Family Fall Fun! 10/12/16

Imagine you’re six years old.  Imagine it’s your first Fall Break of 1st grade.  Imagine your mom tells you you’re going someplace “cold” on vacation, so you know you’re not going to the beach where BeBe and G-Daddy live.  Imagine you’re really bummed about that ’cause you’ve asked several times over the last few weeks, “when are we going to see BeBe and G-Daddy again?”


So you settle into your plane seat in Atlanta, armed with electronic entertainment, and resign yourself to going somewhere the “grown-ups” want to go.  You change planes in Detroit, climb on a much smaller jet, and arrive at a really small airport.  You come through the door to the terminal, looking around at crazy stuff like bears, cougars and deer – stuff you don’t normally see in an airport.  And then, even though you imagine you see BeBe and G-Daddy standing right there in front of you, how can that be possible?


But it is!



And that’s how one little boy arrived on Mackinac Island Thursday afternoon – with Jason and mom Jennifer.  I told him on the ferry ride over we were going to a place where there were no cars.  His eyes got big.  Then I told him we’d catch a taxi to the condo.  Now he’s totally confused.


That moment when Alex spots – in the street – what’s causing that amazing only-on-Mackinac aroma!

What a blast we had for four days with these three!  They were right about going someplace “cold” – we had highs in the low 50’s and low’s in the 30’s while they were here. But, they took our advice and brought layers, so everyone stayed warm outside.


Through special arrangements with Grand Hotel we were able to go on a very special carriage tour on Friday, and Alex got to sit up front on the driver’s seat with Ben Mosley. for the entire tour.  He loved it!


Thanks to neighbor and friend Pam Day for this shot of our entourage as we passed by Cedar Hill Condos.


While on the tour, we saw most of the special places on Mackinac.  As you can see, fall foliage has definitely arrived on the island, and Point Lookout is one of the best places to view vast expanses of beautiful trees all dressed up for Autumn.


Next stop was Fort Holmes.

We traveled through a lot of woods and trails flanked on both sides by trees just beginning to show their most brilliant colors.

We traveled on a lot of woods trails, flanked on both sides by trees just beginning to show their most brilliant colors.

Our last stop was the West Bluff . . .

Our last stop was the West Bluff . . .

. . . and our ride ended at Grand Hotel for lunch.

. . . and our ride ended at Grand Hotel for lunch!

Alex and G-Daddy, enjoying a stroll downtown . . .

Alex and G-Daddy, enjoying a stroll downtown . . .

. . . racing up Turkey Hill . . .

. . . racing up Turkey Hill . . .

. . . and cutting across the Jewel to look for golf balls.

. . . and cutting across the Jewel to look for golf balls.  They found some too!

On Sunday we biked halfway around the island and had lunch at British Landing.

On Sunday we biked halfway around the island and had lunch at the Cannonball at British Landing.

We decided to cut through the island on British Landing Road, enjoying lot of fall color along the way.

We decided to cut through the island on British Landing Road, enjoying lots of fall color along the way.

Stopping for a breather near Wawashkamo, where it seemed like a perfectly great idea to . . .

Stopping for a breather near Wawashkamo, where it seemed like a perfectly great idea to . . .

. . . to play 9 holes of golf on the course's last day of the season.

. . . stop and play 9 holes of golf on the course’s last day of the season.  Only the guys played – Jen and I watched, drove the carts and kept score.  Love this pic of Jason and Alex taking their practice shots.

Sunday night was also the last night Woods Restaurant was open this year, and thank goodness we'd made reservations! The place was packed with locals and a few island visitors also. Such a great way to finish up our time together.

Sunday night was also the last night Woods Restaurant was open this year, and thank goodness we’d made reservations! The place was packed with locals and a few island visitors also. Such a great way to finish up our time together.

Too soon it was Monday morning.  We drove them to Pellston to pick up a rental car, which they drove to Detroit to catch an afternoon flight.  We had such a great time with these three!  It was a little colder than expected, and that ride out to Woods Restaurant on Sunday evening on the taxi was pretty chilly.  But we wrapped up in the blankets the taxis carry, and Jason told Alex ghost stories all the way back in the dark . . . . ’cause that’s just what you do on a cold, dark night on a taxi in the woods on Mackinac Island.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we’ll be leaving on the first ferry out Saturday morning. Before then – probably Friday night – I’ll get out one more blog post to wrap up our time here this year.  It’s gone by way too fast – as always!

