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!

 

 

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Through the Eyes of Fudgies – Part I 8/28/16

Writing about and photographing Mackinac Island has been one of my main passions for a lot of years now.  Sometimes I feel there can’t be a single blade of grass I haven’t held in my lens or a single adjective I haven’t used to describe my happy place.  I go through periods of feeling as if I have nothing new to offer and no story left to tell.  And then something happens, or somebody encourages me, or I see something differently – and suddenly all is right in my world again.

That happened this week, and through these next two blog posts I want to share how seeing the island through the eyes of four people visiting Mackinac for the very first time had me seeing the island as a “fudgie” again.

Two couples, Debra and Glen Phelps and Kim and R.D. Harter, visited this week from Albany, GA.  We’re all connected through the Dougherty County School System where five of the six of us spent a lot of years working in the business of educating children.  Kim and R.D. arrived last Saturday by plane and stayed with us at the new condo.  Debra and Glen arrived the next day by car, after three days of driving, and stayed at Park Place Suites on Market Street with their precious furbaby Tessa.  Both couples filled their Facebook pages with photographs and words describing their week here, and I want to share some of their photos and some of their words.

Tonight – Mackinac through the photographs of Kim and R.D.

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From Kim’s Facebook post after they got home:  “A few things we learned on Mackinac Island this week: 1)  Taxis aren’t always cars.  2)  Horses always have the right of way. 3)  Bicyclists can be ticketed for speeding or blocking sidewalks.  4)  Hills can hurt going both up and down.  5)  Great Lakes water is salt free, shark free & quite chilly.  6) People help one another.  7)  Wind jackets are for wind, not rain.  8) August isn’t always hot.  9)  Customer service still exists some places.  10) Farewells are painful.  11)  Friends are appreciated.”

Now I could write a story about how Kim arrived at each of these  statements, but in the interest of time, I’ll just pick a couple.  Number 4 – A truth learned after your hosts have you – on the very first day – hike around for over eight hours up and down hills.  The next morning it hurts just as much to go down a hill as it does to go up one.  And Number 6 – Learned after watching a dray drop off several rooms of furniture and large appliances, and then watching any and every man in sight converge and work the next few hours carrying every bit of it into a neighbor’s condo.  Not paid workers, just men who happened to be around and saw the need.

Here are some of the Harters’ photographs – in no particular order . . .

Kim and R.D. at Arch Rock

Kim and R.D. at Arch Rock

When you leave south Georgia at 6 am, and it's already in the 80's and wake up the next morning in Michigan to 55 degrees, it's quite a shock - but a very welcome shock!

When you leave south Georgia at 6 am, and it’s already in the 80’s and wake up the next morning in Michigan to 55 degrees, it’s quite a shock – but a very welcome shock!

Through special permission from Grand Hotel our group loaded on a beautiful carriage drawn by gorgeous Hackneys and driven by friend Ben Mosley for a whirlwind tour of Mackinac.

Through special permission from Grand Hotel management, our group loaded on a beautiful carriage, drawn by gorgeous Hackneys and driven by friend Ben Mosley, for a whirlwind tour of Mackinac.

A little rain has to fall to make you appreciate the sunshine more! But this group was a foursome of troopers who kept going whether through sun or rain or fog or wind.

A little rain has to fall to make you appreciate the sunshine more! But this group was a foursome of troopers who kept going whether through sun or rain or fog or wind.

Mission Point - across a grassy lawn.

Mission Point – across a grassy lawn.

A yellow beauty from Grand Hotel's Rose Walk.

A yellow beauty from Grand Hotel’s Rose Walk.

The view out the front door of the new condo.

The view out the front door of the new condo.

The Island House's magnificent flower gardens

The Island House’s magnificent flower gardens.

A busy day in front of the Iroquois Hotel.

A busy day in front of the Iroquois Hotel.

Well, of course we took them to the Pink Pony!

Well, of course we took them to the Pink Pony!

All the shots in the rain were taken the same day - it was beautiful the rest of the time. This is looking down Mission Hill.

All the shots in the rain were taken the same day – it was beautiful the rest of the time. This is looking down Mission Hill from the East Bluff.

Trying to take a nap while waiting on the girls to arrive to tour Grand Hotel's gardens.

Trying to catch a nap while waiting on the girls to arrive to tour Grand Hotel’s gardens.

Amazement at the blue, blue water!

Amazement at the blue, blue water!

Bikes in Grand Hotel's bike lot.

Bikes in Grand Hotel’s bike lot.

Looking down from the top of Fort Hill.

Looking down from the top of Fort Hill before the Michigan Governor’s Summer Residence tour.

Approaching Grand Hotel.

Approaching Grand Hotel.

Dessert at Woods Restaurant.

Dessert at Woods Restaurant.

Crabapples in Grand Hotel garden.

Crabapples in Grand Hotel garden.

Girl Scouts raising the flag at the Governor's Summer Residence.

Girl Scouts raising the flag at the Governor’s Summer Residence.

The doors to St. Anne's.

The doors to St. Anne’s.

Mission Point lodging - through a screen and through the rain.

Mission Point lodging – through a screen and through the rain.

The Chippewa Hotel hot tub.

The Chippewa Hotel hot tub – overlooking the marina.

