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!

LABOR DAY LAST RIDE OF THE SEASON

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.

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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!

FAREWELL DINNER FOR VINCE AND MOLLY CARROLL

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!

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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!

SUNDAY

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.

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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)

LABOR DAY BRIDGE WALK

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.

A FEW MORE PHOTOS

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.

Jason Days 8/18/2013

Hi everyone!  As reported, last week was busy – not so much ON the island as OFF!  I’ll try to write again on Tuesday to catch you up on what all was happening over that week, but tonight gets dedicated to Jason’s visit!

It’s so much fun when one of the “kids” comes – even when the kid is 41 (choke . . . how can that be)!  Each of our adult children love Mackinac Island, and each loves it for a different reason.  For Jason it’s the interaction with new people and the ability to be partying one moment and taking a solitary walk up the hills the next.  He and Ted have always played off each other in the funniest, zaniest way, and putting the two of the them together in one house is asking for instant laughter on a regular basis.  Ted calls him and Blake his “bonus sons”, a name which they both find somewhat silly, but in their heart of hearts, they also love that concept and the relationship they have with him.

Jason arrived on the 11:34 flight into Pellston from Detroit.  It's a tradition to start his visit with lunch at the Pink Pony - before we even go to the condo.  This year was no different!

Jason arrived on the 11:35 flight into Pellston from Detroit. It’s a tradition to start his visit with lunch at the Pink Pony – before we even go to the condo. This year was no different!

Lunch was followed by a walk up the hill and Jason disappearing into the guest bedroom for a short nap.  I have to admit that Ted and I were both soon also napping away in our recliners.  We slept about 30 minutes – Jason woke up three hours later (this is the son who NEVER slows down).

This is a night photo, but the afternon of the three-hour nap the windows were up, there was a breeze blowing steadily through into the bedroom, and if you awoke and looked outside the trees in the backyard make it appear you're sleeping in a treehouse.  Jason said he woke up several times, but each time the windows, trees and breeze just put him right back to sleep.  He said, quite simply, "It was the best nap of my life."

This is a night photo, but the afternoon of the three-hour nap the windows were up, there was a breeze blowing steadily through into the bedroom, and if you awoke and looked outside, the trees in the backyard made it appear you were sleeping in a treehouse. Jason said he woke up several times, but each time the windows, trees and breeze just put him right back to sleep. He said, quite simply, “It was the best nap of my life.”

Before he arrived Jason had already checked out everything going on on the island during his visit.

“Leo Kottke is playing in the park Thursday night! We have to go to that!” he said via email.

I knew about the concert – all part of the Music in the Park program on the island – but I didn’t have a clue who Leo Kottke was and neither did Ted . . .

Ted and I must have been the only ones who didn't know about this entertainer though because he drew the largest crowd of any entertainer in the part this summer!

. . .  but we must have been the only ones on the island who didn’t know about this musician, because he drew the largest crowd of any entertainer in the park this summer!

It turns out Leo Kottke is a fabulous guitarist and also a great teller of stories.  He has a huge following, even though he has only sold a few records/CDs in his lifetime.  He was simply awesome.

It turns out Leo Kottke is a fabulous guitarist and also a great teller of stories. He has a huge following, even though he has only sold a few records/CDs in his lifetime. He was simply awesome.  We brought blankets, wine and paper cups and spread out on the grass of Marquette Park with everyone else.  The weather was perfect!  After the concert and dinner at the Seabiscuit Cafe, we headed home.  An early night!

On Friday Jason, Ted and Andrew Doud met up at Wawashkamo for a golf game.  Jason had never played that course and really enjoyed the game and learning all about the history of the land on which the golf course was built.

On Friday Jason, Ted and Andrew Doud met up at Wawashkamo for a golf game. Jason had never played that course and really enjoyed the game and learning all about the history of the land on which the golf course was built.

Friday afternoon Jason and I rode around the Island, stopping occasionally for pics (taking them, not having them taken).  Why don’t any of our children or grandchildren like posing for photographs!?  Could it be because every time they look my way they’re staring into a camera lens?

Didn't have my camera with me on this trip so I was using my iphone, which doesn't work well for "far off" photos like this one.  But I couldn't pass up getting a shot of this couple who had waded out to the little stone/rock/sand bar with two chairs, a bottle of wine and glasses.  That's what I call getting away from it all!

Didn’t have my camera with me on this trip so I was using my iphone, which doesn’t work well for “far off” photos like this one (or cropped enlargements like the one above). But I couldn’t pass up getting a shot of this couple who had waded out to the little stone/rock/sand bar with two chairs and a cooler of goodies. That’s what I call getting away from it all!

Dinner was pizza at Goodfellow’s and then a little TV at the condo.  Another good day.

Saturday began with breakfast at the Chuckwagon, where we watched Donny work his magic with a grill filled with omelets, bacon, ham, hashbrowns and sausage.

Saturday began with breakfast at the Chuckwagon, where we watched Donny work his magic on a grill filled with omelets, bacon, ham, hashbrowns and sausage.

