Lady Liberty Returns to Mackinac Island

On the 12th anniversary of that September day when all our lives changed forever, Mackinac Island’s own Statue of Liberty returned to her home and became part of the Island’s Patriots Day celebration.

The statue was originally donated to the Island in 1950 by the Boy Scouts of America, marking their 40th anniversary, which had the theme “Strengthen the Arm of Liberty”.  Over 200 of the statues were donated to communities in 39 states, but the statue here on Mackinac is the only one given to the State of Michigan.  The statues are about 8 1/2 feet tall – without a pedestal – weigh about 300 pounds, and were made by a company in Chicago.  Our statue’s big sister stands in New York harbor, is more than 305 feet tall from the ground to the top of her torch, and weighs more than 150 tons.

The Statue of Liberty replica on Mackinac Island has been used every fifth year to commemorate the attacks on 9/11/2001, and the Patriot Day services were conducted at that  location in 2006 and 2011.

Mackinac Island’s Statue of Liberty, as she stood near the marina from May 28, 1950, the date of her dedication, until November 28, 2012.

The replica withstood 62 years of harsh northern Michigan winters and was in need of the kind of repair work only a specialist could handle – dents in the copper skin, seams that needed to be ground out or filled in, and spikes on her crown that  needed to be replaced. Masons, excavating crews and landscapers all needed to be involved.

American Legion post 299 on Mackinac Island wanted to refurbish the statue and bring it back to its original form.  Post 299 Commander Paul Wandrie, said, “We are calling our drive to repair and relocate this statue, the ‘Save Our Statue’ or ‘S.O.S.’ Project.”  The City of Mackinac Island also supported the project, the cost of which was estimated at approximately $61,000.


On November 28, 2012, the statue was removed from her pedestal, with Winberg Masonry, Belonga Excavating, Davis Construction and Venus Bronze Works, Inc. involved in the project. 


The statue was shipped to Venus Bronze Works in Detroit for the winter, where she underwent a complete makeover.  

On April 1, 2013 myself and my 2 brothers visited with the Statue of Liberty Replica in Detroit.  Giorgio Gikas, President of Venus Bronze Works was our tour guide around his shop.  Getting to see the statue was the reason why we were there.  This picture shows some of the work done.  Since he is preparing to solder the sections back together he must insure that these sections are perfectly cleaned.  The bottom portion will be attached to a brand new base that will be made of bronze.

On April 1, 2013 Paul Wandrie and his two brothers checked on the Statue of Liberty replica in Detroit. Giorgio Gikas, President of Venus Bronze Works, was their tour guide around his shop.  Wandrie stated, “Since he is preparing to solder the sections back together, he must insure that these sections are perfectly cleaned. The bottom portion will be attached to a brand new base that will be made of bronze.”

When Wandrie was contacted that the statue was finished (the pedestal still remains to be done), it all fell into place that the statue would return to the Island as part of the Patriots Day celebration on September 11, 2013.

Shepler’s Ferry donated the use of their freight boat, the Sacre Bleu, for the trip across the Straits, and boats from Arnold and Star Ferry Lines, the Mackinac Island Fire Department and the Mackinac Island Historic State Parks planned to join the boat parade accompanying the statue on her crossing.  Private boats were also invited to join in.

Paul Wandrie and Chris Shepler both granted me permission to come across on the Sacre Bleu with the statue, and that is how I came to be aboard when Lady Liberty returned to the Island.

Emotions were running just below the surface yesterday and kept threatening to emerge.  I boarded Shepler’s to travel to St. Ignace (where the statue had spent the night in a Shepler warehouse).  The statue’s Honor Guard, made up of Post #299 Commander Paul Wandrie, Mackinac Island Police Officer Ken Hardy, Mackinac Island Fire Fighters Jason Kladiva, Ron Langsworthy, and Jamie Bynoe, and EMT Mark Bielinski, were all aboard the same boat.  As I rode over I was thinking about the events of 9/11/2001 and remembering – as we all do – exactly where I was when I heard that breaking news broadcast when the first plane flew into one of the Twin Towers.  I was sitting at my desk in the Public Information Office of the Dougherty County School System in Albany, GA.  The morning was just beginning, and we had a day packed with assignments, paper work, and visits planned into several schools.  In the incredibly short time it took for a fellow worker to rush in from another office and shout, “Quick, turn on the TV!” (our office had the only TV in our 3-story building, as we were charged with keeping up with emergencies – weather or otherwise), all plans – and our entire world – changed.

