Posted by: bree1972 | May 10, 2012

We Are Heading North 5/11/2012

In “Moby Dick” Ishmael admits, “Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth . . . (and) it requires a strong moral principal to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”

Although it’s not the ocean I’m craving, I know exactly how Ishmael felt when he said those words.  I believe within each of us there is a place where we know we can shed our “grim mouth”, and at times we feel setting our GPS systems toward that place is a necessity, if we are ever to smile again.  For some it is the sea, with the rush of waves crashing against white sand or jagged rocks.  Others prefer the mountains, with the scent of pine trees and air that is clean and crisp.  A long ribbon of dirt road dividing planted fields of cotton beckons some toward their happy place.  And for a few it is a drive down a lakeshore road called Flintside and a cottage on the ri’vah that brings peace of mind and spirit.

At this time last year, I wrote the following:  “For some reason, I’m finding it a little harder to leave our Georgia home this year, and I’ve tried to reason out why that is.  As we grow older I think we probably cleave more tightly to our “core” – those friends and family members who have known and loved us the longest and who, even though they know all our secrets – good and bad –  love us anyway.  Perhaps, for that reason alone, I’ll feel this tug at my heart a little more with each passing year.”

My heart is feeling that tug again right now – another year has passed, we’ve done some sprucing up of that cottage on the ri’vah, our friendships here grow deeper and deeper.  It is harder than ever to leave.

But it’s spring . . . and my soul is craving Mackinac Island, and maybe – come May – it always will.  For five years now the coming of spring has meant going north, and although I certainly don’t think I have a “grim mouth”, the thought of boarding a ferry in a few days and seeing the Island rising up out of Lake Huron sure does cause my lips to curve upward.

A few statistics:  It will be our fifth summer on the island and my fourth year writing Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog.  I penned the first post in April of 2009, and that month there were 66 readers.  In July of that first summer, 7,782 folks read the blog, and last summer in July, there were 23,950 readers.  I’ve written 516 posts so far (when I started, I was hoping I could come up with maybe 20).  The majority of Bree’s Blog readers are from the U.S., but amazingly readers have found their way here from Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Russia, Macedonia, India, Malta, Japan, Australia, and Ukraine.  Since the blog began, the total readership has been a little less than half a million people.  I just have to tell you that I’m blown away by that, but it proves that Mackinac Island is a place people want to visit – or they’ve already visited this magical little dot in the Great Lakes and want to learn more.  I’m so happy to try and help with that.

We are leaving on Saturday for the Island and will spend two nights on the road.  We’ll be stopping Saturday night in Kentucky, an hour south of cousins Ted has not seen in 31 years.  We’ll visit with them on Sunday morning and hopefully convince them to come to the Island this season.  Sunday night will find us at our favorite Michigan overnight spot – the Best Western in Whitmore Lake.  Come Monday, good Lord willing, we’ll arrive at the Shepler Ferry dock in Mackinaw City, sometime in the early afternoon.  I’m grinning so big as I type this it’s a good thing I’m not outdoors because gnats would fill up my mouth in two seconds!

Some details:

  • As usual, I’ll try to check in each night on the road just to let you know we did make it to Point A and Point B – on the way to Point C.
  • The first official Mackinac “Season” post will be Friday, May 18.  I’m going to need a few days to unpack and settle in (but hey – you know me – there might be something before then, even if it’s just a photo or two).
  • Don’t forget to check the “Dog-Eared Page” every day or so, or make it easy on yourself and just subscribe to it!  Note:  The “Dog-Eared Page” appears ONLY on Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog
  • Yes, if you want one, we’ll have the Mystery Spot Contest again this summer.  Details to come.
  • I know I say this every year, but this year I really, really mean it.  I’m planning on two posts a week – one on Monday morning, and one on Friday morning (just like the Lake Blackshear Blog this winter).  That schedule works really well for me plus gives me enough time to find something interesting and fun to write about.
  • I’m planning to add one more page (as yet unnamed) to be published daily on Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog.  This, like the Dog-Eared Page, will be a photo with caption.  That way, for those of you who simply MUST have a daily shot of Mackinac with your coffee, you won’t be all cranky and snarly each day that isn’t a Monday or a Friday.  Once that one is published, you will need to subscribe to it also.
  • Safe travel prayers are always appreciated.