Then we rode out to Silver Birches where we'd called ahead for a return visit so Jason could check out this great renovation project.

After breakfast we rode out to Silver Birches, where we’d called ahead for a return visit so Jason could check out this great renovation project.

Liz once again showed us around, and we were amazed at the work that had been done since our last visit.  I volunteered to come out and help do anything I could, and in return Liz offered an overnight stay before the end of the season.  I am psyched about that!

Liz once again showed us around, and we were amazed at the work that had been done since our last stop-in. I volunteered to come out and help do anything I could (clean old furniture, paint, scrub windows), and in return Liz offered an overnight stay before the end of the season. I am psyched about that!

We rode back to the condo up British Landing road, which means I walked a lot.  Even Ted and Jason stopped for a breather at the entrance to Wawashkamo.

We rode back to the condo up British Landing Road, which means I walked a lot. Even Ted and Jason stopped for a breather at the entrance to Wawashkamo.

After freshening up, we rode back into town and had lunch at Bistro on the Green at Mission Point and ended the day with dinner at the Pink Pony.

After freshening up, we rode back into town and had lunch at Bistro on the Green at Mission Point.  We ended the day with dinner at the Pink Pony.

It's unbelievable how fast this visit went by.  Before I could hardly turn around, it was Sunday morning . . .

It’s unbelievable how fast this visit went by. Before I could hardly turn around, it was Sunday morning . . .

. . . and we were back on the ferry on the way to the airport.

. . . and we were back on the ferry and on the way to the airport.

The good thing is Jason might come back for Halloween – like he did last year.  Hmmm . . . maybe he can find the rest of that gorilla suit he lost parts of last year!

Hurry back, sweetie!  Loved you being here!

Foggy Days on the Rock 5/22/2013

I’m such a klutz.  On Sunday afternoon I reinjured the foot I hurt when I gracefully fell on my face at a wedding a few weeks ago.  This time the pain was much worse, and I couldn’t put any weight on it at all.  I called our Health Care 24-hour nurse yesterday and asked about getting it X-rayed, but with what I described, she thinks I just strained a ligament and suggested rest and ice, which I’ve been doing.

It’s been a good few days to be out of commission because since Sunday we’ve had ran showers, rain storms, wind and fog.

Downtown on Monday. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Downtown on Monday. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Yesterday.

Yesterday. Showers and fog.

This morning.

This morning.  Mostly fog and misty rain.

A kayaker floats into Hildebrand Bay with the fog. (Photo: Great Turtle Kayak Tours)

A kayaker floats into Haldimand Bay with the fog. (Photo: Great Turtle Kayak Tours)

Ted left on the 10 a.m. ferry this morning for the first “big groceries” buying trip at Wal-Mart in Cheboygin – time to stock up on paper products for the next few weeks.

We’ve already had Jerry, our plumber, up for the annual “first week back” pipe problems.  It never fails that something is leaking, dripping, or flowing when we return and get everything turned on.  In fact, when we called him our second day back, he told us, “I was wondering  why you hadn’t called yet!”  I love being part of this little community where we see the same “fix-it” folks every year – and who we can have on “speed dial”.

PHOTOS FROM SUNNIER DAYS

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Bikes and golf carts at the Grand pro shop.

Wow!  This guy must have been collecting cans all winter!

Wow! This guy must have been collecting cans all winter!

New gear for our wonderful Mackinac Island Fire Department. (Photo: Jason St. Onge)

New gear for our wonderful Mackinac Island Fire Department. (Photo: Jason St. Onge)

The Pink Pony has a new Pink Pony!

The Pink Pony has a new pink pony!

All day yesterday I kept thinking something was missing, and it was driving me crazy!  I’d sit reading for a while, then look up and think, “What’s different?”  I’d wander a few feet from my chair, only to stop and try and figure out what was bugging me.  Finally, last night, as I was pulling down the blinds across the den and staring at the lights shrouded in fog, it hit me . . . . the fog horn wasn’t sounding.

When I awoke this morning to fog so thick we could barely see the Lilac bushes in our front yard – and still no fog horn – I went on a mission to find out why we weren’t hearing the lonely song normally played out on the Straits in this kind of weather.  I called the U.S. Coast Guard Station in St. Ignace, and the young man who answered my call gave me this answer: The horn is now activated only by the pilot houses of approaching vessels.  After activation, the horn sounds for 30 minutes, then automatically turns off.  This is the same process used at our airport on the island.  Instead of leaving the runway lights on all night, they can be activated by approaching pilots, then turn off when the plane has safely landed.  It’s all about saving money, and I understand that.  But I sure do miss that mournful sound – especially on foggy nights.

Everyone on Mackinac is eagerly looking forward to this Memorial Day weekend – the official start of the season for the Island.  Even though the temps will still be a little short of “warm”, the sun is supposed to be shining brightly, and the Rock is expecting people to start arriving in droves on Friday afternoon.  With the crowds we’ve been seeing downtown – even in the rain – I predict an awesome long holiday weekend for visitors to Mackinac.  Y’all come!

