Slip Back Sunday – “Winter Festival 2010 – the Final Day” 11/19/17

Personal Note:  Sunday was our last day on the island for Winter Festival, and we were scheduled to fly home on Monday.  We had already had more fun and seen more snow than I could have ever imagined.  The fairytale world of Mackinac in the winter lived up to all my expectations!

First Published February, 2010

Where Saturday’s activities were all held outside at Turtle Park, the majority of Sunday’s activities were inside at the school.  Here is our group’s day in pictures and captions:  

This is actually a photo from Saturday – or Friday (I can’t remember). Nikki, who lives on the island year-round, and I say hello at the Mustang.

Getting ready to go out to the school on Sunday morning - hot hands and toasty toes!

Getting ready to go out Sunday morning – hand warmers and toasty toes!

Walking up Cadotte Avenue to the school, we passed the very lonely looking Gatehouse Restaurant. So strange to see it like this. In a few months, the tables will be out on the patio, the flowers will be blooming, and there will be happy people everywhere.

Dawn – posing on a snowmobile, under a “No Snowmobile” sign.

Barb, who is the school’s office manager, Dawn and I. We had just noticed that Barb’s cup matched her sweater.

Smi and I – Smi and his wife are our neighbors in the “village”.

As soon as we walked into the gym, 2 -3 tables full of home-baked goodies were sitting there tempting us to start munching. Whenever one little space was cleared, another baked good was brought straight from the kitchen. The island ladies must have been baking all night!

Sign-up tables on the left. Then table after table around the room filled with silent auction goodies – the majority homemade. I bid on several items, but it was the rag rug made from sheets that I really wanted – and it was the only one I was high bidder on. Ok – I admit it. I entered my last bid 2 seconds before the buzzer rang ending the auction, then defended that bid sheet like an all-star hockey goalie.

Dawn and I playing bingo.

Voting on 2012 Mackinac Island Recreation Department Calendar photographs. How to choose only 12!

Talk about Mackinac Island celebrities! Beside me is Jeannette Doud, who writes the Mackinac Island column in The Town Crier. Next to her is Margaret, who has been the Mayor of the island for the past 37 years.

One of several pairs of homemade mittens I bid on at the silent auction. They were all made from donated wool sweaters and the left hand mitten did not match the right hand mitten.  So cute!  I was not the high bidder on any of them. Darn!

After we left the school, we walked up Cadotte to our condo. Looking back over my shoulder, we could see the ice in the Straits.

Going through the snow fence to our condo back door.

Standing on the street in front of the condo. That’s the Carriage Museum in the background.  Everything looks so different covered in snow!

The empty horse corral below our condo.

Starting back to town – down Turkey Hill, next to the Jewel Golf Course.

Where Turkey Hill Road blends into Fort Street, we met a couple attempting to get up the hill on cross country skies. They finally stopped, took them off, and walked up the hill until they hit snow again.

Mike – pretending that he is about to “take the plunge” into the icy water.

On our way to The Village Inn for dinner Sunday evening, we passed Cindy’s Livery Stables – locked, quiet, and dark for the winter.

On the other hand, the Village Inn was ablaze with lights.  You can see in one corner  of the restaurant the cross country skis available for rental.

Mike took this photo at the Village Inn Sunday night. I promise we did not plan our color scheme for the evening – it just worked out that way. The lady on my right is Mary, who with husband Ron, owns the Village Inn.

Thank goodness the supply closet was right next to our room. We had to “borrow” the vacuum cleaner Monday morning so Dawn could suck all the air out of the bag where she packed some bulky items.  Those vacuum bags are amazing!

My blogging corner in our room at The Cottage Inn.

Personal Note:  This should have been the last entry on our Winter Festival trip.  We were set to get a good night’s sleep and fly off the island to St. Ignace early Monday morning.  We still made that flight, but the tragic events that began shortly after the above pic of me in my pajamas was snapped will forever be linked in all of our minds to our trip north that winter.  Because Mackinac in the winter is more beautiful than you can imagine, it is easy to forget that there is another side to all that beauty.  We were all impacted by that other side throughout our last night on the island.  Tomorrow – that story. 

