Throw Back Tuesday – The Many Shades of Lilac 2/28/17

Personal Note:  Ahhh -Mackinac Lilacs!  Once you’ve been on the island for the Lilac Festival, you’ll always want to come back for the next one!______________________________________________________________________

First Published:  May 31, 2012

Until we moved to Mackinac Island for our summers five years ago, I never gave much thought to lilacs.  Before we bought on the Island, we’d come up for two weeks in July, thereby missing the lilacs blooming and the Lilac Festival by several weeks.  It was actually our second summer on the Island – when we arrived in May for the first time – that brought them to my attention, and ever since then the topic of “when will the lilacs bloom” has become almost as important as “when will the fall colors arrive”.

Being from the south, I didn’t know a lot about lilacs.  The closest thing we have to a lilac in Georgia is the crape myrtle – they’re even called “the lilac of the South”.  Our crape myrtles (we have two in the yard at the lake in Georgia) are white-blooming, but they come in pink and several shades of purple also – just like lilacs.  What crape myrtles do not have is that unbelievable perfume lilacs produce, and that perfume is hovering over Mackinac Island right now – a scent so sweet and heavy you could almost float on it .  The lilacs are in full bloom – not good for the Lilac Festival which doesn’t begin until June 8; but hey – no one has any control over when they bloom but the good Lord.  And who’s going to fuss about His timing?

Tonight I just want to share a few photos I’ve taken this week of the lilacs I see on a daily basis.  Most of these are in the downtown area, so you know there are hundreds more lilacs around the Island that aren’t even represented here.  It’s been fun for me this week to try and capture them in relation to something else – a home, a building, other trees, water, even a wedding carriage.

I sure wish I could attach a scratch-and-sniff add-on right here so you could inhale the perfume as you look at the photos.

Grey-white Percherons and the burgundy Grand Hotel omnibus, with lilacs blooming in the background. Does anything say “Mackinac Island” any better than this?

From the corner of Cadotte and Market, up to that first curve on the way to the Grand, the lilacs are putting on a major show!  These are some of the Island’s oldest lilacs.

The last and worst snow and ice storm of the winter took many of the over-a-hundred-year-old lilac bushes in Marquette Park. The ones that remain seem to be trying their best to make up in quality what they lost in quantity.  Maquette Park is a fantasy-land of lilacs.

I never tire of admiring all the different shades of purple these trees produce. From dark . . .

. . . to light . . .

. . . and everything in between.

Lavender Adirondack chairs enjoy the shade of a lilac bush so large I’d call it a tree – in the yard of what else . . . the Lilac House Bed & Breakfast!

A private tour buggy turns onto Market from Fort Street. The lilac bushes here are in front of the Market Street Inn and next to Weber’s Florist.

This wall of lilac bushes all but hides the Mackinac Island Public School, across Cadotte from Little Stone Church.

Lilacs form a canopy over the preparation of a wedding carriage.

Beautiful Trinity Church on Fort Street, perfectly framed by white lilacs on one side and lavender on the other.

Steven Blair couldn’t ask for a better setting for his Artistic Mackinac Gallery and Studio. Can’t imagine a shade of purple that’s not represented here.

The lovely McGreevy Cottage on Market Street.

I’m hoping some the lilacs you’ve seen here will last another week for the start of the Lilac Festival, and there are other later-blooming varieties that will fill in over the next couple of weeks.  But have no fear, Mackinac Island’s Lilac Festival is ten days of wonderful entertainment with everything from the arts, to good food, to the best parade in all of Michigan.  Come on up- I promise you will have a great time!

Winter Mackinac Magic and Bodie’s First Writing Attempt 1/15/17

Hi All!

Winter has come and gone in Florida!

Winter has come and gone in Florida!

You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.  We had a couple of REALLY COLD days and nights – it even got into the thirties a time or two.  But, not to worry.  We’re now in the 70’s again, and I have to say it’s pretty darn perfect weather right now!

It was even nice enough to some of the Sunset Inlet ladies to eat outside at a great little restaurant we discovered recently - Hammock Organic Café and Boutique. Can't beat getting to eat and shop in the same place! Yummy!

It was even nice enough for some of the Sunset Inlet ladies to eat outside at a great little restaurant we discovered recently – Hammock Organic Café and Boutique. Can’t beat getting to eat and shop in the same place!

