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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you next Wednesday!  God bless.