God bless.


Alex among the pumpkins on the steps of The Cottage Inn on Market Street.

Alex among the pumpkins on the steps of The Cottage Inn on Market Street.

Gorgeous sunset over the big barn by neighbor and friend Eugenia Murray.

Gorgeous sunset over the big barn by neighbor and friend Eugenia Murray.

View from the Jewel Golf Course.

View across  the Jewel Golf Course at dusk.

That moment when Ben handed Alex the reins and let him "drive" for 2.5 seconds.

That moment when Ben handed Alex the reins and let him “drive” for 2.5 seconds.  Alex’s favorite part of the tour though was when he spotted a huge flock of geese on the open space of grass across the road behind the fort, and Ben drove the horses off the road and straight through them – sending them honking and flying!  Hmmm . . . I think that was my favorite part too!



Mackinac Island Winter Update – Vol. 15

Hello Mackinac Fans!

Can you believe all that snow from last week is almost gone?  It’s true – warmer temperatures and rain took care of most of it, but I received so many more snow photos after last week’s post, I’ve just got to pass them along to you tonight.  I don’t think I would ever tire of seeing Mackinac Island dressed for winter, and I’m guessing you wouldn’t either.

Before we get to snow pics, here’s a few news items:

  • Wawashkamo Golf Course has a brand new and exciting web site.  Designed and constructed by Nate Jorgensen of Curiosity Creative, you can check it out here:
  • Becki Barnwell is opening a new gallery in the space that housed “Paintings by Richard Wolfgang” on Market Street.  It will be called “Mackinac’s Little Gallery” and will feature equine art.  The gallery will be open mid-May through October.  Can’t wait to check it out!

A sample of the equine art that will be featured at Mackinac's Little Gallery.

  • A very important reminder:  Those qualifying for Resident Passes on ferry tickets must purchase the passes prior to March 31Summer residents are urged to make arrangements to purchase those tickets before that date, even if your arrival time to the island will be later.
  • Shepler Ferry representatives will be selling Resident Passes at Cawthone’s Village Inn on March 16 and March 30 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.  Photos for the passes will be made at that time, and payment is due upon ordering.  If you are not going to be on the island before the deadline, of if you can’t make it to the V.I. on the dates listed, Shepler’s is asking that you call their office at 1-800-828-6157 to purchase your pass by phone.  In order to purchase a Resident Pass, you must meet the qualifications below:  1)  Be a registered voter on Mackinac Island; OR 2) Pay property taxes to Mackinac Island for a residence or a business; OR 3)  Have a Mackinac Island address on your driver’s license.  Cost for Shepler’s Resident Pass is $100 per adult, FREE for children 12 and under.  Passes will be valid from April 23 – October 31, 2012.
  • Our favorite bike shop, Mackinac Wheels, is open for business already!

Mackinac Wheels' web site is This photo is from this past summer.

  • Jeannette Doud reported in her Mackinac Island column in The St. Ignace News that she took a tour of the new barn being built by Mackinac Island Carriage Tours and Grand Hotel.  She said it was beautiful, with dark green siding and red windows.   Jeannette stated “it will be a wonderful place for the horses and a carriage museum.  It is a great addition to the community.”
  • The Mackinac Island Horseman’s Association was well represented this past weekend in Lansing at the Michigan Horse Council’s International Stallion Expo and Trade Show:

Island friend Jill worked the Mackinac Horsemen's Association booth, along with many other island friends. She snapped this shot of Steve Rilenge- in red coat - and Leanne Brodeur - in riding habit (both are MHA Board members, and Leanne is MHA Executive Director), who worked the booth also. On either side of Steve are Jamie & Tina, blog fans who stopped by to say hello. On the far right is Alison Cram, one of the Horse Show judges.


Abby Holstrom, who is a year-round Island resident, shared these photos, and they are amazing!

A grand old tree, laden with snow, leans out over the street that runs parallel to the Boardwalk.

Some special effects here add to the dazzle of ice, water, and the Round Island Lighthouse.

