Thursday and Friday have been surreal. At times the hours spiraled past so rapidly I had no awareness of the work I was doing – until I’d stop for a moment and see the result – bags packed, linens washed, beds remade, two boxes shipped home – and much more. I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot, but Ted has worked three times as much, and what he’s done is the really hard, messy stuff – carrying his kayak back up the hill on his bike (wish I’d been around to photo that), cleaning and forcing four bicycles up two flights of stairs to the top floor, taking the first load of luggage over to the truck – and much, much more (and all on a bad leg he’s not had a single chance to rest). We still face a day of general cleaning (on Saturday), but the hard part is behind us. We’ll mop and vacuum and dust and clean bathrooms. Piece of cake.
At other times these last two days the hours slowed down – creeping by in slow motion – my senses aware of every moment, every scene I passed, every word someone spoke. With the exodus of the Grand employees, the island takes on a completely different feel. Except for a few workers who will continue to come to the island as long as they can get here on the ferries, it’s mostly the islanders who are left- that hearty, almost 500-strong group who will hunker down and pray for lots of snow (so snowmobiles can be used) and really cold temperatures (so the Ice Bridge will make, allowing them to travel by snowmobile from the island to St. Ignace).
In the midst of the packing and cleaning, we’ve found time to walk around a couple of hours – both Thursday and Friday – and what I saw through my camera lens is what I offer for Saturday and Sunday. It’s a different Mackinac than you’ve been seeing all summer and fall. Come on . . . walk with me.
Even though the Island Bookstore sign reads "Closed" . . . .
. . . . Tam will still be working a few more days - doing inventory and boxing books.
At the Pink Pony, all the chairs are piled on top of the tables . . . . .
. . . . and the bar is empty (I think Brian is going to have that second chair from the middle inscribed with a plaque that reads: "Reserved for Ted" before next season).
Ted - outside the closed Pony, talking with Bobby and Roy.
Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island is closed, but I ran into Nicole a little later, and she said her store would be open some during the winter - for Christmas Bazaar weekend, during Christmas, and during Winter Festival.
Thunderbird Gifts is all locked down. Someone asked today why the windows are papered, and I asked that question downtown. Two reasons really - 1) if merchants leave stock in the stores, the sunlight through the windows could fade themerchandise, and 2) if work is being done on the inside of the store during the winter, it makes for a good "surprise" in the spring when the paper comes down.
Remember me saying the Grand moves its administrative offices downstate during the winter? These two Budget rental trucks (which came over on a freight ferry) are being loaded from drays filled with everything the Grand will need to operate during the winter.
Two of a few businesses which will be open and always busy during the winter are the Post Office . . . .
. . . and the bank (where the flag is flying).
Last day open at Nephew's on Mackinac . . . . still some bargains to be had.
And - oh my goodness - last day sale at Joann's Fudge - $4.00 per slice!
Jesse's Chuckwagon was already done . . . . .
. . . and so was Martha's Sweet Shop.
Walking toward the boardwalk, we passed the closed Lakeview Hotel. The only person on the street was a man sweeping up, after smoothing out a spot of uneven sidewalk . . . .
. . . . which is being done in many places all over downtown.
The lovely Iroquois Hotel is closed . . . .
. . . . and the gardens leading to The Carriage House Restaurant are accented by a giant pumpkin.
Through the windows of the Windermere Hotel, the white sheet-shrouded furniture is visible. I wonder if they painted the hotel to blend with that gorgeous tree!
The Round Island Passage Light looked close enough to touch from this angle at Windermere Point.
We made a stop at the library (open during the winter Tuesday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.). We had a ton of books we'd read this summer that we added to the used books the library sells.
Another shot of the empty streets from the west end of Main Street.
The beautiful old McNally Cottage. Unless a miracle occurs, this building will be torn down beginning November 1. Planned to replace it is a three-story hotel.
Cindy's Livery Stable is closed. It's strange to go by there and see the door closed and no saddled horses waiting in the side lot.
The Cloghaun Bed & Breakfast, closed and ready for winter.
Looking down Market Street through the empty windows of La Galerie.
When I stopped to take this pic of Doc Al, our island veterinarian, I asked him (again) if I might write a story about him next summer. He just smiled and said, "We'll see." He's a shy one, our doc.
At the closed Gatehouse, they were having an impromptu hamburger cook-out for the employees - that's one way to clean out the freezer!
Snowmobiles are returning on ferries from St. Ignace, where some are stored during the summer.
One place absolutely not closed is the island school. Lots of bikes there by the playground.
I wonder if the famous island ghosts play tennis during winter nights, while ghostly spectators watch. Remind me to go on the Midnight Ghost Tour next summer. THAT should be an interesting post!
The last time I will photograph the big trees further down the hill. They were removed the next day - so beautiful and regal - but old, diseased, and a danger to people and horses whenever the wind blew. They'll be replaced by the same beautiful Maples planted last fall when the first of the diseased trees were removed. Pics tomorrow of the new, wide-open boulevard leading to the Grand.
All the Grand horses have left the island, and I walked inside the old stable one more time . . . .
The Grand omnibuses were parked and polished, and the antique carriages were lined up side by side. By the time we return in the spring, the new stable up near us will be open.
The horse barns - all closed up.
Are you tired yet? I hope not! Join me tomorrow, and we’ll do a little more walking!