The Island, the Beach, and a Touch of Alaska 3/12/17

Hi Friends!

Most of this afternoon has been spent on-line, working out details for our May trip to Alaska.  I had no idea there’d be so many decisions to make!  Most of the hard ones involve choosing from dozens and dozens of excursions that can be added to an already packed schedule.  Do we want to visit a sled dog camp?  Do we want to actually ride aboard a sled pulled by sled dogs?  Do we want to take a small boat out from one of our ports of call to see whales and other marine life?  Do we want to hop a small plane for a bird’s eye view of wildlife and glaciers – or a helicopter that will actually land ON the glacier, where we can get out and walk around!  Of course if we’d won a recent lottery, all this would be so much easier to figure out.  But – no lottery money arriving here, so we’re trying to work out what’s going to fit into our budget.  More to come in the weeks ahead on that!

Hmmmm . . . wonder if that ice in the water will be melted by May?

Sticking with that “cold-weather” theme, Mackinac Island had their fair share of winter weather this week.

Friend Sue Conlon and husband Terry had to cross the Mackinac Bridge this weekend, and conditions were rough! That sign says, “High Winds, Escort in Progress”.  That means someone did not think they could cross without assistance, so a Bridge Authority person drove their car across for them.  I think I read the bridge was closed for a short time that day because of the high winds, but I could be mistaken on that.

A snowy scene from the island last week, just proving that work continues there, regardless of the weather. (Photo: Josh Carley)

A panoramic view across the icy Straits of Mackinac.  (Photo: Greg Main)

The Mighty Huron had a tough time plowing through the ice in the Straits on Saturday, but she made it.   (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

A beautiful shot of the full moon from beneath The Mustang Lounge sign. (Photo: Josh Carley)

Probably the biggest news from Mackinac last week was the mysterious disappearance of the wildly popular Mackinac Island News & Views Facebook page.  Clicking on the site brought a puzzling message saying simply, “This site has been archived.”  The site is the “go-to” place for information on the island, and the beautiful photographs placed there on a daily basis keep Mackinac fans entertained year-round.  There were hundreds of comments and pleadings for the return of the site.  Then, just as mysteriously as it disappeared, it opened again for business this weekend.  All 23,000 of its fans – including this one – rejoiced and celebrated!

Wanted to share a couple of stories tonight that are both really interesting and very informative reads!

This first one covers last week’s visit to Grand Hotel by hotel President Dan Musser III and several full-time employees, “2017 Winter Visit to Grand Hotel and Mackinac Island:  http://www.grandhotel.com/2017-winter-visit-grand-hotel-mackinac-island/

This second story was featured on-line at MyNorth and will make you want to book a stay at Grand Hotel just to eat there!  It’s titled “Dinner at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island: 130 Years of Caviar and Aristocracy”.  Click here: http://mynorth.com/2017/03/dinner-at-the-grand-hotel-on-mackinac-island/

FLORIDA NEWS

Ted and I will be dropping off Maddie and Bodie at Lily’s (our wonderful petsitter) and traveling to Kissimmee FL on Monday to meet for lunch one of Ted’s by-birth aunts and her husband (Aunt Marsha and Uncle Dan), along with Lindie, Mike, Kel and Gwen (we met all four of these cousins on Mackinac this summer, and Kel and Gwen were just here a couple of weeks ago).  So glad several of these new relatives like to come to Florida for the winter!  Aunt Marsha is Ted’s birth mother’s youngest sister.  Pictures to come next Sunday!

Bodie joined me Friday night on the deck to wait for the sunset.

It didn’t disappoint!

It’s still amazing that we get to enjoy views like this on an almost daily basis. We’ve learned that a scattering of clouds always produces the best shows!

It was a great night!

See you back here on Tuesday with a “throw-back”!

God bless.

 

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Weather, a Wedding, and a Wee One 9/29/09

Rain – high winds – cold.  That was the forecast for today and Tuesday on the island.  So far, all we’ve gotten is the rain.  There is a high wind advisory on the Mackinac Bridge, warning all motorists preparing to cross to proceed with extreme caution.  The maximum speed limit for motorists during the caution is 20 mph, and they are asked to use the outside lanes, permitting high profile vehicles to use the inside lanes as an extra safety precaution.  If the winds get too high, they will close the bridge, effectively cutting the lower and upper peninsulas off from each other.

