Back in My Happy Place 7/27/17

Hi Everyone!

We’ve been on the island now for almost two weeks, and I think we’re about settled in.  I’m a little surprised that the first week was harder than usual for me – physically I mean.  I knew I hadn’t been exercising much in Florida since it had gotten so hot (short walks with Bodie just don’t equal “in shape” on Mackinac).  The first walk up the hill to our condo left me breathing hard and thinking, “Geez, what the heck is this?”  But, it’s amazing how fast that climb got easier each time I did it, and yesterday Bodie and I covered over two miles of trails – up and down hill – and came back to the condo feeling great.  It makes me feel better that Bodie is having to get in shape too, but for some reason, I think he’s having a lot more fun than I am during the process.

Weather – what can I say?  We came from over 100 degrees heat index in Florida to here where the temps haven’t gotten out of the 70’s for highs since we arrived.  Shorts and t-shirts during the day, a jacket at night for the last dog walk, and a lap blanket out on the porch in the mornings while we have coffee.  We’ve had a couple of days of rain, but that’s ok.  We’re on the island.  We just pull on the rain gear and keep on truckin’.

Bodie has amazed us by how well he’s taking the island busyness in stride. From the time he stepped off the ferry . . .

. . . and jumped right into the taxi, he’s handled it all with a maturity I really didn’t think he possessed yet. He’s been surrounded by horses, carriages and people and is amazingly calm about all of it.  Maybe Maddie’s “so what” attitude has rubbed off on him!  Still very excited though when he meets new folks one-on-one.  We continue to work on that!

The island is beautiful in July, and we were so excited when we got to the condos to find all the landscaping done, flowers blooming, and butterflies floating from bush to bush.

And, we’re excited that we’ll be right here in this same place until we leave mid-October!

OUR FIRST TWO WEEKS IN PHOTOS

We celebrated our first evening on Mackinac with dinner at the Chippewa (a tradition). The second night we went out with friends Buz and Patty from Oklahoma. They’re here until the middle of September, and we’re so excited we’ll be seeing lots more of them before they leave. I think it was the third night we finally ate at the condo, and then walked down to Sadie’s for ice cream.

One of those stormy days. It’s amazing how quickly I forgot how dirty a golden retriever can get on the wet streets of Mackinac Island! (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

One thing all that rain produces are lush gardens all over the island, like this one of the west bluff.

As I was leaving the reunion, one of Ted’s newly-found cousins, Diane Caruso, gave us this wonderful pillow she had made because she knew of our love for little Maddie. It’s wonderful to have something “homemade” in the Mackinac condo, and when we leave we’ll take it to Florida, and it will find a home there.

You all know Ted and I have a morning coffee ritual – wherever we are. Maddie in Ted’s lap . . .

and Bodie guarding the front porch seems to be the theme for this summer.

One of cousin Dave and Diane’s sons, Scott, and his wife Tina and their boys spent the day on the island the week we arrived. They stopped by to say hello and added another “personal” item to the condo . . .

. . . . this great candid shot of their family on vacation!

Ran into artist Mary Lou Peters in Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island this week. Love this sweet lady!

Backtracking some now – I know most of you saw this on Facebook, but just in case you didn’t, Ted and I stopped in to see Lowell and Faye for a few moments as we passed through Olivet. It was storming and we had to leave the pups in the car, so we didn’t get to visit nearly long enough!

And one day while we were at Dave and Diane’s, I met Mary Saul and Frankie Thill in downtown Spring Lake for a girls chat session. So happy to see these two sweet friends.

I dropped by Mackinac Mud Pottery this afternoon and was just in time to watch owner Jay Barch creating at the wheel. Love this shop filled with original items. Ted and I use coffee mugs from Jay’s shop on Mackinac and in Florida.

Heading down Fort Hill this afternoon. There it is – that Michigan blue water and sky!

Pretty zinnias at the Grand!

Fort Mackinac on a gorgeous July day!

INDULGE ME – PLEASE

You’re just going to have to indulge me now for this section.  I’ve taken about 352 photos of Bodie since we arrived, and if left up to me I’d force you to look at each and every one. But I’m going to take pity and try and just put up a few of the best ones.  I promise, promise, promise I will NOT do this in every blog this summer, but for this one . . . well, please indulge me.

Mackinac, as seen through Bodie’s eyes his first week:

First of all, the cars here are pulled by animals called horses. Horses are much bigger than me, so I leave them alone. I don’t even bark at them. I have to admit riding around in a carriage is pretty cool stuff!  Would you believe there are people here who sweep up after the horses when they poop in the street.  I sure am glad, cause I don’t think they make poop bags big enough for horse poop!

Out my window I get to see horses in a corral. Seriously, I do.

Mackinac has woods, and being in the woods means I can be off-lead. That makes me very, very happy!

Mom makes me practice my Sit/Stay command all the time here (so she can take photos of me).

Mom said we didn’t have room in the truck for both my crate AND my bed. I’d rather she brought my bed. Maddie shares hers sometimes, but it’s not quite as big as mine.

Mom and I go on long, long walks – usually twice a day, and I’m really getting a full tour of Mackinac. Mom LOVES to take my photo at the different places we visit. Like the gazebo for Somewhere in Time . . .

. . .this place called Anne’s Tablet . . .

. . . . and in the Grand Hotel gardens!

Today we were in Turtle Park and this guy was kicking a soccer ball around. I figured he needed help.

I ran out to help him with the ball, and he stopped what he was doing and gave me great pets!  I thought that was pretty cool, but since he didn’t have treats in his pockets, I ran back to mom when she called.

This is absolutely the best place I’ve ever been so far in my life. It’s summertime, but it’s cool. There are miles and miles of trails to run on. Just about every person I meet wants to pet me. Everyone of you should seriously pack up all your pets and bring them to Mackinac!  They will thank you forever!

ONE MORE THING

Jill and I sat downtown at Marquette Park this afternoon people-watching and drinking our Arnold Palmer Lite Ice Tea (99 cents at Doud’s).  I have it on good authority that Friday, July 28, is Jill’s birthday, so everyone feel free to wish her a HAPPY BIRTHDAY right here!  Yes, she’s going to kill me for doing that, but that’s the way it is with good friends.  We can get away with stuff!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JILLSKI!!

See you back here in a few days!  God bless.

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?”

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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?

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But it is!

 

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

A FEW MORE PICS

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!

 

 

Come Walk With Me! 9/17/16

Oh. My. Gosh! What beautiful weather we’re having on Mackinac this week!  All the humidity is gone, the temps are in the high 60’s during the day and low 50’s at night, and we’re beginning to see a red leaf here and there.  I can feel Fall standing just behind the curtains – waiting backstage for just the right moment to appear in all her glory!

With that thought in mind, I set out with my camera on a walk a couple of days ago.  I didn’t capture too much in the way of fall colors, but I sure had fun looking!  My photo idea for the walk was to focus on Mackinac fences, and I did that some, but it really just turned into one of my “happy walks”!

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Just past the new condos is this tall wooden fence.  There is one on both sides of the road here, and they hide some of Grand Hotel”s maintenance equipment.  The gates are seldom open, but if you happen by at the right (or wrong) time, you might spot someone leaving on a riding lawnmower!

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This open fencing borders the back side of the first nine holes of Grand Hotel’s Jewel Golf Course.  Since we’ve moved right across the street from the course, Ted has been “climbing the fence” after the flags are removed in the afternoon and trying to improve his golf game (yes, it’s ok to do that – I promise he won’t get in trouble).

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This beautiful team of horses came by while I was at the golf course fence.  Pretty sure they are Percherons.

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Looking across the golf course to Little Stone Church.

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This serpentine white picket fence surrounds the Michigan Governor’s Summer Residence.  Wonder where that bench on the dray was going?

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The Governor’s residence is to the right of this photo.  I’m standing at the summit of Fort Hill, looking out over the harbor – a fantastic vista!

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I turned left, walked up a small hill, and spotted a team of dray horses through the trees.

