Family Fall Fun! 10/12/16

Imagine you’re six years old.  Imagine it’s your first Fall Break of 1st grade.  Imagine your mom tells you you’re going someplace “cold” on vacation, so you know you’re not going to the beach where BeBe and G-Daddy live.  Imagine you’re really bummed about that ’cause you’ve asked several times over the last few weeks, “when are we going to see BeBe and G-Daddy again?”

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So you settle into your plane seat in Atlanta, armed with electronic entertainment, and resign yourself to going somewhere the “grown-ups” want to go.  You change planes in Detroit, climb on a much smaller jet, and arrive at a really small airport.  You come through the door to the terminal, looking around at crazy stuff like bears, cougars and deer – stuff you don’t normally see in an airport.  And then, even though you imagine you see BeBe and G-Daddy standing right there in front of you, how can that be possible?

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But it is!

 

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And that’s how one little boy arrived on Mackinac Island Thursday afternoon – with Jason and mom Jennifer.  I told him on the ferry ride over we were going to a place where there were no cars.  His eyes got big.  Then I told him we’d catch a taxi to the condo.  Now he’s totally confused.

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That moment when Alex spots – in the street – what’s causing that amazing only-on-Mackinac aroma!

What a blast we had for four days with these three!  They were right about going someplace “cold” – we had highs in the low 50’s and low’s in the 30’s while they were here. But, they took our advice and brought layers, so everyone stayed warm outside.

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Through special arrangements with Grand Hotel we were able to go on a very special carriage tour on Friday, and Alex got to sit up front on the driver’s seat with Ben Mosley. for the entire tour.  He loved it!

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Thanks to neighbor and friend Pam Day for this shot of our entourage as we passed by Cedar Hill Condos.

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While on the tour, we saw most of the special places on Mackinac.  As you can see, fall foliage has definitely arrived on the island, and Point Lookout is one of the best places to view vast expanses of beautiful trees all dressed up for Autumn.

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Next stop was Fort Holmes.

We traveled through a lot of woods and trails flanked on both sides by trees just beginning to show their most brilliant colors.

We traveled on a lot of woods trails, flanked on both sides by trees just beginning to show their most brilliant colors.

Our last stop was the West Bluff . . .

Our last stop was the West Bluff . . .

. . . and our ride ended at Grand Hotel for lunch.

. . . and our ride ended at Grand Hotel for lunch!

Alex and G-Daddy, enjoying a stroll downtown . . .

Alex and G-Daddy, enjoying a stroll downtown . . .

. . . racing up Turkey Hill . . .

. . . racing up Turkey Hill . . .

. . . and cutting across the Jewel to look for golf balls.

. . . and cutting across the Jewel to look for golf balls.  They found some too!

On Sunday we biked halfway around the island and had lunch at British Landing.

On Sunday we biked halfway around the island and had lunch at the Cannonball at British Landing.

We decided to cut through the island on British Landing Road, enjoying lot of fall color along the way.

We decided to cut through the island on British Landing Road, enjoying lots of fall color along the way.

Stopping for a breather near Wawashkamo, where it seemed like a perfectly great idea to . . .

Stopping for a breather near Wawashkamo, where it seemed like a perfectly great idea to . . .

. . . to play 9 holes of golf on the course's last day of the season.

. . . stop and play 9 holes of golf on the course’s last day of the season.  Only the guys played – Jen and I watched, drove the carts and kept score.  Love this pic of Jason and Alex taking their practice shots.

Sunday night was also the last night Woods Restaurant was open this year, and thank goodness we'd made reservations! The place was packed with locals and a few island visitors also. Such a great way to finish up our time together.

Sunday night was also the last night Woods Restaurant was open this year, and thank goodness we’d made reservations! The place was packed with locals and a few island visitors also. Such a great way to finish up our time together.

Too soon it was Monday morning.  We drove them to Pellston to pick up a rental car, which they drove to Detroit to catch an afternoon flight.  We had such a great time with these three!  It was a little colder than expected, and that ride out to Woods Restaurant on Sunday evening on the taxi was pretty chilly.  But we wrapped up in the blankets the taxis carry, and Jason told Alex ghost stories all the way back in the dark . . . . ’cause that’s just what you do on a cold, dark night on a taxi in the woods on Mackinac Island.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we’ll be leaving on the first ferry out Saturday morning. Before then – probably Friday night – I’ll get out one more blog post to wrap up our time here this year.  It’s gone by way too fast – as always!

God bless.

A FEW MORE PICS

Alex among the pumpkins on the steps of The Cottage Inn on Market Street.

Alex among the pumpkins on the steps of The Cottage Inn on Market Street.

Gorgeous sunset over the big barn by neighbor and friend Eugenia Murray.

Gorgeous sunset over the big barn by neighbor and friend Eugenia Murray.

View from the Jewel Golf Course.

View across  the Jewel Golf Course at dusk.

That moment when Ben handed Alex the reins and let him "drive" for 2.5 seconds.

That moment when Ben handed Alex the reins and let him “drive” for 2.5 seconds.  Alex’s favorite part of the tour though was when he spotted a huge flock of geese on the open space of grass across the road behind the fort, and Ben drove the horses off the road and straight through them – sending them honking and flying!  Hmmm . . . I think that was my favorite part too!

 

 

Another Week is Gone 9/25/16

Another great week has come and gone, leaving us only three more weeks on Mackinac.  I just can’t believe we’ve been here over two months, but I can tell from all those “X’s” marked on the calendar that our days here are dwindling rapidly down.

No big story to tell today, so I’m just going to post photos I’ve been saving up this week.  With cooler weather arriving a few days ago, I’ve been throwing on jeans and long-sleeved tops – and occasionally another layer like a vest or sweater – and just going wherever a road takes me.  Fall is absolutely my favorite season on Mackinac!

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Visitors to the island this week saw more motorized vehicles on the street than they’ve probably ever seen before, regardless of how many years they’ve been coming. Main Street is being repaved from the boardwalk to the water treatment plant beyond Mission Point.  This work really needs to be done, and completing the project before the snow flies meant starting just after Labor Day.  Vehicles are not something any of us want to see, but the work neeeds to be done, and the project will mean a much nicer Main Street next season!