On Mackinac it’s 29 today, and for the next two weeks it looks as though 35 or 36 may be the high temp.  All the photos below are compliments of Clark Bloswick except for two.

Tuesdays are trash days downtown, and a little snow storm doesn't stop these hard and hardy workers and horses from completing their route!

Tuesdays are trash days downtown, and a little snow storm doesn’t stop these hardy workers and horses from completing their route!

On Saturday morning the Mighty Huron was cutting through swome surface ice as it arrived early in the morning.

The Mighty Huron plowed through some surface ice as it arrived early one morning this week.

Yesterday marked the end of seeing the 1,000 foot freighters until at least March. The Soo Locks closed today.

Yesterday marked the end of seeing the 1,000 foot freighters until at least March. The Soo Locks closed today.

A sunset earlier in the week - perfect lighting. How can Clark continually be in the right place at the right time?

A sunset earlier in the week – perfect lighting. How can Clark continually be in the right place at the right time?

Sunday morning serenity.

Sunday morning serenity.

Those hard working horses have to eat. A hay wagon heads for the barn after loading at the ferry dock.

Hard-working horses have to eat. A hay wagon heads for the barn after it was loaded at the ferry dock.

Full moon hangs over a blockhouse at Fort Mackinac.

Full moon hangs over a blockhouse at Fort Mackinac.

Looking across Lake Huron toward the bridge in the distance. Looks like the shore ice is setting up.

Looking across Lake Huron toward the bridge in the distance. Looks like the shore ice is setting up pretty well.  (Photo: The Island House)

Loved this pic of two friends, Pam and Meredith, leaving for a day of fun on snowy Mackinac!

Loved this pic of two friends, Pam and Meredith, leaving for a day of fun on snowy Mackinac!  (Photo: Craig Harris)


Hey!  It’s me – Bodie.  Mom said I could try and write a very short blog today.

I only have two questions. What's a blog, and what's writing?

I only have two questions. What’s a blog, and what’s writing?

So.  Mom tried to explain it to me.  She said a blog is where you tell someone out in space about something that is interesting to you or about something you like doing.

I got this.  I like food – dog food (dry and canned), people food (when I can steal it), trash can food (dry and wet), street food (little pieces of paper, bugs, smashed water bottles, lizards (after Maddie kills them), rocks, twigs, dried up chewing gum, bird seed.  You get the picture.  Oh, and poop – but Mom says I don’t like it as much as Bear did – not yet anyway.  I’ll have to work on that.

What else do I like?


My crate!  I sleep in here at night, but I also grab naps here when Mom’s working or watching tv in this room.  I also stay in here when Mom and Dad leave the house.  I think that’s because they are worried I’d un-stuff the couch if they left me free.  And I can’t say that I wouldn’t.

What else.  I LOVE dryer sheets!  I stand in front of the dryer when Mom gets the clothes out, and we have a race to see who can spot the dryer sheet first.  Mom usually wins because she can see INSIDE the dryer.  I have to wait and see if mom doesn’t spot it.  In that case it just falls out of the dryer on the floor, and I’m on it like a wolf.  I’ve only managed to swallow two so far – because Mom is pretty good at prying my jaws apart.  She was worried after I swallowed the first one, but something called “Google” told her they weren’t very dangerous if they’d already been through the dryer.  And – like most things I swallow – it all came out ok in the end.

I love being outside! Last night we were out on the deck and our neighbors next door had their little 8-mon-old granddaughter out on their third floor deck. She was trying to talk to me so hard! I loved watching her!

I love being outside! Last night we were out on the deck and our neighbors next door had their 8-month-old granddaughter out on their third floor balcony, and she was talking to me through the rails.  I don’t know why the grown-ups couldn’t understand what she was saying.  I understood her perfectly!

Mom is saying “that’s enough for the first time, Bodie”, so I will end for now.  Mom just read what I wrote and said it looked like I was going to do pretty good as a blog writer – especially for a kid!  I didn’t know she was serious though until she hugged me and said I was a good boy.  I really, really, really like when she calls me “a good boy” – because that is usually followed by a treat, which is the BEST kind of dog food EVER!

Did I mention I like food?

Ok, ok, Mom.  I’m stopping now!

Mom also says I’m a little too chatty at times.

Who, me?

Who, me?