Thank You for Waiting! 8/10/17


Ok.  I know I said I’d be here on Monday with a blog.  And here it is Thursday.

I’ve never had a year on Mackinac start off like this one has.  I’ve coughed continually for four weeks, and on top of that I slightly sprained my ankle in the woods this past weekend.  I’ve pumped myself full of over the counter drugs that basically have done nothing but make me want to sleep all day, and basically that’s what I’ve done.

So – Monday – after volunteering at the Stuart House for four hours and coughing almost continually, I dragged myself down to the Medical Center and said, “Help.”

I saw a young female doctor who was on her first day of a two week rotation on Mackinac.  I swear to you she wasn’t old enough to drink adult beverages, much less dispense medical advice and drugs.  But she listened to my sob story and examined both my swollen ankles (the one I sprained only slightly more swollen than the other one). Her diagnosis – one ankle is slightly swollen due to injury, BOTH ankles are swollen because I’ve obviously been getting a lot more exercise since I arrived on the island than I was getting in Florida, and my body is retaining water.  The cough is from a virus that is sweeping the country and lasting anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks.  She added a cough medicine to my over-the-counter regime and said, “This might help, but probably not.”

So, I’m four weeks into the 8-12 week cough cycle and in a compression bandage on one ankle.  I’m drinking lots of fluids, elevating my feet when I can, and trying to talk myself into a better frame of mind.  I know I’m being a whiny baby.  I. KNOW. IT.

I promise to try and do better.  I promise.


Even when you feel bad you can appreciate beauty, and right now the island is at its full summer blooming peak. Here’s a little of what’s been happening since we talked last!

We were in on a surprise birthday party for friend Patty one evening at the Gate House. Her husband Buz did a great job of keeping it a secret, and several couples from Little Stone Church gathered for good food and fun.  (That’s Patty in the white jacket and Buz beside her in the turquoise shirt.)  Thanks, Jill, for this pic!

After dinner the birthday girl, Buz, Ted and I stopped for an ice cream at Sadie’s. What a great day!

Bodie got a chance to make friends up close and personal with one of the West Bluff horses. He continues to amaze me with his bravery around things that might scare a less secure dog.  He seems to have the attitude that the whole world is his playground, and if I’d just give him a chance he’d be “king of the island” in no time flat.

I walked him over to Governor’s Residence the other night and had him “up” onto the bench that sits at the top of Turkey Hill. Love how proudly he sat there overlooking his domain.

Passing by the Grand Stable at dusk the other night, I happened to find a farrier still at work.

Starting down Fort Hill. This view is one of the best on the island.

Blooms, blooms, blooms at The Cottage Inn on Market Street.

A West Bluff cottage that always has beautiful gardens. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Another West Bluff cottage. This one is for sale!

Sunrise at the marina one morning this week. (Photo: Tony Boom)

A backyard gate behind a West Bluff cottage.  Doesn’t it made you wonder what’s on the other side?

Gardens on the Governor’s Summer Residence property. (Photo: Ted Horton)

Hedge-clipping at the Governor’s Summer Residence.  Maybe he’s coming this weekend!

Full moon and the beautiful Grand Hotel. (Photo: Annie Lockwood)

Hollyhocks on the West Bluff.

Poppies on a road going toward Brown’s Brook – in the interior of the island. (Photo: George Piliouras)

The gardens of the Metivier Inn never fail to be jaw-dropping in beauty.

The top of Fort Hill just as dawn breaks.  (Photo: Ted Horton)

Bodie, on a final walk of the evening.  He’s getting this posing stuff polished to a fine art!

Hoping you all are doing well and thanking you for your patience with me this summer.

Love, hugs, and God bless.

In the Spotlight . . . . 9/16/2011

We have a winner for the Mystery Spot Contest.  She is Joan Asoklis from Shelby Township, MI.  Please see end of post for the answer!

