Way Back Wednesday – A Day in the Life of a Carriage Tour Carriage Driver 5/3/17

Personal Note:  Another in “A Day in the Life of” series I wrote during our first summer as Mackinac Island summer residents.  A few days before I posted this Ted and I and friends from Georgia, Dawn & Stevie, were bike riding in the interior of the island.  On the road that runs in front of Skull Cave, Ted, Dawn & Stevie passed a 3-horse hitch carriage tour wagon by going around it off the road.  When I attempted it – clumsy person that I am – I hit a rut and fell over into the path of those three horses pulling the carriage.  One second I’m on the bike, and the next second I’m curled into a fetal position on the road, waiting for three very large horses to run over me.  It didn’t happen, thanks to the driving abilities of Justin, who I rode with to write this post.

P.S.  Yes, I forgot to do a “Throw Back Tuesday” – hence, you get a Way Back Wednesday!___________________________________________________________________

FIRST PUBLISHED AUGUST 27, 2009

Riding with a Carriage Tour driver was something I have wanted to do all summer, and today was the day.  I had asked if I could ride with Justin Diemert, the young man who was driving the 3-horse hitch carriage the day I took a nose dive off my bike in front of him.  I got my wish!  Who better to showcase than Justin, who, as far as I’m concerned, saved me from serious injury, and possibly saved my life.

A little about how the Carriage Tours work.  Downtown on Main Street there is a booth where tourists can purchase tickets for Carriage Tours.  That is where you are loaded onto a 20-passenger carriage.  Group tours also start their sightseeing trip from there.  Once you are underway, the driver gives a narrated tour through the downtown area of Mackinac Island – covering the main attractions on Main and Market Streets.  From Market, they turn up Cadotte, go past Grand Hotel and the horse barns, and at the bottom of the hill that our condo sits atop, they take a slight right and go up to the Surrey Hill Carriage Museum.  There passengers unload and spend 15-20 minutes in the museum – looking at the carriages, going through the shops, or having ice cream, or fudge, or a sandwich (if you get there around 9:30 in the morning, you may be lucky enough to get piping hot donuts that are to die for).

After you finish your visit to the museum, you move to the back of the building and exit onto the backporch. There you wait to be loaded onto a 3-horse hitch carriage, which holds 35 passengers.  Now if I went into the logistics of how all this works from downtown to the top of our hill, I would be here into next week trying to explain it.  Surfice it to say their method works smoothly, and the passengers get where they need to be 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the entire season.

Denise is usually loading and unloading folks at the front of the building, and Kim is usually on the backporch doing the same.  But today Kim was off, and Denise and Judy were working the back.

Denise and Judy

Denise and Judy

Justin pulled up about 15 minutes after I arrived, and Denise explained I would be job shadowing him today.  I reminded him about what he had done to save me from his horses, and he smiled and said, “Oh yeah, you’re that crazy woman who tried to scare my horses to death.”  HE DIDN’T SAY THAT!  What he actually said was, “Oh, I thought you looked familiar!”

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Let me tell you a little about Justin.  This is his third summer on the island, his second summer driving for Carriage Tours.  He visited a friend on the island one summer, and the friend was driving carriage horses.  He came back the next year, after applying for a job as a driver, and learned his skills on the “school bus”, as they call the “learning carriage”.  Justin was born in Detroit, lived most of his life in the small town of Roscommon, MI, and is now a senior at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.  He has a double major – Film and English – with plans to be a screenwriter and director.  He has already written several screenplays, his most recent “Mortuary Angels”.  Justin hopes to be able to take a film project from beginning to end, preferring to direct his own screenplays, rather than have someone else do it.  That way he will have complete control of the finished product. He has no plans to move to New York or LA – at least not now.  He says Michigan has a booming film industry, and he feels he will be able to stay here to follow his dream.