Personal Note:  I received the following notification from Feedspot Blog last week:


I hope some of you out there will know more about this than I do!  When I opened the link, I learned that Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog was listed as the 14th most popular ISLAND blog among the thousands of island blogs Feedspot holds in their index.  The rankings change by the week and are based on Google reputation and Google search ranking, influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter, and other social media sites, quality and consistency of posts, and Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review.

As I said, I don’t really know what any of that means, but I say a very big “Thank You” for the designation!  And a huge thank you to all my readers who encourage me daily to keep writing!

Love you all, and God bless.

Saying Bye 10/14/16

It’s that time again.  The day before we leave Mackinac, and my emotions are all over the place.  I’m sad to be leaving.  I’m excited to be picking up Bodie.  I’m anxious to get home and see what our precious little neighborhood will be like post-Hurricane Matthew.   I’ve been tottering on the verge of tears all day, but I know I don’t have time for a melt down. So – I’m going to quickly toss up some of the photos I’ve taken over the last few days and ask that you be ok with that for now. 


The steady stream of horses leaving Mackinac is down to a tiny trickle.  The big barn is nearly empty now, and the majority of these gentle giants are happily munching pasture-land grass and hay on big farms in the U.P.  No more work for them until the spring.  Their only job is to get fat and sassy over the winter.


When I walked by Grand Hotel earlier today the front flower bed was already empty, and folks were busily pulling up the flowers in the bed in front of Sadie’s.  In the next few days the soil will be prepared and thousands of tulip bulbs will be planted for a spring blooming.


It seems as though Fall just can’t totally break through this year.  There are patches of beautiful foliage here and there, but only very few places where the color is rampant.  I think anyone coming up for the next two weeks will be the lucky winners of the “perfect time to see the best leaf show” award!


The hillside leading up to Fort Mackinac will be solid red in a few more days.


Downtown work is being done on the Stuart House . . . .


. . . and on Trinity Church.



Jill and I had what we thought would be our last lunch together on Thursday at Mary’s Bistro Draught House . . . but we managed to sneak another one in today with Ted at the Chuckwagon.  We have not been able to get together NEARLY enough this summer!


The case of the mysterious cameraman.  What a bunch of equipment these guys had!  We  THINK they were doing some filming for Original Murdick’s Fudge.


I’ll just call this one “Shady Fall Street”.


It’s always a sad day when they take down all the beautiful hanging baskets from the city lamp posts.


Workers are busy cutting back greenery on the hill leading up to the fort. 


I’ve discovered that Fort Hill is by far the easiest way to get home now.  One steep incline to the top, then cut across behind the Governor’s Residence and the Jewel Golf Course.  Now that I can finally do it without stopping and without huffing and puffing, it’s time to leave.  Oh well – I’ll work on it again next summer.


View from the top of Fort Hill right next to the Governor’s Summer Residence.


Signs of Fall in the woods.


One of the best places to see lots of fall color right now is Point Lookout.  Thank you, Orietta Barquero, for this up-to-date look from the top of the stairs leading down to Sugar Loaf . . .


. . . and this one from the cemeteries.


From Point Lookout today – thanks, Jill Sawatzki!



Doud’s is all decked out for Fall and Halloween.


A gorgeous shot from Orietta Barquero of Fall reflected in a clear lake up toward the middle of the island.



A beautiful sunrise shot from Patrick Conlon on his commute to the island this week.

Ted was able to meet another cousin today when she arrived this afternoon for a church conference at Grand Hotel . . .


Meet Marilyn McNitt from downstate Michigan. 

Lunch on our last day on the island at the Chuckwagon! Have a great winter, Donnie and Sharon!

Lunch on our last day on the island at the Chuckwagon! Have a great winter, Donnie and Sharon!

My head is just filled with things I want to say, but if I get started I might still be here at midnight writing, and Ted will not be happy with me.  We’re meeting friends for dinner later on, but we’ll make it an early evening and be on the taxi when it arrives at 7:15 Saturday morning.  And so begins the trip home.

What a crazy, amazing, emotional, happy, sometimes-frustrating, topsy-turvy summer we’ve had.  We’ve been so blessed to have met several of Ted’s biological cousins on his mom’s side of the family.  It’s so strange to think about this journey and realize that Ted began this year as an only child and will end the year with siblings, uncles and an aunt, and dozens of cousins.  Some of these folks will be in Florida over the winter, and we’re hoping to reconnect with them there.

