Slowing Down 10/24/2013

Hi friends!

Mackinac Island – the tourist destination – is shutting down.  When the Grand Hotel rings its closing bell on Monday morning and hundreds of Grand employees fill the ferries with their accumulated summer gear, the season will officially be over.

TUESDAY

Ted and I have been

Tuesday was “cover the gray day” at my St. Ignace hair salon – Leroy’s.  Returning to the island, I took a few minutes to wander the almost empty streets and pop in and out of a few shops.

October is sales month on Mackinac, and shops like Nephews - packed full of beautiful ladies and mens' clothing

October is sales month on the Island, and shops like Nephew’s on Mackinac – packed full of beautiful ladies’ and mens’ clothing in the summer months – are down to bare or almost bare shelves.

Market Street

Market Street was pretty empty also . . .

. . . and The Town Crier box awaits a refill.

. . . and The Town Crier box awaited a refill.

Our skies have pretty much looked like this for the last few days.

Our skies have pretty much looked like this for the last few days . . .

. . . but my camera loves this kind of light

. . . but my camera loves this kind of light.

As I topped the hill at Four Corners, I got lucky.  Some of the last horses were leaving the big barns.

As I topped the hill at Four Corners, I got lucky. Some of the last horses were leaving the big barns.

ggggg

These three and their leader appeared to be in a celebratory mood as they made their way to the ferry.

A lot of the taxis are already off the streets, and next week we'll be down to only one.

Many of the taxis are already off the streets, and next week we’ll be down to only one.

As I watch the few taxis still working move through the streets lined in

Is there any other place where horse-drawn taxis, moving down roads lined in colorful trees, can bring such a strong sense of bygone days . . .

or where a solitary buggy sitting beside an empty corral can look so lonely.

. . . or where a solitary buggy, sitting beside an empty corral, can look so lonely?

Even the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Exhibit sign at the end of our yard has been removed.

Even the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory sign at the end of our yard has been removed.

WEDNESDAY

On Wednesday, Ted and I went down the hill to ship more boxes.  Somehow Ted strapped three HUGE boxes onto a small rolling cart and managed to get them all the way to the post office without tipping it over.  After that we ran a few errands and ended up at the Seabiscuit for lunch.

Our favorite "hostess with the mostest" - Nancy, the cutest little lady I have ever met!

Nancy, our favorite “hostess with the mostest,” is the cutest and most energetic little lady I have ever met!  We love her!

We walked home via the boardwalk

We walked home via the boardwalk . . .

. . . and watched the clouds roll in

. . . and watched the clouds roll in.

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We decided to walk past our normal turns and walk to the end of the boardwalk, then a little further to turn into the woods and come out at the poolhouse of the Grand Hotel.

Walking past our normal turns and past the end of the boardwalk, we turned into the woods and came out at the pool house of the Grand Hotel.

Needless to say, the Grand Hotel pool looks a little forlorn with no water.

Needless to say, the Grand Hotel pool looks a little forlorn with no water.

gg

The storm clouds had moved behind the Grand by the time we arrived there.

These look like two trees of the same species to me.  But how can they be when one has turned a beautiful buttery yellow and the other remains green

These look like two trees of the same species to me. But how can they be when one has turned a beautiful buttery yellow and the other remains green as a grasshopper?

Workers were just finishing planting tulip bulbs.

Workers were just finishing the planting of tulip bulbs . . .

ddd

. . . and by the time we got a couple of hills from our condo, it started hailing.

These little pellets really sting when they hit your face!

These little pellets really sting when they hit your face!

THURSDAY

Jill and I left on the 11 a.m. boat today.  Bear had a grooming appointment, and then we were meeting Sue Conlon in Petoskey for lunch.  Poor Bear.  He never gets any attention on Shepler's ferries!

Jill and I left on the 11 a.m. boat,.  Bear had a grooming appointment in Alanson and then we were meeting Sue Conlon in Petoskey for lunch. Poor Bear. He never gets any attention on Shepler’s ferries!

The three of us spent two hours laughing so hard we could barely find time to eat.  Oh my gosh, we had fun!

The three of us spent two hours at The Side Door Saloon, laughing so hard we could barely find time to eat. Oh my gosh, we had fun!  Here we were trying to take a photo of ourselves with my iPhone.  Jill is holding it at arms length, and we can see ourselves in the screen, which for some reason we found hilariously funny.

After picking Bear up from the groomers, we hightailed it back to Mackinaw City to catch the 5:30 boat.

After picking Bear up from the groomers, we hightailed it back to Mackinaw City to catch the 5:30 boat.

Jill was riding shotgun so she was able to take some photos out the windows.  Although the rain and wind we've had all week have stripped away a lot of the leaves, it was still a beautiful ride.

