Changes in Season

There are always a lot of moving parts happening in March, whether we notice it or not. Changes in weather, additions to staff, stores quietly getting ready for the season, snowmobiles being stored away, snowmobiles braving the lack of snow on roads… the first time I left the island this month was in the first week. I left for only two days, and went by boat.

At that time, the boat was running, and we were traveling the regular route to St. Ignace. Great! By the time I was ready to drive back up north, ice had floated back into the dock at St. Ignace and the boat couldn’t break free. So, back by plane I went…

In the picture above you can see how clear the water is around the island. It was a beautiful day for a plane ride, and it turned out to be a pretty nice day for a walk back down to my house, as well.

As the week progressed, more and more snow started to melt on the roads. It made snowmobile travel much more difficult downtown, but there was still enough for people to get by driving. As someone who lives close to downtown, I walk most everywhere, so it hasn’t affected me too much this year. The city does a great job of keeping our sidewalks clear and safe.

One dicey spot where the melted snow likes to create a little lake.
Melting, but still driveable
A beautiful view of the water and ice off the docks

The last time I was off the island was last week, headed to Petoskey to bring my mom back with me. No issues with breaking through the ice in the lake this time, but there was also another issue… by that Friday, schools had officially decided to close down for the next 3 weeks. By time I had gotten back to the island Monday, it had finally settled in with me that I wouldn’t have anything to do for awhile. My mom and I also missed out on getting any toilet paper or cleaning wipes. More than just seasons on the island was changing.

The ice had moved again on our boat ride back, too compacted to go the normal route, so we traveled around the North side of the island where you can see Arch Rock. It’s a longer trip, but the view is still great. I think I was more fascinated by the buttery smooth waves, followed by larges patches of ice.

Right now, the roads are pretty clear. We’ve had quite a few sunny days, and it’s still the same, quiet Mackinac Island that I’m accustomed to this time of year. I just don’t go out very much. Or, at all. Except to get groceries at Doud’s.

Our two restaurants are now closed to the public, but they do offer take out, as well as offer delivery service to our older residents. Doud’s is open as well, and has offered delivery service to all residents. And we are all sticking to social distancing requirements as much as any other place in Michigan.

As far as activities to keep myself busy during this social distancing phase, I’ve been cleaning at home a lot, practicing ukulele and guitar a lot more, taking more photos, bird watching, drawing a little, and spending way too much time on my phone. I’m lucky, however, to have a camera lens that zooms close enough to clearer see birds high up… I’m hoping to catch an owl or eagle one of these days in my back yard again, or possibly on my next walk on the boardwalk.

Until next time, I’ll be hunkered down at home. I hope everyone out there is staying safe, and wishing everyone a little comfort from my home to yours.

Heather


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Starting the Off-Season

Hey everyone!

Every year, I have the great fortune of transitioning from my summer job to my winter job, where I work both jobs in the months of September and October. By now I’m pretty used to that transition, but I’d be lying if I don’t get slightly overwhelmed at the end of October. Then, when we finally close up the fudge shops for the winter, all of a sudden I have all of this extra time that I don’t know what to do with… so, I do nothing!

Really… I sleep! Naps rock!

Anyway, now that I’ve had lots of time to relax, I thought I’d skim through my camera and my phone’s camera and post a few pictures of Mackinac Island from now, and the past few weeks.

First of all, the fall colors up here have been completely stunning, and I always look forward to the smells of autumn. After talking with my dad, it turns out the fall colors were the reason that our season on Mackinac Island goes through October… back in the day (I’m not sure how far back, but back there somewhere), the tourist season used to end right after Labor Day, and no matter how long the hotels tried to stay open after that, most everything just closed down. But then bus tours from all over started giving a “Fall Colors” tour throughout Michigan, and it’s because of those tours that led tourists through to Mackinac Island in September and October, extending our season. I’m sure that the fall colors look amazing everywhere, but I especially like it here.




Second, Arnold line Ferry was bought by Starline, meaning that next summer we will no longer see the familiar Arnold line name anymore. It’s a sad day and quite a big change to see such an iconic part of Mackinac Island gone. As a kid, my brother and I would sit in the front of the red and green striped catamarans on a windy, wavy day, and pretend that we were steering the ship through a torrential storm. Sometimes I thought we were a starship fleet, steering though a comet storm in outer space (that might have been just me, but I’m sure my brother was playing along with me, too). My guess is that Starline will just rename the boats and keep everything running as usual for next year, but, maybe they’ll do something completely different? I don’t know, and I haven’t really asked around either, but I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.




Lastly, I do have to admit that part of the reason that I’ve been offline from this blog lately is that I’ve been working on a new one. Since my passion for candy making has gotten stronger this year, I’ve decided to continue it on into the winter months and try to make more candy and sweet goods at home, and being a blog lover, decided to document it all in a new blog. If you’re interested in seeing what I make and bake this winter, please check out my other site at Spoons of Copper – it should be up in the next few days, and if you’re interested you can sign up for email updates! It’s purely a candy and cooking blog at this point, but you may from time to time see a Mackinac Island pic or two…

Let me end this post with just a few more photos from around the island…

An empty downtown

So peaceful!

I’m never downtown in the fall because I change jobs and am at Mackinac Island Public School all day. So I always seem to miss seeing the horses leaving the island… one very lucky day I had some time to leave work early and check my mail, and on the way back, I ran into these beautiful horses! We’ll see you again next year…


~ Heather

Hello, September!

Another season has passed, but the fun hasn’t stopped yet!

I like September. Sure, I have to split my time between the school and the store and the weather can be more touchy this month, but there’s still lots to be happy about. For instance, my dad celebrated his 90th birthday very recently! We took him out for dinner on the day of his birthday:

The next day, we gathered all the employees at May’s Candy Shop and the Lucky Bean Coffee shop and held a big surprise birthday party for him at home. It was nothing short of spectacular, and he was very surprised! I’m just happy to be able to celebrate this man’s life on such a landmark of a birthday. Below, I couldn’t help but take a pic of one of the sushi trays we got for the occasion: 

Just a few windy days down at Windermere Park:

All summer I run different kinds of contests in the store for the employees, based on their knowledge or on sales goals. For my last contest before leaving to teach, I decided to have some fun – I printed out some random pics from this season, posted them in the store, and ran a caption contest. The funniest 2 captions won a prize, and everyone really had fun with it! Here, you can see my half sister Tienne reading the captions: 

Unfortunately, we start to lose some employees in September because their contract with us ends. One of those people happened to be my candy assistant, Alton, and I was very sad to see him go. What an awesome guy! He was always such a happy person, and kept us all upbeat at work with his silliness and his singing! Oh his singing, haha… I’ll definitely miss him!

Let me just end this post with two more sunset photos. I took one behind the library where you can find a spot with some larger boulders and rocks, and one down further along on the boardwalk, where I very randomly ran across a single rose near the water…


Until next time,

Heather