Besides new cousins, it’s been a summer filled with visits with other family and friends.  From grandkids Matthew and Jordan right after we arrived, Jason, Jen and Alex just before we’re leaving, and friends from Georgia – R.D. and Kim and Glen and Debra – in between, we’ve been happily sharing Mackinac all summer.  And I’m pretty sure we have several among all those folks who will be returning to this magical spot!

This was the summer of a lot of moves.  We won’t be doing that again next year as we’ve already committed to being right here at Cedar Hill Condos for at least three months.  And by the way, if you’d be interested in renting the condo we’ve been in at any time (except when we’re here, of course), email me at and I’ll get you the contact information.  It’s only available on a monthly basis – 3 bedrooms, 2 baths.  We love it!

One of the best parts of the summer was our Bree’s Blog get-together in September at the Chippewa.  So much fun!!  Hoping we can do it again next summer – only with even more people!  Heck, maybe we’ll have to rent out a whole dining room!

Bodie.  Oh my gosh – I’m so excited.  I’m also scared and anxious.  I have to keep preparing myself that he won’t be “just like Bear”.  He will be a 6 1/2 month old teenager.  Oh my gosh . . . . what a ride this is going to be (and I don’t mean the ride home, although that might get interesting also)!  We’ll pick him up south of Atlanta on Monday morning and drive straight to Beverly Beach – truck full of luggage, Maddie in the front seat, and Bodie in the back seat.  Geez, I hope the big fuzzy guy has a sense of humor!

As always, I’ve had so much fun sharing this beautiful island with all of you this summer.  I’ll be back on line once we get home, but I’m sure I’ll have something up on Facebook on Monday about Bodie – even if it’s just a pic or two! 

Till then . . . . . .

I love you all . . . . God bless.

Dogs, Horses, Flowers, and . . . . a Fire!

There was so much going on this weekend! So – I’m going to break my “photo only” rule this week and write about the different events we so enjoyed as the Lilac Festival came triumphantly to a close. I’ll be posting about the Epona & Barkus Parade and the Dog & Pony Show today, Shepler’s “Be a Captain” event on board the Sacre Blue on Wednesday, and the Lilac Parade on Thursday. There’ll be a few other special moments in between all those events, so it will be a full week of photos and activities. Hang on . . . here we go!

Saturday was a perfect summer day in Michigan. On the island, it was even more perfect, with tons of activities planned for the last days of the Lilac Festival. Ted and I enjoyed a quiet cup of coffee on the deck, chatting with some Georgia friends and waiting for the first carriages to start up the hill.

Everyone in our little household enjoys mornings on the deck.
It’s a little after 8 a.m. here, and the Surrey Hill area is quietly awakening.
We were just about to go inside when barn workers starting leading some very different looking horses out of the Arrowhead stable down the street and walking/riding them up our hill to the Carriage museum.
These are Clydesdales – but are not as large as those who pull the Budweiser wagon. I learned that Budweiser chooses their horses by height and only chooses the tallest ones. Each of their horses also has to have almost exactly the same markings and color as the original Budweiser Clydesdales. These horses were on the island to pull a wagon in Sunday’s parade (more on that Thursday), and they were out for a little morning walk.
About the time they reached the museum, a lawn mower spooked one of the horses, he took off at a dead run, and the rider hit the pavement.

He wasn’t hurt, so he jumped up, ran after the horse, and then walked him back to the stable. So much for riding a Clydesdale bareback!

Ted left to work his 10-2 tour at the Visitor’s Center, and about 1 o’clock Jill and I met up to go check out the Epona & Barkus parade.  I know I’ve posted pics of this for two years now, but I never fail to find some cute new pups to photograph.

There was a good crowd gathered where the parade would begin, and people lined the road from here in front of the school all the way down to Windermere Point.


Have you ever heard of Dog Scouts? I hadn't, but Hallie and Sophie's owners filled me in on this organization. Their dogs earn merit badges just like Boy and Girl Scouts. Sophie was a youngster and just starting out, but Hallie had a vest filled with badges for her accomplishments!


This greyhound rescue group always has a large number of dogs to participate. By the way, the theme was Board Games, and each of these dogs carried a placard representing a monopoly square


Of course, my favorites were this sweet female golden retriever . . . .


. . . and this precious long-haired dachshund.

After the pet parade, we wandered on down toward Windermere Point where a special program was planned featuring Friesians (of course I was going to be there for THAT), and our special little 4-H pony Blaze.

