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’s Spring (so why does it feel like summer)? 4/2/17

Hi Friends!

The first day of Spring was March 20, but it might as well have been the first day of Summer here in Florida!  The temps are already hovering close to the 90’s by early afternoon, and the only saving grace (for me, the hot weather dis-liker) is that the mornings and evenings are still relatively cool – and the sea breezes are heavenly.  Nevertheless, by the time we return from Alaska at the end of May, I know I’ll be ready to pack for Mackinac as soon as I’ve run a few loads of laundry!


Josh Carley reports that visitors are already arriving. According to Josh, “It seems as though the season starts earlier and earlier and ends later and later each year”. 

Something else to note in the photo above . . . the beloved tree at the corner of Marquette Park is still standing and hopefully will remain so a long time into the future.  The State Park is in charge of the tree because it stands on State Park property, and they will strive to keep it healthy as long as possible.  Yeah!!

These next four photos are from Steve Fridley and will probably be the last ones showing snow on the island this winter. Steve was there about three weeks ago when there was still ice in the Straits.

I love this perspective of the ferry plowing through ice on Lake Huron.

Sugar Loaf, with a dusting of snow at the base and ice showing along the shoreline.

The village of Mackinac Island, framed by the trees at the top of Fort Hill.

Early morning on the ferry docks. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

This aerial photo by Bryce Tracy shows minimal snow and the beginnings of an island turning green.  Great photo of the Grand and a few West Bluff cottages.  In the foreground on the right is the island school and in the upper left part of the photo is the beginning of “the Village”. I can see our former condo at Surrey Ridge and also the condo where we’ll be staying this summer near the horse barns.

Here’s some great island news! My sweet friend Nicole Doud is opening her third shop on Main Street in May!

The new shop is located on the site of the former Leather Corral, which is being totally renovated. Nicole says, “Canvas & Paddle will be a slow-paced shopping experience bringing back memories of life at ‘the cabin’ – a place where you can make new Up North memories.”  I can’t wait to see this new addition to Main Street . . . and start shopping. Congratulations, Nicole!

Early morning colors highlight Round Island Lighthouse on Saturday morning. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)


And the colors at sunrise this morning from Arch Rock are subdued, but no less stunning. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

A beautiful photo by Kate Koster of horses awaiting a ferry.


On March 29 my beautiful, boisterous, and bodacious Bodie turned ONE!  I don’t know if my late 60’s was when I needed to add a huge dose of ZANINESS to my life, but suffice it to say it has been added in big capital letters spelled BODIE!  He keeps me moving, keeps me trying to think one step ahead of him, and has added a whole other level of patience to my life.  In other words, I love him. 

I loved this look. It’s like, “You gave me a pink pig for my birthday, mom? Pink?  Really?”  I explained to him it was a special pig.  Indestructible.  Triple stitched.  Made to withstand the bite of a pit bull on steroids.  And it only came in pink.  He had it unstuffed in under five minutes.

“It’s so tiring proving dog toy manufacturers wrong.”

Little Maddie – approaching 13, a little greyer, a little deaf, and still ruling the Horton house.  She is the QUEEN!

We love when we have friends visit from Mackinac. Last night Mr. B (Benser) and Tommy Marx (he took this pic) stayed with us on their way to the Masters (they both winter in south Florida). Those two and Ted left this morning heading for Augusta where they were meeting up with another group of Mackinac men. I’m thinking they will have a LARGE time!


Sneaking up on some shore birds sunning on the dock posts out on the Intracoastal.


Please keep Lowell Greene and his wife Faye in your prayers.  Lowell had a really scary few days this week.  He collapsed at home and was rushed by ambulance to the small hospital in their town where he was diagnosed with dehydration.  He was given 3 liters of fluids and sent home.  Thirty minutes later he went into congestive heart failure and was rushed by ambulance to a hospital in Lansing.  It took from Tuesday to Friday to remove all the fluid from his lungs and around his heart.  He is at home now and feeling better, but he still needs our prayers for no more “repeats” of this frightening event.

Lowell and Faye last summer on Mackinac. We were on the way to the Grand shade garden and stopped to rest at the corner of Market St. and Cadotte.

Love you, Lowell!

God bless.