I rode with Justin through three tours – about 45 minutes each – and when the passengers were loaded, Denise told them why I was on board, and that I would be taking pictures for this blog.  No one objected at all.  In fact, I think they thought it was pretty cool – although I did have a couple of gentlemen ask me, “What’s a blog?”

We loaded the first group, and we were on our way, with me riding shotgun beside Justin.

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When Justin is driving and talking to the passengers, he is constantly turning around and making eye contact with them.  I really think that is why his passengers connect with him so easily and feel comfortable asking him questions.  He uses a headset mike, so even the people in the very last row can easily hear him.

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On the second leg of the Carriage Tour (the first being downtown), you see the three cemeteries, Rifle Range, Skull Cave, Arch Rock, the Avenue of the Trees, and Fort Mackinac.  I’m not going to give Justin’s narrative word for word, or share with you all the jokes he told.  But just in case you are ever on his tour, I am going to help you out with answers to three questions he might ask.  If you remember these, you will make Justin think you are really, really smart!

We passed the three island cemeteries just a few minutes into the tour – St. Anne’s Catholic Cemetery, the Protestant Cemetery, and the Post Cemetery.  First question I am going to help you out on:  What are the three criteria you must fulfill to be buried in one of the Mackinac Island cemeteries?  One is that you have to have lived on the island for at least 15 years; the second is that you must own property and pay taxes here.  What is the third?  (tick tock, tick tock)  – you must be dead!

From the cemeteries, you pass Skull Cave, where Justin told the scary story of the cave’s history.  Something I learned was that the cave originally was much bigger, but the limestone from the cave was quarried to build the walls of the fort – I had never heard that!

We passed Rifle Range, where the soldiers from the fort used to practice firing their muskets for accuracy and distance.  I learned that the phrase “Get the lead out!” was first used right here on Mackinac Island on the Rifle Range.  Seriously, this is a true story – but to hear the whole thing, you will have to take the tour!

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We went on to Arch Rock, the Avenue of the Trees, and then stopped at the fort to let out anyone who wanted to go in and explore or eat lunch.  Those remaining on board had the option of getting off at the Governor’s Summer Residence and walking down Fort Hill to town, or returning back to the Carriage Museum.  From there they could get back on a 2-horse hitch carriage and go to Grand Hotel or back to town.

We pulled up for our second group, and while they loaded, Judy sprayed the horses with bug spray to keep the biting flies at bay.  On the front row of the second group was the cutest little baby (remember that statement a few blogs ago about 6-month old babies always making you smile?).  This one had to be about that age, and she was a doll!

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At Arch Rock, the carriage stops for “7 minutes” – according to Justin.  Everyone gets off the carriage and walks over to take pictures from the lookout point, which overlooks the beautiful blue waters of Lake Huron.  While pictures are being taken, the horses get buckets of water to drink.  From left to right, that’s Grub, Megan, and P.K..  All three are Belgian draft horses.

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When the tour stops at Fort Mackinac, there is an interpreter waiting to tell the group a brief history of the fort and what is available inside to see.  The interpreters are always dressed in period costume and address you as if it is still the 1800’s.

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OK – here’s another question/answer that will make you seem very smart on this tour – and this one is serious.  At the post cemetery, you will notice that the flag is flying at halfstaff.  It is always like that at the Mackinac Island Post Cemetery, where there are many graves of unknown soldiers.  Here’s the question.  Where else on U.S. soil is the flag always flown at halfstaff?  Have you thought about it?  They are:  Arlington, Gettysburg, Pearl Harbor, and Normandy.  Yes, Normandy.  France gave the United States land to bury our soldiers, and that cemetery is considered to be on U.S. soil.

We headed back to pick up another load of passengers (the third trip of the day) at around 12:30.    I asked Justin when he “does lunch”.  He doesn’t.  Not in the traditional sense anyway.  Like the taxi drivers, carriage drivers eat on the fly.  When we returned to the Carriage Museum, we were three back in the lineup.  So Denise came and sat in Justin’s seat and held the lines while he ran inside to grab something to eat (he was back in 3 minutes with ice cream).  Also like the taxi drivers, the carriage tour drivers cannot leave their horses unattended.

