Snow 2/19/17

When I think of Mackinac Island in the winter, it is with the wistful spirit of a south Georgia woman who hasn’t had nearly enough snow in her life.  I think some of that may be just the human condition of always wanting what we don’t have.

I’m pretty sure there are folks up north who dream of winters spent in Florida – warm beaches, sunglasses, big umbrellas in the sand (and tiny ones in tall, cool drinks), waves lapping up to toes (but not far enough to wet the beach blanket), and seagulls and pelicans doing dips and dives into the surf after fish and other sea creatures.  People in California probably yearn for time in New York, and Texas residents may dream of having a little cottage in New England.

But I dream of snow.  I know I’ve written variations on this theme before, and I know y’all are probably tired of hearing it.  But it’s such a part of me now that I could probably write at least a few sentences about my love of snow every single day.

When did my romance with snow begin?  I can tell you exactly.

Many, many years ago – a long, long time before Ted – I sat with friends at a table in Helen, GA.  We had gone up for a late Fall weekend in the mountains of north Georgia and were surprised beyond belief when, just as we were going to dinner, it began to snow.  It was the second time I’d ever seen snow and the first time I’d ever seen more than a few flurries.  We had reservations at a small charming restaurant off the beaten path and part-way up a mountain – actually it was an old home whose rooms had been turned into private little hideaways, with only a table or two sharing the same space.  Beautiful music was playing softly throughout the house, and somehow we were fortunate enough to be seated at a window.

I have no recollection at all of what I ate that night or even if the food was good.  All I remember is sitting at that window, chin propped on my hand, staring dreamily through lacey curtains as snow silently fell, settling on tree limbs and the front porch of this old house.  I could see the lights of a small town below us, twinkling off and on through the big, fluffy snowflakes.  I fell in love with snow that evening – the beauty, romance, stillness, silence and dignified grace of it.  I can pull that night up at will and remember being filled with  the quiet joy of that scene. It remains one of my fondest memories.

While searching for blog material today I kept going back to snow photos from Mackinac.  The ones below are shared by Greg Main, who spends his winters (and summers) on the island.

A Christmas scene on Main Street.

A Christmas scene on Main Street.


Snowing so hard I can barely recognize it – but pretty sure this is Market Street.

Another view of Market Street, with snowmobiles

Another view of Market Street, with a few snowmobiles ready to take folks home.

The beautiful Metivier Inn, dressed in her winter best.

The beautiful Metivier Inn, dressed in her winter best.

The road that circle Fort Holmes.

The road that circles Fort Holmes – at sunrise.

Silent night, Holy night.

Silent night, Holy night.


A panoramic view of the homes across from the Board Walk.


A groomed trail for the first Twilight Trek in January. Lanterns are hug to light the way.

A groomed trail for the first Twilight Trek in January. Lanterns are hung to light the way.

A real life Snow Village.

A real life Snow Village . . . .


The Snow Village as she sleeps.

I know my love affair with snow is viewed with the biased eyes of one who has never lived with it day after day, or dealt with the miseries it brings to daily living and travel.  No, my affair with snow is “pure as the driven” Mackinac version – no cars to pollute it, no garbage thrown on top of it, no traffic jams caused by it.  Seeing Mackinac in the snow transports me back to the scene from that north Georgia window so many years ago.  And that’s the vision I choose to cling to over the years.

God bless.



Enough Already! 11/8/15

I love both of my volunteer jobs – each for different reasons.  At the Flagler Humane Society I snuggle with, pet, and photograph kitties to my heart’s content.  At Florida Hospital Flagler my ER buddy and I keep 31 ER rooms stocked with gowns, sheets, pads, washcloths, hand towels, blood pressure cuffs, heart monitor “stickies”, specimen cups, socks, Kleenex, gloves, etc.  Occasionally we’ll wheel patients to their rooms or deliver them to their cars when they’re discharged.  We provide chilly folks blankets straight from the warmer and do any other chores we’re asked to do by the nurses or administration.

While I’m mostly working alone at the Humane Society, at the hospital I work with a great group of displaced Northerners from New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.  Mike, who is my volunteer buddy in the ER, is the only true Floridian in the bunch.  The rest moved down here years ago to get away from the harsh Northern winters.  They LOVE Florida’s weather and are quite vocal during our breaks when I start talking about going to Mackinac in December.  They usually look at me aghast and shake their heads, wondering – I’m sure – why anyone in her right mind would voluntarily go north in the wintertime.

But – when we settled into our chairs around the break table in the cafeteria last Thursday (each of us bringing coffee or soft drinks and one of the fabulous muffins left over at breakfast and offered free on the food line to us volunteers), I distinctly heard one of my Northern friends say – quite loudly – “Enough already!”

“Enough of what, Mary,?” I asked.

“This hot weather!” she said adamantly.  “I moved down here for the warm weather, but almost 90 in November is ridiculous!”

I soooo agree!

By this time last year, we were in the 60’s during the day and having some 50’s at night.  We’re still in the 70’s at night, and I don’t even want to talk about the daytime (ok, I will talk about it – it reached 90 here one day last week).  It might as well be July!  The nor’easter that was supposed to blow in this weekend, lowering temps and bringing rain, must have made a U-turn somewhere and become a sou’wester.  No rain.  No lower temps.  Just hot, with tons of humidity mixed in.

Enough already!

It's hard to believe that a year ago this week Ted and I closed on our house and moved in with just a blow-up bed and two beach chairs. We made do for almost a week until our furniture arrived from Georgia.

It’s hard to believe that a year ago this week Ted and I closed on our house and moved in with just a blow-up bed, two beach chairs and a coffeemaker.

We made do for almost a week until our furniture arrived from Georgia.

We made do for almost a week until our furniture arrived from Georgia.  It was quite the adventure, and we loved every minute of it.  Well, except that first morning when we discovered we’d brought the coffeemaker but no coffee.

Over the last year we've sometimes wondered if we'd ever feel we weren't living in a construction zone. But one night this week, as I was turning down our street from a dog walk, I noticed that - for the last few houses on our block at least - we were almost looking

Over the last year we’ve sometimes wondered if we’d ever feel we weren’t living in a construction zone. But one night this week, as I turned down our street from a dog walk, I noticed that – for the last few houses on our block at least – we are almost looking “finished”.

Our little house looks all snuggled in and protected by those big guys on either size.

Our little house looks all snuggled in and protected by those big guys on either side. 

Weather on Mackinac Island has been unnaturally warm also for November.  They’ve had some pretty gusty November winds a few times, but so far the really cold stuff hasn’t shown up – and snow hasn’t even been mentioned in a forecast.  I’m beginning to think my Christmas Bazaar visit the first weekend in December may be snowless.

A scene from Market Street by the folks at Metivier Inn. November is probably the slowest month of the year on Mackinac. A lot of the men are off-island at hunting camps, and many women are off the island visiting friends and family. It's a relaxed month after the super busy summer season.

A scene from Market Street by the folks at Metivier Inn. November is probably the slowest month of the year on Mackinac. A lot of the men are off-island at hunting camps, and many women are off the island visiting friends and family. It’s truly a time for relaxation – after the super busy summer season.

While Mackinac remains snowless for now, the island has hosted some rainy days and nights . . .

While Mackinac remains snowless for now, the island has hosted some rainy days and nights (Photo: Greg Main) . . .

. . . mornings when fog rolled up from Lake Huron to tickle Fort Mackinac's ramparts (Photo: Clark Bloswick) . . .

. . . mornings when fog rolled up from Lake Huron to tickle Fort Mackinac’s ramparts (Photo: Clark Bloswick) . . .