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Sometimes a fence can be a living thing – like this hedge at the back of Fort Mackinac.

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The North Sally Port entrance to the fort.  On July 17, 1812, American troops marched through this gate to surrender to the British.  This is not a public entrance but is used by State Park and Tea Room employees, tour groups with a State Park escort, and service vehicles.  And it’s handicap friendly.

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I cut through the open area beside the fort and passed several private residences on my way to. . . .

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. . . the Somewhere in Time gazebo, scene of dozens of island weddings each summer.

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The view from inside the gazebo.

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From the gazebo, it’s just a short walk over shaded dirt paths to Anne’s Tablet, where you can stand at that split rail fence and see . . .

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. . . the entire marina, the bay, Round and Bois Blanc Islands, and both lighthouses.

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There are many short trails that meander near Anne’s Tablet.  One takes you to . . .

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. . . the edge of a cliff that drops straight down.  Careful on that one!

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Another leads to a fence-bordered set of very steep stairs leading down to the back of Marquette Park in town, and one leads to . . .

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. . . . the East Bluff, where Victorian cottages reign over . . . .

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. . . what could possibly be the best of all views of town and the Straits of Mackinac.

I retraced my steps to the back side of the fort, then took a shortcut through the State Park Maintenance buildings area. Love this old building that has probably know many uses over the years . . .

I retraced my steps to the back side of the fort, then took a shortcut through the State Park Maintenance buildings area. Love this old building that has probably known many uses over the years . . .

. . . but right now is mostly used for storage.

. . . but right now seems to be mostly used for storage.

Beyond the maintenance area I come to this fork in the road I know so well.

Beyond the maintenance area I come to this well-known fork in the road.

Picking the road on the left and walking just a few steps, I come to the Cupid's pathway sign. Directly across from that sign is the shortcut path we would take through the woods going home to Surrey Hill.

Picking the road on the left and walking just a few steps, I come to the Cupid’s pathway sign (on the right). Directly across from that sign is the shortcut path we would take through the woods going home to Surrey Hill.

I've found myself avoiding this path all summer because it was one of the most frequently walked paths Bear and I. We'd choose it as the shortcut for one of our adventures and as the shortcut for our way home from anywhere.

I’ve found myself avoiding this path all summer because it was one of the most frequently walked paths for Bear and I. We’d choose it as the shortcut to one of our adventures and as the shortest way home from those adventures.  I knew what was going to happen, but I turned down the path anyway.  Just a few steps, and tears filled my eyes and rolled down my cheeks.

That tree up ahead (the one on the left and closest to the path) is the one I'd slip behind and hide while Ted, Maddie and Bear walked on ahead. As soon as Bear would look back and not see me, he'd fly down the path to find his lost mom.

That tree up ahead (the one on the left and closest to the path) is the one I’d slip behind and hide while Ted, Maddie and Bear walked on ahead. As soon as Bear would look back and not see me, he’d fly down the path to find his lost mom.  And then he’d dance happily all around, and sometimes . . . .

. . . many times that would be followed by one of his famous "Bear zooms" through the woods at full speed.

. . .  that would be followed by one of his famous “Bear zooms” through the woods at full speed.

My heart has been so heavy this summer without my sweet boy. I love this photo of us taken several years ago on a beautiful Fall day.

My heart has been heavy this summer without my sweet boy. I love this photo of us taken several years ago on a beautiful Fall day.  I’m praying for many years ahead on Mackinac, sharing this beautiful island, with Bear’s blessing, with Bodie.  Just the thought of Bodie makes me smile

That special path takes another fork toward the end. One way leads to the back of the carriage museum at Surrey Hill and the other, which I took, comes out behind the building which houses one of the island's fire trucks.

That special path takes another fork toward the end. One way leads to the back of the carriage museum at Surrey Hill and the other, which I took, comes out behind the building which houses one of the island’s fire trucks.

Behind the fire truck building, a walk across the area which houses the offices of the electricity company, out into the open in front of Grand Hotel Stable . . . . and I'm back to the condo!

Behind the fire truck building, it’s a short walk across the area which houses the offices of the electricity company, then out into the open in front of Grand Hotel Stable.  And I’m back to the condo!

Can’t tell you how excited we are to have dinner planned on Monday evening with a dozen or so blog readers.  Right now my reservations list includes Lowell & Faye, Kem & Ed, Yvonne & Tony, Hilde & Bud, Joleen & Bruce, Pam & Mike Day, and Jill.  If you’re a blog reader and going to be on the island Monday, Sept. 19, and want to join us at the Chippewa at 6:00 p.m., please email me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com so I can add you to the list!

God bless.

Through the Eyes of Fudgies – Part II 8/30/16

On Sunday you read about Kim and R.D.’s first-time visit to Mackinac.   Today it’s all about Debra and Glen!

Debra and Glen Phelps

As someone who came to the island for the first time over 15 years ago and has cried like a baby as I’ve left each year since then, I can recognize a total convert to Mackinac-ism in an instant.  Debra learned about the island from reading this blog and has wanted to come up here for years.  She came, she saw, she fell in love  – hook, line and sinker.  When she tried to book a room for next summer before they had even checked out from this visit, I knew I had a true-blue Mackinac fan on my hands!  Debra’s husband Glen is “almost” as Mackinac-in-love as Debra, and that will make for a very happy family over the coming year, as they plan their next trip.

Debra’s beautiful photographs have captured a vast segment of Mackinac’s beauty, and her words from her Facebook page tell the story of her island trip much better than I could.  From this point on, I’ll use Debra’s words:

Debra and Glen Phelps

Debra and Glen Phelps

"Mackinac Island is as beautiful and unique as I expected! It is like going back in time with the town, 'cottages', horses, carriages and bicycles (no cars allowed).

“Mackinac Island is as beautiful and unique as I expected! It is like going back in time . . .

. . . with the town, "cottages", horses, carriages and bicycles (no cars allowed)."

. . . with the town, “cottages”, horses, carriages and bicycles (no cars allowed).”

"The gardens and Lake Huron are gorgeous."

“The temperature today only reached a high of 70 degrees.”  (Spoken in amazement by a true Georgia girl!)

 

"And the temperature today only reached a high of 70 degrees." (Spoken in amazement by a true Georgia girl!)

“And the gardens and Lake Huron are gorgeous.”

"We toured the one and only opulent Grand Hotel today."

“We toured the one and only opulent Grand Hotel today.”

Many famous people have stayed hee since it opened in 1887. Somewhere in Time was filmed here. The pool is named after Esther Williams because she swam in their pool in a movie that was filmed here."

“Many famous people have stayed here since it opened in 1887. Somewhere in Time was filmed here. The pool is named after Esther Williams because she swam in their pool in a movie that was filmed here (This Time for Keeps).”

"The pictures don't do it justice. The porch is the longest in the world (660 feet). Glen liked the rocking chairs on the porch best."

“The pictures don’t do it justice. The porch is the longest in the world (660 feet). Glen liked the rocking chairs on the porch best.”

"More pictures of Mackinac Island . . . the cottages . . .

“More pictures of Mackinac Island . . . the cottages . . .

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. . . flowers . . .

. . . flowers . . .

. . . the Grand carriages . . .

. . . the Grand carriages . . .

. . . Lake Huron . . .

. . . Lake Huron . . .

. . . and the beautiful Arch Rock formation. Everything is truly beautiful."

. . . and the beautiful Arch Rock formation. Everything is truly beautiful.”

 

"Today the Hortons (who are in very good shape), the Harters (who can ride a tandem bike in total unison) and Glen and I (who are very out of shape) rode bikes on the 8.2 mile bike/horse road that completely circles the outer edge of Mackinac Island."

“Today the Hortons (who are in very good shape), the Harters (who can ride a tandem bike in total unison) and Glen and I (who are very out of shape) rode bikes on the 8.2 mile bike/horse road that completely circles the outer edge of Mackinac Island.”

"The sin was shining, the wind was blowing and the gorgeous lake waves were rolling in." We stopped for a photo at Devil's Kitchen."