When we walked into the St. Ignace warehouse and first saw Mackinac’s Statue of Liberty – refurbished, no dents, all spikes of her crown in place and sparkling clean, I began to feel tears welling up and a throat lump forming.

Yes - compared to her big sister in New York City, she was shorter and weighed less - but she was still the United States symbol of freedom from tyranny and oppression

Compared to her big sister in New York City, she is shorter and weighs less; but she is still the United States’ symbol of freedom from tyranny and oppression, and – even in a warehouse – she carries the dignity and power of what she symbolizes like the great lady she is.

The Honor Guard gently lifted the statue . . .

The Honor Guard gently lifted the statue . . .

. . . and placed her on the flatbed wagon she would rest on during her trip to Mackinac.

. . . and placed her on the flatbed wagon on which she would rest during her trip to Mackinac.


The gentleman on the left is John Eagan.  It was John and his boss, Giorgio Gikas, President of Venus Bronze Works, who did all the meticulous work on Lady Liberty.  The statue was taken apart, dents were removed, and new cooper sheets were applied – followed by new layers of wax and a patina for a glossy finish.  Her old book and stand had been wood on the interior, and it had rotted.  The book and stand are now hollow and covered in copper and wax.  There are copper supports that run through the statue like tree branches for added support.  Eagan said, “The more we worked on it, the more it became a real labor of love.”

The statue was pulled outside . . .

The statue was pulled outside . . .

. . . and loaded onto the Sacre Bleu.

. . . and loaded onto the Sacre Bleu.

One of the firemen laid his helmet next to her

One of the firemen placed his helmet next to Lady Liberty’s face, and it was then the emotions of the massive loss of the 9/11 event coalesced into tears that spilled over.

Chris Shepler piloted us across the Straits as other vessels began to fall into place with the Sacre Bleu.

Chris Shepler piloted us across the Straits as other vessels began to fall into place with the Sacre Bleu.

We were joined by Arnold's Ottawa . . .

We were joined by Arnold’s Chippewa . . . 

. . . the Mackinac Island Historic State Parks landing craft . . .

. . . the Mackinac Island Historic State Parks landing craft, captained by Robert McGreevy, with Myron Johnson as deck hand . . .

. . . and Star Line's new Anna May.

. . . and Star Line’s new Anna May.

As we sailed into the harbor, the Ottawa's fire hoses, manned by St. Ignace firemen, opened up with a huge spray . . .

As we sailed into the harbor, the Chippewa’s fire hoses, manned by St. Ignace Fire Department Lt. Matt Bowlby and Fire Fighter Nate Montie, opened up with a huge spray . . .

. . . joined by the spray from the Mackinac Island fire boat.

. . . joined by the spray from the Mackinac Island Fire boat.

Passengers aboard an outgoing Star Ferry all stood as we passed.

Passengers aboard an outgoing Star Ferry all stood as we passed.

A Color Guard and a large crowd awaited the statue at the dock . . .

A Color Guard and a large crowd awaited the statue at the dock . . .

. . . where Lady Liberty was off-loaded . . .

. . . where Lady Liberty was off-loaded . . .

. . . and began her trip through the streets of Mackinac to the Stuart House Museum.

. . . and began her trip through the streets of Mackinac to the Stuart House Museum.

The Honor Guard gently removed the statue from the flat-bed . . .

The Honor Guard gently removed the statue from the flatbed . . .

. . stood her gleaming and straight back on Mackinac Island, her home since 1950.

. . and stood her gleaming and straight back on Mackinac Island, her home since 1950.

Back home and surrounded by the people of Mackinac Island.

Back home and surrounded by the people of Mackinac Island.

The Patriots Day program was filled with speakers who spoke eloquently and emotionally about the bravery of Americans, not only on 9/11, but during all the wars in which we've fought.  (Click on individual photos to enlarge.)

The Patriots Day program was filled with speakers who spoke eloquently and emotionally about the bravery of Americans, not only on 9/11, but during all the wars in which we’ve fought. (Click on individual photos to enlarge.)