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While the paving is going on, all the street corners are being converted to handicap-accessible.  That work is already completed (after this photo was taken), and the corners look awesome.  (This photo and one above by Jill Sawatzki.)

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Jill also ran across the Michigan State Tennis Team one day up at Turtle Park.  They were enjoying a game of disc golf!

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Walking to the condo at dusk – just after the streetlights came on.  Can you tell how quiet the island is becoming now that Labor Day has passed?  Still busy downtown during the day, but after the 6:00 ferries leave, you know Fall is upon us, and the huge crowds won’t return until next spring.

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I have to introduce you to Susan and Keith Miller.  They arrived on Mackinac on Monday, the afternoon of the blog dinner.  They didn’t know if they’d get to the island in time to eat with us (their home is in Phoenix, Arizona), so they didn’t RSVP the invitation to dinner.  They DID arrive in time and were in the Chippewa lobby when that group photo was taken – but they didn’t want to interrupt since they hadn’t made a reservation.  Jill discovered all this and talked to them later in the bookstore. Susan has been a blog reader for many years, and I’m so sorry I missed meeting them!  Next year, Susan and Keith!

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Yvonne and Tony stopped to talk to the Greens, Jill, the DaVanons, and me as we sat and rocked on the porch at the Lake View Hotel on Tuesday.  Later we  all walked down and saw them off on the ferry.

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Lowell wanted to walk up to Grand Hotel’s shade garden, so we headed that way.  We’d stop and rest occasionally, like here at the corner of Cadotte and Market . . .

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. . . and here, after we’d made it to the shade garden.  That beautiful cane Lowell is holding was a gift from Hilde and Bud.  Lowell loved it and used it the rest of his time on the island.  I have a feeling he’s using it at home too!

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Sweet Hilde and Bud in the shade garden.

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Another late afternoon walk home past Grand Hotel.

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We were up early Wednesday morning to see Lowell and Faye off on the 8:00 ferry . .

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. . . . always sad to see friends go home.

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Hilde, Bud,Ted and I rewarded ourselves for getting up early by stopping by the Chuckwagon for breakfast.  Love sitting at the counter and watching Donny work his magic on the grill!

On Friday morning we were up and off to town again . . .

On Friday morning we were up and off to town again . . .

. . . to see off Pam and Denise (with the bikes) and Kem and Ed (in the blue jackets). They left on the 11:00 Arnold ferry.

. . . to see off Pam and Denise (with the bikes) and Kem and Ed (in the blue jackets). They left on the 11:00 Arnold ferry.

Going back home up Fort Hill, I stopped to watch groceries going by conveyer belt from a dray into the supply room of Doud's Market.

Going back home up Fort Hill, I stopped to watch groceries going by conveyer belt from a dray into the supply room of Doud’s Market.

At Trinity Church, I took the path toward Turkey Hill. The fenced road above me is Fort Hill and the blockhouse against a beautiful Michigan blue sky.

At Trinity Church, I took the path toward Turkey Hill. The fenced road above me is Fort Hill and a Fort Mackinac blockhouse against a beautiful Michigan blue sky.

There were several apple trees along Turkey Hill (Spring Street) - all full of ripe fruit!

There were several apple trees along Turkey Hill (Spring Street) – all full of ripe fruit!

View across the Jewel Golf Course from the top of Turkey Hill.

View across the Jewel Golf Course from the top of Turkey Hill.

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Almost to the condo, I spotted a little tinge of rust in a few trees near the road.

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On Friday afternoon we walked up to the cemeteries, looking for fall color.  We didn’t find that much . . . .

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. . . but we sure enjoyed walking the trails – like this one leading from the cemetery to Turtle Park . . .

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. . . and this one from Turtle Park to the Surrey Hill Carriage Museum (more visions of Bear).

 

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How have I missed this giant butterfly created with colored rocks around two trees at the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly House at Surrey Hill?!

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Walking through Grand Hotel’s stable late in the afternoon, we came across two buses, parked for the night and ready to go as soon as the sun comes up the next day.  There’s even a top hat resting on the bus lantern.

As I end this post, I turn for a moment to look out the kitchen window.  Two Hackneys are standing in the corral, and I rise and tap on the window.  They both look up at me . . . .

. . . and as much as I feel myself beginning to prepare to leave in three weeks, I know part of my heart will stay here on Mackinac.

. . . and I know – as much as I feel myself beginning to prepare to leave for home in three weeks, and as much as I’ve missed our beautiful Florida home and wonderful friends, and as much as I know I can’t wait to pick up my Bodie-boy – I also know part of my heart will be staying here on Mackinac.

God bless.

Happy 4th of July! 7/3/16

Hi Everyone!

Here in Beverly Beach we’ve been enjoying a week of hot days, afternoon thunderstorms (normal summer weather in Florida) . . . .

. . . and amazing sunsets. When they named our little neighborhood Sunset Inlet, they sure knew what they were doing, didn't they? (Photo: Neighbor Monika O'Connor)

. . . and amazing sunsets. When they named our little neighborhood Sunset Inlet, they sure knew what they were doing, didn’t they? (Photo: Neighbor Monika O’Connor)

On Mackinac Island, this Sunday afternoon before the 4th was busy with visitors by the thousands. . . .

. . . and every one of them arrived on one of these ferry lines -

. . . and every one of them arrived on one of these ferry lines – Shepler, Star, or Arnold!  This photo from Tom Chambers shows some of the action today as ferries came to the island and departed to Mackinaw City and St. Ignace.

Blog readers (and friends from Georgia) Dr. Karen Castleberry and her husband Raymond, were on Mackinac a few days recently and shared the next photos.

Blog readers (and friends from Georgia) Dr. Karen Castleberry and her husband Raymond were on Mackinac for a few days recently and shared this and the next four photos.

Beautiful clouds over Fort Holmes.

Wispy cloud strands over Fort Holmes.

Wildflowers on a shoreline beach.

Wildflowers on a shoreline beach.

A wonderful and delicious presentation at the new Sushi Grand.

A wonderful and delicious presentation at the new Sushi Grand.