“The sin was shining, the wind was blowing and the gorgeous lake waves were rolling in.  We stopped for a photo at Devil’s Kitchen.”

"Exercise is fun in this weather and when surrounded by such beauty."

“Exercise is fun in this weather and when surrounded by such beauty.”

"Yesterday we visited Grand Hotel where the movie Somewhere in Time was filmed. On the bike ride today, Ted showed us the tree from the scene where Elyse first saw Richard and she said, "Is it really you?" Here Glen and I are standing in front of that tree."

“Yesterday we visited Grand Hotel where the movie Somewhere in Time was filmed. On the bike ride today, Ted showed us the tree from the scene where Elyse first saw Richard and she said, ‘Is it you?’ Here Glen and I are standing in front of that tree.”

"Brenda took me to the staircase at Grand Hotel that Richard ran down to meet Elyse when she was calling him."

“Brenda took me to the staircase at Grand Hotel where Richard ran down to meet Elyse when she was calling him.”

"As I was walking Tessa this evening I noticed that the city building and churches are historic in keeping with all else on Mackinac Island. This is Little Stone Church where Brenda and Ted attend."

“As I was walking Tessa this evening I noticed the city buildings and churches are historic, in keeping with all else on Mackinac Island. This is Little Stone Church where Brenda and Ted attend.”

"Notice that even police and firefighters ride bikes!"

“Notice that even police ride bikes!”

"Today it rained on Mackinac. But it did not keep anyone from continuing to enjoy this paradise. Glen and I went on the "once a week" tour of the Governor's Cottage this morning. Because of the rain and the very steep hill that it sits on we took a taxi which is a horse drawn carriage."

“Today it rained on Mackinac. But it did not keep anyone from continuing to enjoy this paradise. Glen and I went on the “once a week” tour of the Governor’s Cottage this morning. Because of the rain and the very steep hill that it sits on, we took a taxi which is a horse drawn carriage.  Glen and I are standing on the porch of the Governor’s Cottage, which has been used by Michigan governors and their dignitary and presidential friends for many years.”

"Later in the day when the rain broke, I walked up and down "our street" and took some more pics. This is the rental horse stable, 'Cindy's'".

“Later in the day, when the rain broke, I walked up and down ‘our street’ and took some more pics. This is the rental horse stable, ‘Cindy’s'”.

"When we got back to Park Place Suites, Tessa and I were sitting in our courtyard and the 'garbagemen' came in a horse drawn dray! I do love this place!"

“When we got back to Park Place Suites, Tessa and I were sitting in our courtyard and the ‘garbagemen’ came in a horse drawn dray! I do love this place!”

"Tonight's walk took me to the end of our street that runs into Lake uron and gave me the opportunity to admire the Mackinac Bridge at night."

“Tonight’s walk took me to the end of our street that runs into Lake uron and gave me the opportunity to admire the Mackinac Bridge at night.”

"Then off I went to get some delicious Moomer's Ice Cream (at the No Name Café), followed by Taps at the fort.

“Then off I went to get some delicious Moomer’s Ice Cream (at the No Name Café), followed by Taps at the fort.

"Today Ted, Glen and I visited Fort Mackinac that overlooks beautiful Marquette Park where I let Tessa play."

“Today Ted, Glen and I visited Fort Mackinac that overlooks beautiful Marquette Park, where I let Tessa play.”

"I feared that it would just be old buildings. I was wrong! The many buikdings were filled with period furnishings, historical information and activities for children."

“I feared that it would just be old buildings. I was wrong! The many buildings were filled with period furnishings, historical information and activities for children.”

"There were also gun and cannon demonstrations. And there was an outdoor restaurant with the best view in town!"

“There were also gun and cannon demonstrations. And there was an outdoor restaurant with the best view in town!”

"After the fort, Ted took Glen and me for a walk on Anne's Tablet Trail (one of many trails) through a beautiful wooded area. The tablet seen on the trail honors the memory of a local author from years ago."

“After the fort, Ted took Glen and me for a walk on Anne’s Tablet Trail (one of many trails) through a beautiful wooded area. The tablet seen on the trail honors the memory of a local author from years ago.”

"Ted led us through the woods to the East Bluff where more pretty vintage cottages were lined up with million dollar views and beautiful flower gardens."

“Ted led us through the woods to the East Bluff where more pretty vintage cottages were lined up, with million dollar views and beautiful flower gardens.”

"I loved our walk so much that I immediately went a second time showing it to Tessa!"

“I loved our walk so much that I immediately went a second time, showing it to Tessa!”

"Bittersweet picture of Shepler's Ferry that took us away from the island."

“Bittersweet picture of Shepler’s Ferry that took us away from the island.”

"I am leaving a piece of my heart here and am sad to leave. But how blessed I am to have experienced this paradise! Glen and I love Mackinac Island so much that we plan to visit again next year. I hope all of you who have followed this trip with me will visit the island too."

“I am leaving a piece of my heart here and am sad to leave. But how blessed I am to have experienced this paradise! Glen and I love Mackinac Island so much that we plan to visit again next year. I hope all of you who have followed this trip with me will visit the island too.”

A few more of Debra’s photographs. . . .

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Ted and I had a blast showing Kim, R.D., Debra, and Glen Mackinac Island.  To paraphrase the slogan from the former Atlanta Journal, “We covered Mackinac like the dew.”  We tried our best to wear them out each day, but they were real troopers and just kept on going – even in the rain!

Hope you’ve enjoyed the island through the eyes of these four fudgies!

God bless.

 

Wednesday, Thursday . . . Happy Days! 6/13/2013

This week has been awesome!

Weather: Beautiful!

Lilacs:  Gorgeous!

Smell in the air:  Sweet!

Activities:  Everywhere!

Opportunities for photography:  Boundless!

Therefore:  It’s PHOTO NIGHT!

Good friend Bonnie dropped by the condo this week while she was visiting Mackinac for a few days!  See you back again soon, Bonnie!

While she was visiting Mackinac for a few days, good friend Bonnie dropped by the condo with Jill.  Come back again soon, Bonnie!

Bear:  "This is me - playing dead."

Bear:   This is me playing dead.  As soon as Mom gets all worried . . . .

Bear:  "Fooled you, didn't I?  I LOVE doing that!"

. . . . I roll around and laugh. “I fooled you again, didn’t I?!”   I LOVE doing that!

We rode up past the airport yesterday for lunch with Steve & Orietta.  That's one end of the airport runway - just beyond that second fence.

We rode up past the airport yesterday to have lunch with Steve & Orietta.  Just beyond that second fence is one end of the Mackinac Island Airport runway.

Later that afternoon we took a long walk in the cool woods, where the ground cover is about to be covered in flowers.  On the right side is Lily-of-the-Valley.  On the left will be tiny, perfect purple flowers.  Anyone know that those are?

Later that afternoon we took Maddie and Bear on a long walk in the cool woods, where the green ground cover is about to be flowering ground cover. On the left side is Lily-of-the-Valley (if you look closely, you can already see little white specks). On the right will be tiny, perfect purple flowers.  Anyone know what those are?

I can't seem to get away from the woods this week.  I've missed being out there the first four weeks we were here, and I guess I'm trying to make up for it now.

I can’t seem to get away from the woods this week. I missed being out there the first four weeks we were here because of the weather, and I guess I’m trying to make up for it now.

The Lady Slippers are out . . .

The Lady Slippers are out . . .

. . . and perfectly beautiful.

. . . and perfectly beautiful.  Can’t you just see magical fairies slipping these on their feet at night?

Found beside the road.

Found beside the road.

Dandelion close-up.

Up close with a dandelion.  Have I mentioned have much I love my new camera?

Today (Thursday) we took the pups on a walk along Pontiac Trail.

Today (Thursday) we took the pups on an outing toward the West Bluff and followed the road behind the bluff houses.  Isn’t it amazing what a few days of warm temps and sunshine can do to the landscape?!

This fire hydrant is almost hidden in the lush vegetation.