Our third group loaded.  At several points along the tour, Justin stops his narration and gives his passengers time to ask questions.  This group liked to ask questions, and listened attentively to everything Justin said.  I think he could have given a quiz after the tour, and they would have all made an “A”!

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 At the Avenue of the Trees, which is a bike riding and walking path that does not allow horses (hence, no horse poop on this one), there is at least one of every tree that grows on Mackinac Island.  They were not planted, but grew there naturally.

At some point in each of the three tours, Justin allowed me to stand up and tell the story of my bike wreck.  I emphasized how crazy we all were to be passing a carriage on such a narrow road, how crazy we were to not be wearing bike helmets, and how fortunate I was that the horses I fell in front of were being driven by Justin.  Every group gave “my hero” a big round of applause.

Ok, here is your last tip for the tour if you take it one day.  Question:  Which U.S. President lived in the Boy Scout barracks on the island and worked there for a week in the summer when he was a Boy Scout?  If you know your Presidents’ home states, you know this one.  It was Gerald Ford.

The third trip of the day was over around 2 p.m.  Justin would be on the job until around 7:30, then he would go back to the barn and wash and stable his horses before heading home around 9 p.m.  His day began at the barn at 7:30 a.m.  I asked if he had a day off.  He said all the drivers have one day off a week, but he usually doesn’t elect to take his.  He prefers to work.  And if he does take a day, he will usually sleep late, then end up either at the barn or up at the Carriage Museum.  This young man truly loves his job.

I had a great time riding with Justin, and my admiration for the job that all these drivers do grew even stronger today.  They have to be aware of everything going on at all times – their passengers, people around them, bikers, horseback riders, dogs, and other carriages.  They are sitting behind 3,000 lbs. of powerful, intelligent creatures who trust that young man or woman on that high seat to guide them safely through town and through the woods.  And, once in a great while, a driver is alert enough to pull those great animals back  by the lines and prevent them from stepping on some clutzy blogger who fell off her bike in front of them.  Thank you, Justin!

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Maddie’s Treat Tale . . . . 9/14/16

Hey!  Maddie here!

I know I haven’t written in a while, but there’s a reason for that. You see, in dog years I’m even older than my mom – so I’m just not as chatty as I used to be.  It’s kinda the same with mom, although with her it’s more like she still talks all the time, but she just doesn’t have as much to say. 

Please don’t tell her I said that.

I told mom the other day I was thinking about writing how nice it is to be up the hill again so we can go over to the Surrey Hill Carriage Museum for treats (I was really hinting that we hadn’t been over there in a while, but I’ve learned – as a wiser and older girl – that you have to use dog-chology when dealing with humans). I couldn’t just say, “I want to go get a treat from Miss Denise.”  If I’d approached it THAT way, mom would have said, “Maddie you know you don’t need treats.  At your visit the other day with Dr. Hites, he said you could stand to lose a pound or two.”  BUT – if I approached it by saying I wanted to WRITE about getting a treat, mom would say, “Oh, Maddie, that’s a great idea.  I’m glad you want to expand your vocabulary and use that sweet little brain of yours.  Of course, we can walk over to see Miss Denise!”

See . . . . dog-chology!

First of all, let me just say that Miss Denise and I are best buds, and we have been ever since we first met many years ago.  You see, Miss Denise has two doxies just like me (except they are black and tan).  Their names are Scooter and Minnie.  Miss Denise just LOVES doxies!  And I just LOVE Miss Denise!

The other afternoon, when we arrived at the Carriage Museum, Miss Denise had just finished putting some visitors on a tour buggy.

The other afternoon, when we arrived at the Carriage Museum, Miss Denise had just finished putting some visitors on a tour buggy (that’s Miss Denise over there with long hair and the yellow shirt).