Jill was riding shotgun so she was able to take some photos out the windows. Although the rain and wind we’ve had all week have stripped away a lot of the leaves, it was still a beautiful ride.

I wish we'd had time to turn down this dirt road and explore.

I wish we’d had time to turn down this dirt road and explore.

In between rain showers, a huge rainbow appeared . . .

In between rain showers, a huge rainbow appeared . . .

. . . stretching for what seemed like miles across the fields.

. . . stretching for what seemed like miles across the fields and over the trees.

A FEW EXTRAS

Molly, a tour driver for Gough's, took this photo through the back window of her carriage this week.  The plastic flap made the photo look more like a watercolor than a photograph.

Molly, a tour driver for Gough’s, took this photo through the back window of her carriage this week. The plastic flap made the pic look more like a watercolor than a photograph.  Scary looking sky!

First Shepler ferry of the morning.  (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

First Shepler ferry of the morning. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

In the week before the Grand closes, an air of anticipation begins to grow among the true Islanders, the men and women and children who live here year-round.  When the last seasonal employee has been ferried across the Straits of Mackinac, the 400 or so folks who have resided here for generations breathe a contended sigh and go back to a way of life few non-islanders will ever known.  The island is all theirs then, a beautiful paradise where they will enjoy whatever the winter brings.  If the weather is bad enough, they can live for days isolated from the mainland.  It is a hard life, but one they would never dream of leaving.

I envy them the peace they find on this island in the winter.  One day, good Lord willing, I’d still love to share that peace with them.

Foggy Days, Rainy Nights and Other Good Things 10/13/2013

When I wrote the post on Wednesday,  I thought I’d have nothing to talk about tonight except packing boxes.  Amazingly though we’ve spent a lot of time outdoors this weekend – going first one place and then another, or just out with Maddie and Bear.  Of course that means putting packing into a higher gear for the next two weeks, but so be it!

Our closing date is Oct. 29, a Tuesday, and we’ll be leaving Mackinac on either the 30th or 31st (I typed that sentence really fast so I couldn’t start thinking about it).  Ted wants to be at the Bottom for the Georgia football game, and with that goal in mind, I have no doubt he’ll be there at the appointed time.  We still can’t talk much about leaving without getting a case of the “sentimentals”, but time is the only thing that will take care of that . . . time AFTER we leave the Island.

We’re still “homeless” for next summer, but we have 2-3 irons in the fire, and we’re hoping one of them works out.  Sure would like to get that buckled down before we leave the Island.

Friday started off as another October gift – sunny skies and mild temperatures.  This time last year we couldn’t venture out without several layers, and here we were walking the dogs without even a light jacket!  But when I happened to glance outside late in the morning, I thought, “Oh, no! Something’s on fire!”  But it wasn’t smoke, it was fog . . . rolling in from the lake in huge swirls.  And that’s how fast things change in Michigan!

Later in the afternoon I grabbed the camera and walked a few blocks further up the hill.

Late in the afternoon I grabbed the camera and walked a few blocks further up the hill . . . just as workers were coming home from town.

The fall colors shrouded in fog were eerily beautiful as I walked up and down each hill.

The fall colors, shrouded in fog, were eerily beautiful . . . .

. . . and popped out even more brightly than on a clear day.

. . . and seemed to pop out even more brightly than on a clear day.

Yards . . .

Yards . . .

. . . and streets are covered in crunchy leaves.

. . . and streets are covered in crunchy leaves.

I turned around at 7th Street and started back home . . .

I turned around at 7th Street and started back home . . .

. . . stopping to admire the apple crop at the Bradley's.

. . . stopping to admire the apple crop at the Bradley’s . . .

. . . and standing in the middle of the road by the condo to capture the ghostly carriage coming up the hill . . .

. . . and standing in the middle of the road by the condo to capture the ghostly carriage coming up the hill.

No ghost . . . it was Molly!

No ghost though . . . it was Molly!

On Saturday night I put together my old standby – corn salad – and Ted and I went downtown to a friend’s going away dinner.  The host has an apartment over the Island Slice Pizzeria, and I took that as an opportunity to shoot a few photographs of Main Street from a different vantage point.

The lights were just beginning to come on downtown when I began to take photos from the apartment's balcony.

The lights were just beginning to come on downtown when I began to take pics from the apartment’s balcony.

An hour or so later, more lights.

A little later – more lights.

When I went back inside I was told that the ladder in the corner of the room led up to the roof.  With Ted’s help, I managed to get up there without incident, and, oh my goodness, what a view!

Looking over roof tops to the lighthouses

Rain clouds were gathering as I looked over the roof tops toward the lighthouses.