This fire hydrant is almost hidden in the lush vegetation.

Looking between the summer cottages to Lake Huron.

Looking across the back yards and between the summer cottages to Lake Huron.

A shady place to read a book.

A shady place to read a book or just sit and watch your garden grow.

One of my favorite "viewing spots".

One of my favorite “viewing spots” – framed by trees and surrounded with a white picket fence.

View from Pontiac Trail today - the first time I've been up there this year.

View from Pontiac Trail today – the first time I’ve been up there this year.

A recently

A recently renovated West Bluff cottage –  almost hidden by Lilac trees which must be decades and decades old.

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Love this shade of purple!

A cottage against the blue sky . . .

The top floor of a cottage against the blue sky . . .

. . . and Honeysuckle against blue water.

. . . and Honeysuckle against blue water.

A curve in Pontiac's Trail . . . bordered with wild flowers.

A curve in Pontiac Trail . . . bordered with wild flowers.

"Somebody threw a potato chip in here.  I can smell it!"

“Somebody threw a potato chip in here. I can smell it!”

One of Michelle's Friesians.

One of Michelle’s Friesians.

A thick hedge of lacy white flowers.

A thick hedge of lacy white flowers.

OTHER GOODIES!

Things you don't see everyday on Mackinac . . . three semi-trucks on your street, turning into the  Arrowhead Livery.

Things you don’t see everyday on Mackinac . . . three semi-trucks on our street, turning into the Arrowhead stables.  What is it?  Who is it?

What can you see inside the open door of Shepler's Sacre Bleu - their freight boat?

A little clue . . .can you see inside the open door of that semi sitting on the deck of Shepler’s Sacre Bleu – their freight boat?  Those semis were rolled off the boat at British Landing and, with special permission from the City Council, driven to Arrowhead, where . . . .

. . . the Budweiser Clydesdales were unloaded!

. . . out stepped the Budweiser Clydesdales!  (This photo and one above:  Jill Sawatzki).  At 9:00 p.m. I’m typing this blog post and glancing out the window every two minutes.  Last year they walked the Clydesdales over to our yard to exercise them.   So far no horses have appeared.

A huge crowd turned out today for the annual Lilac Festival "A Taste of Mackinac".  Restaurants served up their best fare for those lucky enough to have one of the limited number of tickets for the event.

A big crowd turned out today for the annual Lilac Festival “A Taste of Mackinac”. Restaurants served up their best fare for those lucky enough to have one of the limited number of tickets for the event.

The Lilac Tree Inn & Suites is all decked out in lilac lights for the festival!

The Lilac Tree Hotel is all decked out in lilac lights for the festival!  Very pretty!

French Lane on Wednesday.  (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

French Lane on Wednesday. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

MORE TO COME!

So much excitement coming over the weekend!

Blog reader Theresa is on the island with her family, and we’re going to try and meet up on Friday at Sadie’s.  I’ve promised her children they can pick my 4th flavor to taste!  After that I’m going to try to get down to the Blessing of the Animals with Maddie and Bear at Little Barn in the Mission.

Little Stone Church is hosting a high school A Cappella Choir from Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte, MI, and they’ll be performing at our church service on Sunday.  Ted and I will have two young men from this group staying with us Saturday night, and we are so looking forward to that.  One little glitch . . . we are to pick them up at the ferry dock at the same time as the Pet Parade on Saturday, so I’ll need to beg and borrow someone else’s photos of that event this year.

Of course, Sunday is the big day – the Lilac Festival Grand Parade!

Hoping to post all the weekend fun on Sunday evening, unless I’m just too tuckered out.  If nothing shows up Sunday night, check back on Monday!

Have a great weekend.  God bless.

Nice and Easy Does It 6/6/2013

Sleeping late is such a nice treat, and I don’t usually do that (contrary to what Ted occasionally tells folks).  After Lowell and Faye left Mackinaw City on Wednesday, Jill drove me across the Mackinac Bridge and dropped me off for a hair appointment in St. Ignace, then she boarded the ferry to return to the Island for work.

Grey roots covered and about an inch trimmed off, I returned to Mackinac also and was on-Island about 5 p.m.  Ted met me downtown, and we joined what looked like the entire Island population at the Community Center for a benefit spaghetti dinner for our Fire Chef Mike Bradley, who is battling cancer.  That huge room was filled to the brim with Mackinac folks who have known Mike since he was born, and with folks like us who have known him only a few years.  There was an out-pouring of pure Mackinac love in that room last night.

When we returned to the condo around 7:30, I began to worry that we hadn’t heard from Lowell; but a while later he left a message that they were home and fine.  He called this morning to fill us in on their trip home, which included stopping in Cheboygan, where they had lived for several years.  He and I both couldn’t believe their trip had come and gone so quickly.  It was quite a whirlwind – but one they will remember forever.

The article in the Town Crier should be out next Thursday (June 13), and I can hardly wait to read it.  I’ve promised Lowell I’ll mail them several copies as soon as it hits the stands.

After a very lazy morning, I met Jill and Sue Conlon half-way down the hill for lunch at the Jockey Club.  We opted to eat outside, which might have been a bit foolish because we never took off our coats.  The food was yummy though!

Our server came out with our lunch balanced on his head.  He sat down, while Jill dug in her purse for her camera, and waited patiently for her to focus and shoot.  If I'd done that, our lunch would have been upside down on the cement!

Our server came out with our lunch balanced on his head. He sat down, while Jill dug in her purse for her camera, and waited patiently for her to focus and shoot. If I’d done that, our lunch would have been upside down on the cement!

When lunch was over we walked up the West Bluff to check out the Lilacs, and yes - I believe they are going to be in full bloom for Lilac Festival, which begins June 7 and runs through the 16th.

When lunch was over we walked up the West Bluff to check out the Lilacs, and yes – I believe they are going to be in full bloom for Lilac Festival, which begins June 7 and runs through the 16th.

After running a few errands in town, I turned toward home.  Then I remembered Ted had gone to Cheboygan after groceries and he might be returning to the Island soon.  I called him, and sure enough, he was half-way across the Straits.  I walked back to the Shepler dock and instead of walking home, jumped on the taxi he'd already ordered because of the groceries.  I love when that happens!  Smile for your grandmother,

After running a few errands in town, I turned toward home. Then I remembered Ted had gone to Cheboygan after groceries, and he might be returning to the Island soon. I called him, and sure enough, he was half-way across the Straits. I walked back to the Shepler dock and instead of walking home, jumped on the taxi he’d already ordered because of the groceries. I love when that happens! Smile for your grandmother, Alyssa!

We passed

We passed a wagon loaded with flowers going somewhere up Cadotte.  It’s spring planting time on the Island – a little bit later than usual.

OUT-TAKES

Going through dozens and dozens of photos I snapped during the Lowell & Faye trip this afternoon, I came across several I didn’t use for one reason or another and decided to do an “Out-Takes” feature. 

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Man in elevator:  “Geez!  It’s that guy again!  Every time I’ve seen him this week he’s been getting his picture taken.  Is he a celebrity?  Should I know him?  Maybe I should ask to have MY picture taken with him! 

Lowell to Lora:

Lowell to Lora:  “The time I walked across Arch Rock, I came THIS CLOSE to falling off!” 

Ted to Stephanie, the reporter:  "You know, I have some good stories too.  Maybe you'd like to interview me when you're done with Lowell."

Ted to Stephanie, the reporter: “You know, I have some good stories too. Maybe you’d like to interview me when you’re done with Lowell.” 

"Faye, I'm thinking we could move our house in Olivett and put it right there on that empty lot!"

“Lowell, I’m thinking we could move our house in Olivet and put it right there on that empty lot!”

vvvv

“Stephanie, when we rowed across to Round Island in that little boat, a freighter came SO CLOSE I could have reached out and touched it.”

"Hold on, Faye!  This Mosley fella says he can drive horses, but he's taking these curves pretty fast if you ask me!"