I’ll close with a photo that popped up on Facebook this week and is so awesome I just had to share it.  It was shot by someone at the Keyhole Bar & Grill in Mackinaw City, and it is pretty much beyond words.

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First Weekend on the Island 5/19/2013

What a difference a week makes!  Last Sunday it was snowing, 30-something degrees, and winds were howling at 35 miles-per-hour.  Today it’s been a balmy 65 – a perfect day for the first service of the season at Little Stone Church!

Our first week has been about as full as it could possibly get – unpacking, getting the condo listed and photographs to the realtor to place on their website, doing a little spiffing up so the place will look decent when someone comes to look at it.

We’ve walked Maddie and Bear a lot and watched them go crazily happy again (especially Bear) at the freedom of running the woods’ trails and sniffing out all the wonderful scents every tree and bush and blade of grass carries.  They’ve both always loved to go out on the deck in the sun and just watch traffic go by (walkers, bikers, taxis, horse riders, other dogs), and they didn’t waste a moment re-establishing that tradition.  It’s always fun to see them almost immediately fall into their “Mackinac” habits – Bear hitting our grass hill at a full run, then falling over – on purpose – so hard he makes an actual “thump” sound and rolling over and over in the cool grass.  That is followed by a quick check to see if Denise is outside at the Carriage Museum.  If she sees him, and she’s not busy, she will whistle, and he takes off at a dead sprint to collect his treat.  Maddie follows behind as quickly as she can pull Ted over there.  Sometimes Bear doesn’t see Denise and goes anyway.  Denise will find him in the little storage room inside the museum, sitting quietly looking at the shelf where the treats are kept.  Bear loves this game, and Denise spoils them both rotten.

Jill took this photo today of "lookers" at Mackinac Realty.  The condo's photo and specs just went up in the window yesterday.  I can remember Ted and I looking in that windows for years before our dream finally came true.

Jill took this photo today of “lookers” at Mackinac Realty. Our condo’s photo and specs just went up in the window yesterday. I can remember Ted and I looking in that windows for years before our dream finally came true.

Saturday was the Zoo-De-Mack event, which has grown over the years into one of the craziest party nights on Mackinac.  The Zoo-De-Mack is one of the most scenic bike rides in the country, and the 51-mile, six to seven hour course is NOT A RACE, but a gathering of approximately 4,000 outdoor enthusiasts who just like to enjoy a little physical exercise together.  The pre-ride party is at Zoo Bar at Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs and the ride ends in Mackinaw City (hence Zoo-De-Mack).  Riders then head by ferry to Mackinac Island for the post-ride party!

When Ted and I started out on date night Saturday night, we knew it would be very crowded downtown, and it was!

The Pink Pony bar was packed, the restaurant was packed, the outside bar and eating area was packed . . .

The Pink Pony bar was packed, the restaurant was packed, the outside bar and eating area was packed . . .

. . . and the hot tub was packed!

. . . and the hot tub was packed!

We wisely left the Chippewa to the partiers and walked down to the Seabiscuit, where we had a wonderful dinner, met up with a few Island friends, and chatted for an hour or so.  We taxied home.  Very nice date, Mr. Horton!

The first service at Little Stone Church this morning was wonderful.  Dr. Vince Carroll, our minister, is always a joy to listen to, and the service is also when we first see so many of the Island summer residents.  It seems a lot of us arrive during the same week each year, and we’re all so busy after we get here that the first time we get to see each other is at the first church service.  Lots of hugging going on this morning!

I was very excited to discover this morning on the walk to church that there ARE tulips at the Grand this spring.  This small bed is the first one you pass as you approach the Grand, and it is about to burst into bloom

I was very excited to discover on the walk to church that there ARE tulips at the Grand this spring. This small bed is the first one you pass as you approach the Grand, and it is about to burst into bloom.  The tulips are sharing the glory with the daffodils!

The old Grand stable is gone, and in its place is a small storage barn.  Looks empty there right now, but I'm sure the Grand has a plan in place that will make everyone happy.

The old Grand stable is gone, and in its place is a small storage barn. The space looks pretty empty right now, but I’m sure the Grand has a plan in place that will make everyone happy.

I can never understand how I can leave the church walking home, and Ted can leave at the same time on his bike going to town for his newspaper and to Doud's - only to have him catch up with me on the hill!  I think it may have something to do with how many stops I make along the way to chat and take pics!

I can never understand how I can leave the church walking home, and Ted can leave at the same time on his bike going to town for his newspaper and to Doud’s – only to have him catch up with me on the hill! I think it may have something to do with how many stops I make along the way to chat and take photos – or it could be how SLOW I walk! Frankly, I’m still a little ticked off that he jumped on that bike the second day we were here, rode into town, and rode all the way back up the hill – without stopping!  How does he do that!?

Blog reader Tina and her husband Jamie stopped by this afternoon for a few minutes.  So glad to finally meet Tina - who is a huge fan of Mackinac Island and is hoping to live here one day.

Blog reader Tina and her husband Jamie stopped by this afternoon .  So glad to finally meet Tina – who is a huge fan of Mackinac Island and is hoping to live here one day.

