Sunday, May 27, 2012

How Do You Pronounce Mackinac?

Most of our major activity this week happened over Memorial Day weekend, when we went up to Mackinac Island and Traverse City. More on that in a minute.

On Tuesday, Hallie and the kids accompanied Mike to work briefly after he did some needed house work in the morning cleaning out the gutters. Messy work, but Mike is glad that’s off his To Do list.
Relaxing in front of the Education Building

Later we went over to the house of a new family who moved into the branch to help them unpack their U-Haul. Hallie and Jen had some quality girl time and Cuban appetizers at Waves while Mike put the kiddos to bed.

Sister Evans entered the mission field on Wednesday. We are trying to keep her adventures and experiences updated at her Facebook page and blog. We’re so excited for her! 
With Pres. and Sis. Albright

At Mt. Vernon with the other new arrivals

With her trainer, Sis. Olsen

Hallie wanted rhubarb and asparagus, so we used that as an excuse to go to Westview Orchards. 

After gymnastics, Mike again looked after the kids while Hallie and Priscilia went to the stake center for Priscilia’s temple recommend interview.

On Thursday, Mike got his own quality time watching The Avengers at the local movie theater. Now he needs to go back and see Thor, Captain America, Iron Man 2, and The Hulk (among others) to get all the back story he missed. Hallie and Priscilia conducted some of their own business while Mike was out. After he got home and set to work baking muffins Hallie was supposedly going to make, the ladies left to take Priscilia home. Several minutes after they leave, Mike gets a phone call saying that they found a bed frame and were bringing it home. In Grosse Pointe, we don’t dumpster dive. We just leave out perfectly good furniture with the garbage so that it can be spirited away in the middle of the night by some enterprising scavengers. Honestly though, it’s a nice bed frame!  
Seriously, it was just sitting there!

We went Up North on Friday, stopping in Frankenmuth at the Popcorn Wagon and the Tervis store in the River Place Shops along the way.  

We had pasties (big meat pies) for lunch at the Mackinaw Pastie and Cookie Co. before taking the Star Line to Mackinac Island. We zipped along with a “rooster tail” of jetted water streaming behind us as we watched the Mackinac Bridge span out to our port and the Island (including views of the many cottages and the famed Grand Hotel) approach our bow.

The Grand Hotel

We stayed at the Island House Hotel along Main (Huron) Street between Marquette Park and Mission Point. Our room (409) had prominent views of the harbor. Its gable is the last one on the right on the left side of the building.

Some of the view from our window

After getting settled in, we headed back to town to take in some of the sights. As the Friday before the big weekend, the crowds did not seem bad at all. Landon rode in and among the many bicycles and horse-drawn carts that serve as the island’s only modes of transportation. He may have been the youngest rider there. We did not see any other children his size riding any bikes like his, and he kept getting noticed by the passers-by. Good on him!

After stopping for some ice cream and fudge at Ryba’s (fudge included in our hotel package), we went down to the waterfront by the Windermere Hotel’s Doghouse. It was closed, so we figured they wouldn’t mind us walking along the water for a bit.

We bought some dinner at Fred’s Burger Joint and Turtle’s Soup and Salad (it’s pretty apparent that many of these outfits share connections—the Island House had coupons for both restaurants and Ryba’s) then returned to dine and enjoy the view of the harbor from the front lawn. Once we returned to our room and got the kids settled and bathed (they could not get enough of the giant jetted tub), we lay down and listened to the horses clop-clopping and the soldiers at Fort Mackinac playing Taps on the bugle. So quiet and peaceful!

On Saturday, we woke up early, had a leisurely buffet breakfast at the 1852 Grill Room (again, part of the package), and then trekked up to the fort. We were treated to demonstrations of the lives of US soldiers, officers, and their families over 100 years ago.

Cannon firing demonstration every hour

The first battle of the War of 1812: an American surrender at Fort Mackinac

Toys of the officers' children ca. 1890

From the fort, we went back down toward town. Landon got going a bit too fast on his bike and biffed it, but came out remarkably unharmed (we don’t know if the same can be said for the lady he ran into. She didn’t appear to be limping, and the dirt marks on the boy and his bike show that maybe the ground took most of the impact). No blood or breaks, and no fuss from Landon as he hopped right back on, a bit more cautious for the experience.
The Governor's residence. Apparently Gov. Snyder was here. We saw him!

None the worse for wear

Eliza is fascinated by horses and dogs. She had her fill on the island.