. . . blustery days when a ferry ride should have included sea sick pills (Photo: Clark Bloswick) . . .

. . . blustery days when a ferry ride might have included some sea sick pills (Photo: Clark Bloswick) . . .

. . . and one morning when there was just a hint of frost on the rooftops at Mission Point. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

. . . and one morning when there was just a hint of frost on the rooftops at Mission Point. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

For the most part though, November has been a beautiful continuation of October. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

For the most part though, November has been a beautiful continuation of October. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

And the sunsets continue to dazzle. (Photo: Greg Main)

And the sunsets continue to dazzle. (Photo: Greg Main)

It’s strange to me how slowly October passed this year and how rapidly November seems to be flying by.  Thanksgiving will be here before we know it, and the week after that I’ll be heading north.  I sometimes wonder if the love and passion I feel for my time on Mackinac will ever change, but I can’t really imagine that happening.  In Joan Chittister’s wonderful book, The Gift of Years, she writes that “the beauty of the later years is that if we have learned through life to trust our own insights at least as much as we trust the insights we have been taught, we find ourselves at the end of a very long life with a very young soul.”  For me, returning to Mackinac turns on my “young soul” so quickly I’m almost dizzy with it when my foot touches down on the ferry dock.  I know many of you feel exactly the same way.

Thanks to everyone last week who added a comment about what you were up to in October.  I so enjoyed reading every one, and I know everyone else did too.

See you back here soon!

God bless.

Through to the Other Side 9/2/2013

You know that feeling you get when you’re not feeling well and you suddenly think, “Oh my gosh, this is it.  I’m never going to feel better than what I do right now.  Woe is me.”  You know that feeling?

I’m past that.

Yep, I’ve come through to the other side.  A few prescription-dose tablets, and the world suddenly looks all sunny and bright again.  I DO feel better.  In fact, I feel great!  Thank you, Lord, for doctors and medicines and time to let them work!

Although I’d been out and about ac couple of times during the last 10 days, on Saturday I finally felt like going out and DOING something!  It was a good thing too, because Labor Day weekend was filled with activities!


Each year island residents who own horses celebrate the end of another wonderful summer on Mackinac with a last ride.  In formal riding attire they meet on the East Bluff and ride throughout the island.  There’s no set route each year.  They just ride and enjoy the beauty of this gorgeous place where we spend our summers, before most of these privately-owed horses (and their owners) leave the island for the winter.

The riders culminate their journey on the East West Bluff,  where the flowers around each of these beautiful homes are still at their peak.

The next-to-the-last leg of the ride is to the West Bluff, where the flowers around each of these beautiful cottages are still at their peak.





The riders pass several of these homes on the ride down the West Bluff . . .

. . . until they come to this one . . .

. . . until they come to this one . . .

. . . where they assemble for Mint Juleps  . . .

. . . where they assemble for Mint Juleps served in silver goblets . . .

. . . and toast the end of the season and all the Mackinac Island riders who have gone before them.

. . . and toast the end of the season and all the Mackinac Island riders who have gone before them.

After the toast, they continue down the West Bluff . . .

After the toast, they continue down the West Bluff . . .

. . . ride in front of the Grand Hotel and then return to the East Bluff where they meet for breakfast at one of the East Bluff cottages.  What a great Mackinac Island tradition!

. . . ride in front of the Grand Hotel and then return to the East Bluff, where they meet for breakfast at one of the East Bluff cottages. What a great Mackinac Island tradition!


I’ve spoken often here of Little Stone Church and our wonderful minister Dr. Vince Carroll and his wife Molly.  It was with great sadness we learned last spring this would be their final summer on the island, as Vince has accepted a church in Long Boat Key, FL – near their home in Sarasota.  He and Molly have served Little Stone Church and the island of Mackinac for ten years, and next summer will certainly not be the same without them.  Vince is one of the most dynamic and powerful ministers I’ve ever heard, and both those adjectives are somehow projected without the raising of his voice.  I could honestly listen to him for hours, and I have never once had my mind stray beyond the pulpit when he is speaking.  Molly is a dear friend and loving part of this community, and these two walk together on God’s path – showing all of us the ideal of a Christian marriage.

Vince and Molly – everyone on Mackinac will miss you greatly, but none more than Ted and I.

Unless he is in the pulpit you hardly ever see Vince when he is not sporting a bow tie.  The men of the church thought it would be great fun to show up at Vince and Molly's farewell dinner all wearing bow ties.

Unless he is in the pulpit you hardly ever see Vince when he is not sporting a bow tie, and the men of the church thought it would be great fun to show up at Vince and Molly’s farewell dinner all wearing bow ties.  We ladies decided we loved the look, and we’re all encouraging our husbands to continue wearing them!


Nearly 80 people  attended the dinner, which was served under a tent at the Yacht Club.  As usual, the food was some of the best on the island.

Thanks to Patty for this pic of Ted and I at the dinner.  LOVE the bow-tie!

Thanks to Patty for this pic of Ted and I at the dinner.

Vince and Molly Carroll.  And for some strange reason, Vince chose that night NOT to wear his bow-tie!

Vince and Molly Carroll. Which man didn’t wear his bow tie?  Vince!


After church on Sunday, Buz, Patty, Ted and I rode out to Silver Birches for a little informal get-together.  Rain clouds were gathering as we started toward British Landing, but we managed to get to Silver Birches, eat some great food, and dash inside just as the rain hit.

We continue to be impressed at the progress Liz and her team from Gamble Construction have made between each of our visits.  Liz said I had now graduated to "tour director", so I showed Buz and Patty around.

We continue to be impressed at the progress Liz and her team from Mike Gamble Construction have made between each of our visits. Liz said I had now graduated to “tour director”, so I showed Buz and Patty around.


I took these late in the afternoon, but earlier this was the scene of food being served . . . .

. . . and a band had been playing on the porch of the blue cottage.

. . . and a band had been playing on the porch of the blue cottage.

A taxi came out to pick up the band's equipment and deliver it back to town.

A taxi came out to pick up the band’s equipment and deliver it back to town.

Patty and Buz on the steps of the yellow cabin, which should be completed by the end of October.

Patty and Buz on the steps of the yellow cabin, which should be completed by the end of October.

Vintage photograph of Silver Birches - back in the day.  (Posted on Facebook by Brad Conkey)

Vintage photograph of Silver Birches – back in the day. (Posted on Facebook by Brad Conkey)


Ted participated in the 5-mile Labor Day Bridge Walk again this morning . . .

Ted participated in the 5-mile Labor Day Bridge Walk again this morning.  This is the beginning of the walk, leaving from the St. Ignace side of the bridge . . .

. . . . about the pass the highest point . . .

. . . . about to pass the highest point . . .

. . . and celebrating afterwards with Bobby and Jen in Mackinaw City.

. . . and celebrating afterwards with Bobby and Jen in Mackinaw City.  He walked it in only a little over an hour.

I can’t believe Labor Day is almost over, officially marking the end of the summer and the beginning of our last two months on the island for this year.  It was chilly today – in the high 50’s.  But with 15-25 mph winds, it didn’t seem that warm.  We’re heading back into the low 70’s tomorrow, so the cooler weather is going to tease us a while before getting serious about the start of Fall.


Bob and beautiful daughter Ava popped in to say hi last week.  He and wife Kara are blog readers.  Kara and their son Will were shopping and didn't make it by before I had to close for the day.  See you next time!

Bob and beautiful daughter Ava popped in at the Stuart House to say hi last week. He and wife Kara are blog readers. Kara and their son Will were shopping and didn’t make it by before I had to close for the day. See you next time!  Oh, they’re from Wausau, WI.