This will be the last post to Bree’s Lake Blackshear Blog for now.  I hope you’ll follow Ted, Maddie, Bear and I up north to Mackinac Island at to see what life is like on a small island with no motorized vehicles. I guarantee you will fall in love with this magical place!

Ok.  I think that’s it for now.  One more day of packing and then “we are heading north”.

A Few Photos to “Get Your Motor Running”

Day one of packing.

Day two of packing.

The tulips are blooming at Shepler’s, and we’ll be right there Monday, good Lord willing.

Boat loads of horses are still arriving on the Island. (Photo: Mary McGuire)

A lovely watercolor by friend and artist Mary Lou Peters, who was visiting the Island today.

Personal Note

Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday to all my beautiful readers who are also mothers.  It’s hard to believe my mom has been gone almost five years now.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her and talk to her and wish I could drop by the house on Washington Street in Sylvester for chit-chat, her special pressure-cooker roast and gravy, and – most of all – one of those hugs only moms know how to give. Happy Mother’s Day, Mama.  You are missed, you are loved, you are always in my heart.

My beautiful Mama.



  1. Oh, Bree, I was fine and excited for you and then l I came to the part about your Mama (my name for my mother, too). It’s been 15 years for me, and I still talk with her and miss the phone calls and their dropping by for dinner the most of all. It hurts, and it feels good at the same time. The love does not fade away.

    I’m sending you good thoughts and safety prayers for your trip North. There is some construction around us (Toledo) on all sides, so just go the way you usually do – the other way is worse! I talked with my husband, and there’s no good alternative for you to take to avoid the construction. Sorry! Always, always, always know that you can call if there’s a need!

    See you in Michigan!

  2. Brenda,

    I know you have known your Georgia friends for a long time and that South Georgia is home, but now I think of you and Ted as friends too, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that feeling. I’ve been looking forward to your return to the Island for…is it really 6 1/2 months.

    My Mama died December 1, 1983, and almost every day I think to myself, “If I could only ask Mama about that.” I’ll be 74 in October of this year and as long as I live I don’t think that thought will change. She’ll always be my Mama, just as I was always her boy until the day she left this life to enter the amazing blessings of eternity.

    Travel safely and please let us know when you get to the Island. A long blog won’t be necessary, just a short note to let us know all is well.

    • We’ll let you know, Lowell, when we arrive.

  3. y’all have a safe trip. we’ll miss you this summer on the rivah…

    • We’ll miss ya’ll too, Samille. Still hoping the gang decides to come up sometime over the summer.

  4. I’m saying a prayer right now for your safe journey up North and for good traveling weather. Thank you for the beautiful picture of the tulips at Shepler’s. Happy traveling Friday and Happy Mother’s Day to you also early!

  5. I hope I’m not the only one to ask this, but whats “dog-eared page”?

    • Hi Gina! If you’ll look within the header photograph at the top of the blog, there are two “tabs” – one is “How It All Began” and the other is “The Dog-Eared Page”. Click on that one and you’ll see that page, which is new for this summer.

      • Whoops! The “How it all Began” and “Dog-Eared Page” tabs appear ONLY on Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog I need to rewrite that so it makes more sense – thanks for calling it to my attention, Gina!

  6. Prayers for a safe trip north. The tulips at Shepler’s are beautiful. I’ll be at that spot in mid June. Can’t wait. Happy Mother’s Day to you.

  7. God speed, there and back again! Your Paws Patrol buddies will miss you and Bear!

    • And we are going to miss ya’ll, Marty. Give all the fur-babies a big kiss from Bear!

  8. Thousands of people read your blog not just to hear about Mackinac and the river. We also love the way you draw us into your world. You are a wonderful writer and photographer. Be safe and enjoy your precious time on the island.

  9. I agree with Debra. Praying for a safe journey. God speed. Have fun.

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