Archive for the ‘Mackinac Island’ Category

full blownPhotography by Christine Whitelaw (c)

I was introduced to the poems of Hafiz by my writing companion/mentor/friend, Janet Conner in Writing Down your Soul, in her books and e courses and her on-fire essence of purpose and intention in your personal life.   http://www.janetconner.com

Christine, too, quoted Hafiz on occation and the poem she selected below gives us a glimpse of her acceptance of the “impermanence of the body”.

She posted these words on March 20, 2014 by dadirri7 — Christine completed her travels of this mysterious existence quite abruptly on July 2, 2014.

She wrote:

“More on life and death from Hafiz: do you like the idea of being simply “a midair flight of golden wine”? 

Deepening the Wonder  by Hafiz

Death is a favor to us,
But our scales have lost their balance.

The impermanence of the body
Should give us great clarity,
Deepening the wonder in our senses and eyes

Of this mysterious existence we share
And are surely just traveling through.

If I were in the Tavern tonight,
Hafiz would call for drinks

And as the Master poured, I would be reminded
That all I know of life and myself is that

We are just a midair flight of golden wine
Between His Pitcher and His Cup.

If I were in the Tavern tonight,
I would buy freely for everyone in this world

Because our marriage with the Cruel Beauty
Of time and space cannot endure very long.

Death is a favor to us,
But our minds have lost their balance.

The miraculous existence and impermanence of Form
Always makes the illuminated ones
Laugh and Sing.

(from The Subject Tonight Is Love, poems of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)


My last words on Napkinwriter from Christine were posted on June 28, 2014,  five days before she passed in response to my post on our 3 day family vacation on Mackinac Island in early June.

Just for the Family Record, June 28, 2014 archives

what a fabulous holiday Sue, I loved the butterfly house, and the pic of you three in rain gear … truly such fun and love to remember!


We entered into our friendship through words…blogging…..and our hearts met across time and space, her in Australia, me in Michigan;

Through the permanence of words, we now transcend the impermanence of the body.

I remember the fun and love of our friendship.

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The larger plan for this blog is to “one day” collect selected stories from my soon to be fourth year of faithful posts and put them into a bound edition for my children and grandchildren….a legacy to leave behind of my thoughts, dreams, family heritage, spiritual life, fun and games, things I cherish, and “what you didn’t know” tales.

If publishing holds no larger plan for me, that will be enough.

So I must include this June  vacation time with Kathleen and Greg’s family at Dufina Cottage.  Laura was unable to come because of her work schedule, but Carl and Amy joined Tom and me for three days of adventure and fun.

Just like Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robbin, we got up each day for our adventure on Mackinac Island (they were in the Hundred Acre Woods) and we found fun and beauty everywhere and lots of good eats on our island adventures.




We found playgrounds and board walks and the butterfly house.



Swinging by the bridge


Butterfly house

My butterfly


Butterfly House gorgeous lilies

Walking trails and scenic views.






No matter the weather, we stick together!


No Matter the weather

Flowers and gardens abound.

Walking buddy in the Grand Hotel Gardens


Behind the flowers

Petal Beauty



At the Secret Garden

Pilgrims among the lilacs.


Morning time on the labyrinth in the Grand Hotel gardens.

Another Labyrinth, Grama


Good eats and family fun at Dufina Cottage.

Dufina and Amy


Piano and OnLine Time

Kathleen and Greg and Devon and Andrew and their friends were on their bikes — A LOT, thus a lack of photos of them.   They braved the windiest day EVER on Mackinac Island.

Greg  Bike Trails

Kathleen skydiving


Devon called us to ask when we were arriving:


telephone callls

And then, watched for our boat to arrive.

Family Looking for Us to Arrive

The three days went by quickly. Tom and I celebrated our 49th Wedding Anniversary on Thursday night and were treated to a delicious ribs dinner by Susan and Kathleen.  Joe also ventured on very early morning bike rides and captured this beautiful sunrise over Lake Huron.

Early Morning Sky on Mackinac - Joe


And this photo of beautiful wife, Susan at beautiful Arch Rock!

Beautiful Susan at Beautiful Arch Rock

Yet there were times techy communication won out over the outdoors.


