A Love Affair With Mackinac Island
Brees Blog – If you have always wondered about actually living on Mackinac Island
in Northern Michigan then reading this blog will definitely give you
an inside look and feel in not being a tourist but an actual resident of
this small northern Michigan community.
interviewed the author of Bree’s Blog, Brenda Horton, while having lunch
with her this spring at the Seabiscuit Café to learn more about her
love of Mackinac Island.
Below is her interview – enjoy!
Kathy: You, your husband and, of course, your two
dogs have been living on the Island now for four summers and writing
Bree’s Blog for the same amount of time. How did you and your husband,
Ted, find Mackinac from all the way from South Georgia?
Brenda: Ted spent all his summers as a little boy in
the Les Cheneaux Islands in the UP. His stories about his daily outdoor
adventures in this safe paradise on earth just seemed so quaint,
beautiful and fun! So, in 2000 instead of going to the beach for our
summer vacation we spent two weeks on Mackinac Island. Ted figured that
the Island would be our base of operation, but we rarely left the island
since there was so much to do right here. During that first summer
vacation, the island worked its magic on me; and even Ted relived his
fondest memories of northern Michigan.
Kathy: There are other islands around the U.S. and
definitely islands in the Les Cheneaux Islands in Hessel, Michigan. What
made Mackinac Island have such an appeal to you?
Well, I find the island magical. I know that sounds cliché but its
true. When we’d come on vacation for two weeks, we’d spend our days
exploring all the trails in the interior of the island, carefully
marking them off on a map as we walked each one. One thing that makes
Mackinac unique, I think, is its size. Being able to bike around the
entire island in an hour or so, or spend a couple of hours on the trails
hiking really puts the size in perspective. After a very short time,
you feel at home with the rocks and trees and water. Of course, the ban
on motorized vehicles forces you to get out and moving, so it’s an
extremely healthy place to live.
Kathy: When did you know you wanted to call it your second home?
Our first summer on the Island passed quickly, and I cried when we
left. When we stepped on the ferry for our crossing the second year
(2001), and the Grand Hotel came into sight, we looked at each other and said at the exact same time, “it feels like we’ve come home”.
It has become an almost spiritual place for me. Seeing it rising out of
Lake Huron as we cross from the mainland brings chill bumps to my arms
every single time. I just simply love it. In 2008 we realized our dream
of buying our own home on the island.
By becoming a resident of Mackinac Island, Michigan with its year
round population being 523 residents did the magic change? Do you come
“home” to visit during the winter months?
When we’d only be here for two weeks on vacation, it was definitely the
island itself – the peacefulness of the woods, the beauty of the water,
the historical landmarks and the changing seasons. I visited the island
for Winter Festival a couple of years ago and loved being there to see
the snow and experience the island in the season most folks miss.
After living here now for going on four summers, I have fallen in
love with the island’s people as well. We live in a part of the Island
called Harrisonville, and most of the folks who live here are year-round
island residents whose families have been in this spot for generations.
“Salt of the earth” is a clichéd phrase, but that’s how I see them. We
now think them as our friends and neighbors with the added development
of caring for them deeply, and I hope that’s how they see us.
Kathy: How has writing Bree’s Blog opened the magic of this island to you even more?
Well, writing Bree’s Blog was first just a way for me to tell my
friends and family in Georgia about my amazing second home. But the blog
has opened the door to other folks on the island – summer residents to
shop owners as well as the tourists! I never get tired of having someone
stop me on the street to ask directions to somewhere. When they find
out we actually live here, their eyes get big, and they grin and say,
“How blessed you are!” And that’s how Ted and I see it also – we are
blessed. It has become home to us and home should always be a safe haven
in your daily lives especially a home on Mackinac Island where life is
at a simpler pace.
Kathy: Moving to a new community is always
difficult for it takes time to find new friends to feel comfortable in
your new community. Was there one particular person who helped you find
your way to the heart and soul of Mackinac?
Yes! There was and is one person that I feel is the epitome of the
goodness that Mackinac Island instills in a person. I wrote about this
person in a blog from my first summer on the Island – it’s Jill who
works at the Island Bookstore.
Here’s an excerpt from my blog about Jill: “When I first got
to know Jill, I gave her the nickname JIB (for “Jill in the Box”) –
because she just popped up everywhere. At first I thought she knew
everything because she worked at The Island Bookstore. I figured there
must be some secret information system that fed every little tidbit of
news from every corner of the island into that tiny little store…. But
then I realized, no – it’s just that Jill knows everyone on Mackinac,
and everyone knows her…
But the best part of getting to know Jill was not how much she knew – the best part was becoming her friend. Being
Jill’s friend is like taking little rays of sunshine and spreading them
across your day – regardless of the weather, regardless of your mood,
regardless of how you feel – Jill’s voice and her smiling face can lift
you right up. Her spirit is sweet and generous and kind. I am so
blessed to be able to call her “friend”.
Kathy: We are blessed to have you as an Ambassador of
Goodwill telling the world that there is a magical place on this
earth…and it’s called Mackinac Island. Your blog brings beautiful
insight to the daily wonders that the island provides to all of us. Thank you, Brenda and please keep on, should we say, blogging!
Insider Tip: To read more of
Brees Blog click here
and have a delightful time learning what it’s like to live on “magical Mackinac Island” through the eyes of one wonderful lady!
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