At the Grand Hotel, we wandered along the veranda and explored some of the grounds. In the Mackinac Market, we met Jennifer Powell, author of What I Saw on Mackinac: A Counting Book. She signed our copy.
Landon the rule breaker (no bikes are allowed in front of the Grand Hotel)

Relaxing on the verandah

Mackinac Bridge as seen from the hotel

You have been warned.

We left the hotel to have lunch at The Gate House down the road closer into town. Eliza had pooped out by this point, so she dozed while we dined on sandwiches, chicken strips, and 1919 draft root beer.

We walked along Market Street and the shops there. We toyed with the idea of having Landon ride a horse, but we found out he has to be ten first.
Lilacs in bloom (a little early this year, so much the better for us!)

Relative lull in traffic

After doing some more window shopping, we finally made it back to Marquette Park, where Landon and Mike, who had brought their kites for this very reason, started their kites aloft only to be told that kites were not allowed in the park. Bummer. Mike asked where we could fly them, and the gentleman suggested Mission Point. Instead, Landon found the playground at the top of the park and played there while Mike, Hallie, and Eliza enjoyed an impromptu merienda of caramel apple, leftover fudge, and tereré. Later, Mike and Eliza joined Landon. The fearless children kept Dad busy with their acrobatics.
The fort as seen from Marquette Park

We wanted Mike to have a chance to share some time on the bikes with Landon, so when we returned to the hotel we rented a bike with a trailer. Landon decided he would rather ride as a passenger than fellow peddler, so he and Eliza shared the capsule while Mike acted as chauffer. Hallie sensibly returned to the lawn in front of the hotel to enjoy some harbor-viewing time.
Hello, Sailor!

Mike took the kids along the lake shore past Mission Point and away from the building Memorial Day weekend crowd. On the 5-6 mile round trip, they saw Arch Rock, a young guy reading a book while riding a unicycle, a male mallard, and a rabbit. Had Mike been able to manage a little over 8 MPH, he might have been able to go completely around the island before having to return the bike (it’s a small island).

Around every corner, another beautiful view

Look really hard, and you may see a rabbit.

We made it back in time for our dinner reservation (again, included). Hallie had Greek pasta, Landon had cheese pizza, and Mike and Eliza shared perch, veggies, and mashed potatoes. We topped the evening off with healthy frozen yogurt at a newly opened store (it was either that or more ice cream and fudge). We ate our yogurt out on the lawn and then called it a day.
Dressed for supper

On Sunday, the weather took a turn for the wet and chilly. We woke up to enjoy watching the world wake up from our couch at the gable window, had breakfast, then got our bags in order for our return trip to the mainland. Along our trip from the hotel to the dock, we stopped in to get a photo of the kids dressed as old time outlaws at Professor Harry’s Old Time Photos. Evidently, Mike Rowe and the Dirty Jobs crew had also been there.
Recognize anyone?

Mike suggested Eliza dress in the burlesque outfit. He was quickly corrected. Eliza could wear a saloon girl outfit. Is there a difference? Good thing he didn’t suggest she wear a bordello outfit. . . .

Once on board the ferry back to Mackinaw City (the island is Mackinac and the city is Mackinaw, and they’re both pronounced the same), Hallie asked Landon, who appeared a bit dejected, how he was doing. He said he was sad to go. The little tyke had had so much activity over the last couple of days! All the more incentive to return next year.

Once back on the mainland, we drove through a thunderstorm though several coast towns, including Highway 119’s Tunnel of Trees from Cross Village to Harbor Springs. Hallie and Mike even saw a couple of deer cross our path! We can only imagine, given how glorious everything looked in its late spring green, how gorgeous the fall color must be.

In Harbor Springs, we got cookies from Tom’s Mom’s Cookies and sandwiches from the Island Bean Coffee Company and Hollywood Market. We then continued to Petoskey (after which the state stone is named. Both are named for an Ottawa Indian chief, Pet-O-Sega) and did some more window shopping at Grandpa Shorter’s and Cutler’s. By this time everyone was ready to get to our hotel for the night, so we passed through picturesque Charlevoix with its three lakes strung together, relatively busy Traverse City (many people on the beach and cars on the road), and Interlochen (known for its Center for the Arts) on our way to Beulah, where we checked into our hotel, hit the pool, and stayed for the night.
On this Memorial Day weekend, we remember the fallen.

Time to swim!!!!