Mackinac Island Spring Update – Vol. 4 – 4/18/2012

25 days and counting.  I can’t believe it.  The winter that never was (in the South at least) slipped by in the bat of an eye, and in a week or so the suitcases will come out of the closets, and Maddie and Bear will begin to wonder, “Where we going?”

As always when this time of year comes around, I find myself looking back over the last six months and hoping they’ve been productive.  The blogs have kept me busy, Bear and I have enjoyed our Pet Partners work, and Ted’s been faithful in driving veterans for hospital and doctor visits.  We’ve had great times with friends, we’ve traveled more than usual, and – as we say every year – we haven’t had nearly enough time with the kids and grandkids.  But we know they’re all planning on trips to the Island this summer, and once they’re there we can pretty much hold them captive for awhile!  How great it is they love Mackinac almost as much as we do!

I don’t have a lot of news from the Island today, but I have some totally awesome photos I’ll get to shortly.  Friends on the Island let me know that just when the weather seemed to be warming to the point that lilacs might be in jeopardy of blooming really early, Mother Nature intervened with  . . . . . . .

. . .Snow! Mary McGuire from the Tourist Bureau took this photo early today (Wednesday), and she's hoping that this reversal back to colder weather will send the lilac buds back into hiding. For the next two weeks it looks like the highs will be holding in the low 50's, so we'll just have to wait and see if the Lilac Festival in June arrives during or after the lilacs bloom.

I loved the message Doud’s Market posted today on FacebookSpring is here!! The staff at Doud’s Market is busy getting the store ready for a bustling summer season!  Doud’s Deli reopened this past week.  You can grab a slice of pizza to go or order a pizza to take home with you.  (Spring hours vary, so call ahead before placing an order, 906.847.3444)  We have delicious homemade soups, freshly-made salads and sandwiches to go and a wonderful meat selection to choose from.  We will be adding some new items to our deli menu this season as well.  Stay in touch as we stock the Market with new items and new delicious deli items!  Our hours are currently 7:30AM-7:00PM, Monday-Saturday; 10AM-5PM, Sunday. Hours will be changing in the next few weeks to extended hours.”  Can’t wait to visit Andrew and all the workers at Doud’s!

Since 1967 the Michigan Recreation & Parks Association (MRPA) has offered travelers ages 50 and over a unique opportunity to stay at the Grand Hotel at a significantly reduced rate during the off-season.  The program offers an all inclusive package including ferry, taxi, hotel stay, breakfast and five course dinner, all tax and gratuities, carriage tour, Fort Mackinac visit, golf chipping and putting competitions, bocce competition, crafts, dancing, carriage tours and more! Each fall over 1400 seniors participate in the various dates offered (Sept. 25-28; Oct. 8-11; Oct. 14-16; and Oct. 21-24). If you’d like more information about this opportunity, you may call Karen Aune at 517-485-9888.

MRPA has graciously allowed me to publish winners in the photo contest offered participants in 2011’s Grand Experience.  I found these photographs to be fresh, exciting, and so very original.  As I’ve said so many times, we all see Mackinac through different eyes, and our cameras capture moments in time we will turn back to remember over and over again when we think of our journeys there.  I hope you enjoy these as much as I did!

A totally different vision of the Grand Hotel's Tea Garden. Third Place - Scenery/Architecture Category. "Glorious" by Van Weimer

The entrance to one of Mackinac's most beautiful homes. Second Place - Scenery/Architecture Category. "Gate" by Carl Sturgeon

A butterfly greets visitors to the Island. First Place - Scenery/Architecture Category. "Welcome to the Island" by Dolores Surletta

Touring the Island in the fall. Third Place - People/Activities Category. "Fall Carriage Ride" by Linda Stephas

A perfect cup of tea. Second Place - People/Activities Category. "Tea Time" by Peter (Pat) Koloff

Awesome black & white photo! First Place - People/Activities Category. "Taxi" by Phyllis Neumann

Only one porch like this one in the whole world! Third Place - View of the Grand Category. "My Dream of a Porch" by Marcie Steidmann

Simple touches mean so much. Second Place - View of the Grand Category. "Awareness" by Caroline Medwith

Ahhh . . . the Herb Garden. First Place - View of the Grand Category. "Quiet Moments in a Quaint Garden" by Linda Meyer.

One more news item about the Grand Hotel.  This summer the Grand will celebrate its 125th anniversary, and nobody celebrates quite like the Grand.  On July 10th a 125′ cake will be wheeled onto the Grand porch for hotel guests to enjoy, and during the weekend of July 13-15 there will be receptions, fireworks, presentations, concerts, and tournaments.  Bill Semion of wrote a wonderful article about this birthday party, and you can read it here:

Here’s a few more photos Island friends have shared this week:

Getting ready for the season and the big celebration, the Grand is getting a fresh coat of paint. (Photo by: the Grand Hotel)

A beautiful early morning view of a freighter slipping through the pass. (Photo: Jeri-Lynn Bailey)

Here come the tulips! (Photo: Mission Point Resort)

The Seabiscuit opened for the season this week. (Photo: Sonnet Quinn)

Jeri-Lynn Bailey snapped this photo during Spring Break in Florida, but wouldn't that just be the perfect Mackinac Island lawn mower!

Friend Maryanke Alexander and her beautiful Jetske, who she thinks (our fingers are crossed) is in foal. Jetske will be on the Island this summer with Maryanke.