“Hold on, Faye! This Mosley fella says he can drive horses, but he’s taking these curves pretty fast if you ask me!”

Hoping everyone has enjoyed this week with the Greene’s as much as Ted and I have.  With the Lilac Festival beginning tomorrow, there will be plenty going on to share next week.  For now, this is Brenda – signing off for the weekend!

God bless.

A Week of Flowers and Good Company 6/16/2011

WE HAVE A WINNER for the “Mystery Spot” contest at the end of this post. The winner is Maggie, and she’s from Brighton, MI.  Her correct response was “the old French Outpost, which is now the Gatehouse Restaurant”.   She answered at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday evening.  Scroll to the bottom for the full photo of the Mystery Spot.

Our company left on the taxi this morning to catch the 8 a.m. Shepler’s Ferry.  As we watched the taxi horses take them down the hill, I felt the lump in my throat I always get as I watch friends depart. 

On our lake in Georgia, our good neighbors are a senior couple two houses down from ours – Joe and Kay.  They are the ages my parents would be if they were alive (that’s why I can call them “senior”), and I feel a special bond with them because they remind me so much of my mom and dad.  In Ted’s absence, it was Joe who I called screaming the day a snake dropped out of some bushes in our yard – right on my feet. 

“Joe! Come with your gun – there’s a snake!”  He was down the street in a flash, and the snake was dispatched a few seconds later.

It was also Joe I called when Shotzie – the little dashchund we had before Maddie – was dying, and Ted was out of town.  Joe rushed to our house in his truck, picked up Shotzie and I, and talked me through the longest 10-mile ride ever to the vet in Cordele.  Then he stayed, strong and silent, in the waiting room as Shotzie went peacefully to the Rainbow Bridge, cuddled in my arms.  Afterward, he drove us home and listened silently to me sobbing, occasionally reaching over to pat my hand.  I just love Joe and Kay.

It was one of their daughters and her husband (Donna and Brad), and Joe and Kay’s 13-year-old great-grandson (Cain) who spent two nights with us this week.  Brad’s family has owned a summer “camp” in Canada for over 70 years, and they were on the way to spend two months there.  We heard that news from Joe and Kay during the winter, and after talking to Donna and Brad, we found out that they stayed close to us on one of their nights on the road.  We immediately invited them to stay with us, and they arrived on the 4:30 ferry on Tuesday afternoon.

After dinner, Cain loved the idea of a walk downtown for an ice cream cone.  After two days of riding in a car, Donna and Brad needed to do some leg stretching also.

Donna and Brad could not have picked a more perfect time to visit. You don't have to get this close to smell the lilacs, but like everyone else in town, Donna couldn't resist getting an up-close whiff of these beautiful flowers.

 
 

We stopped at Joann's and got Cain his ice cream cone and some fudge, then did some window shopping before we grownups bought our icre creams. Would you believe these are CANDY shoes - completely edible and available at Sanders. I honestly don't think I could bear to mess up these beauties by eating them, although I guess I could eat the stilettos and still have a pair of flats.

 
 

We walked out the boardwalk on the west side of Main Street, just as dusk was falling, bathing everything in a pink glow.

 
 

Ted and I are seldom downtown at this particular time of day and didn't realize how many people walk down the boardwalk to watch the sun go down . . .

 
 
. . . but now I know why.
 
We cut through the school yard and came out below the Grand Hotel.  At the Jockey Club, we stopped and looked back down Cadotte just as the street lamps came on . . . .
 
 

. . . forming miniature versions of the almost-full moon hanging over the trees.

 
 

Ten minutes later we were at home, and the moon was hanging over our peaceful front yard. I went back and looked to see what time I took this photo - it was 9:49 p.m. Still plenty of light.

 
Over breakfast Wednesday morning, we planned a full day of activities.  Cain’s two wishes were to see the fort and ride around the island.  He got them both.
 

Both Brad and Cain are big history buffs, and Ted was so excited to have two interested guys to talk with about historical facts.

 
 

A beautiful old crabapple tree stands just outside the back entrance to the fort.

 
 

Inside the fort, we toured all the historical buildings and watched the fort interpreters draw the crowds into reliving how things were done in the early 1800's. Here, one of the lady interpreters is leading a group of children into a quiet corner of the parade ground to play Victorian-era games.

 
 

I never can get enough of the views from the fort - whether from the hills within the walls . . . .

 
 
 

. . . the gun ports that frame a different picture with each location . . .

 
 

. . . or looking down from a table at the Tea Room, where we had lunch (a great chicken salad sandwich).

 
By this time, Cain was really ready to ride bikes, but we forced him to wander through Sutler’s Store before we left the fort.  He found a magnet he liked (he collects them), and Donna and I both bought matching rings with horses on them.
 

With our Mackinac Associate membership discount, I spent an outrageous $2.70 + tax on this beauty. Love it!

 
We headed home via Anne’s Tablet and a quick look at the East Bluff.
 

Added to the peace and tranquility of the hidden location of Anne's Tablet, the view makes it a perfect spot to just sit down and breathe deeply. After doing that for five minutes, pamper yourself and do it for another five. You will feel so much better.

 
 

A beautiful East Bluff cottage.

 
From the East Bluff, we walked to the cemeteries.
 

Brad, Cain, and Donna - leaning against the old cannon in the Post Cemetery.

 
 

As we were leaving, I spotted our newest horse additions to the island. They are two huge draft horses with "paint" markings (the two outside horses). They are helping to pull one of the three-horse hitch Carriage Tour wagons, and they are magnificent!

 
 

A quick stop at Skull Cave for Cain to tie his shoe.

 
We have three bikes, so after a little rest, our company too off to make sure Cain got his second wish.  I confess openly that Ted and I took a nap while they were gone.  We finished off the day with dinner downtown and a walk home up Fort Street, wandering through the wood trails and arriving at the condo late . . . but before dark once again.
 
 
The graceful lilacs of Market Street – looking toward Marquette Park.
 
And now Ted and I and our four-legged children are alone once more.  Ted worked today, and I stayed home and did some laundry and starting writing this post.  It’s so hard to put down in words how much we love visitors – showing them Mackinac Island and its well-known landmarks, as well as some of its lesser-known special nooks.  Even going strong for a day-and-a-half, we probably covered only about 1/4 of all there is to see and do. 
 
This will be the last weekend of the Lilac Festival – culminating with the Lilac Parade on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m.  If you’re nearby and can come up, it looks like another dazzling few days are in the forecast, and a lot of hotels are offering last-minutes specials.  Check ’em out!
 
MYSTERY SPOT CONTEST
 
Time for the Mystery Spot Contest for this week!  The object is to be the first to identify where the object is located. When you think you have the answer, email me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com. 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! And the Mystery Spot is . . . .
 

Where is it?

 

Again, please email your answers to me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com. PLEASE DO NOT ANSWER IN THE “COMMENTS” SECTION OF THE BLOG.
 
See you on Monday with all the weekend happenings.  Have a wonderful weekend, and if you get to spend Sunday with your dad, give him a big hug, and tell him how much you love him.  If your daddy is in Heaven, tell him how much you love him anyway.  That’s what I plan to do . . . and I know he’ll be listening, and I know he will smile.  God bless.
 
MYSTERY SPOT ANSWER
 

The turtles sit atop a post at the old French Outpost, now the Gatehouse Restaurant.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Weekly Wonders! 6/3/2011

WE HAVE A WINNER for the “Mystery Spot” contest at the end of this post.  The winner is Susan, who lives in Colorado now, but is a Michigan native.  Her correct response was “the Post Cemetery”.  Scroll to the bottom for the full photo of the Mystery Spot.

What a busy week it’s been so far! 

It’s taken me a while to get into the swing of the slight change in formats this summer.  As you know, I haven’t been posting only one photo each day, but I promise that some days I will.  But, as I always find on the island, there is just so much going on it’s hard to stop with one pic.  When I find a spare moment at the condo, I sit down at the laptop and start “sketching out” what happened that day.  By doing that, when Thursday and Sunday evenings roll around, I’ve practically gotten these in-depth posts written, AND I haven’t forgotten half of what we did!  It’s working out well for me, and I hope it is for you as well.

