter, and these are two of my favorite “women of Mackinac”.  That front porch has been the scene of many an island party, and these ladies know exactly how to make everyone feel welcome.

Sharon’s illustrations of island locations are beautiful and add even more fun and enjoyment to the book’s charm.  The Island Bookstore will carry the books, but if you don’t have a trip planned, Jill says just give the store a call, and they will be glad to ship it out.  She has one tucked away for me already, and I am excited to get my hands on it in a couple of weeks!


We’ve had such a great week at the beach.  Jason and Blake flew in on Wednesday, and on Wednesday night Julie, Jordan and Matthew joined us for grilled burgers.

It’s so hard to get everyone together in one place at one time!  We hated that Matt was out of town and couldn’t join us, and Jen and Alex couldn’t come because Alex had a swim meet.

Jason flew back to Atlanta on Friday, and Blake will be with us until this Friday when he’ll return to Colorado.  In mid-August Blake will return to Ankara, Turkey for a two-year commitment teaching English at a local university there.  He is in the process of raising support.  Please keep Blake in your prayers for his safety and for his purpose there.  There is a need in that country, and work there can impact the regions surrounding it.

Please remember me too in your prayers during this time. This is hard.


Ted, Jason, Blake and I were at Turtle Shack Thursday night, and we ate outside. This huge crab sauntered across the sidewalk from behind the building, and when we got up to take a pic, he scooted behind the tire of one of the cars nearby. He sat there until we finished eating and was still there when we left. Biggest crab we’ve seen down here so far.  I guess you can grow that big when you’re wise enough not to cross busy highways during dinner  hour.


On my way to work last week this lone cloud was hovering over the ocean. I pulled over to get this pic ’cause I thought it was kind of spectacular.

Talk about spectacular! Sunset from our deck last night. I don’t usually like iPhone photos of sunsets because they tend to wash out the colors. But this one was perfect.

One more spectacular shot.  Blake took this panorama as he was walking the beach last night at sunset!


Those of you who follow this blog often read comments by “Jason-the other one”.  Jason has read the blog for many years, drawn to it because of his love of the island.  Jason served in Afghanistan until 2010 with Ben, his military service dog and partner.  Ben returned to the states a month ahead of Jason, then went home to meet Jason’s wife and parents (Jason had applied to adopt Ben when he knew the dog was being retired).  Jason returned overseas, and Ben spent the rest of his retirement with Jason’s family.  Jason would see him when he’d come home on vacations over the years.

Ben crossed the Rainbow Bridge last week. Jason writes, “I’m writing to let you know my beloved partner Ben crossed oer the Rainbow Bridge last Wednesday. Please keep my family in your thoughts and prayers as we deal with his passing. If not for him I wouldn’t be here today. He saved many lives, allowing countless service members to come home safely to their loved ones. He served our country with honor and had a very blessed retirement. He passed away at 14 years of age. Even at 14, he loved to play and rough house. He was found at home asleep on his bed. We guess it was just his time.”  The photo above is from Ben’s retirement ceremony in 2010.  His service years were March 2004-June 2010.  His last patrol in Afghanistan was June 5, 2010.

Rest in Peace, brave Ben, and thank you for your service.

God bless.






Mackinac Island Winter Update – Vol. 11 – 2/15/2012

Happy Valentine’s Day, and hello from the . . . . . fairly cold South!  We’ve had a few days of early morning 20’s (even had a fire in the stove one morning) and high temps in the 50’s.  In other words, it’s felt like wintertime down here since the weekend, and that’s a good thing!

Ya’ll will have to forgive me tonight, but I’m going to kind of throw together this post.  It’s been a crazy week here.  I was summoned for jury duty on Monday, and even though I haven’t been called yet, I spent Monday AND Tuesday at the Americus courthouse, have to go back on Wednesday, and now I’m trying to get out the door with my Sweetie for Valentine’s dinner at my favorite ri’vah restaurant, Daphne’s.

Sooooo . . . . . here’s a little news and some great photos and links for you to check out!

  • You know that little shop I talk about and shop in all summer on the Island – Little Luxuries?  Well, oh my gosh, Nicole (the owner) now has her store online, and you can shop till you drop from the comfort of your home (but ONLY if you’re not on the island – if you’re ON the island, for sure GO TO THE STORE!).  Nicole says she’s a little short on merchandise right now, but by the time the store reopens May 1st her web site will be filled with all kinds of goodies you can order online.  Some of my favorite things are already available!  You can get started by going to the link below the logo.
  • This isn’t specifically about Mackinac Island (but it IS about Michigan), and some of you might have already seen this on the NBC news the other night.  We all know that this winter we’ve been getting some spectacular Northern Lights displays.  If you think they’re beautiful from earth, you should see them from the International Space Station!  The very first video on the link below clearly shows Detroit and Chicago and the outline of the state of Michigan in the night sky.  Jaw-droppingly (is that a word?) awesome!
  • Hurray for Tony Lucca, a Michigan musician who has performed on Mackinac Island many, many times.  He’s been chosen on The Voice!  Video here of his story and his appearance on a recent Today Show:
  • There’s a great new video out on the Festival of the Horse, with footage from the 2011 festival.  Watch it here:
  • OK – This is HUGE!  Remember the photos and video from Vera Bradley posted a couple of weeks ago?  Didn’t think it could get much better than that?  Well, it did!  Vera Bradley is giving away a trip to Mackinac Island.  The Grand Prize winner will win a trip FOR FOUR to the Grand Hotel for a three-night stay.  Included is airfare FOR FOUR from anywhere within the continental U.S., ferry tickets, and selected meals.  OH.  MY.  GOSH!!  Deadline to enter is March 10, and you can only enter once . . . . hurry and get your name in!  Also – FOUR 1st Prize winners will receive a Vera Bradley Grand Traveler ($118 value) in the Spring color of your choice.

Island Photos

The only way to and from the Island now that the ferries aren't running is via Great Lakes Air. (Photo: Mary Slevin)

The lighthouses sure look small from way up here! (Photo: Mary Slevin)

Sunset. (Photo by Mission Point)

The setting sun sets homes and ice aglow. (Photo: Heather May)

A recent cloudy, cold morning. (Photo: Sonnet Quinn - a.k.a. Mackinac Mommy)

Same morning - different view. (Photo: Sonnet Quinn)

Full moon over Shepler dock in Mackinac City. (Photo: Shepler Ferry)

The Welcome, Shepler's smallest ferry, is getting a facelift while in dry dock for the winter. Can't wait to see the "new" Welcome! (Photo: Shepler Ferry)

These last two photos (one of which is the beautiful header photo today) are from good Island friend Liz Burt, who teaches at the Mackinac Island Public School.  Her blog is

She captured this one on her way to school early one morning. Liz, hope you enter this in the calendar contest!

No words needed.

That’s it for this week.  Hope everyone is doing well and getting just the right amount of snow.  God bless.