It's not very often that mom and dad take my leash off, but when Miss Denise is around, they do. Cause they know I'm going to hightail it over to see her!

It’s not very often mom and dad take my leash off, but when Miss Denise is around, they do – because they know I’m going to hightail it over to see her!  After she petted me and told me how extraordinarily beautiful I am (another reason I love Miss Denise), I said to myself, “Ok, enough of this, let’s go get those treats!”  That’s what I said to MYSELF – but to Miss Denise I said, “I love you, I love you, I love you . . . .

. . . . Let me just lead you right in here and show you where those treats are!"

. . . . and I bet if you just follow close behind me, we can find some treats!”

"Uh . . . . could you walk a little faster, please?"

“Uh . . . . could you walk a little faster, please?”

 

I trotted right into the building, took a sharp left, ran right into the store room, and stood patiently until Miss Denise came and got the treats down off the top shelf (I've been trying to get her to put them on the bottom shelf where I could get them for myself, but so far she's ignoring me).

I trotted right into the building, took a sharp left, ran right into the store room, and stood patiently until Miss Denise came and got the treats down off the top shelf (I’ve been trying to get her to put them on the bottom shelf where I could get them for myself, but so far she’s ignoring me).

Next came my SECOND favorite part of going to see Miss Denise . . . . .

. . . . sitting on the drivers' seat of a Carriage Tour buggy!

. . . . sitting on the drivers’ seat of a Carriage Tour buggy!

I kept asking Miss Denise if I could say “Giddy Up” to the horses, but she ignored me on that too.  I’ve about decided Miss Denise doesn’t understand me when I talk to her.  I bet she understands Scooter and Minnie though – just like mom and dad understand me!  And maybe it’s best that it works that way.

By the way, mom and dad broke the news to me the other day that I’m going to be getting a new big brother.  I haven’t decided how I feel about that yet, but if it will make mom happier, I know it will be fine.  She sure has missed Bear, and to be honest, so have I.  Even though I like getting all the attention, it sure will be nice to have someone to BLAME stuff on again!

Maddie . . . . out!

 

 

 

Fall? Who Said? 9/25/2013

After working Monday morning at the Stuart House, I took some time to walk through downtown with my camera.  Everywhere I turned were gardens, flower beds, flower pots and hanging baskets – all beautiful and happily blooming away.  You’d never know we’ve been in the 50’s for highs this week and frost warnings have been issued the last two nights. 

So . . . Fall might be here on the calendar – but Mackinac Island’s summer flowers are still blooming their little hearts out!

Our post office always looks good, but this year the entrance is surrounded by tall, beautiful flowers that are really showing off. Makes going after the mail a real treat!

Our post office always looks good, but this year the tall, beautiful flowers surrounding the entrance are really showing off. Makes going after the mail a real treat!

One of many hanging baskets at The Cottage Inn . . .

One of the many hanging baskets at The Cottage Inn . . .

. . . and a little frog named Bob who just can't stay away from his cell phone.

. . . and a little frog named Bob who just can’t stay away from his cell phone.

These beauties were outside Weber's, across

These beauties were outside Weber’s on Market Street.

Butterflies are still fluttering around also - like this one sipping at some flowers in front of a summer cottage on Huron Street.

Butterflies are still fluttering – like this one sipping at some flowers in front of a closed-for-the-winter cottage on Huron Street.

There are no words for the floral wonders at the Island House this year.

There are no words for the floral wonders at the Island House this year.

Every garden is a masterpiece of color, variety . . .

Every garden is a masterpiece of color, variety . . .

. . . and

. . . and uniqueness.

The side of Bay View is

Bay View of Mackinac is a riot of flowering bushes.

Doud's Market.  I remember these window boxes in the spring when they first were planted.  They have thrived all summer, and right now they are peaking!

Doud’s Market. I remember these window boxes in the spring when they first were planted. They have thrived all summer, and right now they are peaking.

Hanging basket outside Mary's Bistro.