Bear made a new friend this afternoon - Jack, a chocolate lab who lives a little further up our hill.

Bear made a new friend this afternoon – Jack, a chocolate lab who lives a little further up our hill.

They had great fun chasing each other at full speed around the yard!

They had great fun chasing each other at full speed around the yard!

We got new street signs over the winter!  Love these!

We got new street signs over the winter! Love these!

The condo’s been listed for two days, and we’ve had two couples come look at it.  We can tell already it’s going to be a different summer – having to keep our place “somewhat” clean in case the realtor calls.  We’re about to get our system worked out, which basically calls for each of us to pick up after ourselves on a regular basis – something neither of us is the best at doing.  But we’ll work it out . . .

“Ted!  Your shirt is on the chair!”

“Brenda! Your shoes aren’t in the closet!”

See!  We’ll work it out.

Beauty and the Beasties . . . . 10/31/2012

Happy Halloween!

Hope you’re all stocked up on goodies for all the little munchkins who’ll come trick-or-treating tonight!  We stocked up a week ago ourselves, even though Ted knows very well not to do that.  Brenda-the-grown-up-munchkin figures if chocolate is in the house, it’s meant to be eaten – so we had to stock up again yesterday.  Ted hid it this time – the old scrooge!

I want to catch you up on the Somewhere in Time photos tonight, and since it’s Halloween it’s also the perfect time to show you a few costumes from this weekend’s downtown parties.

I apologize in advance for having so few photos of Somewhere in Time this year.  I rushed into the Grand at 5:30 Saturday afternoon on my way downtown to the costume party.  I’d been snapping pics for five minutes before I realized that everyone in the hotel was DRESSED UP – not just for Somewhere in Time, but for a cocktail reception planned for hotel guests (I wondered why I was getting so many strange looks).  I was the only – the ONLY – person in the Grand in blue jeans, sweater, and loafers.  Good grief, get me out of here!  So – not many pics.

I knew I would forget names here, but the sweet lady on the left recognized me and came over to say hello and introduce me to her friends. We had met a couple of years ago in the Fort Cemetery at the Memorial Day ceremony, and she’d been reading Bree’s Blog ever since. So good to see you again!

Love, love, love the hats! Two beautifully dressed Victorian ladies!

I think I photograph this lady every year. She is always so elegantly dressed, and her hats are to die for.

Sweet couple taking a little rest from all the festivities.

It was here that I made the discovery about how I should have been dressed. As I dashed out the door, I saw Robin Dorman, Executive Director of the Mackinac Island Community Foundation, and asked him to pose. Then I was out of there!

It’s hard to make the transition from Somewhere in Time elegance and gentility at the Grand Hotel to costume party in the Pink Pony, but work with me here.

We were sitting in the corner of the Pink Pony by the front window. I held the camera up over my head, pointed it downward, and clicked. This gives you a small glimpse of how many people were packed in there.

From the town of Bedrock . . . Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty, Pebbles, and Bamm Bamm!

A server with two heads . . . wonder if you were supposed to tip both of them?!

The Pink Pony staff were all dressed in Prohibition era costumes. This is beautiful Erin with Ted.

Justin – one of our favorite bartenders and a Detroit Tiger fan.

A bunch of Super Heroes . . .

. . . and Batman!

Little Bo Peep kept losing her sheep . . . but looks like they’ve all come home.

Mr Ed?

King Kong? Gorilla in the Mist? Jason?

Don’t know who this is supposed to be, but she sure is pretty!

Three of the Seven Dwarfs – never saw Snow White.

People spilled out of the Pony into the lobby of the Chippewa Hotel. It was packed everywhere that night!

I. Have. No. Clue.

Myk Rise, a regular entertainer at the Pony during the summer, closed out the evening with some good tunes.

I can’t believe I’m about to write this next sentence.  See you back here tomorrow for the last post of this season.

The First “Grab a Coat” Weekend 9/9/2012

Was feeling under the weather this morning, so Ted went to church without me.  My throat is sore, and my ear feels like someone is jabbing at it with an ice-pick.  I searched all our medical stuff and found a left-over antibiotic, which I promptly started –  hoping those will clear this up before it becomes bad enough to warrant a trip to the medical center.

Feeling like I do, it’s funny I should sit down to write.  If I wanted to “do” something, there are plenty of options because we’ve had a pretty busy weekend, and, therefore, condo “daily duties” have mostly gone undone.  I haven’t washed clothes in a couple of days – or run the dishwasher, or ironed Ted’s “Sunday” khakis (he ushered this morning and was so sweet when he said, “Don’t worry about it – what’s a wrinkle or two!”).  I also need to wash out and clean Bear’s ears, which seem to be chronically yucky with gook lately.  There’s no sign of infection (redness), and I’m thinking he’s developed an allergy of some kind.  I’m wondering if I need to change  from a grain-based diet (will call vet tomorrow).  And the carpet hasn’t been vacuumed since last Thursday – therefore, there is an abundance of “Bear hair” everywhere.  So many things need to be done.

And yet, what I choose to do . . . . . is write.