An illuminated American flag on the West Bluff.

An illuminated American flag on the West Bluff. Thanks, Karen and Raymond, for sharing your memories!

One of my favorite times of the summer on Mackinac is right now - when the woods are a blanket of yellow. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

One of my favorite times of the summer on Mackinac is right now – when Mother Nature rolls out her yellow carpet.  (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Josh Carney (dock porter extraordinaire) captured Mackinac at night with this and the next two photos.

Josh Carney (dock porter extraordinaire) captured Mackinac at night with this and the next two photos.  I don’t even want to imagine how early this was in the morning for him to have found the streets empty!

Fort Mackinac

Fort Mackinac and Father Marquette – with floodlights.

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A path usually  teeming with visitors waiting to board carriage rides.  Thank you, Josh, for these three photos showing “life after everything closes” on Mackinac.

British Landing on an early, sunny morning - as seen by Alyssa Henes from her taxi. We've known Alyssa for years and years.

British Landing on an early, sunny morning – as seen by Alyssa Henes from her taxi. We’ve known Alyssa for years and years.

It might have been on that same early morning that Clark Bloswick and his faithful dog were creating long shadows at Fort Holmes.

It might have been on that same early morning that Clark Bloswick and his faithful dog were creating long shadows at Fort Holmes.

Island resident Larry Rickley made an amazing discovery in the woods last week and called Clark Bloswick to hurry over for a photograph. There are about seven deer on the island now, and this is the newest one!

Island resident Larry Rickley made an amazing discovery in the woods last week and called Clark Bloswick to hurry over for a photograph. There are about seven deer on the island now, and this is the newest one!

A gorgeous sunset from Captain Pat Springate off the back of a Shepler ferry.

A gorgeous sunrise from Captain Pat Springate off the back of a Shepler ferry.

Friend Sandi Steensma took this photo of the Straits from near her home in downtown Mackinac.

Friend Sandi Steensma took this photo of the Straits from near her home in downtown Mackinac.  Looks like a painting doesn’t it?

One more from Sandi. The crystal clear blue waters of Lake Huron, framed by Arch Rock. The brightly colored kayaks just pop against that water!

One more from Sandi. The crystal clear blue waters of Lake Huron, framed by Arch Rock. Love the brightly colored kayaks against that water!

We’re counting down the days until we head to Mackinac (10-11 more days, depending on when we leave).  I’m going to take a little break from the computer until just before we head north, so I’ll be back around July 12 or 13 (after our bags are packed, but before we hit the road).  Lots to do between now and then as we’ll be preparing the house to leave it during hurricane season – more on that later. I can’t wait until we’re on the island, and I’m sharing personal photographs and stories with all of you during our three-month stay.

See you in about 10 days! Have a great and safe 4th of July holiday!!

See you in about 10 days! Have a great and safe 4th of July holiday!!

God bless.

Spring Showers, Horses Returning . . . and More Readers! 4/24/16

After everything that was going on with Bear this week keeping my anxiety level at a peak, I needed a few even-keeled days.  And thank the good Lord, He provided them.  Friday and the weekend have been lazy days in Sunset Inlet, and what activities there have been are those calm, satisfying ones that require little more than showing up . . . or just sitting and watching the weather.

We've had a couple of days of threatening rain . . .

We had a couple of days of threatening skies . . .

. . . and then on Friday the skies opened . . .

. . . and then on Friday the skies opened . . .

. . . and we got quite a few hours of hard rain with a little thunder and lightning mixed in.

. . . and we got a few hours of hard rain, with a little thunder and lightning mixed in.

After all that life-nourishing water, the sun came out, and all my plants turned that awesome "spring-time green" and added more bright flowers. So I went to the nursery and bought some more!

After all that life-nourishing water, the sun came out, my plants turned an awesome “spring-time green”, and more bright flowers bloomed.   So –  I went to the nursery and bought some more!

Ted and I went to out favorite outdoor furniture store last week to replace some chairs on the top deck that couldn't withstand all the wind and salt we get pounded with here. While there, I spotted this outdoor lamp and loved the way it looked. It's now on the second floor deck, and . . .

Ted and I went to our favorite outdoor furniture store last week to replace some chairs on the top deck.  It’s hard to find things that can withstand all the wind and salt we get pounded with here. While there, I spotted this outdoor lamp and loved the way it looked. It’s now on the second floor deck, and . . .

. . . I can sit outside at night and read while I listen to waves crashing across the street behind me. Since our next door neighbor Lisa took this photo I've toned down the brightness of the bulbs in the lamp. That first night they were on I had a helicopter stop and hover at the entrance to our inlet, and I thought, "Oh no, the light is so bright he thinks it's the airport!" It was so funny how he just hung there for a few moment like he was trying to figure out where all the illumination was coming from.

. . . I can sit outside at night and read while I listen to waves crashing across the street behind me. Since our next door neighbor Lisa took this photo from HER deck, I’ve toned down the brightness of the bulbs in the lamp. That first night they were on I had a helicopter stop and hover at the entrance to our inlet, and I thought, “Oh no, the light is so bright he thinks it’s the airport!” It was so funny how he just hung there for a few moments like he was trying to figure out where all the illumination was coming from!

We had our first official meeting of the Sunset Inlet Book Club this past week. We had read Kate Morton's newest book, The Lake House. Fun discussion, yummy food and good wine (and Mimosas)!

We had our first official meeting of the Sunset Inlet Book Club this past week. We had read Kate Morton’s newest book, The Lake House. Fun discussion, yummy food and good wine (and Mimosas)!  Love these ladies – Jennifer, Sue, Angelique . . .

. . . and Lisa, our hostess with the moistest! We're hoping to add ladies each month. Our next book is Kimberly McCreight's Where They Found Her.

. . . and Lisa, our hostess with the mostest! We’re hoping to add more ladies each month. Our next book is Kimberly McCreight’s Where They Found Her.