Hanging basket outside Mary’s Bistro.

One perfect blossom - along the board walk.

One perfect blossom – along the board walk.

Cadotte from the Grand Hotel.

Cadotte Avenue from the Grand Hotel.

MORE SCENES FROM THE MONDAY AFTERNOON STROLL

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Looking across Marquette Park toward Fort Mackinac.  Not much Fall color yet – but it’s coming!

J.L. Beanery

J.L. Beanery Coffee House is a great place for breakfast – and awesome lunch sandwiches.

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Quiet street – from the Fort to the Island House.

The Mackinac Island Marine is another quiet place these days.

The Mackinac Island Marina is another quiet place these days.

The Island House

The Island House – tucked between Michigan blue skies and shamrock green lawns.

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A nice afternoon to visit across the white picket fence in front of the Windermere Hotel.

A shady curve of sidewalk leading to the library . . .

A shady curve of sidewalk leading to the library . . .

. . . where I ducked through the side yard to check out

. . . where I ducked through the side yard to check if the chairs were still out on the back deck.

Quite possibly the most beautiful boardwalk in the world.

Walking along the boardwalk these days is a treat to all the senses . . .

. . . especially the visual.

. . . especially the visual.  A Shepler ferry . . .

. . . and Arnold's freight boat.

. . . and the Arnold freight boat glide across sparkling blue water.

Chambers Corner

Chambers Corner and a glimpse up Market Street.

Little Stone Church

Little Stone Church through the changing leaves of the new trees that line Cadotte.  I wonder how many more years I’ll call them the “new” trees?

A touch of color on a Jewel Golf Course tree . . .

A touch of color on a Jewel Golf Course tree . . .

. . . and apples near the road that every horse on Mackinac are trying to swipe with every pass along the road.

. . . and apples near the road that every horse on Mackinac tries to swipe as they walk by.

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A wagon and a carriage stand side by side in the sunshine at Barn View.

NEWSY STUFF

Picking up the mail at the post office.

Picking up the outgoing mail at the post office.  The dray delivers it to the ferry, and the next morning the whole process starts again – in reverse.  (Photo:  Jill Sawatzki)

It's definitely Fall inside Doud's Market! (Photo:  Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island)

It’s definitely Fall inside Doud’s Market! (Photo: Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island)

Remember those empty blue barrels from the other day?  These are packed full and on their first leg of their journey to Jamaica.

Remember those empty blue barrels from the other day? These are packed full and on the first leg of their journey to Jamaica – along with what looks like some carpet.  (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Getting my coffee fix at Lucky Bean before opening the Stuart House on Monday morning.

Getting my coffee fix at Lucky Bean, before opening the Stuart House on Monday morning.  (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Meet the Green's - Kem and Ed from Des Moines, Iowa.  Kem discovered Bree's Blog last summer after visiting Mackinac, and if I've ever met anyone who mirrors how I felt with my first trip here, it is Kem.  Ed feels the same way, and they have a plan to be living (maybe full-time) on the Island in five years.  They're staying at the Chippewa and asked us to have dinner last night so they could ask questions about island life.  Such a nice couple.  I fell immediately in love with Kem's enthusiasm and positive attitude.  If anyone can make that plan come true, these two can!

Meet the Greens – Kem and Ed from Des Moines, Iowa. Kem discovered Bree’s Blog last summer after visiting Mackinac, and if I’ve ever met anyone who mirrors how I felt after my first trip here, it is Kem. Ed feels the same way, and they have a plan to be living (maybe full-time) on the Island in five years. They came over to the Stuart House on Monday and asked us to have dinner with them at the Chippewa Hotel (where they’re staying) last night so they could ask questions about island life. Such a nice couple! I fell immediately in love with Kem’s enthusiasm and positive attitude. If anyone can make that plan come true, these two can!

