Posted by: bree1972 | April 3, 2011

Double-Nesters and a Spring-time Weekend 4/4/211

One of the best things about having a home in two completely different areas of the country is finding out there are wonderful people everywhere, and Ted and I have been fortunate in the last  four years to add new friends in Michigan to our south Georgia home friends on the ri’vah. 

My very first Mackinac Island friend (even before Jill) was Chris Ann Nelson.  After closing on our condo in June, 2008, I spent the majority of that summer walking and biking to and from Sutler’s Store at Fort Mackinac, trying to make our condo (which came completely furnished) look more like home and less like a vacation rental.  Being new to the area and not knowing where the best spots were to shop for “decor” off the island, I spent a lot of time at Sutler’s.  They had a wide array of items to choose from – bed linens, lamps, candles, knick-knacks, throw pillows, and any other kind of decorative doo-dad I might be seeking.

I met Chris Ann on my first visit to the store.  She worked there part-time , and her willingness to help and her knowledge of all the inventory had me hoping she was on duty whenever I entered the store.  She always went out of her way to try and accommodate my craziest requests – and consequently our condo has something from Sutler’s Store in every room.

After that first summer, Chris Ann began to work more at Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City than in the island store (both are part of the Mackinac Historic State Parks).  She and hubby Burton own a home right on the shore of Lake Michigan in Mackinaw City, and it just made more sense for Chris Ann to work there instead of riding the ferry everyday.  But we kept in touch over the following summers and would see each other once or twice a season.

Chris Ann is the one who introduced me to the phrase “double nesters” – a term for families with two homes.  She and Burton summer in Mackinaw City and winter on Pine Island, Florida – near the Florida Keys.  And last Wednesday evening, after closing up the Pine Island house and starting their trek north, they stopped here at the ri’vah for the night – along with their two four-legged babies, Hank (a West Highland Terrier) and Lilly (a Shetland Sheep Dog).  Chris Ann and Burton have four children (2 girls and 2 boys) and 4 “bonus” children (that’s what they call their childrens’ spouses).  They also have nine living grandchildren, ages 1-15, and 2 grand-dogs, Apple and Max.  This is a BIG family, and since they are spread out from Florida to Michigan to Washington state, Chris Ann and Burton don’t let the moss grow under their feet for very long ANYwhere.  They are constantly traveling to someplace to visit family OR have family traveling to them.  The house in Mackinaw City will be teeming with folks this summer – as always.

They only stayed with us one night, and after arriving at the ri’vah around 6:30 p.m. and making sure all our dogs were ok with each other, we went out to eat at Daphne’s.  Maddie had immediately put Hank (the Westie) in his place, but then Hank was a little testy about Bear.  I’d say it was just two male dogs and raging testosterone, but since neither of them is supposed to still have any of that, I can think of nothing to blame it on except terrier vs. retriever temperaments.  Anyway, they got over it.  Lilly, the precious Sheltie, was a perfect lady throughout the whole visit.

Dinner at Daphne's. (No, Ted is not proposing to me again - he just had to scrunch down to get into the photo.)

We stayed up late talking, with all the pups making sure we weren’t lonely. Good grief – look at Maddie’s “demon” eyes!  Notice also that Bear is as far away from Hank as he can possibly get.


Burton and Hank

After breakfast, the Burtons packed the one suitcase they had gotten out of the CAR and were off to their next stop with friends in north Georgia.  Please, please explain to me how these two folks with their two dogs can move to Michigan for 6 months with everything packed into the backseat and very small trunk of a CAR, while Ted and I use the backseat and the entire bed of a PICKUP TRUCK and STILL have to ship ahead five boxes.  I don’t GET IT!

And MOST of the backseat is taken up with the cages for Lilly . . .


. . . and Hank!

With families to stop and see in Michigan, it will be another week or so before the Nelsons arrive in Mackinaw City.  Their visit was too short, but we’ll see each other again soon.

After several cool days and chilly nights, spring has arrived for the second time this weekend.  I can’t believe I did this, but I actually “sat out in the sun” for a whole 15 minutes Saturday afternoon!

