Vacation! Vacation! Vacation!

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 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.


One of the many gardens at our hotel

Then, seeing our precious Victorian Hotel Iroquois


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.


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 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.


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.


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


Personal Residence

B & B

Bed and Breakfast


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.


Little Stone Church


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 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.



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 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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30 Responses to “Vacation! Vacation! Vacation!”

  1. Didi Salvatierra Says:

    We used to live in Michigan and have made two trips to this wonderful island. although many years ago. I hope we can return this summer when we go to Traverse City for a wedding. Our 40th Anniversary is coming up in August. This would be a great way to mark it, don’t you agree? Thanks SO MUCH for sharing your vacation! Just grand!


  2. Sylvia/LittleTreasures Says:

    Judy thanks for sharing the wonderful photos. Brought back so many memories. My husband & I spent our honeymoon there 7 years ago..and had a wonderful time. Loved the bike ride around the island. Our package also had a sailboat ride included, it held about 50 people and the weather was perfect. Vacation here is a peaceful retreat.
    Your hubby looks like a twin to a friend of ours!!! We ferried from St. Ignace, another fun place. We are thinking of visiting this again this year.


    • judymurrah Says:

      Sylvia, what a great place to spend a honeymoon. I’m sure you have lots of memories in such a beautiful place. Hope you make it back again this year. Good to hear from you.


  3. Mary Nyberg Says:

    Only yesterday a friend (who is renting for the month of July in MI) and I were talking about Mackinack Island and our memories of it. I went there a number of years ago with a few girlfriends. Although we stayed in Harbor Springs nearby we spent an entire day on the Island and did the bicycling, having lunch at the Grand Hotel, shopping, etc. and ending the day with the horse carriage ride. I was there in the fall and the color was a brilliant red as there are so many maple trees at least in that part of Michigan.

    I’m so glad you both went there–I’ve wanted to go back again since the day I left there. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.


    • judymurrah Says:

      Well hello there, Cousin. Oh, to be on the island in the fall…now that’s an idea. I do love the fall colors, too. Hope all is going well in your world. Much love to you.


  4. Barbara Black Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your vacation–I can feel how perfect it was for you and Tommy! Glad you took us along!


  5. Barbara Weiland Talbert Says:

    So glad you had such a lovely vacation. I’m envious. We’re heading to Puget Sound and up into Canada on our boat–maybe as long as a month gone. Hugs to you, Barbara


    • judymurrah Says:

      Well my dear editor friend…do you want to take your red pencil to my blog? Haha. I’ve thought of you a jillion times as I have written my posts for this blog and how nice it would be to have your magic words to make mine sound so eloquent. Please plan to be in Portland during Quilt Market next spring so we can get together. Miss you.


  6. Lesley Riley Says:

    OK, I’m ready to spend my anniversary there too, but I will delay it till warmer weather. I imagine it’s not so perfect in mid-April. Tommy certainly planned well!

    Judy, you have written such a great post the Mackinac Island Tourist Association should pay you! Love the photos. I can’t wait to hear more.


    • judymurrah Says:

      Hi Lesley, You definitely should spend your anniversary in Mackinac Island. Maybe I’ll send my blog post to the Tourist Assn. and hope for a free trip back. Haha. We would love to return, but there are so many places we haven’t been that we should try. I could get used to this vacation with just hubby thing.


  7. Vicki Says:

    Oh Judy, what a wonderful relaxing, artistically inspiring, spiritually reviving vacation. I can’t wait to see how this vacation is reflected in your amazing creativity! Congratulations on 46 years of marriage.

    I agree with Lesley, the Mackinac Island Tourist Association should pay you for the great post you’ve written.


    • judymurrah Says:

      Thanks, Vicki. I had a big order from the Museum when I got home which delights me because I love making all the things Julie requested. Can’t wait to see Lone Stars III third installment up.


  8. carmenvalls Says:

    Props to your husband for finding that vacation spot for y’all! The island, flowers, architecture, and scenery are absolutely gorgeous. I am so happy you blogged about your trip and shared it with us! Now I want to go there 😀 Maybe I should send this blog post to Jon?

    Happy anniversary!


    • judymurrah Says:

      Well the blog about my vacation idea was yours. I’m so glad you asked because it was fun to do. Yes, definitely send the blog to Jon for a hint but cross out that it was to celebrate 46 years of marriage.


  9. donna schulte Says:

    Hi Judy! My husband and I lived in MI for 18 years and Mackinaw was a very special place to us. We would go up there at least once a year, twice if possible. I was up there in April this year, the ferries weren’t running to the Island yet! (but I beat the tourists….) God willing I’ll make it back up there this fall and I will be able to get to the island. I loved seeing your beautiful pictures. It was like being there and experiencing the place in person. I really liked “experiencing” the bike ride WITHOUT the exertion! Thank you so much for sharing. Congratulations on 46 years!!!
    Donna Schulte


    • judymurrah Says:

      Lucky you, Donna. You get to go to Mackinac Island on a regular basis. I do hope we’ll be able to return again another day. It would be great to see the fall colors, but getting away from the Texas heat in the summer is the real gift. Thanks for your comments.


  10. Mary Nyberg Says:

    WOW! It’s your cousin again, and I’m tagging back in again to say Happy Anniversary to you. You know I got to thinking after I had posted my 2 cents worth that perhaps it was your anniversary. I was going to dig out pictures in a scrap book to see if I was correct in thinking so but never got that far–the later posts told me so.

    46 years is a long time, and you deserve special trips together. Congratulations.


  11. judymurrah Says:

    Yes, you are correct…lots of history and memories as we’ve literally grown up and now older together. Our children and their families are our prize. Hope to see you this fall. Hugs.


  12. pokeysponderings Says:

    Love love love the pictures! What a great vacation…


  13. Wilma Hart Says:

    I am so happy this vacation turned out so well and yes I am a bit jealous and I would have loved exploring and taking photographs. Somewhere in Time has always been one of my favorite love stories. Damn that penny.


  14. Bridget Says:

    ahhhh, The Grand Hotel, since the movie “somewhere in time” , my favorite movie, I have always wanted to go there. To see the island and tour it as you both did, what a treat.. someday, that is my dream trip, yes, before Italy. Thank you for sharing!


  15. Tom Russell Says:

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful vacation with us. It looks like a truly magical place. After seeing the magic of it through your eyes, I will be looking forward to the day I can see them with my own.

    Thanks again for sharing your life with us.


  16. Sandy Paananen Says:

    Thanks for sharing your vacation, pictures and links to one of my favorite places to visit. Hubby and I grew up in MI and used to take family vacations there as kids. We spent 3 days on our honeymoon there 30 years ago. It is a place you don’t ever forget and always dream of returning to.


    • judymurrah Says:

      I believe that, Sandy. I do hope to go back again, but don’t know if it will ever be as magical as the first time. It’s one of my most favorite vacations ever!


  17. judymurrah Says:

    So glad you came by for a visit. Sorry I missed your real self visit at the office a couple of weeks ago. Summer has been so busy with vacations, grandchildren and work. I keep thinking I’m going to get another playdate up, but it just isn’t happening. I’ll be back soon.


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