Another blog reader, Joan from Shelby Township, MI, visited the Stuart House last week.  We changed location and sat on the BACK steps!

Another blog reader, Joan from Shelby Township, MI, visited last week. We changed locations and sat on the BACK steps!

The Mackinac Island Post Office front door - framed by flowers.

The Mackinac Island Post Office front door – framed by flowers.

Something NOT so pretty - a bat hangs upside down on a light fixture outside the Island Bookstore.  If you ever want to show your kids a bat, there are usually a few sleeping in the hallway to the left of the bookstore.  Harmless . . . very harmless.  I promise.  I even visit the bookstore sometimes just to see the bats.  Oh geez - am I in trouble with the bookstore now?

Something NOT so pretty – a bat hangs upside down on a light fixture outside the Island Bookstore. If you ever want to show your kids a bat, there are usually a few sleeping on the ceiling  in the hallway to the left of the bookstore. Harmless . . . very harmless. I promise. I even visit the bookstore sometimes just to see the bats. Oh geez – am I in trouble with the bookstore now?

Back to pretty things - the Metivier in full summer dress.

Back to pretty things – the Metivier Inn in full summer dress.

Chambers Corner.

Chambers Corner

A hay wagon heads up Cadotte to the big barns.

A hay wagon heads up Cadotte to the big barns.

A fun dinner with Jill, Bud & Hilde DaVanon, Frankie Thill and Mike Forrester.

A fun dinner with Jill, Bud & Hilde DaVanon, Frankie Thill and Mike Forrester at the Pink Pony recently.

Thank you, Brad Conkey, for being brave enough to go up in the Red Baron, a bi-plane giving flights over the Island this summer.  What a view!  We can even see our condos behind the Grand Hotel!

Thank you, Brad Conkey, for being brave enough to go up in the Red Baron, a bi-plane giving flights over the Island this summer. What a view! We can even see our condos behind the Grand Hotel!

Whew!  I feel like I’m really back now . . . a long blog post with lots of photos!  Oh, here’s one more:

Our friend Samile posted this last week - a wonderful Lake Blackshear sunset.  Made me VERY homesick for south Georgia.  We are so blessed to live in two such awesomely beautiful places on this earth.  Thank you, Lord.

Our friend Samille, back home in Georgia, posted this last week – a wonderful sunset from Lake Blackshear, our winter home. Made me VERY homesick.. We are so blessed to live in two such awesomely beautiful places on this earth. Thank you, Lord.

Mackinac Island Spring Update – Vol. 3 – 4/11/2012

It’s the middle of April, and the weird weather continues.  The forecast was for snow on the Island today, and a friend who lives there said it sounded like “the gales of November” outside this morning.  It seems Mackinac is having its usual March weather in April this year.  I can’t imagine what this is doing to the lilac trees (they’re already blooming in Detroit), but since most of them are over a hundred years old, they can probably survive most anything Mother Nature sends their way.

Speaking of spring, the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau has a nifty little page on their web site that explains everything you want to know about spring on the Island.  That address is:

Newsy items:

  • I can’t remember if I mentioned this little new store last summer or not, and I never did get down to visit it, but it’s going to be one of my first stops this spring.  The name is Mackinac Island’s Finest, and it was opened to support the Mackinac Island Fire, Police, and EMS Departments.

The store is located at the front of the Arnold Dock, just off Main Street.

Inside, you'll find all sorts of items bearing the names of these three very important Island departments.

They've renovated the store over the winter and added more clothing and decor items. What a great way to support these services that none of us could get along without!

  • Take a good, long look at this photo and see if you can figure out where on the Island it is . .

If you guessed British Landing Road, you are correct!  In this vintage photo, the land was the location of the Early/Dousman farm, and it yielded approximately one hundred tons of hay yearly.  The farm is now the site of the Mackinac Community Equestrian Center and the oldest continuously run golf course in Michigan, Wawashkamo.

  • Our Easter weekend was packed with family and five special visitors from Michigan – the Bailey family.  Brian is the general manager of the Chippewa and Lilac Tree Hotels on the Island, and we’ve become great friends with him and wife Jeri-Lynn over the years.  With their three children, they stopped by overnight Friday on their way back home from spring break in Florida.  What fun!

  • Jeannette Doud’s column in the St. Ignace News this week was full of updates on store owners returning to the Island to ready businesses for the season.  She mentioned that Horn’s Bar will be opening on Friday, April 27.  She also reported the front porch of the Grand Hotel is being painted in preparation for its soft opening on April 27 and the big opening Thursday, May 3.  Hart’s Haven, Metivier Inn, and the Cloghaun are all being prepared for their near future openings.
  • The Pink Pony is opening Thursday, May 10.  The next day, May 11, both the Chippewa Hotel and the Lilac Tree Suites and Spa will reopen for the season.  And that’s straight from the horse’s (sorry Brian) mouth.
  • The St. Ignace News reported that more bones have been found on the Island, marking the second time in five months downtown excavations have revealed bones.  They were discovered when construction workers were digging to lay a water line under Frank Shama’s Gifts on Main Street.  The first bones (human) were found during excavation of the former McNally Cottage, site of the new Bicycle Street Inn.  The proper authorities were contacted, and tests will determine if indeed these bones are also human remains.  Sault Tribe repatriation specialist Cecil Pavlat said, “It’s unfortunate, but that island was a burial ground for our people, so anytime digging is involved, there’s a chance that bones will be found.”  If the bones are human, they could either be included in the proposed burial mound at Ste. Anne’s Cemetery or be reburied under the gift shop.  “Whenever possible,” Pavlat said, “the tribe would prefer to keep the remains at rest where they were discovered, so long as the location is safe.”

That catches up all the news for this week.  I have a few photos to post, and let me once again thank all of you who, over the winter, have made it possible for me to continue to share Island life with my readers.  You are awesome!

A photo of tulips and a passing freighter from last spring. (Photo by: Mission Point Resort)

It's not often we see Round Island Light from this perspective. Ben Horn was ON Round Island when he snapped this shot. In the background, the West Bluff homes, the Grand Hotel and the homes along the Boardwalk are visible.

I was so hoping I'd be able to share a photo this week of the Mackinac Bridge ablaze with blue lights for Autism Awareness Month, and here it is. A huge thank you to Dave Black of Mackinac Straits Photography in St. Ignace for allowing me to use this stunning photo. The swan in the foreground is a striking touch.

Hoping everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend.  See you back here next Wednesday . . . the countdown begins!  God bless.

Mackinac Island Winter Update – Vol. 14 – 3/7/2012

This past weekend Islanders got what they’ve been waiting for all winter – a big snow event!  Fourteen inches of big, fat, fluffy snowflakes fell over a two-day period, turning magical Mackinac into a white wonderland.  If I could have chosen one time to be on the Island this winter, this would have been the time!

The post tonight is all about the beauty of Mackinac in the cold of winter.  Through photographs from friends on the Island, I hope you will sense the quiet peacefulness of this special place at this time of year.  Every season on the Island has its own story to tell, and tonight the story is serenity.

Photos by Robert McGreevy

Leap Day (Feb. 29) dawned with rough water - giving a hint of what was to come.

On the first day of March, the first snow flurries arrived. The flag at the Post Cemetery, always flown at half-staff, could barely be seen through the wind-whipped snowflakes.

Photos by Harbor View Inn

On Friday night, the heart of the storm hit the Island.