After the program and time for photo opportunities, the statue was carried into the Stuart House . . .

After the program and time for photo opportunities, the statue was carried into the Stuart House Museum . . .

. . . where she will remain until funds have been raised to complete her pedestal.  (Photo: Steven Blair)

. . . where she will remain until funds have been raised to complete her pedestal. (Photo: Steven Blair)

When the remaining funds have been raised, the statue will be centered approximately 100 feet west of where she formerly stood, which will give her a more prominent location.  At this new spot, she will be seen by more people entering the harbor, and she will be more easily seen from the roadway.

 The project to refurbish this replica of a national treasure has in a few short months raised all but approximately $17,500 of the $61,000 needed.  Funds have come in from individual donations by  Island residents, by visitors to the Island, from the State of Michigan, and from across the country.  On September 11, 2013, Paul Wandrie said, “Thank you to everyone that has helped us along the way, and we look forward to receiving the rest of the funds so we can get Lady Liberty back to the marina. “

If you’d be interested in participating in this patriotic cause, donations can be sent to: American Legion Post 299, P.O. Box 1518, Mackinac Island, MI 49757 (checks should be made payable to American Legion Post #299).  Or, if you’re on the Island and would like to donate in person, that can be done at the DPW Office on the 2nd floor of the Community Hall (see Bruce or Ellen).  There is also a Paypal account where donations can be made.  Simply  go to the picture of the statue on the Legion’s Facebook page (, and click on it.  All donations are tax-deductible.

It’s on days like this that the magic of Mackinac can almost physically be seen winding its way along the streets and through the crowds.  The people of Mackinac Island have always been a close-knit, kind and compassionate community.  When something of theirs is in need of repair or replacement, they come together and find a way to make it happen.  So it’s been with the refurbishment of Mackinac Island’s replica of the Statue of Liberty, and so it will continue to be for generations to come.

Stand tall, Lady Liberty.  We look forward to you soon taking up your new post at the entrance to the harbor!

God Bless America!

Races, Rain, Romance, and a Few Random Shots 9/20/2011

I’m going to play “catch up” tonight with some photos I’ve been holding for a while – and a few new ones shot just today.

The 8.2 mile annual run/walk race around the island was a couple of weekends ago – the same weekend the Forresters returned for their fall visit.  With Mike, Jeanine and Siena were Mike’s sister Holly and her husband Travis, and Mike’s cousin Sam and his wife, Leila.  All the Forresters and Ted were registered for the race, so Jill and I watched Siena while they hoofed it around the Island.  Believe me – Jill and I enjoyed our morning a lot more than they did!

The runners - Travis, Holly, Sam and Leila. The walkers - Jeanine, Mike, and Ted

Sam was the fastest in the bunch - so fast, in fact, I didn't catch him crossing the finish line because I wasn't expecting him yet. Next in the group was Travis - in the rusty orange shirt. That's Sam and Siena kneeling in the foreground applauding his finish.

Not far behind Travis was his wife Holly.

Congrats to each other!

About to cross the finish line is Ted, with a very respectable 8.2 mile walking time.

Leila came in right after Ted (you can see little Siena cheering her on).

Awwwww . . . cute!

Siena ran out to finish the race with her mom and dad.

Medals all around - great job!

While all the other grownups were out running and walking their way around the island, Jill and I learned that Siena can climb walls like a little mountain goat.

We always have so much fun when the Forresters are on the Island. After church that Sunday, we all had lunch together on the outside upper deck at the Chippewa. Sam and Leila aren't in this pic because they chose to do a little more Island exploring that morning.

It was a rainy day on the island today.  Since I was working at the Stuart House, I walked over and caught a ride down on one of the Carriage Tour buggies.  Saved myself from getting good and drenched!

I didn't know if we'd get many visitors on a day like today. The rain was pretty steady for the four hours I worked.

The whole day brightened when Dale Gensman dropped by and spent about two hours talking with visitors. Dale recreates all the Island's historical buildings and landmarks for the museum. He was born and raised on the island, and his father helped build Round Island Light. He has now added "author" to his list of accomplishments with his book about Cubbie the Bear. One of the museum visitors bought two copies of the book at the Landing Gull and brought them down for Dale to sign - one for her granddaughter, Leah, and one for Leah's school. In addition to the book, Leah received a teddy bear from Dale's collection, along with a cap and scarf Dale knitted himself for the bear. That was one happy little girl!