As my fingers fly over the keyboard, my sluggish brain becomes more active, my body relaxes (that could be the pain meds I took for my ear), and my mind surges ahead to tomorrow and the next day – already full of activities I don’t need to miss.

OK – enough of the “poor me” dialogue.  Hopefully, when I finish this post I’ll be feeling better and will jump up and dive into the stuff I’ve mentioned above.

On Friday we had what I believe was only our second good, day-long, drenching rain of the summer.  It was wonderful, and it came on the day Ted and I were planning to bike out to the Inn at Stonecliffe for Frankie Thill’s birthday dinner.  By late afternoon, with the rain still falling and the wind kicking up too, we added our names to the taxi list of others going to the same dinner and enjoyed the horse-drawn ride through the wet woods.  I don’t know why we don’t go out to Stonecliffe to eat more often – the trip out there is fun, and the food never fails to be awesome.

Stonecliffe was built as a summer cottage for the Michael Cudahy family in 1904.  In 1915, it was purchased by Alvin and Sallie Hert, who made many additions, including the construction of a playhouse for their children.  That playhouse is now the Grand Hotel’s Woods Restaurant and is directly adjacent to Stonecliffe.

We enjoyed a wonderful dinner in the Cudahy Chophouse restaurant inside the Inn . . .

. . . and the birthday girl was treated to a surprise Creme Brulee dessert. Wonderful food with wonderful friends – does it get any better than that!

We were up bright and early on Saturday morning so Ted could be ready for the annual Mackinac Island 8-Mile Walk and Run around the Island.  When Ted did the walk last year, he developed a blister on the bottom of his foot about 2 miles into the walk.  But he kept going and finished the race.  It took almost two weeks for the thing to heal.  This year he wore different shoes and padded socks – hoping to avoid that problem.  He didn’t.

Ready for the start of the race – and proudly decked out in . . . .

. . . his favorite Booger Bottom shirt. (For those of you not familiar with the blog from our home in Georgia, Booger Bottom is the name of the “world-famous” locals bar at Lake Blackshear.)

As usual, the race began in front of the Mission Point Resort. Everywhere we looked participants were . . . .

. . . stretching, running short sprints to warm up . . .

. . . . and, in the case of these ladies, making sure hair was secured out of their faces.

Over 2300 racers participated this year.

At precisely 9:30 a.m., the race began, with the runners starting first . . .

. . . followed several minutes later by the walkers, including a fired-up Ted.  By the way, have you noticed what most everyone is wearing?  Coats!  At the beginning of the race, it was still drizzling rain, and the temp was only in the high 50’s.

While Ted was walking around the Island, Jill, Leanne and I walked over to J.L. Beanery, where we sat inside, ate breakfast sandwiches, and drank hot coffee.

When we got back to Mission Point an hour-and-a-half later, most of the runners were already finished, and Leanne and Jill snapped photos of happy racers . . .

. . . . including Drs. Michelle and Karen (Dr. Karen is our former Mackinac Island physician).

Ted – crossing the finish line – after walking eight 15-minute miles (and – after mile four – with a blister that runs across the whole bottom of his foot below his toes and looks yucky, yucky, YUCKY!)

While Ted rode home to change clothes, we three girls picked up our bikes from the Mission Point parking area across from Bistro on the Green and rode downtown to check out some of the fall sales.

We all gathered a while later on the patio at the Pink Pony for lunch and conversation, then left Ted to watch football.  Leanne and Jill went off to work, and I rode home.

I walked my bike up Mission Hill for a change of scenery and stood looking out over the Straits from the East Bluff.  The day was still gloomy and almost cold – a hint of what’s coming in the near future.

All that time in the wind and rain this weekend could be one of the causes of my present ear and throat complaints.  But hey!  It’s fall!  The summer crowds are gone, the very warm temperatures are a thing of the past, and we’ve already had the fireplace roaring two mornings in a row!

Hmmmmmm . .  . I think I feel better already!

 

Just Your Typical Labor Day Weekend on Mackinac Island 9/4/2012

We have a Mystery Spot winner!  She is Fran from Florida!  Please see end of this post for the answer!

It was a spectacular Labor Day weekend on Mackinac Island, and I don’t think even one more event could have been packed into those three days.  I’ll get to all that in a moment, but first I have to tell you that knowing Labor Day heralds the end of summer makes my heart a little sad.  Even though we have another two months before we leave and head south, I know – from past experience – those eight weeks will flash by in a whirlwind of last minute visitors, leaves changing colors, seasonal sales in all the shops, less crowded streets, and the slow decline in the warm temps we’ve enjoyed this year. 

But, you know, there’s only one thing to do when your time on the Island is getting shorter and shorter . . . . . . GET OUT AND ENJOY BEING HERE!  I hope I can make these next few weeks of blog posts so exciting and colorful you’ll just have to jump in your vehicle and drive up (or down) to experience fall on Mackinac for yourself.  If there’s no way you can do that this year, maybe reading these words and looking through the photos will help you imagine being here – the next best thing!

So hang on!  Summer is over, Fall is peeking around the corner, and we’re going to have tons of fun between now and the first week in November (our “go” date to hit I-75 South).