MACKINAC MOMENTS

The snow is gone, and the island activity is increasing with each passing spring day. And - when there's more island work to be done - that means more horses are needed. There have been a steady stream of horses arriving on the ferry. They're all fat and rested up from a winter on the Pickford farms . . . ready to

The snow is gone, and island activity is increasing with each passing spring day. And – when there’s more island work to be done – that means a bigger workforce is needed. Horses have been arriving on the ferry in a steady stream, and they’re all fat and rested up from a winter on the Pickford farms.  Let the season begin! (Photo: Bobby Lee)

You just never know what you might find on a freight ferry - like this one carrying a police car and . . . a pool table! (Photo: Tom Chambers)

You just never know what you might find on a freight ferry – like this one carrying a police car and . . . a pool table! (Photo: Tom Chambers)

A photo from this morning by Clark Bloswick. This is the first time this spring I've seen all three ferry companies represented in the harbor - Arnold, Shepler, and Star.

A photo from this morning by Clark Bloswick. This is the first time this spring I’ve seen all three ferry companies represented in the harbor – Arnold, Shepler, and Star.

Horses in the fog up near the Grand Stables. (Photo: Joseph Herscher)

Love this photo of horses in the fog up near the Grand Stables. (Photo: Joseph Herscher)

One of my favorite artists, watercolorist Mary Lou Peters, made her first visit to Mackinac this weekend to drop off a supply of her notecards to Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island and Mackinac Island Artists Market. Love this sweet and colorful turtle card!

One of my favorite artists, watercolorist Mary Lou Peters, made her first visit to Mackinac this weekend to drop off a supply of her notecards to Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island and Mackinac Island Artists Market. Love this sweet and colorful turtle card!

INTRODUCING . . . YOU!  PART V

Yeah!! Nine more readers to introduce . . .

Meet Chris and John Roddy from Hudson OH. This great couple has vacationed in their UP cottage for the last 45 years, and Chris discovered the blog on Google four years ago.

Meet Chris and John Roddy from Hudson OH. This great couple has vacationed in their UP cottage for the last 45 years, and Chris discovered the blog on Google four years ago.

This sweet couple is Rebecca and Jon Jacobs from Three Rivers MI. Rebecca has been visiting the island since she was three, and when she was four years old she was at the island school when they were filming the "gazebo scene" in Somewhere in Time. She introduced Jon to Mackinac on their first anniversary when they stayed at The Island House. They try to visit at least once a year. This photo is from last July when they were fortunate enough to get to go to the top of the Mackinac Bridge! Still on my bucket list!

This sweet couple is Rebecca and Jon Jacobs from Three Rivers MI. Rebecca has been visiting the island since she was three, and when she was four years old she was at the island school when they were filming the “gazebo scene” from Somewhere in Time. She introduced Jon to Mackinac on their first anniversary when they stayed at The Island House. They try to visit at least once a year. This photo is from last July when they were fortunate enough to get to go to the top of the Mackinac Bridge! Still on my bucket list!

This lovely couple is Paula and David DeWald who spent a weekend in January, 2011 at the Cottage Inn in memory of their daughter Rachel. After that weekend she subscribed to the Town Crier, found the blog on Google, and went back and read each one.Paul and David live in Fort Wayne IN and try to visit Mackinac two or three times a year. Sometimes they fly their plane to the island and "troll our luggage behind us walking into town for exercise. We love the island so much we walk around it two times each day we are there." Paula tells everyone that the best thing about the island is the people. Isn't that the truth!?

This lovely couple is Paula and David DeWald who spent a weekend in January, 2011 at the Cottage Inn in memory of their daughter Rachel. After that weekend Paula subscribed to the Town Crier, found the blog on Google, and went back and read each one. Paula and David live in Fort Wayne IN and try to visit Mackinac two or three times a year. Sometimes they fly their plane to the island and “troll our luggage behind us walking into town for exercise. We love the island so much we walk around it two times each day we are there.” Paula tells everyone the best thing about the island is the people. Isn’t that the truth!?

This dear lady is Rosalyn Forsyth, and she and I go WAY back. Rosalyn was my high school cheerleading sponsor and how she kept up with all of us remains a real mystery. In later years she taught at Albany Middle School where Ted was principal. Rosalyn just discovered the blog last year, and I've so enjoyed catching up with her through Facebook and her comments

This dear lady is Rosalyn Forsyth, and she and I go WAY back. Rosalyn was my high school cheerleading sponsor and how she kept up with all of us teenage girls remains a real mystery. In later years she taught at Albany Middle School where Ted was principal. Rosalyn just discovered the blog last year, and I’ve so enjoyed reconnecting with her through Facebook and her comments.  Rosalyn lives in Albany GA.

This cute couple is Kendra and Michael Kain, daughter Rylee and Rylee's friend Kylie. They're all from Wilson NC. Kendra found the blog when she was doing research for their Mackinac wedding in 2012. Since they moved to NC they haven't had a chance to return to the island, but she remembers fondly visiting every year when she was a child.

Meet Kendra and Michael Kain, daughter Rylee, and Rylee’s friend Kylie. They’re all from Wilson NC. Kendra found the blog when she was doing research for their Mackinac wedding in 2012. Since they moved to NC they haven’t had a chance to return to the island, but she fondly remembers visiting every year when she was a child.

Meet Frances Mountjoy, who is Darcy Cole's mom (Darcy was featured in an earlier "Introducing YOU" blog post. Frances lives in Clinton Twp MI. She can remember riding the mail boat to the island (she thinks it was called the Buddy L), and she used to swim free in Grand Hotel's pool! This

Meet Frances Mountjoy, who is Darcy Cole’s mom (Darcy was featured in an earlier “Introducing YOU” blog post, and Darcy introduced her mom to Bree’s Blog). Frances lives in Clinton Twp MI. She can remember riding the mail boat to the island (she thinks it was called the Buddy L), and she used to swim free in Grand Hotel’s pool! Darcy took this photo of her mom on Market Street a few years ago, near The Lilac House.

Meet Eileen (aka Gibby) and Bernie from Okemos MI. This couple shares a cottage on Hammond Bay with her two sisters and their families. The cottage originally belonged to the girls' grandparents, who passed their love of the UP down to their children and grandchildren. And now that is what Gibby and Bernie are doing with their granddaughter Aria.