Downtown looked pretty deserted. The snowmobiles parked along the street probably belong to folks who left the island for the night or weekend. When they return, they'll have to blow snow off their "ride" before they can go home! I can't even imagine what riding through this would be like . . . . but I'd like to find out!

Street lamps cast a blue tint on the east end of Main Street. That first white house is the art museum.

Photo by Nicole Doud

Nicole and Andrew's dog, Charlie, gets an early morning walk through wonderland on Saturday morning.

Photos by Doud’s Market

Doud's Market Sign on Saturday morning. Yes - of course they were open!

I wonder if snowmobiles have those electric seat-warmers like some cars have.

At last! Islanders could ride their machines without having to skip all over the road looking for snow patches! This is Main Street in front of the marina.

Fort Street. The Trinity Church steeple blends into the gray skies, as more snow falls.

The lady on the hill sits wrapped in her blanket of white.

I love all these photos, but this is one of my favorite. The Island library has just enough color to peek out from all that white. This would have been a great day to sit in front of the library fireplace, read a good book, and occasionally glance out the back door at the half-frozen Straits.

Market Street - a real, live snow globe.

The boardwalk - out past the library.

Photos by Heather May

A big, very old lilac tree . . .

. . . stands as a silent sentinel at the corner of this Cadotte home.

Another Cadotte home. I love that splash of blue against all that white.

The Lucky Bean Coffee House (Mackinac newest coffee spot). Come spring, there will be a cute little table and chairs outside that front door so you can sit and enjoy their yummy hot drinks and fresh-baked pastries.

The Cloghaun Bed & Breakfast . . .

. . . and the Metivier Inn Bed & Breakfast. Do you remember how the yards of these two inns look during the summer? Each is a riot of flowers in every color in the rainbow.

A quick glimpse down Hoban Street shows snowmobiles parked across from the Cawthone Village Inn.

French Lane looks empty except for a few tree branches that gave way under the heavy snow.

The Shepler Dock. You can see on the far right that someone started to walk out to the end, and then had a change of heart.

This photo of Fort Street shows a little more of Fort Mackinac. You can see, in the upper left corner, where the awning is missing. All Mackinac awnings are removed at the end of the season so winter storms can't ruin them.

I think in most places, it's the streets that are snowplowed. On Mackinac, it's the sidewalks. Love it!

Sigh.  Sigh.  Sigh.  What a wonderful world up there in the frozen north.  Of course, I’m not the one shoveling the snow!

Come on back next week, and I’ll see what news I can round up from our favorite Island.  See you then.  God bless.

Mackinac Island Winter Update – Vol. 8

For some reason, I’m missing the Island more today than usual.  Maybe it’s because I haven’t written about it for two weeks.  Or maybe it’s because we’ve been away almost three months now, with more than 3 1/2 months to go before we return.  The winter – if you can call what we’re having in south Georgia “winter” – seems to be creeping by.  Our weather here is as weird as it is in most other places in the U.S. this year.  Last winter was really cold for the south – we even had snow!  This year it’s just been a long progression of warm days, with almost no lows below freezing and consistent highs in the 60’s and 70’s.  Now that the Island finally has snow and ice in the harbor, I’m longing to be there to see it – blanketed in white, with no cars and trucks to mar the beauty.  Ahhhh . . . . Mackinac.

The one good thing about taking a little vacation from blogging is that tonight I’ve got lots of news and pics to share.  First off, an update from Greg Main, penned January 10 – just before the serious snow began to fall.

     “What we’ve been experiencing of late as far as weather is concerned on Mackinac Island could easily be termed a January thaw, but something about that perspective just doesn’t sit well with me.  It isn’t so much this wacky, warmer-than-it-ever-should-be-at-this-time-of-year climate that has enveloped such a large area of the country so far; nor is it the pathetic bits of snow here and there on the island – snow which has been rapidly disappearing the past few days –  which gives me reason to hesitate referring to our current state of weather as a ‘thaw‘.  It doesn’t seem proper calling this a ‘thaw’ because we haven’t yet had a sustained period of cold, snow, skim-ice-in-the-harbor type of weather we’re used to seeing.  What hints of winter we did get now and then – single digit temperatures at night, wind-chill advisories – lasted barely long enough to warrant discussing, let alone complaining.                                         

     Not until December 28, the first day the water in the Straits ‘steamed’, a sign of very cold air and the first of seven such steams which many say are necessary before ice begins forming on the water, was there any indication of a beginning to what Mackinac Island is used to seeing regarding winter weather.  Main Street was bare on the 29th until flurries began falling at 1:30 that afternoon.  A very brisk southeast wind prohibited this moderate snowfall to accumulate on the streets, rather pushing it into drifts along the curbing.  Not to be denied by the lack of road cover however, I was not surprised to watch, as I rode my bike home from work  a few hours later, someone on a snowmobile taking full advantage of the small amount of curbside snow, screaming westward through town, a trail of snow dust in the wake.  Truly, when the ‘official’ beginning of snowmobile season on the island is November 15th and snow doesn’t arrive for another 6 weeks, well, a person can be expected to wait only so long before the need for transportation via the internal combustion engine takes over.  For a couple of  days, heavy travel on the streets caused the snow to be packed down so hard, biking was relatively easy.  It was by bike that I ventured out to the Myers’ home New Year’s Eve for their annual get-together.

     It’s always good to take a load off in (arguably) the most comfortable, inviting room of any house anywhere.  Burning logs in the fireplace, sink-your-body-into furniture, a beverage at hand, surrounded by the natural warmth of wood walls and ceiling, excellent craftsmanship, good company and ( the favorite of many) a window bed, combine to create a most relaxing atmosphere even though the boisterous party crowd are but a few feet away.  It’s always good to see Grace Armour again and to be introduced to someone new and while the crowd there consisted of mostly familiar faces, many of whom I see several times a month, it’s still nice to meet, greet and eat on New Year’s Eve at British Landing.

     You may recall, the usual exodus up to Fort Holmes for the midnight countdown was changed last year.  A beach fire at the Bogans was the chosen option, and that was also the case this year.  Many thanks to Jim and Mary Bogan for the use of  their beach.  I do have some videos of the fire and fireworks (shh!), and I will get them onto my youtube page as soon as I can find time.  They are rather long and require uploading patience, something I’m still working at.  Given that a possible ‘new’ tradition was started in town with the Great Turtle Drop,  Anneke Myers decided there should also be a British Landing turtle drop, of sorts.  Fashioning a turtle from snow and sticks, the countdown began . . .10 . .9 . .8 . . . and at 1, the snow turtle left her hand, arching upward, landing in the fire, perfect timing.  As for the event in town, I heard there was a large turnout for it, but the only other information I received was what I read in the St. Ignace News.  No first-hand account.

     Leaving the beach fire crowd shortly after midnight, the ride back to town along the shore road, guided by fresh batteries in my two-dollar flashlight,  the dark sky reminded me of the night after Christmas.  Needing to get some cleaning done at the Medical Center that night, I headed out the door around 7 o’clock, and my eyes were immediately drawn to the western sky.  A marvelous night-sky view of a bright, crescent moon with a sparkling Venus to the left of it, both of which were situated perfectly over the festive lighting of the Mackinac Bridge.  I’m sure others had to see it also both here and on the mainland.  Had it not been so incredibly windy at the time, some of my photos may have been keepers, but it was all I could do to lean into the wind down at the boardwalk in front of the Cable Cottage, let alone try holding a camera still enough to take good photos.  Even while using a tripod or leaning against the light pole, the wind buffeted the pole, the pod, the camera and me enough to shake the clarity out of any photo I took. An opportunity lost, for sure.