The Arnold dock.

The Arnold dock.

Looking back toward Market Street.

Turning around to face toward Market Street, I could see Fort Mackinac.

Main Street - always beautiful at night.

Main Street – always beautiful at night.

The Iroquois

The lights of the Iroquois Hotel glow softly against the dark sky.

After I made it safely down off the roof and we'd eaten dinner, the threatening rain came.

After I made it safely down off the roof and we’d eaten dinner, the threatening rain came.  I walked back out on the balcony to capture the street lights reflecting off the wet pavement.

Oh my the way.  The hit of the party was a yellow lab puppy named Millie . . .

Oh by the way. The hit of the party was a yellow lab puppy named Millie . . .

. . . who was doggone tired after a day exploring the Island and went soundly to sleep on her mom's sweater.

. . . who was doggone tired after a day exploring the Island and went soundly to sleep on her mom’s sweater.

After dinner - as we waited for a taxi.

After dinner – as we waited for a taxi.

A slow drizzle accompanied us home.

A slow drizzle accompanied us home.

OTHER STUFF

Sweet Sally, a Baying Walker Coonhound belonging to Mary and John, checks out the steps

Sweet Sally, a Baying Walker Coonhound belonging to Mary McGuire, checks out Crow’s Nest Trail, which leads from Anne’s Tablet to Marquette Park.

Went to Nicole Doud's baby shower this afternoon at the Jockey Club. Nicole is one of the sweetest people I know, and Baby Doud is expected in December. We are all going to be fighting next summer to babysit!

Nicole Doud’s baby shower was this afternoon at the Jockey Club. Nicole is one of the sweetest people I know, and next summer we are all going to be fighting to babysit Baby Doud!

The Jewel Golfcourse - after the baby shower.

The Jewel Golf Course – after the baby shower.

Just before I started home this afternoon things really got busy on Cadotte!  With the summer flowers still blooming and the fall leaves shouting for attention

Just before I started home this afternoon things really got busy on Cadotte! With the summer flowers still blooming and the fall leaves shouting for attention, you hardly know where to look first!

Stephanie Fortino's feature about Bree's Mackinac Island Blog came out in this month's Town Crier.  Stephanie did a great job of writing the story and capturing my love for Mackinac and all its people.  I'm trying to get permission to reprint the article on the blog this week.  Will let you know later this week how that turns out.  Thank you, Stephanie!

Stephanie Fortino’s feature about Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog came out in this month’s Town Crier. Stephanie did a great job of writing the story and capturing my love for Mackinac, its people, and my readers. I’m trying to get permission to reprint the article on the blog, and I’ll let you know later this week how that turns out. Thank you, Stephanie!

The next two weeks will be dedicated to packing and saying a lot of goodbyes – just like we’ve done the last six years.  And we’ll be constantly reminding ourselves we’ll be back next summer – just like we’ve done the last six years – only next summer will be for a little shorter time. 

I find myself keeping three little phrases spinning through my head these days – God’s in charge.  God doesn’t make mistakes.  God’s time is perfect.

It’s all good.  God bless.

All’s Well That Ends Well . . . 9/17/2010

This has been a tough week.  Being sick was no fun, and I really feel like I haven’t put much effort into the blog in several days.  And with the kids coming in Thursday afternoon, I’ll be taking a few days off to enjoy them – so I guess you’ll just have to label this week’s posts as “the blog that almost was” and look forward to better things from me next week.

Before I sign off for the week though, I have a couple of exciting things to share with you, and then I’ll offer up “Random Photos” a day earlier than usual.

The excitement started with an email from an artist in Illinois who wanted to use one of my photos as a model for a watercolor he had been asked to paint.  Spencer Meagher told me that a lady in New York had contacted him about doing a painting of Robinson’s Folly as part of his “Places I’ve Never Been, Things I’ve Never Done” series, which he began September 1 of this year.  She had referred him to a past Bree’s Blog post in which Robinson’s Folly was pictured.  I emailed him the original of the photo, and below are the results.

My photo of Robinson’s Folly (the large outcropping of limestone on the right of the photo). Small Point Inn is also pictured.

Spencer’s watercolor. How cool is that!

In the emails we sent back and forth this week, I learned that Spencer visits Mackinac Island quite often and photographs scenes that he later paints.  For some reason, he had never photographed this particular landmark.  If you’d like to visit his website and look at his other work, some of which includes Mackinac Island scenes,  you can find him at www.spencermeagherfineart.com.