Ted and I were up early on Monday to take the short walk through the back trails to the Post Cemetery for the Memorial Day service there.  We somehow timed it a little wrong and arrived just as the service was ending, so I stood to the side of the road and watched as the fort interpreters left the cemetery and started back to Fort Mackinac. 

I hate that we missed the ceremony, which is always so moving. There was a really good crowd gathered for so early in the morning - it seems to grow a little each year.

 

As we approached the Post Cemetery, we heard Taps being played by one of the soldiers and then the rifles firing in salute. The interpreters represent the U.S. Army's 23rd Regiment of Infantry, who served at Fort Mackinac in the 1880's.

 
 

As in years past, one of the lady interpreters laid a wreath at the grave of a soldier buried there.

 
 

A fun surprise! Attending the service were Elaine and Paul, blog readers from Yale, Michigan, whom I met last summer for the first time. They come to the island often, and it was good to see them again.

 
 

We had intended to go straight back home, but started walking and talking to someone (we seem to do a lot of that) and ended up going on into town. Fog hung over the Straits Monday morning, but even in the fog, Mackinac is beautiful.

 
We picked up a newspaper while in town, then went back to the condo.  A couple of hours later we walked back down for the 11:30 Memorial Day service at Veterans Park.
 
 

This official city service is so impressive - hosted by local veterans. Here, Mayor Margaret Doud is speaking.

 
 

Talk about a crowd! All the seating was filled, and the crowd overflowed into the streets. By the way, the gentleman in the Naval uniform is Dr. Vincent Carroll, the minister at Little Stone Church. He offered one of the prayers that morning.

 
 

One of the special parts of the ceremony is the presentation of a wreath to a Mackinac Island mother whose son or daughter has served in the military.

 
 

Mackinac Island veterans are members of the Chapman St. Onge Dankowski American Legion Post 299.

 
 

As the service was drawing to a close, the first group of Boy Scouts for the season arrived on the island. Having reached the location of the service, they stood in silent attention as the final prayer was offered by Ste. Anne's priest Fr. Jim Williams.

 
 

At the end of the service, all the flags on the island were simultaneously raised once again to full-staff. At the Veterans Park, the U.S. flag flies with the POW/MIA flag, and flags for all six branches of service are displayed.

 
 

Before we left town, we checked out the bike auction behind the Stuart House Museum. There were some really nice bikes up for auction, and they all seemed to be surrounded by some serious looking bidders. All of these bikes were collected throughout the previous summer (lost bikes that were found by someone else and turned in, but never claimed by their owners, bikes bought by island summer workers and then abandoned when they returned home, etc.). It's a great place to pick up a nice second-hand bike.

 
 
We ended the day with another walk late Monday afternoon – this time with Maddie and Bear – to the West Bluff.
 

We passed this horse corral filled with wildflowers on the way down Cadotte. There have always been a couple of horses kept here in years past, but maybe they just haven't made it back from their winter R & R.

 
 
 

We reached the West Bluff just as a newly married couple was riding off into the sunset - followed closely by their wedding photographer. Awwwww . . . .

 
 

Of course we walked Pontiac Trail while we were up on the bluff. New owners have been renovating this beautiful cottage for a couple of summers, and it looks as though they are just about finished - another grand lady restored to her original beauty. Are you wondering what the view is like from up there . . . .

 
 

. . . . here it is from Pontiac Trail directly below the house. From higher up on that porch, you could see even further. Wow! Talk about a place to drink coffee! Full views of the ferry traffic back and forth from Mackinaw City and St. Ignace, full views of the freighters coming through the cut . . . awesome!

 
On Tuesday we rested, and watched the weather all day.  Reports of severe thunderstorms, high winds, and hail were forecast to move in around 5 p.m., and we were supposed to go over to Mackinaw City for a party on the 6 p.m. ferry.  Shepler’s hosts a cast and crew party for their employees once a month during the season, and as “honorary cast members” Chris Ann and I and our hubbies were invited – and you know we never turn down free food!  We were seriously afraid we wouldn’t make it because of the weather, but when we started down to catch the ferry, the weather still looked ok except for the wind, which was blowing like crazy. 
 
The party was set up under the big white luggage tent on the Shepler dock, with grills going strong cooking up hamburgers and hotdogs and all the trimmings.  I dove into my handbag for my camera, and guess what . . . . no, I didn’t forget the camera . . .  I forgot the camera CARD . .  which was still in my laptop at home.  Do you see me kicking myself?  So – no pics of the party – but let me just say that it was so much fun!  We met a bunch of Shepler folks – both immediate family and their huge extended family of friends and workers.  The food was great, and the fellowship was wonderful.   We crossed back to the island on the 7:30 ferry – again in strong winds, but no rain or hail.  I think the big storm went north and south of us – seeming to split into halves, with the Straits and Mackinac Island in the relatively calm center.
 
We had nothing planned for Wednesday.  Ted was scheduled to start working his volunteer job at the Mackinac State Historic Parks Visitors Center on Thursday, so we just hung around the condo, except for the required doggie breaks outside.  In fact, I was at my laptop working on this post when my cell phone rang.  I didn’t recognize the number, and almost didn’t answer – but thank goodness I did!
 
It was Dennis Bradley, Assistant Manager of the Mackinac Island Airport.  Last summer I asked Dennis to please give me a call if there was a day when the airport was having lots of traffic.  And he had remembered!  Arriving on Wednesday were government leaders, business owners, and others to attend the Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference at the Grand Hotel, and it seems like most everyone arrived by plane.  Our little airport was hopping!
 
I rode my bike out to the airport (about a 10-minute ride), and when I got there one of the Grand Hotel carriages was waiting under the portico.
 
Ben, who has spent so much time this week exercising the hackneys, finally had them harnessed up to one of the wagons they are intended to pull – a Grand VIP carriage.
I walked into the airport lobby just as a family was entering from the plane parking area.  Dennis told me the gentleman was Robert Schostak, Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party.  Being my usual shy self, I followed them out, introduced myself, and asked if I could get a photograph for the blog.  Mr. Schostak asked me where I was from (the accent always gives me away), and I told him Georgia.  He graciously agreed to be photographed.
 
 
 
 Back inside, Dennis said, “Before someone else arrives, you’ve got to go out and get a photo of a couple of planes.  One is probably the largest we’ve ever had land here, and the other one is just a really neat plane.”   (Remind me to go back out to the airport this summer for an in-depth story on how the airport actually operates, but today I was there for the planes!)
 

East apron. On a busy summer weekend, it's not uncommon to find the airport apron filled with private planes owned by island residents who fly in and out during the year. But these are not those planes. These are all corporate, state, and chartered planes which had arrived carrying VIP's for the Detroit conference.

 
 

West apron. A few of the planes would be staying at the airport for the 3-day conference, but some simply landed, delivered their passengers and their luggage, and immediately flew out again.

 
 

Dennis was pretty sure this was the largest jet to ever land at Mackinac. Airport . . .

 
 

. . . but the one that really caught my eye - and his - was this one!

 
 

As I was snapping photos, the pilot walked up - ready to take off . . . and asked if I'd like to go inside and take a look around! Are you kidding me!!

 
 

Well geez! Talk about cushy comfort! The pilot explained this was a Piaggio P180 Avanti - made in Italy. I'm standing in the door and shooting toward the rear of the plane. You can see the pilot (who's really up front) reflected in the mirrow at the back.

 
 

Looking into the cockpit . . .

 
 

OK, Frog . . . this one's just for you! (Frog is my adopted brother-in-law who is a retired Delta pilot.)

 
On Thursday Ted went to work from noon to 4, and I walked downtown to pick up the mail and do a little shopping.  And that about covers the week except for these random notes:
 

The lilac blossoms are beginning to open! They have a ways to go before every bush is blooming, but each day more and more beautiful color is being seen. The Lilac Festival is June 10-19. I predict it's going to be a glorius one, with the lilacs at their peak.