Never let it be said that rain dampens romance on Mackinac Island.  Jill rushed into the museum a little while before my shift ended shouting, “Get your camera, get your camera!  There’s a bride and groom coming down the street!”

I rushed to the door in time to catch this radiant couple walking down the rainy street under their umbrella. I don't know if they had just been married or were on the way to their wedding, but they couldn't have cared less about the weather. Steven Blair, an Island wedding photographer, was keeping pace with them, and he was kind enough to ask them to look up to the museum porch so I could snap this photo.

Here’s a few random shots!

Beautiful mum window box at the Lucky Bean Coffee Shop.

Quite a busy day on the Island Saturday . . .

. . . made even busier by a number of Island weddings that day.

The young trees on Cadotte have turned on the color, and the older trees are beginning to turn.

Old Glory against that blue, blue sky. That's the Governor's Summer Residence in the background.

Maddie's favorite place on a cold, rainy day . . . sheets fresh out of the dryer.

Ted is having a group of his guy friends over for dinner Tuesday night, so I’m going to be a bit too busy to write anything for Wednesday.  See you back here Thursday morning!

A Tuesday Full of Showers, Flowers and . . . a Ghost? 8/3/211

Rain threatened all day Tuesday and – according to the Weather Channel – the worst storms were due to move over Mac Island around 2 p.m., just when I would be getting off work at the Stuart House and going home.  I had already hitched a ride with a Carriage Tour driver this morning on the way downtown because the sky was so dark.  But the rain held off, and I felt silly asking for a ride – although I always enjoy talking with the nice young men and women who drive the tourist carriages.

It was extremely busy in the museum today, with lots of people asking questions – and one lady who “sensed” a male ghost upstairs.  She told me he was just a visiting ghost, not someone who used to live there, and that he was a friendly presence.  She was dead (no pun intended) serious, and said she often encountered ghosts in old buildings.  What was even stranger was that a couple of weeks ago, a teenage girl had come rushing downstairs and claimed something had “touched” her upstairs.  On both occasions, I went up to the second floor, and nothing – and no one – was there.  That made two strange happenings in two weeks, so I asked someone familiar with the Stuart House if there had been other encounters there.  She told me she had never heard of any ghosts being reported in the building, which was built by John Jacob Astor in 1817.  She also said that since most of the island is an Indian burial ground, there certainly could be spirits around.  Now, I have personally never encountered a ghost. And I personally never want to encounter a ghost.  So . . . I won’t be walking around upstairs alone anymore – which I do sometimes when we’ve gotten in a new exhibit, and no visitors are in the museum.  And if I’m sitting at my little desk and hear footsteps overhead – when I know there isn’t anyone in the building but me – you’ll be the first to know!

Some very alive visitors today were blog readers who were visiting the island.

Paul and Elaine Williams from Yale, MI are frequent Island visitors. They also happened to be last week's Mystery Spot winners! They're on Mackinac for a week this time, staying at the Pontiac Lodge.

Cathy Cislak from Indianapolis, IN was on the Island with husband Greg (who took photo). They're staying the first part of the week at the Hotel Iroquois, then moving to the Grand for a few days when their children and grandchildren arrive. Cathy was also a recent Mystery Spot winner!

Jill came by before I got off work, and after my replacement arrived, we walked to the post office, then to the bookstore so I could pick a paper up for Ted.  Rain was threatening again, but I wanted to grab some photos of the Metivier Inn, which I say every year cannot possibly have flowers more gorgeous than last year – and every year they ARE more gorgeous.

Lilacs, pinks, and whites make up the color scheme this year, with multiple flower beds on both sides of the white fence.

These gardens have been blooming for at least a month now, but every day they seem more beautiful than the day before.

Walking through this arch from the street, you can . . . .

. . . curve to the left toward the side of the Inn, or . . .

. . . curve right onto the lush lawn.

I mean seriously, don't you think the Garden of Eden must have looked something like this! By the way, can you tell what the figure is hanging from the tree?

It's a happy turtle - of course!

I just had to try out one of those lilac chairs!

Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate long enough for me to finish the paper.