     The New Year ushered in the type of snowfall that movie-makers dream of.  Huge, heavy flakes, falling straight down, rapidly piling up on the ground, clinging to trees, fence railings, people and leashed animals.  It was the type of snowfall which bends the branches of conifers and piles straight up on branches and twigs, mirroring their respective shapes.  What a marvelous time to be out shooting video or taking photos.  I actually carried an umbrella as these flakes were so close to being rain, they instantly returned to a water state as soon as they landed on anything relatively warm.  The umbrella was used to protect my camera, and I’m sure I must have looked strange to some who saw me walking around with it during a snowfall.  The wind remained non-existent until just after noon.  The calm only added to the tranquility while walking the East Bluff and trails beyond Arch Rock.  These are some videos I hope to get posted online soon.

     January 3rd was another day of note this year as the morning arrived bearing a temperature of 10 degrees and . . .the second steaming!  Something else was notable about that day, but it was nowhere near as impressive as watching the steam out on the lake, moving back and forth by light, fickle, variable winds.  Two down, five to go before the lake sufficiently cools (so it’s claimed) to allow the formation of ice.  As of today, we’re stuck on two and the forecast for tomorrow, Wednesday, is more of the same until very late in the day when a cold front passes through, temperatures fall sharply and ‘a very significant’ (weather forecaster’s words) amount of snow is possible overnight, all day Thursday and into Friday morning.  Looking out at green grass, grounded snowmobiles and bikes a-plenty on the streets, a significant amount would surely come in handy right now.  However, we’ve missed out on several such events over the past few years so I, for one, am not holding my breath.

     Snow is certainly needed and wanted at this point.  Our ski trails are either bare pavement or muddy right now and don’t even allow for pleasant walking.  What remains on the sidewalks and streets in town is either wet pavement, slush or sand-covered ice, with just enough wiggly ruts rigidly embedded in it to keep bikers on the alert.  Many of us have a lot of trips to the dump on our agendas which also requires ample snow.  The forecast looks promising temperature-wise, with teens and twenties for highs through Sunday – but will the snow arrive?  Given our recent history, it’s a coin toss.
What little snow cover we did have on the streets was greatly decimated on the 5th during a sunny, 48-degrees-in-the-sun day.  Only a few areas which were truly cemented to the pavement survived that Spring-like onslaught, and even those areas are now nearly history as this past week has remained much-above normal for temperatures.

     I have nothing to pass along as far as City Council meetings due to not being able to attend any since they started beginning at 3 p.m. instead of 5.  This was started due to the airport being closed, which prevented some who were required to attend from being able to fly off after the later meetings.  With the last ferry leaving the island at 5 o’clock, air travel was the only way.  As of last week, the crew was still coming to the island to work on some of the new electronics at the airport, so I’m surmising flights after dark are still not happening.  The next question is, after night flights are allowed again, will the council meetings be changed back to 5 p.m. or has everyone become accustomed to the earlier start time?  If it remains at 3 o’clock, I won’t be able to pass along any more first-hand information  of what I see and hear, but anything noteworthy is usually printed in the local newspaper anyway.

     The few days we did have snow greatly benefited both the Mustang Lounge and Village Inn as travel time and ease was no concern with snowmobiles.  Now, however, both places are relatively quiet again at night, with only a couple bikes outside to indicate the lack of business.  Snow.  We need a lot of snow.  I think I wrote that in my last email, also.  The island truly comes alive when we have ample snow.  I guess there is nothing more to pass along at this time or, if there is, my memory fails me.  Until next time, I hope you’re all doing well, have as much snow as you need and want (or not) and are enjoying the early beginnings of 2012!”

Thank you, Greg, for sharing your insights into all the happenings on Mackinac!  What would we do without you in the wintertime??!!

Many of my readers sent emails after they received their Vera Bradley catalog a couple of weeks ago.  The entire photo shoot for the catalog took place on Mackinac Island!  I remember the 2-3 days they were there – mainly because good friend Jane Winston (who lives on the island in the summer and in Georgia during the winter) was asked to be in one of the photos (we now have a celebrity in our midst!).  You can view the catalog online at (when the page comes up, click on “2012 Spring Catalog”.  Someone said it’s almost like playing the “Mystery Spot” game on last summer’s blog, trying to guess all the locations.  By the way, the top photo on page 11 shows Jane walking with two models.  Jane’s the one in black (I had to point that out because she looks like a model herself, and you never would have guessed which one she is).  AND . . . . . there’s a Vera Bradley VIDEO – also shot on Mackinac this past summer.  View the video here (, but be forewarned.  As soon as you finish with the catalog and the video, you’ll be on the phone booking your stay for this summer!  Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful photography and video work.

Here’s another link I want to share.  I’ve talked with this young woman several times over the last couple of summers, and she graciously allows me to occasionally swipe one of her photos for this blog.  On January 19 she posted some great photos of the “blizzard-ish” conditions on the island (she and her family live there year-round).  Her blog is called Mackinac Mommy, and the address is:

Ok – PICTURES!  Thank you, thank you to everyone who shared!

Sunrise over the ice on Lake Huron, taken by a cast member at Shepler's Ferry.

An otter plays off the Arnold dock. (Photo: Arnold Ferry Line)

Someone asked about the construction progress on the new Bicycle Street Inn on Main Street. Looks like work is going strong! What I've heard is that the Inn will open in Spring 2013, but shops on the first floor of the new building will be open this summer. (Photo by Island Bookstore)

Andrew Doud does a little snow blowing outside his store. The wooden structure at the front door is added each winter to keep icy winds from entering the store when someone comes in off the sidewalk. (Photo: Doud's Market)

Last ferries of the day - a little over a week ago. (Photo: Heather May)

Brrrrrr . . . this REALLY looks like winter has arrived! (Photo: Mackinac Bridge webcam)

A snow-covered Island House. (Photo: Island Bookstore)

A little bit of everything - bikes, sleds, snowmobiles, and construction equipment. (Photo: Metivier Inn)

The Metivier Inn is beautiful in her winter dress. (Photo: Metivier Inn)

The new Grand Hotel stable (at Surrey Ridge) is really going up fast! From what we hear, Grand Hotel horses will be housed there beginning in April. (Photo: Metivier Inn)

A frosty Grand Hotel porch. (Photo: Grand Hotel)

That’s the update for today!  If you haven’t read about our trip to Colorado yet, you can click here for Part I (Part II will post Friday):

Have a wonderful week, and I’ll see you back here next Wednesday!  God bless.

Let the Lilac Festival Begin! 6/13/2011

This past Friday (June 10) marked the beginning of the 62nd Annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival, which runs through June 19.  Practically every minute is filled with some kind of activity for the 10 days of the festival, which began in 1949 as a conversation between Evangeline “Ling” Horn, Nurse Stella King and Carriage Tours veterinarian Dr. Bill Chambers.  The three long-time island residents wanted to bring people to the island to enjoy a great horse drawn parade amidst the lilacs that fragrance the island each June.  The parade idea has expanded over the years into the signature event of the island season.

There was a BBQ and hayride at the Cannonball Restaurant Friday evening, but Ted and I missed that (hayrides going on all summer so we can catch another one) to go the opening ceremony for the Mackinac Island Community Stable.  Oh my gosh – it is awesome.  No, it isn’t fully finished, but the 4-H horses are in residence, and I just know they think they have died and gone to horsey Heaven.  The facility is truly, truly beautiful, and I’ve never seen anything go up so fast in my life. 

Where last fall there was an open field, now a stable stands.