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Labor Day Weekend

Streets downtown this weekend were packed with families enjoying one more little get-away before schools started on Tuesday (every school in Michigan opens the day after Labor Day).

Jill snapped this shot downtown on Sunday afternoon. It looked like the typical summer day on Mackinac Island this year – crazy crowded!

Same street – Labor Day, after check-out time at all the hotels.

Beginning on Friday, the Grand Hotel presented its annual Labor Day Jazz Weekend.  And believe me – nobody knows how to throw a party like the Grand!

The Tea Garden became Party Central during the day on Saturday and Sunday. Each morning the grounds would look like this . . . .

. . . and by noon – with live concerts by jazz musicians and cookouts providing the food – the party would be in full swing!

And – because it’s the Grand – by Monday afternoon there was no evidence at all that there had even been a party!  I would not have wanted to be on THAT clean-up crew!

Saturday began with the annual last official formal ride of the season.  These ladies and gentlemen – in formal riding attire – met at 9 a.m. on the East Bluff to begin their ride, which took them throughout the island, downtown, and to the West Bluff.

There were 18 participants this year, and as they rode around the corner at Pontiac Trail, they made a beautiful entrance onto West Bluff Road.

Following tradition, the group stopped at one of the homes on the West Bluff, where the residents awaited them with Mint Juleps for the riders . . .

. . . and special, home-made treats for the horses.

There were black horses . . .

. . . and gray horses . . .

. . . and colors in-between . . .

. . . and I believe the horses were having almost as much fun as their riders!

Here’s to this wonderful season of horses on Mackinac!

On Saturday at noon, the most important event of the weekend happened for Ted . . . . . . the first University of Georgia football game!  I think everyone who reads this blog probably knows by now that if Ted was not able to watch his beloved “Dawgs” up here in Michigan, we would either be going home at the end of August or I would be spending two months up here by myself.

You know you are a VIP at the Pink Pony when they dedicate one TV set just for you to watch the Georgia game. Ted (I was there two minutes) was the only one watching, but he was a happy man – even more so because Georgia WON. Go Dawgs! Woof! Woof!

The crowning event of the weekend is the Labor Day Bridge Walk. Even before the sun rises, thousands of people converge in St. Ignace from the Island and from all over Michigan and other nearby states.  Two lanes of the bridge are closed to vehicle traffic, and for several hours people and cars move together for the five-mile walk across the Straits of Mackinac to Mackinaw City.  Ted and several friends made the walk again this year – that makes four times for Ted!

Starting out.  Up ahead – WAY up ahead – is the first tower of the bridge.

Such a happy group!

At this point, they were definitely going UP!

It’s a long way down when you reach the top!

Safely back on solid ground in Mackinaw City . . .

. . . with thousands following behind!

At lunch on Tuesday, Ted and I walked down to the Mackinac Island Public School for the annual First Day of School picnic.  I love this tradition, where the community comes together to support the Island children and to encourage them to continue their education.

Students, teachers, moms, dads, and Island residents crowded around tables set up outside . . . .

. . . and we found Dave Wasso, Superintendent and Athletic Director, manning the grill and serving up some mighty tasty burgers and hot dogs.  Great food, great fellowship, and what a way to start the school year!

Photographs from Readers

Pam Schuch – Wauseon, Ohio.  This photo is from Pam’s trip in October, 2007.  Pam loves walking, biking, and exploring the interior of the Island.  She says, “Downtown is nice, but people should explore the State Park, which is tranquil and beautiful.”  Pam loves everything about the Island – even the cemeteries.

Jill Sawatzki – Mackinac Island and Lansing.  Jill snapped this photo during the weekend of Christmas Bazaar in 2009.  A huge snowstorm blanketed the Island with inches and inches of snow on the first day of the Bazaar weekend.

Sarah Fredricks – Phoenix, Arizona. This photo is from Sarah’s trip last year. It’s the “0” mile marker in front of the Mackinac Island Marina.

Jane Haviland – Portage, MI. – from Jane’s Fall trip to the Island two years ago.  She biked  M-185 and loves the house that sits alone around this curve.  She says when she first saw it years ago, no one lived there.  She called it the “Egg House” because there seemed to be what looked like stacks of egg cartons on the table she could see through the big front window.  She loves that now it looks so lovingly cared for and the flowers and garden are beautiful.

Mystery Spot Contest

The object of the Mystery Spot is to be the first to identify where the object is located. When you think you have the answer, email me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com. I’ll check my email several times a day, and as soon as we have a winner, I’ll post the winner’s name at the top of this blog so you can stop guessing (you may have to refresh your page for this to show up). Is there a prize for the winner?  Yes there is; but the prize is secret, and the only ones who will know what it is are the winners. To be fair, I’m asking residents of Mackinac Island to please NOT guess. This is just for readers who don’t live here . . . but would like to! And the Mystery Spot is   . . . .

Again, please email your answers to me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com.  PLEASE DO NOT ANSWER IN THE “COMMENTS” SECTION OF THE BLOG.  Remember, I’ll post the winner at the top of this blog as soon as someone gives the correct answer.

