Mackinac Island Off-Season Weekly Update – Vol. IV . . . 11/22/2010

Update  11/24/2010:

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making this year so awesome.  Over the last two years, you’ve come into my life from all over the United States and several foreign countries.  You’ve commented and sent emails and lifted me and my family up in prayer.  You’ve made me laugh a whole lot and occasionally, you’ve caused a few tears to flow.  And over time, we’ve all become friends.  What a blessing you have become to me and my family. 

From the Horton clan – Ted, Bear, Maddie and me . . .

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

God bless.


Hi everyone, and Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!  I know you’ve seen that header picture before, but when I look at it, I always think of the fall on the island and the Thanksgiving season.

It definitely doesn’t seem like the holiday season here in south Georgia – the high for Thursday is forecast to be 79!  I just checked the weather on the island for Thanksgiving, and the high there is supposed to be 29 with snow . . . now THAT sounds like Thanksgiving!

I spoke with Ben, our condo caretaker, for a few minutes this week (I left my recipe notebook – the one I cannot boil water without – in Michigan).  I needed Ben to go into our condo, retrieve the notebook from the top of the refrigerator, and ship it to me ASAP (my mom’s recipe for sweet potato souffle is in that notebook, and Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without that souffle).  Ben had just returned from a week of deer hunting, but reported that he didn’t have any luck.  He was heading back out after Thanksgiving to give it another try.

Last summer I placed a link on this web site featuring a wonderful video showing “the beauty of the Friesian Horse in combination with the splendor of Mackinac Island”.  I’ve had several people ask if the video was available for purchase anywhere on the island, and I learned this week that it is not available for sale.  BUT . . . if anyone out there would like to make a $25 donation to the Mackinac Island Horseman’s Association (MIHA), a copy of the video will be sent as a “thank you” gift for your donation.  You can click here on the MIHA web site to learn about this great organization (it is also the one spearheading the building of the Mackinac Island Community Stable) and to make a donation and receive your copy of this awesome video:  If your memory needs a little refreshing, you can view the video here:

I’m just full of Friesian news this week, so here one’s more item.  It’s never, never, never too early to begin planning to attend the 3rd Annual Festival of the Horse on the island July 21-24, 2011.  This event continues to grow each year, and MIHA has already booked the unbelievable talents of Clay Maier and his special Friesians.  They will performing this year at the Festival, and here’s a little video that will get you even more excited to attend:

Received a great newsletter from Greg Main this week.  Greg has a way of writing that makes me feel like I am right back on the island, walking beside him as he explores all those places that have become some of my favorite spots.  Here’s Greg’s letter:

 “Today finally feels like mid-November should.   After above average temperatures last week, accompanied by abundant sunshine (a taste of late-season  Indian Summer, perhaps?) we’ve finally sashayed into wet, windy, and much cooler weather.   Even as recently as midnight, Saturday, my outdoor thermometer displayed  52 degrees.   It’s difficult at times to convey to people who have only been to Mackinac Island during the tourist season,  just how drastic the transformation is from summer to now, regarding daily activity and noise.  Generally speaking, right now, there is very little of either.  The only noise echoing around the business district lately is generated by the heavy equipment being used to dig a trench along the back wall of the Lake View Hotel and the near-constant assault on one’s auditory senses outside the Chippewa Hotel from the hand-held power tools being used to grind away old lead-based paint from the original tin siding, which has been removed from the front of the building. 

I’m told by one of those doing the work that as much as possible of the original metal is being saved to be put back in place along the upper most part of the front, while new, similar-looking siding will be attached on the rest of the front side.  While not as interesting to me  (as an amateur history buff) as the total take-apart-and-put-back-together-again project like the Mustang Lounge re-do three winter ago, it is still interesting to see the original wood on the face of the hotel, hidden for over 110 years and how little rotted wood there appears to be – at least from the vantage point of the sidewalk below.  Several sections of said wood is being removed in order to install new plumbing and electrical wiring, and new sheathing is replacing the old.      