There's a bit of work still to be done on the outside of the caretakers' cottage, but inside it's ready to go. The Mackinac Island Horsemen's Association is accepting donations of furniture and household goods to complete the house, which was brought to British Landing on the freight boat - in two pieces


The caretakers will be college students working on internships in equestrian science. There will be someone at the stable facility around the clock to ensure the care and safety of the horses.


The consruction crew had been working hard to have part of the stable ready in time for Friday's "First Look" party.


So while half of the stable is unfinished . . . .


. . . . all of the materials are in place, and soon the unfinished half . . .


. . . will look like this . . .


. . . . and this. Amazing!


There are long porches that run the length of both the front and back of the stable. From the back porch, you can see down to the turn-outs and the arena. As funds are available, the temporary turn-out enclosures will become wood fences . . .


. . . like the one surrounding the arena, where Candy Bar was hanging out.


Yes, there is much left to do, but hardy congratulations are in order for the dedicated and loyal members of the Mackinac Island Horsemen's Association and for the island supporters who have helped this vision become a reality.


On Saturday, it rained. But on Mackinac Island, the carriages roll whether the weather cooperates or not. Visitors still want to see the island (and the Carriage Museum), and the covered comfort of the Carriage Tour wagons make that a lot easier.


Another thing a little rain doesn't stop on the island is a yard sale. We had two going on simultaneously in our condo complex on Saturday. Word spread through the grapevine, and soon members of the Horsemen's Association showed up to select items for the caretaker's cottage. It was taken piece by piece out to the end of the boardwalk . . .


. . . the services of a dray were arranged . . .


. . . and soon the furniture was on the way up to the community stable. By the way, that's our black TV stand being loaded on the dray. We bought a great entertainment center at one of the sales and could add our old one to the items for the caretakers.

Sunday has been a beautiful, beautiful day!  We attended Little Stone Church this morning, then went to the Gate House for lunch.  We walked into town after lunch, picked up Ted’s Sunday newspaper and a couple of sweet treats at Martha’s Sweet Shop, then hiked up Fort Hill on what Ted likes to call “the short cut home”. 

One of Bree's Blog readers requested some pics of Metivier Inn, so when we walked into town today after lunch, I stopped to take a couple of photos.


Hope these help with your planting project!


Before we turned up Fort Hill, we ran into the Visitor's Center, and I took this photo of Fort Mackinac standing sentry over Marquette Park.


There were a LOT of people visiting today. Bike racks were full all over town as people parked and walked the streets, sunbathed in Marquette Park, and sat on benches at the marina - just enjoying being here.


Starting up the hill gave me a chance to photograph the lilacs of Marquette Park once again. If you walk into that stand of trees at the top right of this photo and wander a ways back toward the East Bluff, you will find one of the most peaceful spots on the island - Anne's Tablet.


A bed of bleeding heart flowers near Trinity Church.

After a restful afternoon, we “dressed up” and walked back downtown to attend a reception for Richard Wolfgang at the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Island Art Museum.  It was great to see Helen and Richard, and the reception was packed with friends of the couple and island art lovers. 

The island seems to be teeming with more bunnies than usual this year, and a lot of them seem almost tame. This little guy was sitting in the grass near the bottom of Turkey Hill as we walked into town, and I was actually this close to him when I took the photo. No zoom lens here.


The art museum is directly across from the marina, and as we were leaving the reception, a freighter was easing through the cut. What a sight!


After pizza at Goodfellows for dinner, we took the lazy way and called for a taxi home.

What a weekend, and what a week to come!  On Tuesday our first guests of the season arrive, and we’re so excited to be seeing someone from home.  A daughter, son-in-law, and grandson of one of our Georgia neighbors at the lake are stopping off here for two nights before going on to their summer home in Canada.  Lots of Lilac Festival events to attend this week, so come Friday, I should have lots more to report. 
Oh – the article that was written from the interview last week has been posted, and if you’d like to read it, you can click here:  Please make sure you surf around this website once you’re there.  SO MUCH Mackinac Island info – you will love it!
Have a wonderful week, and God bless.

Mackinac Island Off-Season Weekly Update – Vol. I – 11/01/2010

Hello!  And welcome to the first Weekly Update of Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog!

Writing about Mackinac Island while living in Georgia is always a little challenging, but with the help of friends on the island, I hope to be able to keep you posted on what’s happening there on a regular basis and pass along some winter photos as I receive them from those lucky enough to be staying on the island year-round.  I’ve already received the first off-season newsletter from friend Greg Main, and I’m be including it later on in this post.  Greg is always on top of island happenings, AND he takes some great photographs.

Jill left the island about a week after we did, and she sent these four pics before she left:

I think Jill took this about 10 days before we left the island. She took the exact same shot right after we arrived in the spring, with Bear and I standing in front of those beautiful tulips. About a week after this shot, these flowers were all pulled up, the ground readied, and 20,000 tulip bulbs were planted - one bulb at a time - into the design you will see next spring.


The trees got even more beautiful after we left - like this one at the stables behind a West Bluff home.


Metivier Inn - all dressed up for Halloween!


West Bluff homes are closed for winter - it seems strange to see those empty flag poles.

Some of you already know that a huge storm blew through the Upper Peninsula last week.  All of the weather forecasters were calling for barometric pressures as low as the storm that sunk the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975.  The storm was a big one, but did not reach the predicted severity – thank goodness.  Even so, ferries cancelled their runs after 2 p.m. on the second – and worse – day of the storm

A shot of the island shoreline during the storm. Mary Stancik from the Grand grabbed this photo.


The Shepler Ferry dock in Mackinaw City, as one of the squalls passed through.


Waves crashing against the Mackinac Bridge. Thanks to Katie Cederholm from the Mackinac Island Historic Parks for this pic. Winds were clocked at the bridge at 78 mph.

I received an email this afternoon from a blog fan asking if I’d seen the photos on the Grand Hotel’s Facebook page of the trees being removed from Cadotte Avenue.  I quickly opened that page, and here’s what I found:

I immediately called Mary Stancik from the Grand, and we talked for about 15 minutes about the Grand’s plan for the trees.  Twenty of the trees lining Cadotte were removed this week – 10 on each side.  That leaves 24, and those will be removed at the end of the season next fall.  Some of you may remember that last fall there was a huge storm on the island at the end of October, and several of the trees were so damaged they had to be removed then.  The trees lining Cadotte – all Norway Maples –  are over 70 years old, which is about the life expectancy for that particular tree.  Of course, those of us who have visited the island for years and years only remember seeing the trees at full maturity, and the sight of that lined boulevard is one of my favorite visuals of the island.  Unfortunately though, those trees have become a hazard.  With age, they have become diseased and weakened.  Last fall, during that storm, one of the huge branches that fell missed a taxi full of people by only 5 feet.  So, as much as we love those trees, the time has come for them to be replaced, and that is what the Grand is doing.  During this next week, 20 Autumn Blaze Maples will be replanted where the removed trees stood.  They will be 14-16′ tall – the largest they could find, and they will grow rapidly – 2-3′ each year.  Mary said they are beautiful maples, with gorgeous fall foliage, and are a much hardier and healthier tree than the Norway Maple.  Here’s a pic of a couple of them I took off of a Google Search:

Mary also said that the overgrown yews that have masked the beautiful steps up from the Tea Garden have also been cut back, and that area will have beautiful landscaping next spring. 

Yes, the old familiar trees will be missed, and I’m so glad I’ve photographed them so many times in the past years.  And 24 of them will remain through next summer, so if you’re coming to the island and don’t already have pics of those trees in your photo album, be sure and get a few shots to preserve your memory of them.  It will be amazing to be able to record the growth of the new trees over the next few years! 