Mystery Spot Answer

This one was TOO easy, and there were lots of correct answers! It’s the bell atop the Mackinac Island Public School.

We’re Back, We’re Back, We’re Back! 5/15/2012

There are no words to express how excited we are to be back on Mackinac Island.  After the worst trip we’ve ever had TO the island, it’s as though fate said, “Ok, we’ll make your first hours back totally awesome so you’ll forget all the bad stuff that happened getting there.”

We arrived at Shepler’s dock around 1 p.m., which gave us 30 minutes to take care of picking up season tickets, taking care of seasonal parking and loading up suitcases, tote bags, and boxes.

When we arrived on the Island, a welcome committee of Jill, Loretta (who owns Martha’s Sweet Shop), Frankie and Hershey (not pictured), and blog readers Paul and Elaine were waiting to greet us!  We rode over with Mary Dufina, and she joined in with the welcome group also!  Loretta brought a bag of brownies and chocolate chip cookies to “tide us over” until dinner.  What wonderful friends!

First step off the ferry – leaving reality behind.  (Photo: Jill Sawatski)

What an awesome welcome committee! (Photo: Jill Sawatski)

First taxi off the ferry – heading up the hill! (Photo: Jill Sawatski)

We spent the afternoon unpacking (about 1/3 of the way done), then walked downtown for dinner at – where else – the Pink Pony!

Jacob, one of our favorite bartenders, snapped this shot of us in front of the Pink Pony sign. He posted it on the Pink Pony Facebook Page with the caption, “Ted and Brenda are back from Georgia! NOW we’re open!”

Ted and I are literally falling into bed three seconds after I post this.  We are so tired from three days on the road, and can’t wait to be totally unpacked and settled in.

I’ll see you back here on Friday with news of our first week.  Sadly, I have to report that my wonderful, wonderful camera finally bit the dust tonight.  I dropped it as I was trying to do twelve things at once, and it landed on the open lens, which broke almost in half.  It is a goner.  Sometime in the next few days I will need to find a new camera, but will use Ted’s until then.  That camera has been with me through four years of Bree’s Blogs.   I am going to miss it so much.

Thanks so much for every prayer that you lifted up for safe travels.  See you Friday, but you might want to check out the Dog-Eared Page before then for some doggie pics.  Love to each and every one of you.  God bless.

For Sunday 7/10/2011

Good friend Michael Forrester arrived on the island Friday to shoot video a couple of days for the Lilac Tree and Chippewa Hotels.  It’s always wonderful seeing him (although, of course, we prefer it when he brings wife Jeanine and daughter Siena along).  The whole family will be back in September!

Jill, Ted and I had a little reunion with Mike at the Pink Pony on Friday evening.

A wonderful photo from Jill of a rainy day downtown.

Under the Mackinac Bridge. Taken by Shepler's Ferry crew on a westbound lighthouse tour.

It never fails to amaze me how even the garbage cans wear flowers on Mackinac.

Entrance to the Grand stables - taken a couple of weeks ago when the lilacs were still blooming.

My talk about therapy dogs in Mac City went well on Saturday afternnoon.  It was a great audience, with lots of questions and interest.  Bear, of course, was perfect!  Thanks, Chris Ann, for inviting us!

By the time we got home, Cathy and Charlie had arrived, and we are so excited to have them with us for a week.  See you on Monday with some weekend stories from the rock!

Nature Laughing 6/27/2011

After a week of dreary, cold, rainy days, we awoke Saturday morning to find sunlight flowing in around the shades that cover our windows.  I couldn’t get out of bed and the shades all over the condo pulled up fast enough!  In an Anne Bronte quote, she talks about “nature laughing in the sunshine”, and Saturday you could hear that laughter all over the island.  It was a g-l-o-r-i-o-u-s day!

Ted left for work at 10, and Jill called around 10:30.  Thank goodness for friends that will show up and hurry me up in the mornings.  I’m really not a morning person, and I will poke around until lunch if left alone.  With Jill pushing me forward, I finished a little housework and out the door we went.  There was SO MUCH going on this weekend!

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.  First, there was Friday.

Jill and I had hair appointments in St. Ignace at noon.  But, since there was also an Antique Car Show over there this weekend, we planned to go over early and see if we could spot some of the “oldies” (cars, I mean) before things got officially started.  We caught the 10 a.m. Shepler’s.  Remember this is Friday – one day before nature started laughing in the sunshine!  I snapped photos of the Grand and West Bluff as we passed in the heavy fog, never imagining the pics would turn out like they did . . .

I've got to add this one to the top five favorite photos I've taken over the years. The movement of the boat, the fog and the spray turned the water and landscape into a blur, but the Grand was focused. It looks like a black & white sketch, but the house to the left of Grand shows some red. It's just one of those once in a million shots that I never thought twice about when I clicked the shutter. Then when I pulled it up on the laptop, I was thrilled with the effect.

 
 

An eerie shot of one of the West Bluff cottages. This one sits on Pontiac's Trail.