When the Greens came by the Stuart House Frankie and Hershey were visiting for a few minutes so everyone introduced themselves.  This morning was very foggy so Kem went out shopping and stopped in to see Frankie at Benjamin's.  She asked where Hershey was, and Frankie said "Upstairs in the apartment."  So Kem said, "Why don't we take her for a walk?"  Do you see now why I'm crazy about these two.  Kem got Hershey, called Ed at the Chippewa and they all went for a walk in the fog!

When the Greens came by the Stuart House Frankie and Hershey were visiting for a few minutes, so everyone introduced themselves. This morning was very foggy so Kem went out shopping and stopped in to see Frankie at Benjamin’s. She asked where Hershey was, and Frankie said “Upstairs in the apartment.” So Kem said, “Why don’t we take her for a walk?” Do you see why I’m crazy about these two. Kem collected Hershey, called Ed at the Chippewa, and they all went for a walk in the fog!

And speaking of fog.  The morning started off bright and beautiful, but Jim Ryerse captured the fog bank as it rolled in.  So eerie-looking!

And speaking of fog. The morning started off bright and beautiful, but Jim Ryerse captured the fog bank as it rolled in. So eerie-looking!

It looks like I'm not going to get out to Silver Birches after all this week, but the Town Crier interview worked out.  Stephanie Fortino, the reporter who wrote the wonderful story about Lowell & Faye's trip to the Island rode up to the condo this afternoon, and we all chatted for over two hours.  The story should run in the October Town Crier.

Stephanie Fortino, the reporter from the St. Ignace News/Town Crier who wrote the wonderful story about Lowell & Faye’s trip to the Island, rode up to the condo this afternoon, and we all chatted about Bree’s Blog for over two hours. The story should run in the October Town Crier.  I love working with Stephanie – another enthusiastic – and very professional – young lady.

WEDNESDAY WALK

After Stephanie hurried down the hill to catch the ferry, Ted and I took Maddie and Bear for a long walk.  I am always amazed at some of the bizarre formations of the island's

After Stephanie hurried down the hill to catch the ferry, Ted and I took Maddie and Bear for a long walk. I am always amazed at some of the bizarre forms aged or dead trees take on over the years.  These trunks on Cupid’s Pathway seemed almost fossilized.

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Rays of sunlight breaking through thick still-green foliage.

Now that Bear is feeling better, he is getting rid of a lot of pent-up energy on every walk.  Once off-leash in the woods he breaks into an all-out run and races through bushes and over fallen trees like a pack of wolves is after him.

Now that Bear is feeling better, he is getting rid of a lot of pent-up energy on every walk. Once off-leash in the woods he breaks into an all-out run and races through bushes and over fallen trees like a pack of wolves is after him.

Then he stops, digs a hole . . . .

Then he stops, digs a hole . . . .

. . . . grabs a stick . . .

. . . . grabs a stick . . .

. . . and chews.

. . . and chews.

And then he starts all over again!

And then he starts all over again! 

How they like to end every walk . . . running up the hill at the Carriage Museum to get treats from Denise!

How they like to end every walk . . . running up the hill at the Carriage Museum to get treats from Denise!

Well, I guess you didn’t know when you sat down to read this you were going to be here this long!  I’ve really been out a lot with the camera this week! 

I still haven’t worked out the details with Liz Ware about my night at Silver Birches, but hopefully that is still going to happen. 

One big bit of news.  We had an offer on the condo this week, but after counter offers and re-counter offers, we just couldn’t get together on price.  So . . . no sale on that one. 

Hoping everyone is having a good week.  Stay safe, stay well, and I’ll see you back here in a few days!  God bless.

Walking on Sunshine! 5/26/2013

Good Day Sunshine!  Sunshine On My Shoulders!  Walking on Sunshine!

Are you catching my theme here?

If the first few days of last week were about as dark and stormy as they could get, the last few days have more than made up for them!  We’ve had sunshine, blue skies, and not a cloud in the sky.  It’s still a little chilly, but nothing an extra layer won’t fix.