 

The mystery of the "small horse" is solved! After taking this photo Wednesday evening of someone leading her across our lawn, I made some inquires today, then went directly to the owner. It's the Ben Mosley family (you remember Ben is the Grand Hotel stable manager and our condo caretaker). His wife fell in love with the pony a few weeks ago, and now she is a permanent resident of the island. And a "pony" is what she is - a registered Hackney pony (a smaller version of the Grand Hotel's Hackney horses). They are calling her Miss Minnie, although her official name has "Mackinac" in it. She is three years old, about two years from being full-grown. Ben says she will only grow "up" another two inches, but she will become much more muscular. She is already trained to harness, and the Moseley's are planning to refit the family's antique pony cart for her to pull. And now we all know!

 
Have you finished that second donut yet?  I’m almost done, but I have a new feature to preview tonight.  Each Friday I will be posting a photograph of something on the island.  Some will be relatively easy to recognize – some not so much.  The object is to be the first to identify where the object is located.  When you think you have the answer, email me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com.  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.  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!  
 
I’m going to start off with an easy one . . .
 

Where on Mackinac Island is this tree growing through this fence?

Again, please email your answers to me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com.  PLEASE DO NOT ANSWER IN THE “COMMENTS” SECTION OF THE BLOG.

All righty then!  The coffee has to be cold and the donuts eaten!  See you back again on Monday morning with all the weekend happenings, and I’ll have a pic or two for you on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Whew!  My fingers are tired!  Have a safe and fun weekend.  God bless.

MYSTERY SPOT ANSWER

The fence surrounds the family graves of one of the Fort Mackinac commanders in the Post Cemetery.

 
 
 
 
 

Mackinac Island Off-Season Weekly Update – Vol. I – 11/01/2010

Hello!  And welcome to the first Weekly Update of Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog!

Writing about Mackinac Island while living in Georgia is always a little challenging, but with the help of friends on the island, I hope to be able to keep you posted on what’s happening there on a regular basis and pass along some winter photos as I receive them from those lucky enough to be staying on the island year-round.  I’ve already received the first off-season newsletter from friend Greg Main, and I’m be including it later on in this post.  Greg is always on top of island happenings, AND he takes some great photographs.

Jill left the island about a week after we did, and she sent these four pics before she left:

I think Jill took this about 10 days before we left the island. She took the exact same shot right after we arrived in the spring, with Bear and I standing in front of those beautiful tulips. About a week after this shot, these flowers were all pulled up, the ground readied, and 20,000 tulip bulbs were planted - one bulb at a time - into the design you will see next spring.

 

The trees got even more beautiful after we left - like this one at the stables behind a West Bluff home.

 

Metivier Inn - all dressed up for Halloween!

 

West Bluff homes are closed for winter - it seems strange to see those empty flag poles.

Some of you already know that a huge storm blew through the Upper Peninsula last week.  All of the weather forecasters were calling for barometric pressures as low as the storm that sunk the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975.  The storm was a big one, but did not reach the predicted severity – thank goodness.  Even so, ferries cancelled their runs after 2 p.m. on the second – and worse – day of the storm

A shot of the island shoreline during the storm. Mary Stancik from the Grand grabbed this photo.

 

The Shepler Ferry dock in Mackinaw City, as one of the squalls passed through.

 

Waves crashing against the Mackinac Bridge. Thanks to Katie Cederholm from the Mackinac Island Historic Parks for this pic. Winds were clocked at the bridge at 78 mph.

I received an email this afternoon from a blog fan asking if I’d seen the photos on the Grand Hotel’s Facebook page of the trees being removed from Cadotte Avenue.  I quickly opened that page, and here’s what I found:

I immediately called Mary Stancik from the Grand, and we talked for about 15 minutes about the Grand’s plan for the trees.  Twenty of the trees lining Cadotte were removed this week – 10 on each side.  That leaves 24, and those will be removed at the end of the season next fall.  Some of you may remember that last fall there was a huge storm on the island at the end of October, and several of the trees were so damaged they had to be removed then.  The trees lining Cadotte – all Norway Maples –  are over 70 years old, which is about the life expectancy for that particular tree.  Of course, those of us who have visited the island for years and years only remember seeing the trees at full maturity, and the sight of that lined boulevard is one of my favorite visuals of the island.  Unfortunately though, those trees have become a hazard.  With age, they have become diseased and weakened.  Last fall, during that storm, one of the huge branches that fell missed a taxi full of people by only 5 feet.  So, as much as we love those trees, the time has come for them to be replaced, and that is what the Grand is doing.  During this next week, 20 Autumn Blaze Maples will be replanted where the removed trees stood.  They will be 14-16′ tall – the largest they could find, and they will grow rapidly – 2-3′ each year.  Mary said they are beautiful maples, with gorgeous fall foliage, and are a much hardier and healthier tree than the Norway Maple.  Here’s a pic of a couple of them I took off of a Google Search:

Mary also said that the overgrown yews that have masked the beautiful steps up from the Tea Garden have also been cut back, and that area will have beautiful landscaping next spring. 

Yes, the old familiar trees will be missed, and I’m so glad I’ve photographed them so many times in the past years.  And 24 of them will remain through next summer, so if you’re coming to the island and don’t already have pics of those trees in your photo album, be sure and get a few shots to preserve your memory of them.  It will be amazing to be able to record the growth of the new trees over the next few years! 

Here’s Greg Main’s Newsletter, written after the fierce storms of last week:

     “The seas are much less angry now.  After enduring a full two days of relentless wind, rain-filled squalls and gusts equal to hurricane force, the Straits area and Mackinac Island are a bit battered, have a lot less trees, tree limbs and roofing shingles but, overall, I haven’t heard of any major damage to any structures outside of downed electrical lines and one missing pane of window glass of which I’m personally aware.  It was almost as if Mother Nature was using this wind barrage to let us know that the unusually warm, dry weather we’ve enjoyed for most of the month of October is officially over.  Now, it’s time for typically cool and/or cold temperatures at night with day-time highs struggling to reach mid-40’s. 
     The last big “hurrah” on the island was last weekend.  Over 2,000 runners and walkers were here for the annual 6K and Half-Marathon events.  Bars, restaurants and lodging places which were still open were packed.  Tour carriages and tourists once again filled the sidewalks and crowded the streets.  It was quite reminiscent of any typical summer day.  The island’s business district was prepped for our annual Halloween parties/costume contests.  Venturing out this year sans costume – wasn’t in the mood, I suppose – I came upon standing room only in both Horn’s and the Mustang Lounge.  Many people I recognized but even more I didn’t. 
     Every place I visited was loud and filled with ghosts, goblins, witches, cowboys, freaks (for lack of a better description), clowns, crossed-dressed cheerleaders, spooky get-ups, fancy get-ups, green-haired, orange-haired, blue-haired and no-haired combinations of people adorned with glitz, glamor, extra teeth in the shape of vampire fangs and missing teeth, whether real or not.  I even saw Superman in two different places wearing two obviously different sized costumes.  I guess on Mackinac Island, there is room for more than one Super Hero, huh?  
     Turning the page, the other side of Autumn life on Mackinac has slowly progressed over the past couple of weeks, as the business district has begun closing its’ doors for the winter.  Very few lights illuminate store fronts now, awnings have been removed and stored away, scores of luggage carts, packed to overflowing, have made their way to the boat docks, awaiting transport off the island, and only one taxi is currently making abbreviated rounds throughout the island.  The Village Inn will be closing, as usual, for the month of November, leaving the Mustang and Patrick Sinclair’s to bear the brunt of the social drinkers and diners.  With deer hunting season just a couple weeks away now, the island will become even more ghost-like (in keeping with the Halloween theme), as many island residents leave for places known and unknown in search of the oft-elusive White-tail.  
     Up on the bluffs, the lights are out, shutters are being applied to guard many of the original wavy-glass windows, flower boxes, planters and vases are emptied, annuals have been pulled, perennials cut back, one large turtle is tarped, screens removed, porch furniture and miscellaneous outdoor paraphernalia are moved inside for winter storage, water is drained and anti-freeze is poured into the necessary places, as most of the cottages have been or are being, put to bed for the winter. 
     This is always a bittersweet time for me.  I enjoy so much the idea of, once again, being able to walk or bike the island’s interior wooded trails, stopping at familiar places to sit and listen to only those sounds that Nature provides.  Even to walk or ride the island’s perimeter is a joy as there are no gawkers, stopped in the middle of the road and no crowds at all the usual places to slow the pace or to be forced to meander through, around or, worse yet, cause me to come to a complete stop!   How sweet.
     On the flip-side, it’s also time to say “good-bye” to so many people I’ve come to think of as family.  Whether they are here as summer cottagers, seasonal employees, business owners or frequent visitors, those who are dear to my heart always have to leave at some time and even though it’s always been a ‘given’ that I’ll be welcoming everyone back to their respective cottages, businesses and homes the following year,  I’ve been reminded over the years that I cannot always count on seeing all of them again the following Spring.  As such, my good-bye hugs, kisses, hand-shakes and well-wishes  for a “good winter” over the past few years have come more from the heart. I have so many fond and fun memories of the many people I’ve been privileged to have met, to know and to think of as family over the years.  Those will remain with me for a long, long time and even though the face of the East Bluff may have changed a lot over the last 15 or so years, as have some of the cottages owners,  it will always be a very familiar place for me.
      Unless you’ve been in a cave for the past month or so (or simply don’t keep up with island happenings)  the “big” news, I suppose, is what’s taking place regarding the ferry boat franchises and the possibility of the City of Mackinac Island purchasing a boat dock or two and some other properties on the island and in St. Ignace.  I’ve been to all of the meetings regarding this issue, the public hearing last week, read most of what’s been written online and heard a lot of the rhetoric/rumors/gossip/facts that have been making the rounds. I’ve often used this mass email to spout my opinion on other topics of local interest and, at first, I was reluctant to write anything now about the current issue at hand, but . . . what the heck! 
       In a nutshell, I say, give franchises to both Shepler’s and Northern Ferry Company (the proposed joint venture of Arnold Transit and Star Line) and if, as we were all told by City Council, one of the major problems with the current system is the high price of ferry tickets for island residents, then that issue has already been addressed publicly by Bill Shepler, as they’ve proposed a $75.00 yearly pass, unlimited rides for all island residents.  I’ve also been made aware that Northern Ferry proposed a $100.00 yearly pass.  Now, I just bought a 40-ride commuter book (20 round-trips) from Arnold for $250, which works out to $12.50 per round trip.  If the proposed passes were to become fact, those same 20 round-trips via Northern Ferry Company would only cost me $100.  Also, I could buy yearly passes from both  ferry lines and make use of unlimited round-trips for $175.00, which is less than what I just paid for only 20-round trips from Arnold and I could choose which ferry line to use based on when I wanted/needed to get back and forth.   As far as giving island residents a ‘break’ on ticket prices, these proposals seem to answer that request.  Of course, there are other issues too, which will take far too much time for me to address right now.  So . . . until the next time I find time to sit down and tap the keyboard, I hope all is well with everyone.  Take care.  Greg”

Like Greg, I have not used this blog to express my opinion on the ferry line controversy, which is still ongoing on the island.  Ted and I both have made our thoughts clear at Council meetings and to individual Council members.  I will say that I totally agree with Greg above, and pray that long-term franchises will be given soon to all ferry lines, and that next spring we will be seeing Shepler Ferry Line and the newly formed Northern Ferry Company boats coming and going as always.  Anything less would be a travesty of the American way . . . and that’s all I have to say about that.

I’ll leave you with a beautiful shot from Fort Mackinac taken a couple of weeks ago and posted on the Mackinac Island Historic Parks site.  Have a great week, and I’ll see you back here next Monday, Nov. 8.  God bless.

Note #1:  Received this email from Hilde this morning:  “Hi Brenda. I just wanted to thank YOU, your wonderful friends and blogging fans, you all are the BEST!  Please tell them thank you for me for keeping me in their prayers. I know the prayers were heard because I am feeling so much better today. I feel a lot stronger and am able to get up and about much better.  I know every day it will get easier and easier.  Bud is taking real good care of me and my kids have been doing their share, bringing me soup, flowers and lots of phone calls to see how I’m doing 🙂 . Talk to you soon…Hilde”

Note #2:  Blake spoke with the church in Nashville and has been told they will try to reach a decision by the end of November.  Please continue to lift him up as he continues to network and research other job openings, as he waits for word on this one.

Note #3:  For a glimpse of our life in South Georgia, be sure and check out the blog from Lake Blackshear at http://bree1976.wordpress.com.

The Places I’ve Been 8/10/2010

It’s very seldom I have something to attend at night in the middle of the week, but I did have a commitment on Tuesday evening that was going to put me pretty late getting home.  So, I’ve posted some pics from random places I’ve been this week, and all I’ll have to do when I got home Tuesday night is hit “publish”.  Technology is a wonderful thing!

A view of the Chippewa Hotel from the freight dock. It's Mackinac Island, and bikes are everywhere!

  

The masts of The Bounty, a tall ship docked on the Island yesterday. This Bounty was built in 1960 for the movie "Mutiny on the Bounty", the famous story about the British crew who overthrew Captain Bligh while in the Pacific. It starred Marlon Brando. The Bounty has also starred in "Treasure Island" and Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean".

The original Bounty was built in 1784.

The figure at the front of the ship is Bethia, and Bethia was the name of the original Bounty. The Bethia was a common coastal trader that carried coal. Since there were thousands of ships sailing at the time, and many of them looked the same, it was important for illiterate sailors to have a recognizable figurehead. It was believed that a figurehead brought luck to the ship if she was a beautiful woman "to please Neptune". Bligh describes her in his journal as a "handsome woman in a riding habit, well curved".

The Unicorn was another tall ship at the dock this week. The Unicorn has an all-female crew and sponsors a leadership development program on board called "Sisters Under Sail". The girls in the program are 13-22 years old. Its mission is to build confidence, enhance self esteem, develop social consciousness, and teach the value of sisters working together toward a common goal. The young sailors work alongside the Unicorn's all-female professional crew natigating a course, standing watch, setting sails, steering the ship, and learning the skills it takes to operate and maintain a 118', 100-ton sailing vessel. How awesome is that!

The beautiful West Bluff.

Beautiful West Bluff hollyhocks frame the Mackinac Bridge. This one's for you, Julie S.!

No words needed.

The height of the season at The Grand Hotel. Hundreds of red geraniums and thousands of annuals are blooming so vividly you'd swear someone comes by every night and spray paints the colors on.

These young ladies are dead-heading flowers in the gardens at The Grand Hotel - an almost everyday activity.

Haldimand Bay - compliments of the Mackinac Island Historic State Parks Facebook account.

As we were heading for St. Ignace this morning, there was another tall ship in the harbor - The Europa. Beautiful in the fog!

 

 

Bear - resting in the shade after a climb to Fort Holmes.

A white birch. I still can't get over just coming across one of these lovely trees in the middle of a meadow or field.

Gulls and Cormorants on the breakwater.

A kayaker - not for the faint-hearted when you have to dodge ferries and freighters.

Yes - we have gas-driven mowers!

Yes - we do have gas-driven mowers.

 

Skull Cave - where British fur trader Alexander Henry hid out during the Indian uprising of 1763. And, as the Carriage Tour drivers tell the story "the next morning he found that, instead of sleeping on sticks and stones, he had been sleeping on skulls and bones."

The back of a Shepler's Ferry - from the pilot house.

It's hard to believe in a little over a month, these green, green trees will be yellow, orange and gold.

By the way, Lowell’s trip down memory lane yesterday had over 1,000 readers.  I think Lowell should start his own blog for folks that worked on Mackinac Island “back in the day”.  What fun!