We stopped to photograph hanging baskets at one of the houses along the way, and I heard someone calling my name . . .

. . . and so I got to meet the Fridley family from Indiana, who are blog readers. Steve, Tami, and precious little McKenzie were in town for the Lilac Festival!

The Friesians were a huge hit at Windermere Point - that's Gysbert and Todd, ridden by Michelle and Maryanke. Thanks to Ann Levy for sharing this great photo!


OK - I'm in love with Friesians all over again.


Right out of a Victorian storybook.


Leanne driving Blaze.


This one is right out of Somewhere in Time. I swear there's a scene just like this one in that movie. If not, there should have been.


Another reason to love Friesians - Michelle is holding one child in front of her in the saddle, another is reaching up to pet Gysbert, and two ladies are taking photos. He's calm and relaxed.


Windermere Point was filled with people for this event, and after it was over all those folks moved on down into town. It was a great day for restaurants, shops, and hotels!

I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around with my camera.  Here are a few other shots that made the cut for today’s post:

One of my readers asked for some hanging basket pics, so I photographed a few. As always, each lamppost is adorned with two baskets, and as always, they are beautiful!


Loving me some petunias!


Petunias backed by lilacs.


Trinity Church at dusk.


Hostas at the Cadotte entrance to the Grand Hotel shade garden - June 3.


Same Hostas - June 18.


Old, twisted lilac tree branches.


On Mackinac, you just never know when you'll turn a corner and find a bride and groom!


Dusk on Cadotte.

Tomorrow, come along aboard the freight boat Sacre Blue while kids find out about charts and compasses and knot tying.  It was fun!
PERSONAL NOTE #1:  Monday evening – I’m writing this post, Ted’s cooking steaks in the oven.  His, half raw likes he likes it, is already on the kitchen cabinet – mine’s still cooking because I like my steak well done (something Ted hates to do to a steak).  Suddenly, our condo fire alarms start buzzing loudly.  I glance into the kitchen just as Ted opens the stove door and flames roar out into the room.  Ted slams the door shut and turns off the stove.  I jump up and take the five steps to the kitchen fast.  He opens the door again, and more flames pour out.  He slams the door and says – very calmly – “Call 911”.  I grab my cellphone and dial.  An operator answers, and I stammer through our address – telling him the wrong street number, but getting across that we’re at Surrey Ridge Condos.  Ted is going through the cabinets looking for baking soda or a fire extinguisher (both of which we have in Georgia and neither of which we have here).  I’m opening windows, and smoke is pouring out through them.  In less than three minutes I hear voices and hand radios squawking outside, and FOUR volunteer firemen are in the yard.  Three have arrived by bike, and one has run from his house – they’re all from right here in the neighborhood.   Then they’re in our kitchen, where one opens the door of the oven to find the steak charred, and the fire already out.  Relieved laughter all around and radio calls downtown to relay the message that a fire truck isn’t needed – and if they’re ever invited for steak at our house, they’d like them a little less well-done.
The bad news – Our stove is pretty black on top and inside.
The good news – We are SO grateful for the fast action of our Mackinac Island Fire Department.  I’ve never had to worry about response time to an emergency on the island, and now I know – up close and personal – that the men and women in our fire department will be here for us when needed – and they’ll be here FAST!
More good news – Ted finally cooked my steak done enough!
Personal Note #2: Several readers have asked how my sleep apnea therapy is going, so I guess I’d better confess. For those of you who don’t follow my winter blog in Georgia, I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea (stopped breathing 103 times during my sleep test) and was told to start wearing a sleep apnea mask from now until . . . well, forever. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do, but I persevered through four different types of masks and finally found one that just seemed to be the best I was going to find. My problem is I sleep on my side, so keeping the “seal” on the mask is difficult. When we came north, I told Ted I was taking a break from the mask for a week, and that week has now become five weeks. Oh my gosh, it has been wonderful going to bed unencumbered with that “thing”! My reasoning was, “OK, I’m only driving once a month, so no worries about car accidents.” BUT, after a month, I find myself once again experiencing all the symptoms I had before beginning the therapy. I’m becoming so tired, I find myself unable to focus, and once again, sitting down to read immediately turns into falling instantly asleep. So – tonight, the mask goes back on (my thinking being, now that I’ve told my readers, I’ll HAVE to do it). Please send up a prayer or two that this time it will be easier. I need all the help I can get. Thank you, friends.