Archive for June, 2013


Mackinac Island Shoreline Docks

While reading “Discovered – the Cross of Lorraine” some fans have had

difficulty picturing the coal dock where Takoda has his workshop.  The above photo

focuses on the Arnold Dock below Fort Mackinac. The coal dock is to the left, just out of sight.

View of coal dock in winter

This winter shot was taken from the Arnold Dock – looking toward the Coal Dock.

Of course it is all fiction, but this was an ideal spot for Takoda’s boat restoration

business since it is isolated, near the hardware store and wonderful boats

have actually been restored there.

Coal Dock

In 2005, extensive restoration of the Coal Dock began. Built before 1910, possibly as early

as 1860, the Coal Dock was aptly named, since coal used by residents was unloaded there

as well as hay, firewood and barreled fish. It was owned by the Arnold Line system for more

than 100 years, but before that belonged to Captain James Bennett and was known as

Bennett’s Wharf.

It is one of the most attractive sites on the waterfront and deserves preservation so that all visitors

throughout the coming years can enjoy seeing such a beautiful remnant of Mackinac’s past.

Handcrafted

The stern of one of the gorgeous wooden boats handcrafted at the Coal Dock barn.

Photos of the Arnold Dock will be featured in the next posting.

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Mackinac Beidge from Lower Peninsula

You can’t truly experience Northern Michigan without crossing the “Gateway to the Upper

Peninsula” – the Mackinac Bridge, and visitors to Mackinac Island miss out

if they don’t visit St. Ignace and enjoy this historic town’s natural harbor.

A sailboat enters the St. Ignace harbor with Mackinac Island in the distance beyond.
A sailboat enters the St. Ignace harbor with Mackinac Island in the distance beyond.

For centuries, Native Americans, French, British and, of course, our own citizens have enjoyed the beauty of St. Ignace’s natural harbor of refuge. After crossing the bridge, visitors turn east toward town.  The road makes a curve to the left and goes downhill, opening to the most amazing vista ahead – the aquamarine waters of Lake Huron, wrapped on three sides by a pristine harbor – St. Ignace.  Chief’s office looks out on the bay and he often hitches a ride to the island on the Coast Guard boats or the local ferries.

Star Line Ferry skims by the St. Ignace Marina

A Star Line Ferry skims by the St. Ignace Marina

The Mackinac Bridge provides a marvelous panorama of the Straits of Mackinac and lakes Michigan

and Huron. Freighters are often seen passing underneath and Mackinac Island gleams to the east.

Mackinac Bridge near fort

Romance permeates Mackinac Island.

Part of the allure is the architecture both large and small – especially

the intricate and intimate structures scattered throughout the landscape and

enhanced with floral displays.

Pergola in the woods

This privately owned “pergola” sits in a field of blossoming ground cover in the woods

in the Annex behind the West Bluff.  Todd, Tawny’s friend who is desperately in love with her,

lives in the annex with his parents.

Entrance to Grand Hotel's Jockey Club

Commercial establishments add embellished structures to enhance their properties.

This intriguing arch beckons visitors to the Grand Hotel’s Jockey Club restaurant.

The outdoor seating there provides dramatic views of the golf course and the Straits of Mackinac.

Inn on Market Street

Visitors to the island need to explore beyond Main Street. This gateway leads to a popular bed and

breakfast located on Market Street. Guests at the Metivier Inn love to sit on the porch

or in the Adirondack lawn chairs to relax and socialize.

In Discovered – The Cross of Lorraine, the main characters are often travelling

back and forth to Mackinac Island on the Star Line ferries.

A chapter in Book Two, Witnessed – Measures of Love (to be published in late summer)

explains a little about this ferry line’s fascinating boats.

Star Line Ferry's Dramatic Rooster Tail

Here’s a preview of the text:

 “The ferry was pretty empty since the high tourist season begins Memorial Day weekend. Tawny and Takoda had the top deck to themselves. They waved hello to the captain and sat near the bow, close to the side rails, and looked on as the practiced crew flung the lines off the dock pilings.

The captain gunned the engines and quickly swung the boat around to face their destination, Mackinac Island. After they gained speed, he turned on the hydro pump that sucks up lake water, then shoots it out at the stern in a large plume of water.

Star Line is known for those towering “rooster tails.” Children and adults are all amused by the playful effect of the towering sprays.”

Star Line Approaches Dock

If you’re lucky enough to have “Scut” crewing (as seen on bow)

you’ll have great entertainment. This energetic wonder adds excitement to

the trip from St. Ignace to Mackinac and always gets folks laughing on the way back.

When Tawny and Takoda paddled their kayaks on the north side of the island,

they passed by Arch Rock.

Arch Rock - Mackinac Island

The dramatic limestone formation, Arch Rock, has a huge fan club.

And why not?  It’s size and beauty are intriguing and so is the view of the lake, 145 feet below.

There is an ancient legend that the arch was formed by the tears of a young Indian

woman who fell in love with a native “sky person”

and was forced by her father to stand upon a large rock until she

promised never to see her true love again.  Her tears slowly melted

the rock and formed an arch.  Ultimately, her “sky love’ came and

took her up to the stars to live in eternal happiness.

Three Work Horses at Arch Rock

This sturdy team of work horses from Mackinac Island Carriage Tours takes a break

in front of Arch Rock. They just pulled a wagon full

of tourists up the hill and don’t look as exhausted as the people

who biked or walked there.

Mackinac Island Carriage Tours

Another team arrives. Their handlers say that when the horses

arrive on the island in spring, they can’t wait to get  to work.  They truly get bored

with relaxing all winter and want to expend that energy.

Horse carriage on Mackinac Island

Carriages like this, with the fringe on top, line up in front of Fort Mackinac,

waiting to take tourists for a spin around the island. The drivers have

great tales to tell, but it’s the horses that people never forget.