Meet Eileen (aka Gibby) and Bernie from Okemos MI. This couple shares a cottage on Hammond Bay with her two sisters and their families. The cottage originally belonged to the girls’ parents, who passed their love of “up north” on to their children. And now that is what Gibby and Bernie are doing with their granddaughter Ava.  Gibby has been reading Bree’s Blog for quite a few years and goes to the island 2-3 times each summer.  Their daughter Meagan was married at Stonecliffe Inn in 2014.  Gibby has “many wonderful memories of Mackinac!”

Meet Sue and her father Pat from Saginaw MI (Pat is celebrating his 86th birthday in this photo, taken last week). Sue's parents took her to the island many times as a child and now they take their children. Sue shared this great story from her childhood: "Dad had me in a big wire basket on the front handlebar of a bike when I was 4. We were on one of the steep, curvy roads (probably Turkey Hill), flying down it, with my mother falling way behind. But we could hear her - screaming for my father to Stop! Slow Down! You're going to dump Susis on the road! Me? I was screaming for joy, loving it, saying Daddy, faster!" Sue found the blog about 4 years ago researching for a Mackinac trip.

Meet Sue and her father Pat from Saginaw MI (Pat is celebrating his 86th birthday in this photo, taken last week). Sue’s parents took her to the island many times as a child, and now they take their children. Sue shared this great story from her childhood: “Dad had me in a big wire basket on the front handlebar of a bike when I was 4. We were on one of the steep, curvy roads (probably Turkey Hill), flying down it, with my mother falling way behind. But we could hear her – screaming for my father to Stop! Slow Down! You’re going to dump Susie on the road! Me? I was screaming for joy, loving it, saying Daddy, faster!” Sue found the blog about 4 years ago researching for a Mackinac trip.

Meet Pam Bond from outside Cincinnati OH. She found the blog in 2010 on an Internet search. Pam and her late husband Ernie discovered Mackinac for the first time in 1983, about four years after they married. Pam says she was "smitten" They round around the island on a bike made for two, saw Round Island light for the first time (she loves lighthouses), and discovered another love - Silver Birches. After that year they came as often as possible, usually bringing their own bikes. It was in 1990, while on an island picnic that she first heard the hauntingly beautiful theme song to Somewhere in Time, a song that captured her heart even though she had never seen the movie. They got back to the island several times after that. She lost Ernie in 2015 after 35 years of marriage. Pam wrote me the dearest letter which I won't share because it is very personal. But allow me to say her words touched my heart in the way that few ever have. Thank you Pam, for sharing the story of You and Ernie and Mackinac. I hope you return one day soon to the island you love so much.

Meet Pam Bond from outside Cincinnati OH. She found the blog in 2010 on an Internet search. Pam and her late husband Ernie discovered Mackinac for the first time in 1983, about four years after they married. Pam says she was “smitten” They rode around the island on a bike made for two, saw Round Island light for the first time (she loves lighthouses), and discovered another love – Silver Birches. After that year they came as often as possible, usually bringing their own bikes. It was in 1990, while on an island picnic that she first heard the hauntingly beautiful theme song to Somewhere in Time, a song that captured her heart, even though she had never seen the movie. They got back to the island several times after that. She lost Ernie in 2015 after 35 years of marriage. Pam wrote me the dearest letter which I won’t share, but allow me to say her words touched my heart in the way that few ever have. Thank you Pam, for sharing the story of you and Ernie and Mackinac. I hope you return one day soon to the island you love so much.

Please continue to send in your photo (as an attachment), where you live, how long you’ve been a blog reader, and how you found out about Bree’s Blog to: brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com.

Bear is doing fine.  I stopped his pain meds today (they were just for a couple of days for the soreness of his incision), and he’s back to his old, unmedicated self – running, playing, eating, and begging for treats.  Hoping this week brings the good news we are praying for about his biopsy.  Thank you all so much for your continued prayers.

God bless.

Quiet 10/29/2013

Hi Everyone!

Just a quick note to say we aren’t leaving Wednesday as planned.  We closed on the condo today at noon, so we’re officially “homeless on Mackinac.”  We’ve been too busy today to get all our cleaning done, and now we plan to leave on the 8 a.m. ferry on Thursday morning. 

Ted and I hurried down the hill this morning to see Jill off on the 11:00 ferry.  Ted had seven more shipping boxes precariously balanced on his hand cart, but he managed to get down the hill with only one spill - and it was a minor one.

Ted and I hurried down the hill this morning to see Jill off on the 11:00 ferry. Ted had seven more shipping boxes precariously balanced on his hand cart, but he managed to get down to town with only one spill – and it was a minor one.  Grand Hotel employees were still leaving in large numbers, but Jill made it on board with no trouble.  She texted me a little after 4:00 to let me know she’d made it home to Lansing safely.

Mary Stancik was on the dock seeing someone off also.  I think we'll be leaving on the same boat Thursday morning.

Mary Stancik was on the dock seeing someone off also. I think we’ll be leaving on the same boat Thursday morning.

After we closed, we ate lunch at the Seabiscuit, then started back to the condo to start our second day of cleaning.  I think the Seabiscuit, the Village Inn (which will be closed the month of November), and the Mustang are the only restaurants open now.

After we closed on the condo, we ate lunch at the Seabiscuit.  Ted stayed downtown to run some errands, and I started back to the condo to begin the second day of cleaning. I think the Seabiscuit (which is closing soon), Cawthone’s Village Inn (which will be closed the month of November), and the Mustang are the only restaurants open now.  Hoban Street was very quiet . . .

. . . and so was Cadotte

. . . and so was Cadotte.  From Market Street all the way to the Grand, I was the only person on the street.

When I reached the Grand and turned around to look back toward town

When I reached the top of Grand Hill and turned around to look back toward town, the only other person was a lady pushing a cart filled with white bags. 

This is an entirely different Mackinac Island than most are used to seeing.  There were a few tourists in the Seabiscuit, but many more locals.  Awnings are being removed, shop windows covered, and painting has begun on several businesses.  All the outside maintenance has to be done before the snow begins.