As I was looking through my photos a couple of days ago, trying to decide what to publish for Random Photo Day, I received an email from two of my most loyal blog readers, Steve and Tami Fridley from Indiana.  Steve and Tami visit the Island as much as possible, and Steve always takes the most amazing photographs while he’s here.  He sent me a link to a few from their last visit a couple of weeks ago, and they are so stunning I decided to forego my own random shots, and put up Steve’s instead (with his permission, of course).  They are all so, so good – but his sunrise shots just blew me away.

Steve and Tami stayed at the Cottage Inn while they were on the Island, and Steve had to get up mighty early for some of these shots!

A freighter slips through the Straits on a dead calm day.

Can we ever have enough photos of Round Island Light? This one is really sharp, and the blues are beautiful. I also like how the two small red buildings off to the left show up so well against the blue.

The Marina at dawn. The buildings you can see (from left to right) are: The Richard and Jane Manoogian Art Museum (formerly the Indian Dormitory), Anne's Cottage, Brigadoon Cottage, the Yacht Club, and the Island House, ablaze with lights. You can also see that a few East Bluff cottages have not yet been closed for the winter.

Just before sunrise . . .

. . . and a few moments later.

Kites in every shape and color fly over Windermere Point . . .

Backing off for a longer view, Steve captured the beautiful Iroquois Hotel.

I love this end of Market Street. The hustle and bustle slowly ebb away as you walk down the shady sidewalk to the water.

If I was a betting woman, I would say Steve took this photo of the Cottage Inn right after he sleepily stumbled outside to photograph the next three shots.

Downtown in the wee, small hours of the morning. The street washers have already been by, and everything is fresh and ready for a new day.

The Marina just before daybreak.

This one should definitely be a calendar entry. I love it, and I don't think I've ever seen Marquette Park in this early morning light. The grass, the street lamps, the sky, and St. Anne's steeple. Unbelievably beautiful.

Thanks so much, Steve, for allowing me to spotlight your photographs.  Hope to see you and Tami when you’re here in October!


Thinking Out Loud

I’ve already begun trying to think of ways to improve the blog for next summer, and two of my ideas so far are these:

1)  One day a week publish YOUR Mackinac Island vacation photos.  Now we’d have to be very sensible about this.  You couldn’t send me hundreds of photos and ask me to choose the best one to publish.  Oh no!  YOU would have to choose your best shot and send it in.

2)  Maybe once a month I’d like to publish one of YOUR stories about the Island.  Maybe it would be a favorite vacation story – something romantic, or silly, or dramatic, or . . .  whatever.  Or maybe it would be what made you fall in love with the Island and want to come here year after year.

Drop me a comment and let me know what you think of these ideas . . . or offer your own suggestions!


The object of the Mystery Spot  is to be the first to identify where the object is located. When you think you have the answer, email me at I’ll check my email several times a day, and as soon as we have a winner, I’ll post the winner’s name at the top of this blog so you can stop guessing, AND I’ll post the full photo of the mystery spot at the bottom of the blog with the answer. Is there a prize for the winner – yes there is; but the prize is secret, and the only ones who will know what it is are the winners. To be fair, I’m asking residents of Mackinac Island to please NOT guess. This is just for readers who don’t live here . . . but would like to!  Also – don’t forget – you can only win once per season.

This Mystery Spot is a little different.  There might be several of these same images around the island, but the one I’m looking for is the one you’ve seen nearly every week this summer on the blog in at least one of my photos.  And the Mystery Spot is . .

Where is it?

Don’t forget to email your answer to me at  Please do not answer in the comment section.
Things are winding down a little now, but soon the fall colors will be big news, and I’ll have lots to report.  While things are quiet, I’m going to take the weekend off except for posting the Mystery Spot winner.
I’ll be back on Monday with lots of good things – like photos from last week’s race around the island AND the story of how a leaky dishwasher turned into a brand new floor in our condo.  The work is done, and I can’t wait to show you the results!