But there was always…..ice cream!



Not to forget the horses and fairy tale weddings.


And then….it was over like the clock striking midnight….

Walking Together

But here is Amy’s “Going Back to Mommy” smile on the ferry boat!

Ferry smile



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Lilacs - Brenda HortonPhoto by Brenda Horton

View toward St Ann's - Brenda HortonPhoto by Brenda Horton

In just a few days, Tom and I will return to Mackinac Island for a few days stay with our family at Dufina Cottage, a long-standing June vacation tradition. We, however, have not been up there for a few years and are looking forward to the beauty, sounds and activities of the island.

Our daughter, Kathleen and her family are into their week on the island and awaiting our arrival on Wednesday.  Well, not exactly awaiting…..

Andrew is flying kites….


Devon is getting sunburned….


and making “collect calls”….ha ha, get it?

telephone callls

Kathleen is skydiving….

Kathleen skydiving

and Greg has taken to the midnight bike trails, as is tradition….

Greg  Bike Trails

So all of that is a lot of fun, but they just can hardly wait for us to get there!  See, they are looking for us now.

Family Looking for Us to Arrive

We’ll be right there!

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Photo by Brenda Horton – Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog



Bree is getting ready for hers and Ted’s and (Bear’s and Maddie’s ) trek back to their Georgia home down on the”rivah”. But she gives us some beautiful glimpses of how the Island, too, prepares for its winter season.

This is too beautiful not to share. Horses, lake waters, foggy mists, and businesses that ran full steam ahead in the summer, and witnessed many grand vacation times, now begin to settle into a different rhythm.

It keeps you forever in love with Mackinac Island.

While I have followed Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog for at least four years now, I see myself in the near future walking into the Island Book Store, obtaining a copy of a book written and photographed by Bree, and then scouting out her condo, so I can get an autographed copy.

It will have a distinguished place on my bookshelf.

Thanks, Bree, for this wonderful conversation.

Last Sail of the Season 10/7/2012

Brrrr . . . .

With highs in the 40′s and wind chills in the 30′s this weekend, we’re wondering if this could be a little teaser about what kind of winter the Islanders can expect!  I’m sure hoping  for them (cause they love lots of snow and deep ice on the Straits) that they have a true Mackinac winter this year.  Also – and selfishly – I’m hoping for that because I want to come back to the Island this winter for a few days, but only if there’s  lots of snow!  I’m talking piles and piles of the white stuff!

With all the blustery winds in the last few days, our beautiful trees are beginning to shed a few  leaves, but there is a lot of color left for visitors to ahhhhhhhh over – so come on!   Make sure you check those ferry schedules before heading out though – there have been changes in the last few days!

So much to talk about today – so I’ll just start writing and see how far we get in this post . . .

The big story from last week is Ted’s awesome sailing adventure on Thursday.  Steve and Orietta are year-round Island residents, and Steve asked Ted to sail with him to Cedarville (in the U.P.) to put his boat in storage for the winter.  He keeps the boat moored during the summer in Haldimand Bay, just beyond the Mackinac Island Marina.  Now Ted doesn’t know a lot about sailing, but Steve needed an extra pair of hands on board, and Orietta needed to get their car to Cedarville so Steve would have a ride home.  Consequently, Ted got a great day on Lake Huron, and Orietta and I drove, shopped a little, met the guys in Hessel for lunch, drove on to Cedarville and overall just had a fun day!

But, before we get to the sailing . . .

I was meeting Orietta at the ferry at 11 a.m., and the fog, really dense earlier in the morning, was beginning to burn off. I passed the entrance to the Grand Hotel shade garden just as this worker finished pulling up the perennials along the steps.

Fort Mackinac was still cloaked in the foggy mist . . .

. . . and from Market Street the fort looked even more ghostly.

Jill was up a lot earlier than I was that morning and had already been out and about – as had Mary McGuire, head of the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau.

The docks and marina were socked in with heavy fog . . . (Photo: Jill)

. . . and the Chippewa Hotel was barely visible from the Marina. (Photo: Mary)

It would be a little later in the morning before these private carriages began to fill with passengers. (Photo: Mary)

Jill, who was spending part of her day off dog-sitting for us, told me on Wednesday that another load of horses would be leaving the Island on Thursday at 11:00.  As I was going down the hill, I met her coming up to get some shots of the horses on Cadotte.