Thanks, as always, to Jillski for putting up with my silliness and taking almost all the photos of me you ever see here.

I did make it home without getting drenched, and tomorrow promises to be sunny and warm again.  Let’s see.  Monday was the Pink Pony, today was pink flowers.  Wonder what I can find pink for tomorrow!


When Paul and Elaine Williams stopped by the museum today, Paul showed me this awesome pic he took of the Pride of Baltimore II sailing into the harbor this morning. The ship took passengers aboard for two 2.5-hour voyages today, and will offer one more Wednesday morning at 10 a.m.. The 157' Pride of Baltimore II is a reproduction of an 1812-era Baltimore-built topsail schooner privateer. The orginal "Pride", Chasseur, defended America's freedom during the War of 1812 by serving as an offensive weapon of war and blockade-runner, capturing or sinking 35 British vessels. As the world's most traveled historic schooner, Pride of Blatimore II sails globally, promoting U.S. maritime history, and serves as a unique learning platform for math, science and social study programs.

I Love My Job! 9/9/2010

When I left for work at the Stuart House Wednesday morning, I knew I was going to have a hard time finding a blog subject for that night.  Ted and I planned to attend the City Council meeting on Wednesday evening and then eat dinner downtown.  I would have just enough time to get off work at 2 o’clock, run a few errands, and get back up the hill to get ready to come down again for the five o’clock Council meeting.  I was still fretting about this as I parked my bike at work. 

Candy, who opens the building at 9 a.m. on the days I work, told me it would probably be a slow day and left to go to her real job next door at the city govenment building.  The storm we had yesterday was still the talk of the streets, and friends coming in and out the first hour told me half the town was down at the harbor watching all the proceedings with the sailboat that had run aground last night. 

I got out my glasses, my novel, and a “Find the Word” book that is always available at the desk and settled in for a slow four hours.  Didn’t happen! 

I had hardly opened my book when a couple walked in, and I said, “Would you like to go through the museum?”  The lady replied, “No, we came to meet you!”  Blogging buddies!

Sue and Bob Pavlich from Troy, Michigan. They've been coming to the island every year for 30 years and have stayed at nearly every hotel here. This time they chose the Island House. Sue told me she had only commented once on the blog so I didn't immediately know her by name, but by the time they left, I had their life story. By the way, Sue, when you were standing in front of The Village Inn Wednesday night and someone was screaming, "Sue! Sue!" - that was me. I was in a taxi, but was seated right behind the driver and couldn't lean out past the plastic curtain so you could see me. Have a safe trip home!

Mary, from the Grand Hotel, stopped by and took the above picture.  Bob and Sue began their tour of the museum, I welcomed a few more folks, then looked up as another couple walked in.  “Hi!” I said.  “Would you like to tour the museum?”  The lady smiled and said, “No, I read your blog and just wanted to drop by.”  More blog fans! 

Charlotte and Jim DeBroka from Mishawaka, Indiana have been coming to the island off and on since 1958 for Jim and 1963 for Charlotte. For the last 20 years, they've come every year. Charlotte comments quite often on the blog, and I immediately recognized her name. I jumped up and gave her and Jim a hug. Charlotte discovered the blog after their trip to the island last year and followed us to Georgia on the winter blog from there. When we returned to Georgia, I mentioned hearing the sandhill cranes flying overhead, and Charlotte sent me a photo of the cranes resting in Indiana before they flew south. I posted that on the Georgia blog. Charlotte and Jim were staying at Small Point Inn, which they love because of the family-like atmosphere. Charlotte stopped by just as I was leaving the museum to tell me she had just bought a Biria bike like mine at Mackinac Wheels. She loves it! Safe travels as you both as you continue your vacation!

Since Sue and Bob were still in the museum, the two couples got to meet each other, and I took a photo of the four of them outside by the steps.

The Pavlich's and the DeBroka's.

The DeBroka’s toured the museum also and after they left, I stepped out on the porch to watch traffic.  It was a good morning for that.

I hadn't been outside more than a minute when the firetruck came by, with lights flashing . . .

. . . followed closely by the ambulance.