If this shot doesn't make you shiver, you must be sitting by a fire somewhere! Gorgeous!

Sunrise at Windermere Point, with the "closed for the winter" Dog House Restaurant in the foreground.

Windermere Hotel.

Sonnet Quinn a.k.a. Mackinac Mommy posted these beautiful photos of several Mission Point Resort locations:

The Lakeside Market.

The Little Golfer statue across from Bistro on the Green.

Mission Point Resort's main entrance.

This skier didn't have to worry about running over anyone as he came down the hill at the entrance to Mission Point. Those are the Violet Residence of Mackinac Island condos behind the skier.

Tranquility Point at the east end of Mission Point Resort.

The tree-lined road in front of the resort. In several of these photos, the orange snow fencing is seen.

The sheer cliff of Robinson's Folly (at the top right) is the only space not covered in snow in this pic - except for the child in the foreground.


Robert McGreevy captured another coyote on the run over the ice.

A Shepler's representative got this shot of the line of "student and teacher transportation" at the Island school. No yellow school buses here!

After looking at all this cold and snow, we start to think that Spring can’t be very far behind.  Here’s a couple of shots that may start you thinking happy springtime thoughts . . .

This is a photo from a couple of summers ago. It shows Finnigan, Mike & Jeanine Forrester's dog, looking out over Fort Street from near Anne's Tablet.

A peaceful photograph taken off the beach near the Cannonball Restaurant. (Photo by: Hailey Armstrong)

One more item.  Today Ted and I rode down to my hometown of Sylvester and talked to the Barnard Trail Chapter of DAR about the history and magic of Mackinac Island (Ted covered the history, and I covered the magic).  We had a great time sharing information about our second home, and I think the entire crowd is planning a bus trip north in the near future – just kidding, but I wish they would!

The best part of being invited to speak was getting to see so many folks I had not seen in years - including Dr. Gordon Davis, who had brought his wife Marian to the meeting (we're cousins). I also saw several ladies who I went to high school with, including . . .

. . . Mary King Gammage Givens, who reads the Mackinac blog and invited us to come present the program.

Ted and I on the steps of the Chapter house. So good to be in my hometown - thanks for inviting us!

Whew!  That was a long post!  Hope you enjoyed it and come back next Wednesday for more on Mackinac Island.  Have a great week and weekend (Ted and I will be celebrating our 23rd anniversary on St. Patrick’s Day). 

God bless.

Catching Up . . . and Counting Down 10/13/2010

So much to talk about tonight, and lots of photos to show you also. 

I feel like I’ve been running at top speed today, and as I look forward through the rest of the week, I see no let-up in sight.  That is probably a good thing.  If I had time to slow down and really think about these last few days, I would be in a permanent pout.  So I just keep cleaning, and packing, and trying not to think . . . only four more nights on the island.

First, some pics – because no matter what else I’ve done this week, I have definitely been outside with the camera.  I never would have believed that the fall colors could get any more spectacular than they were last year, but I was so wrong.  This year the yellows are more yellow, and the reds are more red.  The trees are almost glowing – that’s the only way I know to say it.  And there have actually been other things going on besides glowing trees!

Last week on Thursday, a dray backed into the yard loaded with lumber.

Our condo boardwalk is over 20 years old, and when we arrived this spring and walked on it for the first time, we all knew a new boardwalk was in our near future. Most of the planks were loose, and you could feel the "give" with each footstep. It was becoming a hazard.

As each section of the old boardwalk was pulled up, someone else was busily hammering together a new section to replace it.

These guys worked all day long Thursday through Saturday . . .

. . . then returned on Monday morning to finish up. On Monday afternoon, the dray driver hitched up two horses to the wagon and hauled away the old boardwalk wood. Three-and-a-half days from start to finish - plus cleanup. Awesome!

Sunday was the last service of the season at Little Stone Church. We posed after church with friends Don and Bonnie, who just celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary. They must have gotten married when they were 12!

Bonnie, me, Molly (our minister’s wife), and Jill.


The Carriage Museum closed last Wednesday, and the workers spent three days cleaning up and cleaning out (kinda like Ted and I are doing now). We walked over on Friday to find Denise and Kim sanding and scraping paint from all the benches. Denise said they paint them about every three years - and this was the year to get it done.