Here they come!  Each worker is in charge of leading groups od two, three, or four horses down from the big barns to the ferry.  The horses are excited!  I think they know when their horseshoes are taken off, and no new ones are put on, that they are leaving the Island soon for the rolling pastures of a farm in the U.P. (Photo: Jill)

As many times now as I’ve witnessed this ritual, it never fails to make my heart beat a little faster. There’s just something about 20 one-and-a-half to two-ton horses moseying down Market Street that makes me grin like a little kid.  It affects everyone the same way – walkers and bikers stop and dive into backpacks and purses for cameras, or just stand and gape.  Only on Mackinac!  (Photo: Jill)

The horses were leaving from the Arnold dock, and Orietta and I scurried to take photos of our own! (Photo: Jill)

It’s always a bittersweet moment when the men and women who take care of the horses all summer say goodbye to them for the winter.

One of the first things I learned after being here for a while is that this is more than a “job” for these workers. They all LOVE horses . . .

. . . and they take care of each and every horse as if it was their own personal companion.

The horses take it all in stride – most of them have done this for at least several years. (Photo: Jill)

They watch the people, watch as other horses arrive, and . . . . make plans.

“You know that second fence post by the road in the pasture in the U.P.? Once we’re out of the trailer, meet me there, and we’ll plan the party for this weekend. Spread the word!”

Ok – back to the sailing!  Orietta and I went over to St. Ignace on the 11:00 Arnold boat, but Ted and Steve’s morning began at 9 a.m.

Jill was at the dock to watch them pull away from the mooring.

Ted had his camera with him and captured the Island slowly receding in the background, as Steve piloted the boat out of Haldimand Bay.

The fog was still thick at nine, and this Star Line ferry, passing the Round Island Light, blended in with all the gray.

The sky didn’t look too promising for a good day on the water. There was not even a whisper of wind, and the 16-mile trip would be made using the sailboat’s diesel engine.

While they were motoring to Hessel, the first leg of the trip and where we would meet them for lunch, Orietta and I crossed to St. Ignace.

From the ferry window I captured this really eerie photo of the Mackinac Bridge. Only the top of one tower was visible above the fog.

We walked past these Burning Bushes along the boardwalk in St. Ignace to pick up Orietta and Steve’s car. So beautiful!

As we left St. Ignace, we called the guys and discovered they were just pulling into the Hessel Marina – ahead of schedule!  It took them about an hour-and-a-half to go by water, and it would take us only 20 minutes by road.

We met them at a great little restaurant in Hessel, enjoyed a very good lunch, then walked over to another little store for a Jersey Mud – Ted’s favorite dessert!

Orietta and I walked down to the boat to watch them ready the boat for the final hop to Cedarville – only a few miles.  By then the sun was shining, and the weather was perfect!

As I photographed them motoring away from Hessel . . . .

. . . Ted photographed Orietta and I waving goodbye to our “sailor boys”.

It only took about 10 minutes to make the trip by road from Hessel to the boat yard where the boat is stored for the winter. We walked out on their dock and just enjoyed the beautiful weather and the wonderful fall scenery.

What a wonderful old boathouse! I bet it has some great stories to tell . . . if it could only talk.

Nice spot for a home!

While we were enjoying the scenery, Ted was steering the boat (and taking photos), Steve was removing the sails . . .

. . . and they were soon coming into the Cedarville harbor.

We watched as they carefully tried to maneuver through the grass in the very shallow bay. The water levels in all the Great Lakes are at very low levels.

Steve piloted the boat the last few yards . . .

. . . into the spot where eventually it would be lifted out of the water.

The final task was to get the sails on dry land . . .

. . . then fold them and place them in bags. Steve will take them to a place over the winter where they’ll be checked for nicks or tiny holes and, if necessary, be repaired.

We arrived back in St. Ignace in time for the last boat of the day at 4:30.

What a great day we had with Steve and Orietta.  Thanks so much for including us, and have a wonderful winter on the Island!


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