Here’s Greg Main’s Newsletter, written after the fierce storms of last week:

     “The seas are much less angry now.  After enduring a full two days of relentless wind, rain-filled squalls and gusts equal to hurricane force, the Straits area and Mackinac Island are a bit battered, have a lot less trees, tree limbs and roofing shingles but, overall, I haven’t heard of any major damage to any structures outside of downed electrical lines and one missing pane of window glass of which I’m personally aware.  It was almost as if Mother Nature was using this wind barrage to let us know that the unusually warm, dry weather we’ve enjoyed for most of the month of October is officially over.  Now, it’s time for typically cool and/or cold temperatures at night with day-time highs struggling to reach mid-40’s. 
     The last big “hurrah” on the island was last weekend.  Over 2,000 runners and walkers were here for the annual 6K and Half-Marathon events.  Bars, restaurants and lodging places which were still open were packed.  Tour carriages and tourists once again filled the sidewalks and crowded the streets.  It was quite reminiscent of any typical summer day.  The island’s business district was prepped for our annual Halloween parties/costume contests.  Venturing out this year sans costume – wasn’t in the mood, I suppose – I came upon standing room only in both Horn’s and the Mustang Lounge.  Many people I recognized but even more I didn’t. 
     Every place I visited was loud and filled with ghosts, goblins, witches, cowboys, freaks (for lack of a better description), clowns, crossed-dressed cheerleaders, spooky get-ups, fancy get-ups, green-haired, orange-haired, blue-haired and no-haired combinations of people adorned with glitz, glamor, extra teeth in the shape of vampire fangs and missing teeth, whether real or not.  I even saw Superman in two different places wearing two obviously different sized costumes.  I guess on Mackinac Island, there is room for more than one Super Hero, huh?  
     Turning the page, the other side of Autumn life on Mackinac has slowly progressed over the past couple of weeks, as the business district has begun closing its’ doors for the winter.  Very few lights illuminate store fronts now, awnings have been removed and stored away, scores of luggage carts, packed to overflowing, have made their way to the boat docks, awaiting transport off the island, and only one taxi is currently making abbreviated rounds throughout the island.  The Village Inn will be closing, as usual, for the month of November, leaving the Mustang and Patrick Sinclair’s to bear the brunt of the social drinkers and diners.  With deer hunting season just a couple weeks away now, the island will become even more ghost-like (in keeping with the Halloween theme), as many island residents leave for places known and unknown in search of the oft-elusive White-tail.  
     Up on the bluffs, the lights are out, shutters are being applied to guard many of the original wavy-glass windows, flower boxes, planters and vases are emptied, annuals have been pulled, perennials cut back, one large turtle is tarped, screens removed, porch furniture and miscellaneous outdoor paraphernalia are moved inside for winter storage, water is drained and anti-freeze is poured into the necessary places, as most of the cottages have been or are being, put to bed for the winter. 
     This is always a bittersweet time for me.  I enjoy so much the idea of, once again, being able to walk or bike the island’s interior wooded trails, stopping at familiar places to sit and listen to only those sounds that Nature provides.  Even to walk or ride the island’s perimeter is a joy as there are no gawkers, stopped in the middle of the road and no crowds at all the usual places to slow the pace or to be forced to meander through, around or, worse yet, cause me to come to a complete stop!   How sweet.
     On the flip-side, it’s also time to say “good-bye” to so many people I’ve come to think of as family.  Whether they are here as summer cottagers, seasonal employees, business owners or frequent visitors, those who are dear to my heart always have to leave at some time and even though it’s always been a ‘given’ that I’ll be welcoming everyone back to their respective cottages, businesses and homes the following year,  I’ve been reminded over the years that I cannot always count on seeing all of them again the following Spring.  As such, my good-bye hugs, kisses, hand-shakes and well-wishes  for a “good winter” over the past few years have come more from the heart. I have so many fond and fun memories of the many people I’ve been privileged to have met, to know and to think of as family over the years.  Those will remain with me for a long, long time and even though the face of the East Bluff may have changed a lot over the last 15 or so years, as have some of the cottages owners,  it will always be a very familiar place for me.
      Unless you’ve been in a cave for the past month or so (or simply don’t keep up with island happenings)  the “big” news, I suppose, is what’s taking place regarding the ferry boat franchises and the possibility of the City of Mackinac Island purchasing a boat dock or two and some other properties on the island and in St. Ignace.  I’ve been to all of the meetings regarding this issue, the public hearing last week, read most of what’s been written online and heard a lot of the rhetoric/rumors/gossip/facts that have been making the rounds. I’ve often used this mass email to spout my opinion on other topics of local interest and, at first, I was reluctant to write anything now about the current issue at hand, but . . . what the heck! 
       In a nutshell, I say, give franchises to both Shepler’s and Northern Ferry Company (the proposed joint venture of Arnold Transit and Star Line) and if, as we were all told by City Council, one of the major problems with the current system is the high price of ferry tickets for island residents, then that issue has already been addressed publicly by Bill Shepler, as they’ve proposed a $75.00 yearly pass, unlimited rides for all island residents.  I’ve also been made aware that Northern Ferry proposed a $100.00 yearly pass.  Now, I just bought a 40-ride commuter book (20 round-trips) from Arnold for $250, which works out to $12.50 per round trip.  If the proposed passes were to become fact, those same 20 round-trips via Northern Ferry Company would only cost me $100.  Also, I could buy yearly passes from both  ferry lines and make use of unlimited round-trips for $175.00, which is less than what I just paid for only 20-round trips from Arnold and I could choose which ferry line to use based on when I wanted/needed to get back and forth.   As far as giving island residents a ‘break’ on ticket prices, these proposals seem to answer that request.  Of course, there are other issues too, which will take far too much time for me to address right now.  So . . . until the next time I find time to sit down and tap the keyboard, I hope all is well with everyone.  Take care.  Greg”

Like Greg, I have not used this blog to express my opinion on the ferry line controversy, which is still ongoing on the island.  Ted and I both have made our thoughts clear at Council meetings and to individual Council members.  I will say that I totally agree with Greg above, and pray that long-term franchises will be given soon to all ferry lines, and that next spring we will be seeing Shepler Ferry Line and the newly formed Northern Ferry Company boats coming and going as always.  Anything less would be a travesty of the American way . . . and that’s all I have to say about that.

I’ll leave you with a beautiful shot from Fort Mackinac taken a couple of weeks ago and posted on the Mackinac Island Historic Parks site.  Have a great week, and I’ll see you back here next Monday, Nov. 8.  God bless.

Note #1:  Received this email from Hilde this morning:  “Hi Brenda. I just wanted to thank YOU, your wonderful friends and blogging fans, you all are the BEST!  Please tell them thank you for me for keeping me in their prayers. I know the prayers were heard because I am feeling so much better today. I feel a lot stronger and am able to get up and about much better.  I know every day it will get easier and easier.  Bud is taking real good care of me and my kids have been doing their share, bringing me soup, flowers and lots of phone calls to see how I’m doing 🙂 . Talk to you soon…Hilde”

Note #2:  Blake spoke with the church in Nashville and has been told they will try to reach a decision by the end of November.  Please continue to lift him up as he continues to network and research other job openings, as he waits for word on this one.

Note #3:  For a glimpse of our life in South Georgia, be sure and check out the blog from Lake Blackshear at

B is for . . . Bed & Breakfast, Blooms, Bikes, and Blogging Buddies! 9/3/2010

I had one of those rare days on Thursday – I didn’t have a blog planned!  Usually, in my mind, I have blogs half-way written three or four days in advance.  But Thursday – nothing was coming. 