Maddie was SO excited to be outside on dry grass.  She is the fussiest little thing about her feet getting wet!

Maddie was SO excited to be outside on dry grass. She is the fussiest little thing about her feet getting wet!

Bear, who couldn't care less whether it's wet or dry, was just happy to be able to run around off the leash, instead of being dragged into the condo as soon as he'd taken care of business!

Bear, who couldn’t care less whether it’s wet or dry, was just happy to be able to run around off the leash, instead of being dragged into the condo as soon as he’d taken care of business!

With the sun

With the sun came the crowds to the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory . . .

. . . and the

. . . and the Surrey Hill Carriage Museum, where folks were eating outside for the first time this spring!

Not finding Denise unloading riders at the front of the Carriage Museum, Bear made a bee-line for the back lot - where he waited for her to get off the phone before begging for treats.

Not finding Denise unloading riders at the front of the Carriage Museum, Bear made a bee-line for the back lot – where he waited for her to get off the phone before begging for treats.

Before going in we checked on the progress of our Lilac bushes.  Leaves are coming on really fast!  I still haven't checked downtown . . . have GOT to do that!

Before going in we checked on the progress of our Lilac bushes. Leaves are coming on really fast! I still haven’t checked downtown . . . have GOT to do that!

Blue sky, sunshine, flowers bloomin’, children say-in’ hello. Row boats, bird notes, People smilin’ everywhere that they go!

My 15-minutes walking excursion on Friday didn’t seem to set my foot back, so I was rarin’ to go when we had the opportunity to go over to Cedarville Saturday with friends Orietta and Steve – and their teenage neighbor Max. Ted had sailed with Steve last fall from the Mackinac Island Marina to the Viking Boat Harbor to take their sailboat out of the water for winter.  Now it was time to sail it back to Mackinac.

We all piled into Orietta's car in St. Ignace and made the 45-minute drive to Cedarville.  A quick stop at a grocery store, and we had the makings for lunch in the sun, which we enjoyed on a picnic table at the Viking Boat Harbor dock.

We all piled into Orietta’s car in St. Ignace and made the 45-minute drive to Cedarville. A quick stop at a grocery store, and we had the makings for lunch in the sun, which we enjoyed on a picnic table at the Viking Boat Harbor dock.

The boat was in the water, and while the guys puttered around getting ready to sail, I noticed some activity out at the end of the dock.

Now I don't know too much about fish, but this little boy was VERY excited when he pulled this one in. The funny thing was, after he landed it, he didn't want anything to do with it - wouldn't even hold the line so I could get his picture . . .

Now I don’t know too much about fish, but this little boy was VERY excited when he pulled this one in. The funny thing was, after he landed it, he didn’t want anything to do with it – wouldn’t even hold the line.  So his big brother helped him out – and told me it was a Northern Pike – about six lbs. worth.  After the photos, they removed the hook and released it to grow some more.  Good job guys!

When we were here in the fall, the shoreline was ablaze with red and yellow foliage.

When we were here in the fall, the shoreline was ablaze with red and yellow foliage.  Now, the first hint of green is beginning to appear.

Steve brought the dinghy around to tie up to the Windmill . . .

Steve brought the dinghy around to tie up to the Windmill . . .

. . . then was pulled aboard by First Mate Max.

. . . then came aboard.

Orietta hands off the most important cargo - snacks!

Orietta hands off the most important cargo – snacks!

Ready to leave the harbor.

Ready to leave the harbor . . .

. . . Steve maneuvers away from the dock . . .

. . . Steve maneuvers away from the dock . . .

. . . and they're away.

. . . and they’re away.

The 45-minute road trip took four hours by boat.  Ted snapped this shot of Steve and Max putting up the sails, but the wind held out for only about 30 minutes.  A motor provided power for the rest of the trip.

Ted snapped this shot of Steve and Max putting up the sails, but the wind held out for only about 30 minutes. A motor provided power for the rest of the trip.