I canceled a lunch date with Judy downtown today because I thought the weather would be too bad, and canceled a “spa” day for Bear in Cheboygan for Tuesday.  Then the sky turned blue, and the temp was a balmy 60.  So I called Judy back and rescheduled lunch.  She was already downtown, and we met at the Mustang Lounge.  Neither of us had ever eaten there, and we wanted to finally try it out.  The Mustang is famous as the “locals” bar and restaurant, staying open year-round.  In winter pictures, there are always a lot of snowmobiles parked around the “Stang”, as it is called on the island.

Ted had gone to Cheboygan on a last minute, spur-of-the-moment grocery run, so after Judy and I had lunch, I decided to run some errands and hang around long enough to ride the taxi up with him, when he returned on the 2:30 ferry.  I ran to Sticky Paws, a dog/cat store having a great sale – everything in the store 1/2 off.  I got all the family and friends’ dogs and cats Christmas gifts at great prices.  Kim and her husband, who own the store, have a beautiful English Golden Retriever, who is white.  His name is Midas, and we’ve watched him grow up from a puppy to the almost adult dog he is now at two. 

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Midas’ mom and dad stay on the island for the winter, and they say Midas loves the snow.  When he’s out running in it, all you can see are his black eyes and black nose!

Leaving there, I went to the post office.  Last week I spent several hours going through all the photographs I have taken this summer (thousands).  I picked out the ones of people I now know on the island (or their pets), and had prints made.  I ordered 199 prints, and today they came!  Tonight I will have the best time going through them and sorting them out.  I’ll carry them all with me when I go out from now on, and as I see each person, I’ll give them their picture.

I met up with Jill at the post office.  She was on the way to work, and I walked there with her and sat on a bench outside the store, going through the photos.  I gave Jill all the ones I had taken of her, plus some of Barb at the island school.  I know Jill will see her before I do.

We ran in to see Nicole, who opened a new store on the island this year, Little Luxuries.  She carries all kinds of special items, and I have bought a lot of birthday gifts there this summer.  Nicole and Andrew (from Douds) are planning a summer wedding next year, and the whole island is excited and wants to help plan it.  Jill dropped off a new Bride’s magazine for her.

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I headed for the ferry dock, after calling a taxi to pick up Ted and I (and the groceries).  Ron, another of our favorite taxi drivers, got there before the ferry arrived.  I put all my packages in the taxi and climbed aboard because it had started drizzling rain.  Ted arrived and packed the “trunk” of the taxi with groceries.  Then we discovered that there were two more people getting on with lots of packages.  Since we would be getting off first, Ted and that guy repacked the trunk.  Then another lady was added to our group – with several more boxes. 

Ron said, “Ok, we have one more stop at the Shepler Line to pick up two more people.  I  hope they don’t have any packages or luggage!”  When we got to Shepler’s, a young couple was waiting, carrying their newborn baby boy.  I don’t mean newborn, as in a month old.  I mean newborn, as in 3 days old!  Of course, they also had three diaper bags, 2 pillows, and various other packages they were bringing with them from the hospital. 

This couple was just precious, and of course I had to hear the “birthing story”.  It seems they had plenty of time to make it to the hospital in Petosky, because they had planned everything so well.  With the first signs of labor, they called Great Lakes Air to send a plane over from St. Ignace.  A horse-drawn taxi ride to the airport, a five-minute flight off the island to the mainland, then an hour’s drive to the hospital left them with lots of extra time before the baby was born. 

So today, these year-round island residents came home with their baby boy on his first horse-drawn taxi ride.  What a special story these parents will have to tell their son when he is older!

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By 5:30 we had the groceries unloaded and put away, and that’s when the rain really started, falling in great sheets outside the condo.  One lone bike rider, who must have had a very important appointment in town, braved the deluge and rode down the hill in full rain gear.

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It’s now 8:15 p.m., and the strong winds still have not arrived, although they are forecast to blow in during the night with gusts up to 40 mph.  The highs will be in the 50’s this week, the lows in the 40’s.  By Friday, I think we will definitely know it is fall in Michigan.  Time to get out the flannel p.j.’s and stock up on hot chocolate!