I know Friday is usually random picture day, but because I had been out of town on Tuesday, and because it had been so hot all week, I just didn’t get out like I usually do and “randomly” snap  pictures (hard to focus through all that “dew” in my eyes). 

Around 2 o’clock Thursday afternoon I rode downtown to pay our taxes.  Boy – that’s a downer!  But, I took care of that little task, then rode over to see if anything interesting was happening with Ted at the Visitor’s Center.  Nope – nothing there.  As I was passing the post office, I saw Hershey (Frankie’s Chocolate Lab) tied to the bench in front of the building.  There was a family standing in the street talking about Hershey, wondering who she belonged to and if someone had abandoned her – I think they were ready to take her home on the spot!  I stopped my bike next to Hershey and told the family they’d have to fight the whole island to take Hershey away from Frankie – that dog is Queen-Bee of downtown!  We chatted a moment, and Frankie came out of the post office and joined the conversation.  After the family left, she and I talked a few minutes, and I shared my sad song about my lack of a blog idea.  Then I looked across the street.

The pretty little Lilac House Bed & Breakfast was just sitting there like an invitation.  “Come take my picture!” it seemed to say, “You’ve never once turned your camera toward me!”

The lightbulb above my head switched to the “on” position.  What about a blog about the B & B’s of Market Street!

So – that’s what you get today, along with random shots I took on the way home Thursday afternoon and a few other surprises.  Everything worked out just fine – but I knew it would.  All you have to do to get inspired on Mackinac Island is walk out the door and experience it!

The Lilac House Bed & Breakfast - across the street from the post office. The house was built in 1890 as a private home and converted in 1991 into a bed & breakfast. I've never been inside, but I've always loved the pastel color (lilac, of course) it is painted.

The side yard, complete with Adirondack chairs, faces the Veterans Memorial Park.

There's a lilac bathtub in the yard filled with - what else? Lilac and purple petunias!

A porch filled with white wicker furniture and planters, hanging baskets, and a swing complete the image of a picture perfect little inn on Mackinac.

I left my bike at the post office and walked down to the south corner of Market and Fort Streets to photograph the Market Street Inn.  This is another B & B I’ve never gone into, but the outside speaks volumes for the owners.

Market Street Inn was built at the turn of the century as a private home and became a bed & breakfast in 1991.


There is a small front porch overlooking gorgeous flowerbeds and all the activity of Market Street. The inn has nine rooms and a private courtyard.

From the porch and windows of Market Street Inn, you have a front row seat for everything that is happening at Fort Mackinac.

This vintage three-wheeler has been transformed into a "blooming bike!"

A few steps west is the Cottage Inn, where Mike, Jill, Dawn and I stayed in February for Winter Festival. 

Having Weber's Florist right next door probably helps, but the Cottage Inn's landscaping is a glorious riot of colors. I love the birdhouse perched atop the sign post!

Not only do innkeepers Marge and Rich provide a scrumptious breakfast every morning, but in the afternoon there are cookies and other sweets (and hot chocolate in the winter)! There's a swing on that large porch, and most mornings will find guests sipping their coffee outside at the cozy tables and chairs.

The Cottage Inn is the only bed & breakfast on Market Street that stays open during part of the winter. Although the Inn will be closed the month of November, it will reopen to guests from December 1 through February 20.

Over the summer, this bicycle in front of the Cottage Inn's porch has almost become hidden under the overflow of flowers planted in every available spot - basket, front & rear fenders, and spokes.

Back at the post office, I retrieved my bike and rode to the other end of Market Street, where I parked against the curb and turned my camera toward Metivier Inn.

Metivier Inn was built in 1877 and has been a B & B over 25 years.

The dazzling landscaping of Metivier flows out almost to the street. You just can't help but stop and gasp at the lushness of its gardens.

This summer the color scheme is obviously all shades of pink - and white.


Chairs on the porch and in the yard beckon guests to sit outside and relax.

A few more steps toward the corner of Cadotte Avenue and Market Street finds you at Cloghaun Bed & Breakfast.

Cloghaun Bed & Breakfast was originally a private home and took four years to build. It was completed in 1884.

Terrace after terrace of stunning flowers lead up the steps to the inn.

The Cloghaun's yard makes you want to sit down in the grass and allow your senses to take in enough beauty to last until your next trip north.

A Cloghaun luggage cart awaits a call from the ferry dock, announcing the arrival of another guest.

I made the turn up Cadotte and stopped along the way to shoot photos of whatever caught my eye.  I see the streets of Mackinac Island every day, and every day I see something new and beautiful and exciting.  The Island is never boring, it is never dull, and it never disappoints. 

A bee on a blossom.


A little boy walked out of the Grand shade garden with his parents and encountered a huge flock of geese. He was delighted when they ran from him.

The geese took no notice of the threatening sky looming over the Mackinac Bridge.

A Grand Hotel omnibus rolls down Cadotte to deliver guests to the ferry docks . . .

. . . and a dray carries garbage up Cadotte to be composted.

The first hint of fall color has found this tree below the Grand - its rich green is slowly being replaced by a tinge of yellow . . .

. . . but Summer is still making herself known.

Red flowers, red roof, red umbrellas, red phone booth - it all equals the Grand's Jockey Club.

A glimpse of Round Island Light from the top of Grand Hill.

A blue garden cart sits beside a flowerbed at the Grand.

When Ted and I were at the Grand last weekend for the Medical Center Auction, I popped into the Ladies Room on the way to the dinner.  I heard Ted outside talking to someone and heard him say, “She’ll be here in a minute.”  When I came out, Ted was talking with a lady who introduced herself as Joan.  She had been sitting with friends as we walked down the hallway and recognized me immediately as “Bree”.  When I was writing the blog from Georgia this winter, there was a post in which I asked readers to send in photos of their pets.  Joan had sent a picture of Abby, her beautiful Abyssinian cat, and Abby and Maddie became “pawpals” over the winter.  Joan stopped by the Stuart House on Wednesday, and we kidnapped a visitor long enough to snap a photo of us. 

Joan and I. Later that morning all of Joan's friends came by to meet me - three couples! They were a riot - what fun it must be to travel with that group! Joan is from Shelby Township, a little town near Detroit.

Any of you who read the comments of this blog know that a lady named Hilde comments every day – and usually she is the first commenter each day.  I look forward to Hilde’s words, and if she didn’t say something one day, I would probably call 911 and ask them to check on her – she’s that dependable!  Hilde and her husband Bud were on the Island all this week, and I’ve seen them several times.  They also came by the Stuart House (a sure thing if you want to catch me – I’m there every Wednesday from 10-2).  These two are Mackinac Island enthusiasts of the first degree.  They love everything about this rock and are marking trails off on their map as they hike them –  just like Ted and I used to do. 

Bud, me, and Hilde on the porch of the Stuart House Museum. They are from Illinois.

Hilde posted these two photos on her Facebook page, and I asked if I could use them.  They are two of the most beautiful island sunset photos I’ve ever seen.  Thanks, Hilde!

It’s Labor Day weekend, and I can’t believe summer is almost over.  The Labor Day Bridge Walk is Monday – Ted plans to walk it again – I don’t think I will, but you never know!  Please be careful and have fun over the holiday, and please keep our East Coast friends in your prayers, as they deal with the affects of Hurricane Earl.  I’ll see you back here on Tuesday morning (I’m taking a long weekend/mini-vacation from blogging), good Lord willing.  God bless.