Have a great weekend, and God bless.


The horse and buggy image I was looking for is on the Lilac House Bed & Breakfast, which is so often seen in the photos taken of my blog readers when they visit me at the Stuart House. Here I'm with Paul and Elaine Williams of Yale, MI (earlier in the summer).

A Feast for Your Eyes 8/4/2010

Ted and I walked down to the Iroquois Hotel a little after noon today to have lunch.  It was a warm day here, and there was enough moisture in the air to bring in a strange mid-day fog which hung over the island all afternoon.  We decided to sit outside on the patio so we could catch the breeze off the water, and while we were waiting for our lunch, I walked around with my camera.  The Iroquois is known not only for its delicious food, but also for its beautiful gardens – and this year the flowers have have been beyond gorgeous. 

I spent the rest of the afternoon photographing a side street down in the Mission District for a future blog.  In the process of doing that, I passed so many beautiful gardens at various homes and B & B’s that I decided tonight to give your eyes a feast of color. 

The Carriage House Restaurant patio - behind the Iroquois Hotel - where Ted and I had lunch this afternoon. To the right you can see a couple of beach chairs - two of several which sit facing the two lighthouses just beyond the Iroquois.

The Iroquois sits on the shoreline of Lake Huron, and the back of the patio is protected from the waves by large rocks and stunning flowerbeds.

A little secluded corner of the patio.

The front porch of the Bay View at Mackinac Bed & Breakfast . . . .

. . . and the gardens in front of the Bay View's porch.

A Cottage Inn hanging basket. I don't know what they have added to the horse poop compost this year, but we've never seen such baskets in the 11 years we've been coming to the island.

Another example from the Cottage Inn.

A flower garden on Main Street - near the Mission District . . .

. . . same garden - different view.

One more of that same garden. I loved being able to photograph the flowers against the water and the anchored boats.

This was a house on the same side of the street. The hollyhocks are in full bloom everywhere you look.

Even against an old red barn behind one of the homes on Main Street, folks plants flowers fit for a king's garden.


Another stunning hanging basket.

No water for the birds in this birdbath, but they sure could find plenty of room for a nest.

I was thinking that this week would be a little less hectic than the last two, but that isn’t proving to be true.  I’m busy working on several blogs at once, and the stories just keep coming.  That’s a good thing, but it sure is keeping me busy.  I hope you’re liking what you’re reading this summer, and that the photos are different enough from last year that you aren’t getting bored.  I worry about such things.  Please know how much I enjoy reading your comments everyday, and although I don’t reply back often, I read each and every one – and love them all.  Thank you!

Special People, Special Place . . . 02/07/2010

Hal Borland, a former writer for The New York Times, once said, “To know – after absence – the familiar street and road and village and house is to know again the satisfaction of home.”  My readers are well aware that I have two homes – one at the lake, with ties to my southern roots, my family, my friends, and 61 years of history.  Then there is my heart’s home – this island. 

Returning here on Thursday afternoon once again filled the space in my heart reserved only for this village and these people.  Winter Festival is basically a community celebration.  In a place cut off from the mainland during the winter – unless you fly in and out – this small community of residents pauses for a weekend and celebrates what makes them special – their children, their bond with each other, their home on this island. 

This afternoon when we arrived at Turtle Park, I felt as if I was being welcomed home by family.  So many people who I had last seen at the end of October called out a “welcome back!”  They asked “Where’s Ted?”  They hugged me.  They chatted.  They made me feel that making the effort to travel to Michigan from Georgia for a four day visit was very special to them.  I wanted to tell them all that there was no effort involved – I had simply come to my heart’s home.

We have once again been outside all day.  It was two degrees when we awoke this morning, but luckily the winds have been calm.  We put on layer after layer (at last count we three girls had managed to pull on and zip up seven layers above our waists and three below).  We wore snow boots, wool socks, toe warmers stuck to the bottom of our socks, and hand warmers inside our gloves.  We were warm, but we also looked like inflated robots.  If we had tipped over, there is no way we could have ever gotten up without help.

