Lilacs and Storms and Fun Galore! 6/15/17

So happy to be writing about Mackinac again!  I feel as though our two weeks in Alaska (and then two weeks spent writing about it) pulled me far away from the island, but our trip to Alaska is something I will remember and cherish forever. It was awesome, but now it’s time to switch back into my favorite gear and get caught up on what’s been happening up north!

The Mackinac Island Lilac Festival is in full swing!  As happens most years, the lilacs are blooming at exactly the right time, and thousands of visitors a day are walking off ferries into that enchanted “back in time”  land of lilacs, fudge, horses, beautiful homes and flower gardens.

This beautiful young lady is Amelia Balinski. I met her along with her mom (Theresa), dad, and brother Mike at Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor several years ago. The whole family had been reading Bree’s Blog for years, and it was a real treat to meet this wonderful group face to face. Amelia is spending her second (I think it’s her second) summer on Mackinac as a Dock Greeter for Mackinac State Historic Parks, and she also is a Ticket Agent and Tour Guide for Haunts of Mackinac. I just wanted to introduce you because many of the photos you’ll be seeing today are Amelia’s, and maybe if you’re on the island and spot her, you can say hello!
A close up of lilacs in two different shades. (Photo: Amelia Balinski)
I can just imagine what the air smells like along this white rail fence on Main Street near the Marina! (Photo: Sandi Steensma)
Along that same white fence  – lilacs bend in the breeze as a horse team pulls a shuttle toward Mission Point.  (Photo: Grace Reimer)
Lilacs, lighthouses, and lamp posts – beautifully framed by Katy Rise.
St. Anne’s – through the lilacs. (Photo: Dan Denardo)
Main Street is definitely playing a starring role in this year’s Lilac Festival! (Photo: Sandi Steensma)
Lilacs aren’t the only flowers blooming on Mackinac. These tulips are bright and happy at Mission Point Resort. (Photo: Amelia Balinski)

On Sunday, June 11, a storm hit Mackinac during the afternoon.  Thank goodness the damage it did was much less than it could have been.  The ferocity of this storm’s appearance was really terrifying, but except for one tree down and limbs breaking here and there, the island fared well.

This photograph was shown on WZZM-TV as a shelf cloud built over the Mackinac Bridge. . . .
. . . and Sandi Steensma captured the cloud just before the storm broke over the island.
Before the bridge was closed for a short time, this trailer, being pulled behind a truck, was tossed on its side.


Beach flowers can find a way to bloom even through stone. This cheery yellow face appeared among the rocks on the island’s east side.  (Photo: Tom Chambers)
The Pearl Mist, a Great Lakes cruise ship, arrives on Wednesday morning. (Photo: Tom Chambers)
Runners pass through downtown during the Lilac Festival Race. (Photo: Katy Rise)
Grand Hotel continues to add wildflowers, lilacs and milkweed to their lawn in an effort to attract and sustain Monarch butterflies, whose numbers have decreased on the island in recent years. (Photo: Grand Hotel)
Jennifer Sorrentino spotted this baby owl on the island this week. How cute is that!
Friend Pam Day took this shot from the porch of her condo across from the Grand Golf Course one morning this week.   Ted and I will be in those same condos the middle of July, and I hope to join Pam for a cup of coffee!
A just for fun shot by Jill Sawatzki. Jill found a whole dolly full of Moomers Ice Cream containers sitting unattended near the Island Bookstore. Glad I wasn’t there, or we might have tempted each other into arranging for at least one of those containers to end up in the condo freezer!  FYI: All that goodness was on its way to the Good Day Café on Main Street!
Something hard to see and harder to get a close-up of on Mackinac – a baby bunny. (Photo: Amelia Balinski)
And the sun sets on another beautiful Mackinac day . . .
. . . both photos by Amelia Balinski.


Happy Father’s Day in Heaven to my daddy, Leonard Sumner. He loved my mama . . .
. . . and me with a love that was unconditional and never ending. He gave me, his only child, the kind of childhood every little girl should have. I love you, daddy, and Imiss you every day. Till then . . .

See you back here soon for more Mackinac news and what’s happening at the beach!

God bless.


It Sure Is Quiet Tonight 8/2/16

When you’re senior citizens (like us), and your children have been off, gone, and busy with their own lives as long as ours have, it’s hard to remember how full your house can seem having teenagers around.  Laughter-filled, chatter-filled, always-in-motion-filled, siblings-good-naturedly-fighting-filled . . . . . just FILLED. 

And then they leave. 

I’m typing this around 6:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.  Jordan and Matthew are somewhere in the air between Detroit and Atlanta.  From Atlanta they’ll fly into Daytona Beach after dark.  The house is quiet.  I can once again hear bike tires and lawn mowers and ferry horns.

I miss them already.


It’s a pretty special day when your grandchildren invite you to dinner at the Woods Restaurant  . . . . THEIR treat!  That’s what happened Sunday.  We took the Woods shuttle from downtown.  Actually GETTING to the Woods is part of the delight of eating there.  The trip up Cadotte . . .


. . . then out through the Annex, on roads lined with rail fences and hardwood trees, makes for a beautiful appetizer . . . even before you arrive at the restaurant..  From town it takes about 30 minutes (depending on how many folks you pick up at the Grand), and it’s worth every minute!  And then you get to dine at one of the greatest restaurants on the island.  It was a very special evening! 