They passed Dollar Island (one of the 36 Les Cheneaux Islands), which is almost totally covered in this one house.

They passed Dollar Island (one of the 36 Les Cheneaux Islands), which is almost totally covered by this one house.

Max - showing what a true Michigander he is.  Notice the bare feet.

Max – showing what a true Michigander he is. Notice the bare feet.

Steve and Max.  I hope to write a story on this young man this summer. At 13, he is a budding entrepreneur and has a thriving delivery service on the island.  He's on call seven days a week - at most any hour to run errands for islanders.

Steve and Max. I hope to write a story on this young man this summer. At 13, he is a budding entrepreneur and has a thriving delivery service on the Island. He’s on call seven days a week – at most any hour – to run errands for Islanders.  Steve is teaching him to sail.

Ted at the helm (no bare feet here)!

Ted at the helm.  Orietta and I drove back to the St. Ignace ferry dock and were back on the Island at 4 p.m.  The guys puttered into the Mackinac Island Marina at 6:30 p.m.  What an awesome day!

Just a note on Steve and Orietta.  They will be leaving the Island for a year, beginning in July.  They are off to Tanzania as doctors with the Peace Corps.  What an awesome opportunity to serve others!

Sunday Sunshine!

The Sunday-before-Memorial-Day service at Little Stone Church is always touching, and today was no different.  Island veterans Donald “Duck” Andress and Ben Horn have presented the colors at the service for the last six years, representing the Island’s American Legion Post 299. 

Andress is a veteran of the Korean War, and Horn served in Germany and during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Andress is a veteran of the Korean War, and Horn served in Germany and during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

After the presentation of the colors, a wreath was brought to the altar – in memory of all soldiers who have laid down their lives for their country.  Our minister, Dr. Vince Carroll, who served in the Vietnam War, spoke on his experiences in that country as a Naval Chaplain.  Every pew was filled this morning as worshippers gave thanks to our veterans.

After the service, a large group walked over to The Gate House for lunch.  These folks are our foundation here on the Island.

After the service, a large group walked over to The Gate House for lunch (only two of the people in this pic are not Little Stone Church folks). We love being a part of this church’s  fellowship.

Walking home after church.  The tulips in the front bed at the Grand are in full bloom now!

Walking home after church. The tulips in the front bed at the Grand are in full bloom now!

Our downstairs neighbors are here for the weekend with their two labs.  We finally got them to pose together!  Bear, Tom Boy, and Hunter.

Our downstairs neighbors are here for the weekend with their two labs. We finally got them to pose together! Bear, Tom Boy, and Hunter.

SO MUCH TO COME!

There is so much coming up this week that I’m having to make lists on the calendar so I don’t forget something!  Here’s a few things about to happen . . .

  • Monday – Memorial Day service at the Post Cemetery and downtown
  • Monday evening – Ted and I are going out to dinner with Cindy Irish and her husband.  Cindy is a writer who reads Bree’s Blog – both on the Island and in south Georgia.  She wants to talk to us about a fictional town she is using in her next book that will be based on someplace very near and dear to Ted and I (more to come on that)!
  • Tuesday – Bear FINALLY gets bathed and groomed, so I’ll be off-island all day.
  • Wednesday – Volunteering for Shepler’s as they welcome 1,300+ Detroit Chamber of Commerce representatives to the Island. 
  • Thursday – Resting (I hope)
  • Friday – Back to Shepler’s as the Detroit Chamber leaves the Island
  • Saturday – Resting (I hope)
  • Sunday – BIG, BIG, BIG DAY!  Lowell and Faye Greene arrive on Mackinac for the first time in 26 years.  And boy do they have some surprises waiting for them.  I cannot WAIT to write this story (MUCH more to come on that)!

It will be at least Tuesday night before I publish again.  We’ll see how the week is going at that point and go from there.  Have a great Memorial Day on Monday and, if you’re traveling, stay safe!  God bless.