As I walked up the hill, the silence was like slipping alone into a great cathedral.  As much as I love Mackinac in the summer – with bikes whizzing by, people laughing and talking, and taxi and dray and carriage horses clip-clopping up and down the streets – I may love this great quietness, surrounded by so much beauty, even more. 

These last few days have been spent exploring all kinds of options, but nothing has been decided except we don’t think we’re ready to only have Mackinac in our lives for one or two months.  We need to go home to think and pray it all through again.  And wait for God’s answer.

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A Little Night Life and a Lot of Romance 7/21/2013

It’s been a relatively quiet weekend for the Hortons.

The Bayview to Mackinac Race began Saturday, and with winds much more favorable than for the Chicago to Mackinac race last week, five boats have already crossed the finish line.  ll Mostro came in first, second was Wind Quest, and third was Equation.  I’ll try to get a pic or two Monday after I leave the Stuart House.

Friday evening Ted and I met Denise and Mike (from Carriage Tours) for dinner over at the Key Hole Bar and Grill in Mackinaw City.  We’d been hearing about their “all you can eat” perch and ribs special, and we all wanted to check it out.  We had almost a 30-minute wait, but it was worth it!  Ted went through a plate of ribs and THREE plates of perch.  The rest of us just had the “normal” plates, and we were still stuffed.  I have no idea where my hubbie puts all that food!

It's been a while since we've been on the water at night.  We caught the 9:30 Shepler back to the Island.

It’s been a while since we’ve been on the water at night. We caught the 9:30 ferry back to the Island.  As you can see, there was still a little light left in the evening sky.

The Round Island Lighthouse is even more beautiful at night than during the day.

The Round Island Lighthouse is even more beautiful at night than during the day.

It was so quiet as we coasted past the breakwater

It was so quiet as we coasted past the breakwater  . . .

. . . and pulled up to the Shepler dock.  The Great Lakes cruise Ship, York town, was docked

. . . and pulled up to the Shepler dock. The Great Lakes cruise ship, Yorktown, was visiting the Island this weekend.  The Yorktown accommodates 138 guests in 69 exterior cabins.

We called for a taxi . . .

We called for a taxi . . .

. . . and while we waited, I walked down to JoAnn's Fudge and watched a night worker finish up some peanut brittle.

. . . and while we waited, I walked down to JoAnn’s Fudge and watched a night worker finish up some peanut brittle.

It's always fun riding a taxi at night.  We picked up one or two other folks going to the Village on our way up the hill and arrived home to a happy-to-see-us Maddie and Bear.

It’s always fun riding a taxi at night. We picked up one or two other folks going to the Village on our way up the hill and arrived home to a happy-to-see-us Maddie and Bear.

Occasionally I receive a really great email from a reader, and this is one I want to share – with  Katie’s permission, of course.  It’s a lovely story of one little girl’s childhood wish to be married on Mackinac Island and just proves, once again, that when Mackinac is involved, wishes very often DO come true.

Hi, Brenda!  Hoping this email address works. I saw it on one of your Lowell posts a few weeks ago and have been meaning to write ever since. I wanted to say that I love your blog! I kept coming across it over the past couple of years and just recently subscribed to the email feature which handily puts you directly in my inbox. I love it!

I was born and raised in the gorgeous north woods of Wisconsin and took vacations with my family to the Island when my sister and I were both growing up. One of those times (I must have been around 10 yrs old) we saw a bride and groom at the Grand, and it was just SO magical.  I turned to my mom and said, “I want to get married on Mackinac.”

In 2007 I took my soon-to-be fiance to the Island, and in passing I’d told him that story, along with many others of our awesome vacations in the UP. Of course, he fell in love with the Island too. After we got engaged, that same year, we started planning a fall 2008 wedding in northern Wisconsin in my hometown (the beautiful Minocqua).  Things just weren’t clicking though.

Some time later my fiance said, “You should have your dream wedding in your dream place. Let’s get married on Mackinac!”  I broached the idea to my parents, who were paying for the wedding, and we decided it wouldn’t be TOO much more costly to do just that!  I was overjoyed!!!

My mom and I planned the wedding and were DIY maniacs to help keep the cost down.  All the invitations, save the dates and thank you cards were handmade by us, as well as the favor boxes and the seating cards. My sister is a wonderful potter and made pots for all the tables as the centerpieces (pink geraniums). It was so much fun!!! Our theme was bicycles (of course) and pink and green hues. We even ordered our flowers wholesale and made bouquets and boutonnières the night before the wedding!

Our wedding was May 9th 2009. The ceremony was in the morning up on the cliff at the Somewhere in Time gazebo.  I remember it was snowing that morning before we left the cottage (my mom rented McGreevy Cottage for the whole week). I wanted my wedding outside at that gazebo, and I wasn’t going to move it indoors (Mission Church was our bad weather backup plan) for a little snow. Tough Wisconsinite talking!  😉 Anyhow, the ceremony was just beautiful. I could go on and on…but I won’t!

Then the sun came out, and my husband and I took off in our gorgeous wedding carriage to take photos!  There were people waving and yelling out their congratulations along the way, and we really felt like royalty!  It made me think of that day long ago when I’d seen that bride and groom on the Island…and it made me hope that some little girl saw us and thought the same thing I had. Mackinac Magic.

Our reception followed in the Lakeview Hotel. Our guests had an incredible time, and we got to have the wedding of our dreams. It truly was amazing.

We were living in Maryland when we went back for our 1st anniversary, again to run the Great Turtle half marathon in October 2010, and again last summer during the Lilac Fest while I was pregnant. We recently moved to Texas (to hopefully start a vineyard) and aren’t sure when we’ll be able to make it up again. So I’ve been slowly going through your blog posts from the beginning and am really enjoying them. It makes me feel like I’m there again.  Wanted to send you my Mackinac story since I feel like I know you from your posts. It seemed only fair that you know a bit of me too! I think Lucy (our 6yr old, 75lb Plott Hound/Lab mix) has a crush on Bear…

I attached a couple pictures for you to see! Kathryn B. Holt did the photos for us. Armand (Smi) Horn performed the ceremony.  Arrowhead Carriages was our carriage company.  It was just incredible.  Also attached a photo of Lucy last summer on Mackinac.