On Monday we rode our bikes around the island, stopping to peek at the progress at Silver Birches.


Late afternoon on Monday we took Maddie on a long walk along the shoreline at Mission Point.


It had been such a beautiful day we didn’t want it to end.


Had to snap a pic of this flower.  I think it’s a weed (someone correct me if I’m wrong), but it sure was a beautiful weed!


Jordan, Maddie, and Ted – walking back to the condo.


. . . while Matthew practiced his putting just across the street.


A daylily in a Mission Point garden.


The island grapevine went crazy over the weekend when this yacht, owned by Jimmy Johns, pulled into the bay.  The rumor on the streets was that Kid Rock was aboard.


And, sure enough, later that evening he was spotted in the Pink Pony. (Photo: Pink Pony)


Monday night ice cream at the No Name Café.  We’d say we’re probably part-owners in Moomers Ice Cream now!


Ted and I were sad when we realized this morning would be the last time we had four bikes in the racks at this condo.  We rode them into town . . .


. . . had breakfast at the Chuck Wagon, then turned in Jordan and Matthew’s bikes to Mackinac on Wheels.


Too soon we were on Shepler’s (Matthew and I rode up top) and heading for the airport.  We got a close-up look at the American Integrity as we turned out of the harbor.


Last glance going through security (Ted saw them onto the plane with a special pass) . .


And then they were away.

It’s sad when we look back and think Jordan and Matthew are 16 and 14, and this is the first time they’ve spent this long with us without their parents.  Many of their “growing-up” years were spent in Arkansas, and we only saw them once or twice a year.  One of the big reasons we moved to Florida was to get to know our grandchildren (and have them get to know us) before they were “off and away” –  just like our children are now.  It was a good move.

Jordan and Matthew, when your mom  and dad asked where you’d like to spend a week’s vacation, we thank you for both saying “with BeBe and G-Daddy on Mackinac!”

Our hearts are full tonight.  We love you, and we miss you.  You are both awesome beyond words, and you make us so, so proud every single day.

Hold things together in Florida until we get back.

God bless.

Fun With the Grands! 7/31/16

How much fun can you pack into a Friday and Saturday on Mackinac Island with two teenagers?  I think we set the record!



We started Friday with a bike ride up to Fort Holmes, with stops along the way near Anne’s Tablet to look out across the Jewel Golf Course to the Straits of Mackinac and the Mackinac Bridge.

I guess I should state right about here that the four of us were on bikes, but there were several stretches when BeBe (that’s me) bailed off the bike and walked up the steepest parts (like Mission Hill, the East Bluff, and Fort Holmes Road).  I was the only one who had to do that, but I’m proud to say I stuck with them for most of the way!


It was another gorgeous Mackinac summer day – in the 70’s, with a little breeze.  The view from Lookout Point down on Sugar Loaf was a sea of green leading to a brilliant blue Lake Huron.


Inside the restored Fort Holmes structure, Matthew and Jordan were amazed and astounded by all the history G-Daddy knew about the War of 1812.  LOL!


On Fort Holmes ramparts. Through the open stockade door, you can see the lake.



The new structure from the edge of the hill.


After a burger at Mission Point Resort’s Bistro on the Green, we challenged each other to a game of puttputt – girls against guys.


The girls won, BUT Matthew got a hole-in-one on the last hole!


After dinner, we headed downtown for ice cream from the No Name Café (loving their Moomers Ice Cream) . . .


. . . then stopped in to see Jill at the Island Bookstore.  Right next door is Great Turtle Toys, where Jordan and Matthew tried to teach G-Daddy Kendama tricks.

Ted and I have been pretty amused at how early Jordan and Matthew are ready for bed each night AND the fact that they slip in a nap or two during the day.  Of course, so do we!



Saturday morning found me back volunteering at the Stuart House Museum  The kids stopped by during the morning, and Matthew came back by with half a pound of fudge for me to have for lunch at my desk.  Thank you, Matthew!

Speaking of fudge, you would not BELIEVE how much fudge these two can consume.  They make a fudge run every single day, and it is all gone by bedtime.  Amazing!  Matthew is also a pickle lover.  The second day they were here he bought a big jar of dill pickles at Doud’s and ate the ENTIRE jar in one sitting (we weren’t aware he was doing that, by the way).  Then he followed it with a 1/2 lb. box of fudge.  I don’t even want to think about what would happen to me if I did that, but he was perfectly fine – ate a huge dinner and went to bed without a problem.  Ahhh, youth!


On Saturday afternoon, while BeBe and G-Daddy rested, Matthew and Jordan took their island map and rode out to find the Crack in the Island and the Cave in the Woods.  They then rode back to the cave where they’d gone geo-caching with Ted and their parents near Robinson’s Folly back in 2012 (where they’d been with Ted on Wednesday). They found the geo-cache again and opened it to find the note they had written four years ago.  How cool is that!

We had tacos for dinner, then Jordan and I stayed up to watch Somewhere In Time.  It was Jordan’s first time to see the movie, and I’m embarrassed to tell you how many times I’ve watched it.  I cried  . . . . again.

Here it is Sunday night (I’ll tell you about Sunday on another day), and we can’t believe we only have one more full day left with the kids before they leave on Tuesday.  This week has gone way too fast!

The view from the window above our bed at dusk.

The view from the window above our bed at dusk.

God bless.