Emily and Jeremy were painting the white picket fence. They sure did have a splendid day to work!

As fast as Denise and Kim could get a bench prepared, Judy would start painting it. We will miss all five of these wonderful friends. We saw them every single day that we were here.

The path behind the Carriage Museum, where Ted and I walk with the dogs if we're heading for Turtle Park or the fort . . .

. . . and one of the private tour drivers chose to follow that path with a group of visitors while we were standing and talking.

From under the overhang of the Carriage Museum porch, a perfect example of God's spectacular color palette.

The hill between the museum and the gazebo.

Inside the museum. This window is where we buy the most delicious donuts on the island. Psst . . . don't believe those signs - the wonderful Jamaican ladies who cook those donuts have left the island - this window is closed for the season.

The riding stables are still open, but a lot of their horses are already playing in the pastures in Pickford. The horses that are left are probably wondering, "When do I catch the boat?"

I had never been to the Wawashkamo Golf Course, but I was out that way Saturday afternoon working on a story and rode down the entrance path to snap this pic of the clubhouse.

Monday morning breakfast with the girls at Jesse's Chuckwagon - Frankie, Mary, Loretta, Jill, Marti, Paula and "bad hair day" me with the cap!

I think I've posted some version of this view at least three times this summer. Can you tell me what's missing?

Answer:  The huge pots filled to overflowing with grasses and radiantly blooming flowers.

Answer: The huge pots filled to overflowing with grasses and profusely blooming flowers of every variety. Workers from the Grand emptied them this week.

No spectators Monday at the Grand Hotel tennis courts - no players either. The temp never climbed out of the 50's.

Trees on the Jewel Golf Course - it will only take one day with a lot of wind, and they will be bare until spring.

Cadotte Avenue - it seems strange to look down this long street and not see rows of carriages filled with tourists. Carriage Tours is still open, but is making only a limited number of runs each day.

Round Island Light through the trees in our yard. As more leaves fall, our view gets better and better.

Ted and Maddie - walking up one of our hills through the leaves. How blessed I am to have this man in my life.

Do you remember me saying that a writer had emailed me several weeks ago about using some of my photos for a story she was doing?  Well, the magazine hit the stands last week,  and Jill called all excited to tell me the bookstore had just received several copies.  The photos were taken last fall as the horses were leaving the island.  Maggie Catchick-Houghton used them to illustrate a story entitled “Where have all the horses gone?”  in the October issue of Mackinac Journal, a monthly magazine of the Straits.

How cool is that! So strange to open a publication and see your own photos!

Maybe I'll even pick up a few readers from the story.

Newsy Stuff

A big thanks to Joan – excuse me Abby and Benny (Bear and Maddie’s feline pawpals) –  for bringing our two four-legged children a bag of doggie treats for their trip home this weekend.  Joan was on the island for a few days, and Abby and Benny sent the gift with her in case we ran into each other.

And a special thank you to Maggie.  She is on the island visiting her in-laws and has just starting reading the blog.  I ran into her up in the Village when I was walking Maddie the other day, and she had a bag of doggie treats for the two furballs and a bag of chocolate chip cookies for me in her basket (I immediately claimed her as my new best friend)!  Also, she had written the sweetest letter, and I have to tell you, Maggie, you had me in tears when I finished reading it at home that day.  Girl, you write beautifully!  Thank you so, so much for every word.

I’m off tomorrow to Cheboygan for Bear’s last grooming in Michigan this year.  I’ll get home just in time to haul him up the hill, then go back down the hill to attend a spaghetti supper at the school – a fund raiser for the senior class.

On Thursday, I’ll be sharing with you a subject that has become very important to me over the last few weeks.  It’s something that everyone who loves the island should be supporting, and I want to tell you all about it. 

Sunrise this morning. A big thank you to Mary Stancik from the Grand for sharing - and for getting up early enough to capture this incredible sight. The header photo is Mary's also.

The Rest of the Story 9/30/2010

I’m sitting down to write at 10:15 Wednesday night.  Just got back home from a girls’ “movie night” at a friend’s house – 14 women watching “Mamma Mia” – so, so much fun!  I promised to share the rest of our ride with you tonight, so here goes . . .