Now those of you who know Mackinac Island like I do know that you very seldom see any motorized vehicle on the street (we only have emergency vehicles), and to see two  at the same time was not a good thing.  I leaned over the porch railing enough to see both the firetruck and the ambulance turn down Fort Hill toward the water.  I walked back inside, and two minutes later my cell phone rang.  Jill (the Lois Lane of Mackinac Island) reported that there was smoke coming from a condo on Main Street, and since they couldn’t get anyone to the door, they were going to have to break in to find where the smoke was coming from and to make sure no one was inside.  A malfunctioning heater turned out to be the culprit – no injuries.  Except the door.

By now it was 12:30, and the building was empty of visitors.  I opened my novel again (still hadn’t read a complete sentence)  just as another couple walked in.  “Hello!” I smiled.  “Would you like to go through the museum?”  “No,” the lady drawled, “I read your blog!”  Wow!  And this lovely couple was from the South!

Cindy and Chuck Kelley are from Pickens, South Carolina, and it was their first visit to the island. They were staying at the Murray Hotel and were having a wonderful time seeing the sights. Jill stopped by just in time to take the photo. Thanks so much for stopping by, Cindy and Chuck - safe travels home!

When the Kelley’s left, I walked back to the porch to see what else I could spot on the streets.

Just as I was about to go back inside, this hay wagon turned onto Market Street on its way up to the horse barns.

Just before time for me to leave, Dale Gensman, whom I had never met, but who is quite a celebrity on the island, came by the museum.  Mr. Gensman is in the process of building replicas of every historic building on Mackinac Island, and he displays them in the Stuart House.  His father helped build the Round Island Lighthouse, and Dale is continuing that legacy by providing the fine workmanship that goes into each of his miniatures.  Another big news item for Dale is the publishing of his book, “Cubbie the Bear”, next week.  This is a children’s book and tells the true story of Cubbie, a baby bear cub raised by Dale on the island many, many years ago.  This is going to be the “have to have” children’s book on the island as soon as it hits the stands.  I can’t wait to get copies for Jordan and Matthew.

Dale and I in front of his replica of the Biddle House.

I left the museum at 2 p.m., ran by the post office, and started down Main Street to see if the sailboat was still aground.  I had heard (through the grapevine) that a barge was trying to get it pulled back off the rocks into the water.  Jill was ahead of me and flagged me down before I got past the marina.  The sailboat was off the rocks and heading out into the Straits under its own power.  Very lucky owners!  I headed home with about an hour to spare before Ted and I went back downtown for the meeting.  Afterwards, we ate dinner at the Chippewa and took a taxi home.

A big thank you to my blogging assistants who emailed the following pics to me today.  What would I do without you!

Jill snapped this photo Tuesday of the first group of horses leaving the island. I had followed another group down from the barn when I was leaving the condo with Bear for his grooming appointment, but I was too far behind them to get a picture. I heard later that a group of 60 left Tuesday. I just cannot believe it's that time already.


Two pics from Jill earlier Wednesday morning - volunteers working to pull the stranded sailboat off the rocks . . .


. . . and - how do you block traffic during an emergency on the Island? With a police bike, of course!

Jill took this pic Wednesday morning at the Stuart House while I was inside with visitors (I wondered why she grabbed my camera). This is Dennis Bradley (our Fire Chief and Assistant Airport Manager) doing a little repair work on an upstairs window at the museum.

Thanks to Smi Horn for this photo from Tuesday's storm. These were the waves breaking below the West Bluff, before the storm hit the Island.

From Smi again. A freighter cuts between Round Island Light and Round Island Passage Light. Wow - this should have been quite a show for the diners at the Iroquois Hotel!

Don’t know why I ever worry about something to write about – I always find it . . . or it finds me! 

I Wonder . . . 6/29/09

SATURDAY NIGHT.  It’s raining. I wish I had a way to add audio to this blog.  The fog horn has been blowing for an hour out on the Straits.  Sometimes it blows all night long.  It is possibly the most lonely sound I have ever heard.  I wonder . . . what that horn must sound like in the winter, when the snow is measured in feet and giant shards of ice float in the Straits.  There would be no other sound – no horses’ clip clopping (except for the one winter taxi and an occasional dray), no stream of people coming up the hill talking, no crowd of people riding bikes down the hill – just the fog horn.  I’d love to be here then.