So, finally, it’s nice to ‘meet’ you! At least online! Keep up the wonderful work!

Katie, TX

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Thank you, Katie, for allowing me to share your story.  I know my readers are all going, “Awwww . . . . .

The heat wave is over.  We had a high of 69 today, and we have 70’s forecast for the coming week.  AWESOME weather!

We have friends from Georgia coming this week – one couple Thursday-Saturday and another Sunday-Tuesday.  So excited to see folks from home!

I’ll be back in a few days with a Mackinac update.  Y’all have a super week!  God bless.

Lowell & Faye’s Amazing Trip to Mackinac Island – Part II 6/27/2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Faye and I walked east past Marquette Park, the marina, and the Manoogian Art Museum, which used to be the Mackinac Island Indian Dormitory until it became the Mackinac Island Public School for nearly a hundred years.  We continued walking  past the Bay View Inn, the Island House Hotel, originally built in 1852 with the east wing added in 1895 and the west wing added in 1912, Ste. Anne’s Church, the Old Mission Church and many residences.  As we walked along, I noticed a mourning dove sitting on a picket fence, no more than three feet from me.  Apparently, the bird was welcoming us to the Island because it looked at us but never left the fence.  Faye took a picture and we continued our walk.

When we arrived back at the Chippewa, Brenda & Ted, Jill, Lora and Sarah were already there.  It was only a short time until the Town Crier reporter, Stephanie Fortino, walked in and the surprises for the day really began.  Stephanie started the interview right there in the lobby.  After a short time, Brenda said the taxi was ready.  The “taxi” had turned into a beautiful carriage from the Grand Hotel, pulled by a team of the most beautiful high-stepping Hackney Horses and with Ben Mosely, Grand Hotel Stable Manager, as the driver.  He later informed me that Hackneys are born with that high-stepping gait.

Brenda, Lowell and Stephanie.  Stephanie spent several hours with us as we were touring the island.  She was interviewing Lowell for the Mackinac Island Town Crier.

Brenda, Lowell and Stephanie. Stephanie spent several hours with us as we were touring the island. She was interviewing Lowell for the Mackinac Island Town Crier.

Ted riding shotgun with Ben as Brenda gets their picture.  Stephanie the Town Crier reporter is at the left.

Ted riding shotgun with Ben as Brenda gets their picture. Stephanie, the Town Crier reporter, is at the left.

Ted rode shotgun with Ben, and Brenda, Stephanie, Faye & I climbed into the carriage.  Jill, Lora and Sarah left to ride bicycles out to Arch Rock and we were off down the street just as though we were celebrities.  We went through town and up Cadotte Avenue to the Grand, but instead of going on by the east end, as we had done the day before, Ben drove in front to the West Bluff with its very impressive Victorian summer cottages, which are actually mansions from that time period.  Continuing on, he drove us through Hubbard’s Annex, which is more wooded and with homes that are more modest, but not much less impressive.  I had never been in the Annex before.

In the Grand Hotel Carriage riding through the Annex.  The Hackney Horses were beautiful.  Is it all right to say horses are beautiful?

In the Grand Hotel Carriage riding through the Annex. The Hackney Horses were beautiful. Is it all right to say horses are beautiful?

From there we went on through the woods to the cemeteries, where Ben turned left to go up to Fort Holmes.  As we arrived, those who were already there stopped looking at the gorgeous scenic views and turned their attention to the beautiful carriage and horses, with the elegantly dressed driver.  I hope Fort Holmes will be restored in the future.  There isn’t much left except the berm, which used to be covered with timbers, and the entryway to the fort.  Was it from the fort that we looked down on Sugar Loaf Rock?  I don’t remember, but I know we did it.

A good picture of our driver, Ben Mosley, and the Grand Hotel Hackney Horses.

A good picture of our driver, Ben Mosley, and the Grand Hotel Hackney Horses.

After about a half hour at Fort Holmes, we rode the short distance to Point Lookout, and it certainly is a lookout.  The views cannot be described.  I just know they were awesome.  Of course, that’s true all over the Island. (Note from Brenda:  Lowell, Sugar Loaf was viewed from Point Lookout.)

Then it was on to Arch Rock, where Jill, Lora and Sarah met us and Stephanie continued the interview.  Actually, the interview never really stopped during the whole carriage trip.  The metal viewing platform that was new in the 1950’s is still there and looks as strong as ever.  I showed the others where I thought the little Curio Shop had been located where I worked so long ago.  I’m sure I was about right.

At Arch Rock and looking at the area where the Arch Rock Curio Shop used to be when Lowell worked there.

At Arch Rock and looking at the area where the Arch Rock Curio Shop used to be when Lowell worked there.

After more pictures and a lot of talk, at least on my part, it was time to start the last leg of our wonderful carriage ride.  Jill, Lora and Sarah rode their bicycles, promising to meet us at the Grand Hotel.  On the way we went by the back of Fort Mackinac, the summer residence for Michigan’s governor and the Horton’s condo.  (It always seemed odd to me that for so many years there was no Governor’s mansion in Lansing, the capital city, but there was a summer residence on the Island.)

When we arrived at the front steps of the Grand Hotel, it was time to leave the carriage.  Thank you Ben, Brenda & Ted for one of the great treats of life for Faye and me.  By the way, Magic Jill was at the Grand to meet us and take pictures.

Then it was up the steps and into the hotel, where we, including Jill, had lunch and a very good lunch it was.  Of course, I guess my review of the lunch doesn’t mean much.  I once complimented Faye on something she had made. He answer was, “That’s no compliment. you’ll eat anything.”  Well, I do like to eat.

Stephanie and Jill when we had lunch at the Grand Hotel.

Stephanie and Jill when we had lunch at the Grand Hotel.

Inside the Grand Hotel.

Inside the Grand Hotel.

After lunch, Lora and Sarah, who had lunch in the Tea Room at Fort Mackinac, joined us and we went up to the Grand Hotel Cupola.  Once again, we could see the beautiful (I wish there were more synonyms for beautiful) views of the island, the water and Mackinac Bridge.  Then we went down to Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor and Lora treated all of us.  Thank you, Lora.  I don’t remember what the others had, but I had Raspberry and yes, it was very good.  I’ll give it a 10 for Brenda.