Kim and R.D. at Woods Restaurant bowling alley . . .

Kim and R.D. at Woods Restaurant bowling alley . . .

. . . and later at dinner.

. . . and later at dinner.

The Little Stone Church parsonage.

The Little Stone Church parsonage.

Last day goodbyes . . .

Last day goodbyes . . .

. . . came too quickly.

. . . came too quickly.

Leaving us with Numbers 10 and 11: Farewells are painful, and friends are appreciated.

Leaving us with Numbers 10 and 11: Farewells are painful, and friends are appreciated.

We’re hoping these sweet friends will return to Mackinac again soon.  And remember, next time we won’t call you fudgies!

Stay tuned for the next installment from fudgies Debra and Glen!  Their story and photographs are coming on Tuesday!

God bless.

 

Mackinac Island – the First 24 Hours 8/18/15

There are times when I wish I could pack up every single person who loves Mackinac Island as I do and arrange for them to be sitting where I am at a certain moment.  Tonight is one of those times.

This is my view as I sit down to write tonight. It's 8:20, the day-trippers have left the island, and the streets are quiet except for the occasional clip-clop of taxi horses bearing folks from Mission Point downtown, to the Grand, or out to the Woods.

This is my view as I sit down to write tonight. It’s 8:20, the day-trippers have left the island, and the streets are quiet except for the occasional clip-clop of taxi horses bearing folks from Mission Point downtown, to the Grand, or perhaps out to the Woods.

It's cloudy tonight, with the threat of rain. What few people I see from my window are wearing jackets against a definite little chill in the air.

It’s cloudy tonight, with the threat of rain. What few people I see from my window are wearing jackets against a definite little chill in the air.  I can hear the bell buoys clanking, warning boaters the waves are kicking up a bit.  Like the fog horns, I love the desolate clank of those buoys.

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Ted and I and our two travel-weary pooches arrived at the condo we’ll be calling Home Sweet Home for the next six weeks around 4:00 Monday afternoon.  We immediately fell in love with our new space and its location.  We are in the Mission District – almost to Mission Point, and away from the craziness that is downtown right now.  As one-time summer residents we know after Labor Day that craziness will turn more toward the approach of fall . . . the island’s slower season, but also one of its most dramatic.  If you ever visit Mackinac after she puts on her September and October colors, you will want to return and experience it again and again.  Trust me on that. 

We’ve spent our first 24 hours stocking the pantry and figuring out where everything is in the condo.  Today we rode up to our old condo at Surrey Ridge and reconnected with Steve and Cindy, who bought our place.  I confess it’s the first time I’ve been able to be within 100 feet of it without crying, but today we went inside and visited with them and their two dogs for over an hour.  When they heard a few weeks ago we’d be here for six weeks, they immediately offered us the bikes we’d had all those summers to use while on the island (we sold them with the condo).  That was a tremendous gift, and Ted and I rode away on bikes that still feel as if the seats were molded just for us.

I’d planned to ride up to the Woods for some last minute photos for the Woods story, but – as normal on Mackinac – we spent too long talking with friends on the street.  Maybe tomorrow!

Before dinner tonight we took Bear and Maddie out for a good walk along the bike path at Mission Point . . .

Before dinner tonight we took Bear and Maddie out for a good walk along the bike path at Mission Point.

True doggie happiness - a hundred new and interesting smells to explore and process!

True doggie happiness – a hundred new and interesting smells to explore and process!

I know readers used to get tired of me saying this, but - honestly - the flowers this year are the most beautiful EVER!

I know readers used to get tired of me saying this, but – honestly – the flowers this year are the most beautiful EVER!

Caught in action. Otter? Mink? He ran into the tennis court and was trapped for a moment, then scurried through a hole in the fence and into the wetlands nearby.

Caught in action. Otter? Mink? He ran into the tennis court and was trapped for a moment, then scurried through a hole in the fence and into the wetlands nearby.

Two ladies doing what you just naturally do on the island - sit, chat, relax . . . breathe.

Two ladies doing what you just naturally do on the island – sit, chat, relax . . . breathe.

If there is a more beautiful putt-putt course on this planet, please tell me where!

If there is a more beautiful putt-putt course on this planet, please tell me where!

What it's all about - pure Mackinac.

What it’s all about – pure Mackinac.

I rode into town late this afternoon to pick up a book the Island Bookstore was holding for me.  As I pedaled home past Doud’s, I heard someone call, “Bree! Bree!” I turned to see a beautiful lady with a huge smile, hailing me from across the street. I did one of my famous u-turns against traffic, and that’s how I got to meet Beverly Polk, a blog reader from Venice, Florida, who worked as a young woman at the Grand Hotel.  She has been on the island three days and had rented an electric scooter and rode around the island, up to the cemetery, and through Hubbards Annex.  Today she spent most of the day at the Grand and also viewed art exhibits at the library and art museum.  This lady knows how to reconnect to Mackinac!!  So glad you hailed me down, Beverly – it was a pleasure talking with you!

So – that’s our first 24 hours on Mackinac.  We are blessed to be here for this extended time, and I hope you’ll enjoy coming along with us as we see what’s new, visit the familiar, and have a few adventures along the way.  Stay tuned!

God bless.