Here’s our day in photographs – with captions.

Ice in the marina has broken into large pieces.

We left The Cottage Inn around noon. I kept hoping for a snowmobile ride, but Jill insisted we walk. I'm so glad we did.

At the foot of Fort Hill, Jill was already snapping photos. I think, between the two of us, we took more than 400 pictures today.

The trees are beautiful, standing against the white snow.

Dawn - trying to hide behind a tree. In seven layers of clothes!? I don't think so!

A fork in the road - but they both end at Turtle Park.

Pointing out the path Ted and I take through the woods to our condo.

Marge and Rich (and Joe Cocker) caught up with us toward the end of our hike. They were going to the Winter Festival also.

The Winter Festival was in full swing when we arrived.

One of the many activities was sledding - a favorite with the kids.

There was also snow golf . . . .

Human sled dog races - where the "sled dog" was blindfolded and had to mush around a marked route to shouted instructions from the person (or persons) on the sled . . .

Face painting for the children . . .

Broom hockey - a children's match and an "over the hill" match . . .

And then there's Bowling with a Frozen Chicken, the only game in which I participated. You are given a frozen solid, hard as a rock chicken, wrapped in cellophane. You have to hurl it toward the bowling pins at least a thousand feet away. I did not win or place. In fact, I never touched even one of those darn pins. By the way, the prize for the winner of that game was the frozen chicken.

The totem pole at Turtle Park is crowned by - what else - a turtle!

Me with Penny - one of Andrew and Nicole's sweet dogs.

Mike, who has been filming all weekend, talking with Karen from The St. Ignace News.

Jack, with his wife, owns the Cannonball Restaurant at British Landing. They were grilling hotdogs and brats for the crowd.

Chloe gets in a little sledding, making it all the way down the hill without a crash.

The crowd seemed to continue growing throughout the afternoon, tapering off around 3:30 p.m.

Dawn and I watched some of the games from the bleachers, which were facing the sun. A beautiful day!


An island friend's little girl - Madison.

Cute Miss Madison again.

We took a break from the festival, and walked over to Trillium Heights, a subdivision behind the Village.

We went by and visited for a moment with Don and his wife. Don and Ted work together at the Visitor's Center on the island during the summer.


Jill went back to the Festival, while Dawn and I started back downtown.

When Jill started back to town, she walked by the Fort Cemetary. Always a quiet, peaceful setting, today it was a study in beautiful tranquility.

White birch trees, white snow.

Dawn and I walked to town down Cadotte Avenue, past our condo. I will probably return tomorrow and go inside.

The last "to do" item on our agenda today was to find a patch of perfect snow and make a snow Angel. Dawn did it first . . .

. . . and then it was my turn. So funny! Getting ourselves up out of that snow was a sight to behold!

We were very happy to see The Cottage Inn late this afternoon. We had been gone from noon until almost 6 p.m.

Jill, bless her heart, ran to the Mustang and picked up a “pizza to go” for supper.  She left to help Leanne with some details for  the second day of the Winter Festival.  Dawn and I ate pizza, watched a movie (while I should have been blogging), and now, once again, everyone is sleeping as I finish writing.

It has been another wonderful day on the island – we could not have asked for better weather.  We have been plenty cold, but the winds have been calm, and the days have been so beautiful.  Tomorrow we have more Winter Festival activities.  There is a brunch planned at the school with pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes, biscuits & gravy, cinnamon rolls & fresh fruit. Oh, yum!  Dawn and I are helping run a silent auction table, and there will be bake sales, a cookie contest, turtle races, and the selection of photographs for the 2010 “Seasons of Mackinac” calendar.  The Superbowl is tomorrow night, with parties planned at both the Mustang and Patrick Sinclair’s Irish Pub.  A very busy day!

I will not be blogging Sunday or Monday nights.  With the activities of the day, the Superbowl, packing to leave on Monday morning, and spending Monday night in Atlanta (after a late arrival on Delta Monday evening) I won’t be writing the final chapter of our winter adventure until I return home.  You can read all about it right here on Wednesday morning.