Have you ever tried to take a photo of yourself? I mean my arm is only so long, and there's no way you know where the camera is pointing. Let's just say I cropped this photo A LOT! See those wrinkles? That's why I DON'T sit in the sun more than 15 minutes anymore!


A little sun, a comfy chair, a good book (Unbroken, by the same author who wrote Seabiscuit - just started it, and I think it's going to be very good), a glass full of water with lemon . . . Life is good!


Can you spot something unusual in this photo?


It's Mama Duck sitting on the fence - something they rarely do because webbed feet and narrow fence railings don't mix. Papa Duck was already chowing down under the birdfeeder, but Mama was a little more cautious.

Hoping you’ve all had a wonderful weekend.  I’ll be back on Friday with some beautiful flower photos from around our neighborhood.  Here’s a preview . . .

See you on Friday!



  1. Sounds like you had a wonderful time with good friends. And the azaleas are beautiful. I wish we could grow them. I’ve tried a couple of times and they died on me. We do manage to have one healthy rhododendron and one sick rhodendron that has managed to stay alive. Michigan is just not the best place for those kinds of plants. At least for me.

  2. Nice visit with wonderful friends, a lil bit of sunshine for the soul ( and I don’t know where your seeing these wrinkles, because I’m not seeing them) beautiful flowers, with some cute little animals thrown in…sounds just about perfect to me 🙂

    • Hilde,

      Maybe if we made Brenda sit in a chair and be very still, we could use a strong magnifying glass and find a few wrinkles. Then again, maybe not. Do you suppose she’s imagining things. That happens sometimes.

      • I think you could be right Lowell..imagination running wild. 😉

      • To Lowell and Hilde – I just love ya’ll to pieces for the kind words, but you both are direly in need of an appointment with the eyeglasses folks!

      • Brenda,

        I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to have my eyes checked because just last week I had a 2 1/2 hour examination by the opthamologist. He told me he could give me new glasses, but I probably wouldn’t be able to see any better because I need to see an eye surgeon about removing cataracts. I have an appointment for that on May 10.

        However, I can see well enough to read your blogs and see that you do not have any wrinkles (or you’re doing a mighty good job of hiding them). Maybe you air brushed that picture. That must be it.

      • LOL! See (no pun intended), I KNEW you had eye problems. What I didn’t know was that you obviously have a little Southern charm mixed in there also! Thanks, Lowell – you made my day.

  3. I agree with Lowell and Hilde–I don’t see any wrinkles. Loved the flowers. Wish they would start to show up here in northern IN. Our temps are going the wrong direction again. Some day!!!

  4. Hi Brenda,
    Looks like you’re getting your daily recommended vitamin D. Your wrinkles just bring character to your face. 🙂
    I too am looking forward to this summer and visiting my favorite island. I hope we’ll be able to stay overnight a couple of times in one inn or another. Haven’t decided which so far. Still waiting on scheduling of bookstore visits.
    By the way–how is the Elmo mask working? Or are you still feeling like Oscar?

  5. Oh, what beautiful flowers. I can’t wait until ours are in bloom, which will be awhile, I’m afraid. Cold, rainy days on the menu for now!

  6. What a perfect visit on the first night of our trip back to Mackinaw City. Going to Daphanies and watching you both interact with the “rivrah” people made your blog come to life for us. I actually was surprised and pleased with Hankster as a whole. He is a terrier so one never can count on his manners. What a beautiful restful,spot you have in both of your “nests”. We are looking forward to your visits at Wawatam Beach for many years to come. Yes Lowel our rotadendrums are hard to work with in northern MI but I actually have some in Mackinaw City. Stop by and view them along with the bridge sometime. Hello to Bear and Maddie rfom all of us.

    • Thank you, Chris, I would love to do that, but I don’t know if or when we will get “up north” again.

      By the way, it was in Cheboygan that I first heard the term “down below.” I wonder how many people who are not from Michigan have any idea what that term means. I thought it was really funny. As a matter of fact I still do.

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