Easter morning at Windermere Point. (Photo: Doud's Market)

While I was going through some of Ted’s photos from last fall, I found this one of the condo.  There it sits, on Surrey Ridge, empty for six-and-a-half months.  If buildings could talk, I like to think this one might be saying . . . “They’ll be here soon.  My doors will be unlocked, my windows will be flung open, and the breeze will rush through my rooms.  Rugs and mats will once again cover my bare floors; sheets and blankets and pillows will be placed on my beds.  Groceries will come up the hill, and happy dogs will settle on my deck and watch the season unfold from their favorite perch.  They’ll be here soon.  They’ll be here soon!”

See you next Wednesday!  God bless.

You’re Kidding! It’s Friday? 5/27/2011

Good grief – this week has flown by, and here it is Friday already! 

Weather First:  We haven’t put up our fleece jackets yet!  Frost was forecast two mornings this week, and although I haven’t seen frost myself (and yes, there was one morning I took the dogs out . . . early), it has certainly been chilly enough for two or three layers of clothes before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m.  Am I complaining?  Are you kidding!  It was 96 in Georgia a couple of days ago!  I’ll just keep putting on layers, thank you very much. 

Some Goodies to Check Out:  During the winter I was always “clicking” the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau website for photos and information.  If you haven’t visited lately, it’s time for you to see the completely revamped site. As good as it was before – now it is awesome!  There’s tons of information about visiting the island, and the photographs are breathtaking.  Check it out when you get a chance at:

One more site to remind you about before I get started on the week’s happenings – Michael Forrester’s Mackinac Island Blog at  Mike has posted a great piece on everything new on the island for the 2011 season.  Geez!  He was here three days, and he saw way more than I’ve seen so far after almost two weeks!  I don’t think he ever slept!

Ok . . . the week!

My poor hubby was under the weather for a couple of days (bet you already figured that out when you saw I took the dogs out early one morning), and even though he still went over to Cheboygan for Walmart grocery shopping on Tuesday, he really shouldn’t have.  When he got back to the condo, I threw on two layers of warm duds and cleared out so he could take a nice, long nap.  It was a perfect day for photos – blue sky, bluer water, and green – really green – grass.

Lake Huron can still be seen through the trees, although it gets harder each day as the leaves continue to fill in the spaces between the branches.


Can you BELIEVE these colors! The Jewel Golf Course looks like someone took the Emerald Green Crayon and colored outside all the lines.


The new Michigan governor hasn't visited his summer residence yet, but the rumor is he and his family will be making their first visit over the Memorial Day weekend. What a perk!


The Grand Hill trees are smaller, but the view is BIGGER! What a day!


When I first pulled this photo up on the laptop, I thought, "Why did I take this, and what is on fire?" Then I remembered - that's the top of a freighter going through the cut. Can you believe how huge those things are!

Dori, a Bree’s Blog fan, and her sister Barb (both from Michigan) arrived on the island Wednesday, and we met for lunch at Millie’s on Main Thursday afternoon.  It’s always so nice connecting face to face with my readers and getting to know people from all over the U.S. who share a love for Mackinac Island. 

Dori in the middle, and sister Barb. Dori worked on the island as a college student and knows a lot about the island's history. In fact, in researching their family tree, she and Barb were delighted to find a blood tie to Magdelaine La Framboise, the original owner of the Harbour View Inn, where the ladies stayed this trip. Madame La Framboise was a remarkable 19th-century French and Indian woman who, when widowed at a young age, parlayed her husband's fur businesses into one of the most successful enterprises of her day. Thank you Dori and Barb for a wonderful lunch and a great time chatting about our favorite island.

By the way, Millie’s on Main has great “home-cooked” style food! I love their salads, white fish basket, home-made spaghetti, and desserts. Yum!  Millie’s is named after the owners’ family pet, a Portuguese Water Dog.
After lunch I ran a few errands, then met up with Jill (her day off), and we headed for the condo where I downloaded photos she took Thursday morning down at the Shepler’s dock. She had emailed me Wednesday that the Stucks’ four Friesians were being shipped to the island for the summer on the Sacre Bleu. The boat was supposed to arrive at 6:50 a.m., and I begged off being down the hill at that hour. But Jill – and Mary from the Grand – were there to welcome these beautiful horses home to the island, and thank goodness Jill took pics!

The Sacre Blue turns into the calm waters of the harbor. You can see the long horse trailer on the deck, still attached to the truck cab.


Once secured, the trailer is opened and the first horse is led off the boat.




Michelle and one of her boys.


Leaving the dock . . . .


. . . . and making a turn in front of the Cloghaun - toward home on the West Bluff.


Marc's Double Oven Bakery has a new employee - Tiffany, who is a master at cupcakes. Oh my gosh, I gained 5 pounds just looking at these yummy concoctions!


Wednesday night's sunset - taken by Kellie Lawrence from the Grand.

I am loving the “picture days” between blogs and hope you are finding them satisfying – and, yes, I know I haven’t limited them to one photo – YET! Some of you might even be wondering, “Why is this different from doing a blog post each day?”  Here’s why.  Starting each day with the little nagging thought in my mind of “What’s the story today?” is a lot different than just throwing the camera in my pocket and looking for a moment (or two) in time to capture with a photograph. It gives me a lot more freedom on the “off” days, and let’s me store up all the “news” for two posts instead of spreading it out over seven days. On Mackinac Island, there are always “moments in time” to freeze-frame. I have never in our now four summers here left the condo and not seen something I wanted to photograph. Such an amazing little island – and we are so blessed to be here.
It’s been a wonderful week, and the island is gearing up for a very busy holiday. Have a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend, and please take a moment to remember the brave men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice so we may enjoy our many freedoms. God bless our military men and women, and God bless America.