Thanks so much for all your wonderful comments.  Some have made me laugh out loud and some have brought tears to my eyes – all have touched my heart. Have a wonderful week – see you Wednesday morning.  God bless.

Island Winter Day . . . 02/06/2010

When I talked to Ted this morning, it was a cold, rainy day at the lake.  It was cold here also, but the snow was white, the sun was shining (for a minute anyway), and we were determined to stay outside as much as possible to enjoy every minute. 

Friday was an “extra” day for us.  The Winter Festival activities don’t start until Saturday at noon, so Jill, Dawn, Mike and I spent the day roaming around downtown taking photos.  Mike was officially “on business” for this trip, shooting video for The Cottage Inn and background footage for his ever increasing video achives on the island. 

If you read this blog last summer, you know that Ted and I stayed at the Chippewa Hotel every year we came to Mackinac until we bought our condo.  We love the Chip!  Now I have another place I can personally recommend – The Cottage Inn, a bed & breakfast on Market Street.   The rooms are all beautiful and decorated in different styles.  We are staying in the Victorian Turret Room, which has a queen bed, a sofa sleeper,  flat screen TV, private bath, and pillow-top mattresses. Marge and Rich Lind are the innkeepers, and as soon as you walk in the door you become their most important guest. 

Dawn and I wore our pj’s downstairs for breakfast this morning and found a breakfast casserole, fruit and yogurt, assorted breakfast breads, cereals, hard-boiled eggs, coffee and four different juices.  Everything was delicious!

A great way to start a day on Mackinac Island - good food and good friends!

Here’s the rest of the day in photographs – with captions.  Pictures tell the story so well when you are on the island.

The first stop of the day was our 11 a.m. appearance on the web cam. So many people watched and sent comments - or called! Mary, one of my readers, sent this photo she had "captured" off her computer screen.

And here we all are waving to the camera. That's Dawn, Mike, Jill, and Joan (an island resident).

Main Street on a winter day. We were so excited to see this much white stuff. Everyone keeps saying, "We're so sorry there's not a lot of snow." And Dawn and I kept saying, "But, to us, this IS a lot of snow!"

Jill, Dawn and I standing in front of The Cottage Inn.

Around noon everyday, the island residents arrive at the post office to pick up their mail.


The Geary House is located across the street from The Cottage Inn. Mike and his family will be renting it this summer. It is available for rental through the Mackinac Island State Park - monthly rentals only.

We walked down Market Street to the water, stopping in front of this beautiful cottage - still decorated for Christmas.

As soon as we walked across the street to the boardwalk, away from the shelter of the houses, the wind hit us full force. Suddenly, it was much colder. Round Island Lighthouse stands a lonely watch over water half-frozen in the Straits.

There is a lot of ice at the edge of the lake. We spent quite some time trying to talk Dawn into taking the "plunge", but she kept saying, "Maybe later."

We stopped in at the library to check out some artwork by Tim Leeper and other local artists.


Dawn spent some time back in the Used Books sections, where paperbacks are $1, and most hardcover books are $2.


Can you believe all three have cellphones attached to their ears!


I kept saying these were snow clouds, but I guess the clouds weren't listening.

Dawn - all bundled up to roam around in the snow.


A bundled -up Jill with her camera.

Rich, who with his wife Marge are the innkeepers at The Cottage Inn, looks out the door as we head out again into the snow.

As we left, Marge and the Cottage Inn mascot, Joe Cocker, were coming back from a walk.

Mike - filming snowmobiles.

Walking down toward the Mission district, where the traffic is less, there was even more snow on the road. The path on the right is kept clear for walkers.


Leanne had promised us a sleigh ride, and when we arrived at the 4-H barn, she was harnessing Blaze, a small Haflinger.

Jill put Gingersnap into the barn, so she wouldn't get upset seeing Blaze leave.