Friday night was another of those all-too-rare times (for me) when walking through town and along both bluffs seemed to be the thing to do.  Not cold – mid 40’s – and practically windless, there is much to be said during times like these when the only noise heard throughout the walk is the sound of one’s own feet on the pavement.  From either bluff, looking down on the business district, the somewhat straight lines and gentle bends of the illuminated street lights, meandering the lengths of  Main and Market Streets and Cadotte Avenue and easily seen through the naked trees, seemed to serve a dual purpose – standing watch over the village during the dark of night, stalwart sentries regardless of weather,  while also illuminating these thoroughfares, providing safe passage for the occasional passer-by.  From afar, high on the bluffs, one could almost get lost in the moment, taking in the east-to-west view while looking down on the town and the soft glow of the lights that almost seemed to beckon, invite, entice . . . “Come, see what’s down here.  We’ll show you the way.”  It was so quiet and peaceful that night, on either bluff, leaning on the fence rails taking in the views not only of the island and the consistent, every nine-second burst of light from the Round Island Lighthouse,  but also the tiniest dots of lights following the mainland shoreline at Mackinaw City, the colorful lights on the Mackinac Bridge, and the glaring, towering interchange lights at the union of US 2 and I-75 in St. Ignace.  It all added to the moment, the ambiance.  All that was missing was a well-lighted freighter sliding through the shipping channel.  Maybe next time. . . . 

With tomorrow being the start of deer hunting season, the island will be even more quiet than normal for this time of year.  Having spent many, many hours engaged in all the usual activities associated with this 2-week-long ‘holiday’,  I know it’s nice to have an inch or so of snow in order to be able to track an animal if it doesn’t drop on the spot once shot.  As of tonight’s forecast, it looks as though we’ll get none of the snow that some of you to the west of us received over the weekend.  I would rather not have any snow until it will be cold enough for it to stick and stay.  At that time, bring it on!  Snowmobiles are appearing on the docks, ready to be put into use and my skis have been gathering dust for too long.  

With all of my cottage projects  finished or put on hold until next Spring,  I should find time now and then to bike or hike and see what’s what in order to fill these emails with missives, opinions, facts and fancies.  Until then, I hope all is well with everyone.” 

Greg took the following photos this week of the “face” that can be seen in Sugar Loaf.  I admit that I had photographed this landmark rock formation dozens of times without ever noticing a face.  But last summer, on a wonderful nature walk with island native Trish Martin, our group was introduced to this feature.  Show of hands now – and tell the truth -how many of you reading this have visited Sugar Loaf innumerable times and never knew it had a face!

The "face" of Sugar Loaf.


The face's other profile. A wide variety of stories were told by Native Americans and frontier dwellers about Sugar Loaf. It was said by some to be the home of Gitchie Manitou (a Native American name for "Great Spirit") and that the face is his.

Here’s a great idea from a reader, Barbara M.   “I check the Horn’s webcam a couple times a day and just grabbed this interesting shot. I think it’s the police department’s SUV. I’m guessing that they’re picking up or dropping off an elderly or disabled person for the ferry. I was wondering what you would think of asking your readers to submit interesting screen grabs from the island’s webcams for your Mackinac Blog during the winter. Have a great weekend!

I love this fun idea!  So for anyone who likes to watch what’s happening downtown on the island using the webcams (and admittedly, there’s not a lot of action right now), and if you happen to see something that looks interesting, go ahead and “grab it” and email the shot to me at I’ll be glad to feature it on the weekly updates.  The only web cams that allow you to grab a shot are the one from Horn’s Bar (right click on the pic and use the “save as” feature) and the camera on top of the Chippewa Hotel, which you can even control yourself:  (scroll down to the menu at the bottom of page, click on “live web cam”, then use the “snap” feature to grab the photo).


I "snapped" this one from the camera on top of the Chippewa around 8:30 Sunday morning. The temp was 36 on the island at that time, there was light snow on the roof of the Arnold warehouse, and waves were crashing against the seawall (winds at 10 mph). CHILLY!

My son, Blake, arrived at the river on Friday to spend Thanksgiving week at home in south Georgia.  His brother and sister-in-law, Jason and Blair, will be arriving on Wednesday, and we’ll all have our annual Spicy Potato Soup and Mema cornbread on Thanksgiving Eve.  It’s taken me a while, but I’ve about perfected my mom’s version of “lacey” cornbread.  There are only three ingredients – corn meal, water, and salt.  Mix it together until it’s soupy, and fry it up in about a quarter of an inch of oil in a frying pan.  When you pour that batter into the pan, the edges will cook quickly and have little holes like lace – thus, the name.  As we say in the South – it is some kind of good eatin’!

Hope you’re visiting the Lake Blackshear blog this week.  I’ve posted some pics of the “before” and “after” renovations

Here’s wishing everyone a joyful Thanksgiving – filled with family, friends, food, and fun.  As we sit down to eat that holiday feast, let’s not forget to thank the good Lord for everything He has done for us this year.  And let’s all remember – with Him, all things are possible.  God bless.