Sarah Elizabeth and Lora in the Grand Hotel Cupola.

Sarah Elizabeth and Lora in the Grand Hotel Cupola.

After the ice cream treat, Ted went to the condo to check on Bear and Maddie.  Jill, Lora and Sarah returned downtown on their bicycles and Brenda took Stephanie, Faye & me in an actual taxi back to the Chippewa.  If I remember correctly, that was when Stephanie left us to go to St. Ignace.  Brenda sent us to our room and she went home. (Note from Brenda:  Hmmmm.  I can’t seem to remember “sending Lowell and Faye to their rooms”, but if Lowell says I did, it must be true!)

Wednesday, June 5,2013

Once again we were up early.  We had our coffee, ate our breakfast and packed everything in preparation for going home.  About 8:30 we walked down Main Street to the Windermere Hotel where we had a nice visit with Margaret Doud.  As I’m sure most of you who read Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog will know, Margaret Doud has been the mayor of Mackinac Island for the past 31 years.  She and her mother, Jeannette, are the owners of the Windermere Hotel.  It was Jeannette’s mother, Ella Chambers, in whose house I lived during the summers of 1954, 55 & 56, and for whom I worked at the Arch Rock Curio Shop during the summers of 1955 & 56.

Mayor Margaret Doud and Lowell.

Mayor Margaret Doud and Lowell.

After our visit and having my picture taken with the mayor, we walked back to the hotel.  On the way we stopped in one of the fudge shops and bought three big slices of fudge.  Isn’t that what everyone does when they visit the Island?  If I remember correctly, Brenda, Ted and Jill were already in the lobby when we arrived.  We brought our luggage down and after checking out, arranging with Josh Carley to take it to Shepler’s Ferry Dock and having my picture taken with Josh and Archie Horn, all of us walked to the dock.  Because we were a little early, we waited on the street out of the wind,  While we were waiting, who should we see coming down the street but Brad Chambers.  Brad lives in the same house I lived in long before he was born.  Of course, it was Brenda who knew him and she introduced us.  That was nice to have a short visit with him.

Lowell with Archie Horn and Josh Carley, dock porters, as we were getting ready to leave the island.

Lowell with Archie Horn and Josh Carley, dock porters, as we were getting ready to leave the island.

When it was time to board the ferry, with our VIP tickets (can you imagine that?) we went to the head of the line and were able to sit in the back of the boat because the water was rather choppy.  Ted left us there, but Brenda and Jill went with us to Mackinaw City.  When we got there, they insisted that Faye & I wait in the warm tent while they took our luggage to the car and brought it to the front for us.  While we were waiting, I heard someone say that’s’ Capt. Shepler over there, so I went over to the ticket booth where he was to thank him and have a short visit with him.  We looked to where Brenda and Jill were and saw that they couldn’t get the trunk open.  (Now, this a secret between you and me.  All they needed to have done was press the little picture of a car with an open trunk that is on the remote, which they had on the key ring.)  Anyway, they decided to put everything in the back seat.  We saw it when Brenda drove up with the car.  At the time, I thought I would transfer everything to the trunk when we stopped later, but I didn’t do that.

After our good-byes , we left Mackinaw City and headed for Cheboygan, fifteen miles southeast along the Lake Huron shore.  On the way, we stopped at the roadside park on the lake where my picnic loving mother once took my brother, sister and me for a very early Good Friday picnic.  It was cold and there were ice floes in the lake, but it was fun.  I took a couple pictures and we continued to Cheboygan, where we drove by a few places that were familiar to me from my teenage years.  Then we drove a few miles south to visit a lady who was a neighbor back then and is now 100 years old.  I really shouldn’t say old because she looked and acted younger than I do.  We visited for about an hour and headed for home.

When we arrived home and were unloading the car, what did we find but another surprise underneath everything in the back seat.  Brenda & Ted had given us two more books, “Wish You Were Here, An Album of Vintage Mackinac Postcards” by Steven C. Brisson and “Above Mackinac” with pictures by Robert Cameron and text by Phil Porter, a book that I had admired at Ted & Brenda’s condo.

The first surprise may have been on Ted & Brenda, but the last surprise certainly was on Faye & me.

A Few Extra Photos

The Grand Hotel horses and omnibus - waiting in front of Shepler's Ferry dock.

The Grand Hotel horses and omnibus – waiting in front of Shepler’s Ferry dock.

Lowell having a cup of coffee as he's sitting on the balcony overlooking the harbor.

Lowell having a cup of coffee as he’s sitting on the balcony overlooking the harbor.

Our Jill.  She, along with Ted and Brenda, made our journey to the island exceptional!

Our Jill. She, along with Ted and Brenda, made our journey to the island exceptional!

Overlooking the city of Mackinac Island with the Straits of Mackinac lighthouses and a freighter in the distance - from Fort Mackinac.

From Fort Mackinac – Overlooking the city of Mackinac Island with the Straits of Mackinac lighthouses and a freighter in the distance.

The big white building is the side of the Chippewa where we sat on our balcony and watched the ferries come in.

The big white building is the Chippewa where we sat on our balcony and watched the ferries come in.

Lowell talking to Captain Bill Shepler, who owns Shepler's Ferry Line.

Lowell talking to Captain Bill Shepler, who owns Shepler’s Ferry Line.

Let me conclude by saying it was such a wonderful trip.  We could not have been treated better by anyone with whom we had any contact on Mackinac Island, especially Brenda & Ted Horton and Jill Sawatzki.  Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35b), so I’m sure everyone who had anything to do with making our trip so memorable has been blessed because I know Faye & I sure were.  I just wish there was some way to thank Brenda for arranging “The Trip of A Lifetime” for Faye and me.

Brenda, you are a gem!  Southern charm, personified, right here in Michigan on our own Mackinac Island!  And yes, Charlie, she truly is amazing!

Note from Brenda:  Those of us who were in on the planning of Lowell & Faye’s trip to Mackinac are truly the ones who were blessed.  Seeing their delight on every street, at every corner, and with each new adventure shared was all the thanks any of us needed.