After we visited the Cave in the Woods and the Crack in the Island, we walked our bikes back out to State Road and continued on toward British Landing. About five minutes later, Ted noticed what appeared to be a sinkhole in the woods over on the right side of the road, so we stopped to investigate. We realized then that we were riding along the Wawashkamo Golf Course.

The sinkhole looked like a natural depression, and tree limbs and some tree trunks filled part of the sunken space. We walked through the narrow strip of woods and came out at the third tee of Wawashkamo . . .

. . . where this lovely little "rest shelter" stood. It had been donated to the golf course by the Bankard family in 2007. We are always amazed when we find something like this that we had no clue existed.

The shelter has to be wonderful for golfers who know it is there and get caught in bad weather. The cart path runs right up to the opening of the shelter.

Once again, so many contrasts - fall leaves, the stark white of a dead tree, blue sky, and deep green foliage shaded from the sun.

Back on State Road again . . .

. . . where we passed areas of woods that opened to Lake Huron.

State Road eventually runs into British Landing Road . . .

. . . a few hundred yards north of the Cannonball Drive Inn.

While Ted rode on down to the Cannonball to visit with owner Jack Armstrong, I parked my bike and walked back in the other direction, where two log cabin-type homes were nestled in the woods.

From one of the log cabins, this calico cat wandered down from the porch where she was napping and eyed me like, "Who are you, and why are you invading my space?"

After a few minutes of coaxing, she walked over to weave herself around my legs, purring and enjoying a good ear scratch. Beautiful kitty.

Jack suggested apple cider and fresh, hot donuts as a snack after our long ride - great idea, and yummy!

If you've never visited the Cannonball, this is not just a "snack" shop. Their menu is huge and features everything from hamburgers and hotdogs - to nachos, to chicken tenders, to chili cheese fries, to BBQ sandwiches - and don't EVER leave there without trying their famous deep fried pickles.

As you move all that food over to sit under the trees at the picnic tables - well, you sure can't beat the view!

We walked across the road and parked our bikes on the beach. Looking toward town (a little less than four miles away), we could see the boats of home owners who live nearby. It was on this beach on a June night in 1812 that a small force of British regulars and several hundred voyageurs and Indian allies from St. Joseph Island landed. They marched across the island, occupied what is now called Ft. Holmes - the highest point on the island - and demanded the surrender of Fort Mackinac. Only 57 American soldiers occupied the fort at that time and did not even know that a war had been declared. The fort surrended without a fight.

Brilliant blue, perfectly clear water . . .

. . . gently lapping against the rock-lined shore.

We took the "long way" back into town - a little over 4 miles - so we would come back through Mission Point. I wanted to check out the tree color there. On the way back into town, we passed the Silver Birches Lodge and cabins. The cabins can be rented now, and the lodge is being renovated for future use.

There was very little fall color on that side of the island or at Mission Point. A reader had asked for pictures of The Inn on Mackinac, so I stopped off there to take a few photos, while Ted rode on ahead to Mackinac Wheels to check on a fender we had ordered for my bike (my back fender was damaged when another bike fell against it).

This is definitely the most "colorful" place to stay on the island. The owner has merrily used several pastel shades to make The Inn on Mackinac stand out on Main Street.

The flower gardens around the inn are amazingly still in bloom.

Two of my favorite features - the four story turret on one corner . . .

. . . and the large, painted carousel horse which stands on the patio.

Our three hour trip to British Landing ended with a fast stop at Doud’s, the post office, and the Island Bookstore (where Ted took full advantage of their huge end-of-the-season sale and bought five books). 

This morning was my last day to work at the Stuart House Museum for this season.  I’ve almost come to expect at least one blogging buddy to come in to say hi each Wednesday, and I wasn’t disappointed today. 

Tom and Terri Jozwiak stopped in from Ypsilanti, MI. They visit the island as often as possible, but this was the first time they had actually stayed on the island overnight.

I am going to miss working at the museum and miss the opportunity it gave me to be somewhere downtown once a week where readers could drop in.  I’ve had so much fun meeting several of you over the summer.  Please keep coming by next summer – today I was officially “rehired” for next year!

See you tomorrow for Random Photo Day!