 
We walked down to Doud’s St. Ignace Market when we got off the ferry, looking for some breakfast.  Then, by the time we walked back through town, it was time to head to the hair salon.  We did see some of the old cars as we passed through.
 

Doud's had a sidewalk sale going on. Before the day was over, vendors would be set up all along the main street in St. Ignace. The Antique Car Show is a really big deal!

Ok. I know cars just like I know flowers. This is an old red car.

 
 

This is an old blue car - or maybe it's an old blue truck.

 

Pam at Leroy's Salon in St. Ignace cut Jill's hair while mine was "processing". She slapped on hair color to cover what looked like four inches of gray roots where my hair is parted, then Jill and I exchanged chairs. When it was my turn under the scissors, Jill, of course, couldn't keep her hands off my camera. No more gray and about an inch less hair!

 
NOW . . . we get to Saturday and the sunshine!  As I said, Jill got me out of the condo by 11, and we headed downtown.  I wanted to go see the bats.  Yes, you heard me right – Saturday was Bat Mania Day on Mackinac.  The Mackinac Island Community Foundation brought the Organization for Bat Conservation to the island for an all-day program to teach people about the benefits of these creatures.  The organization brought along both native Michigan and international species of bats.  
 
If you’ve been to Mackinac and walked the streets at night, then you more than likely have encountered the island bats.  Walking on any island street at dusk or later, you see bats swooping back and forth, and you just get used to them.  There will occasionally be a lot of excitement when a bat flies into a store or restaurant during the day.  Tourists generally go berserk, and shop owners calmly get down their bat net, catch the bat, and release it out the front door.  It’s just part of Mackinac!
 
On Saturday different types of bats were displayed at four different locations – Windermere Point, Mission Point Resort, Lilac Tree Hotel Plaza, and the Island House Hotel.  I wanted to go to Windermere Point because that is where the BIGGEST bat species in the world was going to be displayed.  I was not disappointed!
 

Meet Camellia. She is a Malayan Flying Fox bat. She lived eight years of her life in a zoo where her wing was injured.

 
 

Rob Miles, the director of the Bat Conservation Organization, rescued Camellia about 10 years ago. Her wing is now healed, but she is no longer able to fly. She travels with Rob all over the United States, helping people overcome their fear of bats. Rob fed her grapes from his hand while we watched.

 
 
 

This is as close as I got to Camellia, but she really was a fascinating creature to watch. She wasn't bothered at all by the sunlight. Rob told the crowd that bats come out at night because that's when the insects they eat are abundant. Bats this big don't use echolocation to search for insects - the smaller bats do that.

 
 
We saw leaf-nose bats and vampire bats at the Lilac Tree Hotel Plaza, but Camellia was hard to beat as a crowd-stopper!
 
We stopped to visit Ted at the Vistors Center, and he took us out on the deck to show us the huge ship at the Arnold Dock.  We went down to check it out. 
 

It was the Great Lakes Maritime Academy's training ship, State of Michigan.

 
 
I told this cadet that I was a reporter for the New York Times and needed to come aboard to write a story about the ship, but he didn’t buy it. We did learn that this was once a Navy ship used to hunt submarines. It was also used for a time by the Coast Guard, before being purchased by the Maritime Academy. The Academy prepares deck and engineering officers for highly skilled positions aboard ships all over the world.
  

Also on the island this weekend were the Michigan Wheelmen, an organization that travels the country offering demonstrations and education on the bicyle from its beginning to the World War I era.  They are an amazing group of enthusiasts, and seeing them on their bikes in period costume is always fun and exciting. 

 

Talk about taking you "back in time"!

 
 

I never actually saw someone getting ON one of these bikes! How do you do that?

 
 

A daredevil!

 
 

Lined up on the street downtown, they made quite an impression.

 
 

Photographed alone . . . .

 
 

. . . I found them quite beautiful.

 
Here’s a few more photos from the weekend . . .
 

My favorite French Lane garden is up and growing and promises to be as beautiful as ever.

 
 

Three vintage baseball games were played on the island this weekend, and everyone was in period dress for those also - including the crowd watching.

 
 

LOL! Jane wanted me to title this one "Three Old Bats" (notice the "real" bat between our heads). If you read my winter blog, you know that Jane lives in Warner Robins, GA during the winter - about an hour from us on the lake. A group of lake girls went to Warner Robins in the spring to see a play performed by a theatre group Jane is in. She has a home on Mackinac and arrived this week.

 
 

The Pink Pony deck (next to the Visitors Center where Ted works) was rockin' out Saturday afternoon.

 
 

This little girl was trying out a vintage tricycle.

 

Vintage baseball on the Burrough's Lot below the Grand Hotel

 
Sunday was another beautiful day.  We went to church, had lunch with friends at the Gate House, took the dogs for a walk, then rode our bikes for about two hours on trails in the interior of the island.  It was a wonderful, wonderful weekend.
 
See you tomorrow with more pics from the island!

Note:  Title taken from quote by Anne Bronte:  “A light wind swept over the corn, and all nature laughed in the sunshine.”