Archive for June, 2012

Vacation! Vacation! Vacation!

June 16, 2012

Hi, everyone!  Are you enjoying your summer? It is HOT in Houston, Texas, but what would one expect in June?

Yes, I know I said my next post would be a “play date,” but I had such a peaceful and energizing vacation with my husband this past week that I wanted to share some of it with you.

Carmen, one of my co-workers, asked me before I left if I was going to blog about my vacation.  At the time I didn’t think so, but here I am with my “what did you do on your summer vacation” story of Mackinac Island, Michigan. Please click on the links  in color to see much more about the things you can do on Mackinac Island. I would highly recommend a vacation there.

When we left early morning last Thursday, it was a little difficult to shut off my usual work mode.  I’d finished two days of meetings less than 24 hours before our flight took off to Mackinac Island via Detroit and then Pellston. After several business texts with Jill, one of our valuable Education Team members, I got one back from her saying “Vacation! Vacation! Vacation!” I knew it was time to shift gears and get on the ferry.

Ferry

Ferry to Mackinac Island

Once our ferry-boat docked on Mackinac Island, there was no more concern for work back home. The first site of the beautiful, healthy, colorful flowers everywhere took my breath away. It was the opening week of the Lilac Festival, and they were blooming everywhere. The fragrance was heavenly. I love flowers.

flowers

One of the many gardens at our hotel

Then, seeing our precious Victorian Hotel Iroquois

hotel

Front of Hotel Iroquois

and walking into our suite, I knew this was going to be good. My husband had hand-picked the Biddle Suite several months ago for our 46th wedding anniversary trip. Yes, that was not a typo. I’ve been married for 46 years.

Anyway, back to the hotel and suite. It was the most wonderful suite I have ever had in all my travels. I loved the brightly decorated cottage atmosphere with its nine shuttered windows that let in a cool, soft breeze from Lake Huron. The bed linens were precious and the soaps luscious.

Our Suite

Our suite on the second floor 9 windows starting from the far right

our room

Our room facing Northeast

our room

Our room facing Southeast

I saw the red-orange sun rise each early morning as I stayed all comfy in bed.  Then I slumbered again before waking to breakfast in bed. Then I read some after breakfast, took in the gorgeous views of the harbor, island, and  lake before I went back to sleep for just a little delicious nap. Only then would  we start our day.

morning

Early morning ready to start the day “in a minute.” I have a very patient husband.

Mackinac Island is known for the historic, 125 year old Grand Hotel where “Somewhere in Time” with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour was filmed in 1979. We took a horse-drawn carriage ride there up the hill from our hotel. The Grand is magnificent with its world’s longest porch of 880 feet  listed in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

grand

Grand Hotel

We had afternoon tea there and looked around the hotel, its park-like grounds and public spaces. It was a great place to look out onto the whole island. We could see our hotel way down on the lower tip of the island.

For over one hundred years, Mackinac Island has banned the private use of motorized vehicles. So, residents and visitors get around either by walking, riding bicycles or being transported via horse-drawn carriages. We took a 2-hour fully narrated carriage tour of Mackinac Island starting just steps away from our hotel. There were many points of interest and a few stops along the way.

arch rock

Stop at Arch Rock on Carriage Ride

We made an 8-mile bike ride along the outer edges of the island which most of the time ran right along the water. Instead of building sand castles as we do on the Texas beaches, people build towers of rocks.

rocks

Our rock tower on beach

We stopped to build one or two.

bike pause

Bike Pause to walk down to the beach

The views on the bike ride were breath-taking, and it was cool with friendly bikers all along the way.

Walking bike up hill

Time to walk bike up a hill

We spent a lot of time walking and viewing the Victorian homes, hotels, churches, and bed and breakfasts interspersed with restaurants, shops, and historic places.

church

St. Ann’s Catholic Church

Art Museum

Art Museum where we saw Grand Hotel’s 125th Anniversary Exhibit

Island House

Island House Grill where we ate dinner one night

home

Personal Residence

B & B

Bed and Breakfast

store

so cute

All along the way there were flowers and flowers and more flowers.

before lunch

A pause before lunch at our hotel

Flower Bed

Bicycle Flower Bed

I thought often of my buddy Tom Russell and the flowers he has photographed in Texas. He would have a flower photography frenzy on Mackinac Island. I also thought of my good friend, Willie, and how she would have loved photographing everything in sight.

My husband and I are active church members, so attending one of the historical churches on the Island was a natural. We looked at several of them before Sunday morning, and attended the Union Congregational Little Stone Church.

church

Little Stone Church

window

Little Stone Church window behind the pulpit

It was fun to see that the church used our same Methodist Hymnal. The pastor, Reverend Dr. Vince W. Carroll, gave an outstanding informal sermon that I didn’t want to end. We later found a delightful book at The Island Bookstore, ” Biblical Characters with an Attitude”, written by him and published by Peppertree Press. We liked it so much we went back to the bookstore to buy a second copy to share.

We ate at a variety of quaint, grand, and simple places, but our hotel restaurant, The Carriage House, was our favorite. The first night there we dined in their fine indoor dining room and looked out on the water as the evening got very cool. Another day we had lunch topped off with their mile-high lemon meringue pie while sitting under the lime green umbrellas right next to the water and surrounded by colorful flowers. This was also one of our views from our hotel room.

Some afternoons I spent a little time in our precious suite reading, planning, looking out the windows and napping while my husband checked out old Fort Mackinac, watched a vintage baseball game and, on bike, explored parts of the Mackinac State Historic Park that occupies 80% of the island.

fort

Fort Mackinac

I loved this quiet time as much as he enjoyed his time out and about talking and learning and engaging. It’s great when an introvert and extrovert understand the needs of each other.

Serenity

Serenity

Everywhere we stopped we enjoyed the “summer staff of students” taking care of us. It was fun to get updated on the students’ homes, schools and plans. What a great way to spend the summer. I wasn’t ready to come home, but hop on the ferry we did taking one more shot of our hotel as we pulled away from the dock. It was a great summer vacation. One of the best I can remember.

leaving

Leaving the Island. Boo-hoo.

I leave you with good wishes for wonderful memories of the summer of 2012. Hugs to all, Judy


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