IMG_0758Ted and I both volunteered on the island today – he was back at the Welcome Center, I was at the Stuart House Museum.  I felt completely unprepared when I sat down, but Sylvia, who is a regular worker and who was born and raised on the island, and Karen, who had recruited me, gave me some tips and a large folder on the house’s history.  I would love to get a copy of the contents of that entire folder, because not only does it hold the Stuart House history, but the entire island’s history – beginning in the 1600’s.  I have never been a history buff – that is Ted’s subject.  But, after reading through that folder off and on for 2 hours in between welcoming people to the museum, and getting them started on the self-guided tour, I was hooked.  Several people had questions about the museum – some I could answer and some not – but a lot of folks, once they knew I lived here in the summers, wanted to talk about nothing but that.  Those questions I could answer, or at least direct them to the right spot in get an answer.  I wonder . . . if they will ask me to work again. 


I left the Stuart House and treated myself to an ice cream cone.  Judy from the condos was downtown and asked if I wanted to share a taxi home – sure did.  As we were sitting at the taxi stand, Lisa from JoAnne’s Fudge came by.  Since Judy knew Lisa well, and Judy knew I wanted to write a story about a fudgemaker, she introduced us.  Lisa gave her approval, so all I have to do is give her a call when I am ready, and she will set me up with a fudge cook.  I wonder . . . if I can scrape the bowl?



SUNDAY MORNING.  It’s still raining, with no letup in sight.  I got an email from Jeanine this morning congratulating me on getting approval for my “Day in the Life Of” series.  Jeanine is the taxi driver that I hope I will be able to job shadow.  She suggested that I also be on hand to help harness up the horses.  Me?  Harness a horse?  I wonder . . . if Jeanine doesn’t like me. 

I have another blog for you to check out.  Kathy lives in the woods of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and made a 365-day commitment to explore the great outdoors.  Her photographs are amazing.  You can reach her at, and she is also on my blogroll.  I wonder . . . what in the world will I do with my spare time when our summer on Mackinac is over, and my commitment to record our life here this year is completed.

Islanders have a “sweet” name for tourists.  They are called fudgies.  Fudgies nearly always have a camera around their neck and a pound of fudge in their hands.  If you are visiting the island and want to look more like a local and less like a fudgie, here are a few tips:  1)  Hide your camera and your fudge; 2)  Never look up at the fort when they shoot the cannon; 3) Carry a backpack or a fanny pack, but never a purse.  Now so far I’m good on only one of those – I have a backpack.  The very nature of a blogger requires a camera (although mine is usually in my backpack); if we are out of fudge at the house, you can bet there will be another pound or two in that bag I’m carrying; and – I can’t help it – I not only look up at the fort when the cannon goes off, but I usually jump a little also.  I wonder . . . does that make me a local tourist or a touring local?

SUNDAY AFTERNOON.  The sun is out, it’s 70 degrees, and a cool breeze is blowing.  I walked downtown to get some shots of the inside of Trinity Church (I’ll post them this week sometime).  While I was there, I heard from a VERY reliable source (didn’t know I had spies on the island, did you) that actor Robert DeNiro and his wife had just arrived at the island airport and would be staying somewhere for a few days.  I could tell you where they are staying, but then my spies would never tell me anything again.  So, mum’s the word.  I wonder . . . . nope, can’t go there.

When I got back to the condo, Ted and I took the dogs and walked up to the West Bluff by way of Pontiac’s Trail.  We hadn’t been up there in about three weeks, and the difference was amazing.  What three weeks ago were newly planted summer gardens are now wildly blooming flowerbeds.   I wonder . . . if I can get this amazing Mackinac Island compost shipped to Georgia.


A riot of yellow and purple and blue in this beautiful summer garden

Looking across the top of a flower garden to the Straits
On a windy day, the waves were breaking along the shore at the boardwalk.  I caught a seagull in flight just to the right of the lighthouse.

It was a windy day, and the waves were breaking along the shore at the boardwalk, across the street from the island school. That’s a seagull in flight just to the right of the lighthouse.


What better way to end our walk than to see a bride and groom leaving The Grand Hotel in one of the wedding carriages.  Their photographer was riding ahead of them, hurrying to the next photo site, but the newlyweds were enjoying a leisurely ride along the West Bluff.




I hear a lot of couples renew their wedding vows on the island.  I wonder if Ted . . . .