Another day I was contacted by Maggie who is a freelance writer for “The Mackinac Journal”, a northern Michigan monthly magazine.  She was doing a story on the horses leaving the island for the winter and had seen a blog post from last year, with all the photos of the horses coming down the street and entering the ferry.  She asked if I would email her the originals, in their highest resolution, to see if any could be used by their graphics artist to illustrate her story.  I received an email from her today that the photos were perfect, and she will be sending me a copy of the magazine when it hits the stands in October.  I’ll be getting full photo credit, so I’m very excited!

So very, very strange how this blog-thing is turning out.  A lady in New York who reads my blog tells an artist in Illinois to request a photo from me to do a painting she wants.  A writer in Cheboygan finds photos she needs to write a story on the horses leaving the island.

And all I wanted to do was write “letters home” to Georgia friends while we were in Michigan.  Amazing.  And so, so much fun!

I walked downtown – camera in coat pocket –  late this afternoon, knowing my “random photos” would all be done in one probably two-hour session.  I just hadn’t been out much again this week, so my random shots were few, and I needed to add to the ones I had that were usable.  I had in mind sticking to a theme of “Mackinac from Different Angles” and taking photos of places I see every day – but from different perspectives.  And I did some of that.  But I branched out from that theme also – proving once again I am no good at all at “going with a plan”.  Maybe that’s why random photo day is so popular – it’s just my “random mind” at its best!

A red flower, purple leaves plant from The Grand flower garden. Sorry, Mary, but I don’t think we covered this one on the tour. If we did – I forgot!  Sure is pretty though!

Looking across the school playground, through the trees, to the water.

No dogs anywhere, but something spooked the geese in the Burroughs Lot into flying. They are silhouetted against the Mackinac Bridge.

A brightly colored kite flies high against the cloudy sky.

Little Stone Church, as we normally see it photographed.

The Little Stone Church Steeple and bell. On Sunday mornings at the beginning of the service, and at the end of every wedding – as the bride and groom leave the church – a person standing in the center aisle pulls the rope and rings the bell. You can hear it for miles. 

The beautiful stained glass window you see upon entering the church door . . .

. . . . and the one you see as you go out the church door . . .

. . . which is always open and welcoming. As I’ve said before, this church drew me in just as the island did, and that was before I ever had the privilege of hearing Dr. Vince Carroll speak.

One more of the church. This one is from the walkway which goes to the lawn behind the church – where we have our coffee and cookies fellowship on Sunday mornings.

The Town Crier office. Our weekly newspaper is published once a week during the summer.

The windows in La Galerie were filled with beautiful fall displays, like these gorgeous bags.

A scarecrow waves a welcome from his bike.  He’s in the yard of one of the homes used for employee housing on Cadotte Avenue.

A Mackinac Island street in the middle of a Fall weekday. By Friday afternoon the streets will be full again.

A peek inside one of my favorite island shops – Little Luxuries on Mackinac Island.

A row of signs we are very familiar with – Scrimshanders, The Chippewa Hotel, and . . .

. . . what else! The Pink Pony!

Doud’s Market was hopping this afternoon – but it always is! Ya gotta have food, but I could just stand outside and admire the flowers!

The taxi stand. As I walked by, two ladies were muttering that the “phone doesn’t work”. I interrupted them and said I’d be glad to give it a try. I explained that they wouldn’t hear a dial tone when they picked it up. It just automatically rings upstairs to the taxi dispatcher, which it did – and they ordered their taxi.  I remember thinking the same thing the first time I used that phone, which hangs inside a marked box on the front of the building.

The east end of town.

The sign for Harbor Place Apartments, another good place to stay during the winter if you come here to ski, or just to enjoy the solitude. The apartments are all waterfront.

The beautiful Hotel Iroquois, which looks a lot smaller from the front . . .

. . . than it does from this side view!

The Windermere Hotel, as seen from Windermere Point.  Wow – I should have brought Bear and Maddie, the geese dogs!

The back of our lovely library, as seen from the beach. Rocking chairs across the back porch are available day and night for a quiet place to read, or to just enjoy looking at the water and watching the boats.

From the sidewalk, across the street from the boardwalk. A little further down this road is the school, then you are out of town.

I always wonder, when I see this lone tree on the beach side of the street, what made it stronger than the others that must surely have been here in the past.

The pumpkins growing beside the horse barn seem to have doubled in size over the last few days.

A few leaves are beginning to turn now. For some reason, I think the change is going to be fast this year.

Our condo through the trees.

I don’t think I will be writing while Jason and Blair are here, but I will probably post some pics at least a few nights between now and Monday when they are leaving – so check back every now and then just to see what’s up.  Have a great rest of the week, stay safe, try not to get a cold, and if you’re in northern Michigan, stay WARM!  God bless – and thank you for your prayers this week.  I am so blessed.