Blaze is harnessed and hitched almost exactly the same as the big Belgian horses who pull the taxis in the summer.

One horse plus one sleigh equals a sleigh ride!

While Blaze was being hitched to the sleigh, we were visited by Max, Major and Lily - three Shetland Sheepdogs from up the road.

Blaze and Lily have a little mutual admiration society going on.

Dawn, Leanne, and I leaving the stable.

Riding behind Blaze

Leanne and Jill arriving back at The Cottage Inn.

Liz, from The Quilted Turtle blog - who teaches on the island - was going out to dinner with us. She offered to take me on a snowmobile ride, but first had to help me get my hood on straight. I think I heard her say something along the lines of, "You Southern girls don't know how to dress for cold weather." But we're trying, Liz!

Liz drove me up to the Mission District, then went into a house to get something. When she came back outside, she said, "Do you want to drive?" Are you kidding me!!! She let me drive from in front of St. Anne's back to The Cottage Inn. Oh my gosh! I loved it!

We headed for the Mustang for dinner - Jill, Mike and I walking - Dawn getting a ride from Liz.

Dinner at the Mustang.

Another fabulous day on the island.  Tomorrow, the Winter Festival begins.  As I finish writing tonight, I am sitting by a window in our room, and outside I can hear the wind whistling around the corner of the inn.  A cold front is coming in tonight from Canada, and tomorrow night the forecast low is 7 degrees – and that’s without the wind chill factored in.  We might not have tons of snow, but I think tomorrow we will get plenty of COLD!  See you then!

Jill snapped this beautiful photo while she was out in the sleigh this afternoon.

Leaving on a Jet Plane . . . . 02/04/2010

“All our bags are packed, we’re ready to go . . . . . ”

I talked to Ted about half-way to Atlanta, and he told me that Bear was lying out at the corner of our yard, staring down the road, waiting for me to come back.  I said I really didn’t believe that because I leave the house all the time.  “But,” Ted said, “you put your suitcases in the car this time.  Bear knew something was different.”  Awwww . . . . . daddy will take care of you, Bear!

Dawn and I arrived in Atlanta this afternoon early enough to avoid the gridlock of traffic and late enough to get into our room without a wait.  Neither of us has ever stayed at a Drury Inn & Suites, but from what we’ve seen so far, we are impressed!  We locked the car in secure parking, where it will stay for six nights free of charge.  Our room is very nice, with a huge flat screen TV.  We’ve already been downstairs for free popcorn and soft drinks.

We are right across the street from the airport, and tomorrow morning we will jump on the hotel shuttle and be dropped off at the Delta terminal.  We’ve already checked-in online, printed our boarding passes, and checked our baggage online.  Amazing!  Tomorrow morning all we have to do at the airport is give our checked suitcase to a skyhop curbside and go straight to security with our carry-on luggage.  Hopefully, by the time we get to our gate, Mike will be there also. 

Another perk at Drury that just began Feb. 1 is hot food and drinks free from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  We went down to the lobby around 6 p.m., where they served  hot dogs with chili, baked potatoes with cheese sauce, salad, and nachos. You also get a card good for three free drinks – wine, beer, AND mixed drinks!  We were pretty impressed, as were about 30 other folks staying here!  Tomorrow, before we leave, we will take advantage of the free breakfast! 

The staff has also been extremely helpful, courteous, and nice.  We’ll be back, Drury!

Our flight is Delta 5225 leaving at 9 a.m. Thursday morning, arriving in Flint around 11 a.m.  From there, a 3-4 hour drive to St. Ignace, a 5- minute flight to the island, and a 20-minute taxi ride to the Cottage Inn.  A busy day!

Don’t forget!  Dawn, Jill, Mike and I will be standing in front of the Tourism Bureau webcam at 11 a.m. on Friday (Feb. 5) morning to wave to everyone back home.  If you want to tune in, please be watching a little before 11 a.m. that day.  Once you are on that site, click on the “Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau” link to go to that camera.  “See” you there, and see you back here online Friday morning.

God bless.