Living the Dream on Mackinac Island

by Brenda Horton
(Mackinac Island, MI)

Festival of the Horse Breed Show

Festival of the Horse Breed Show


I've lived in south Georgia practically all my life (a long, long time). But when my husband and I married 20 years ago, he promised me that one day he would take me to Michigan to show me where he had grown up as a little boy. His grandparents had a summer cottage in the Les Cheneaux Islands in the UP (that's Upper Peninsula for all you Southerners out there). He and his mom would leave for the cottage as soon as school was out every summer, and they would stay all summer with his grandmother and granddaddy. I fell in love with his stories of getting up on summer mornings, taking out his little fishing boat into the lake, and spending the day doing all the fun things that little boys can find to do in that kind of safe paradise on earth. Ten years ago he made the mistake of saying "let's go north this summer". I think he thought the Les Cheneaux's would be a little too tame for me, so he made reservations on Mackinac Island for two weeks, with plans for that to be our base of operation.

If you know nothing of Mackinac Island, you are like I was. I had vaguely heard of it "no motorized vehicles, lots of fudge, plenty of horse poop." I was just excited that I was going somewhere in July where the temps were in the 70's instead of the 100's!

That was in 2000, and we returned to Mackinac Island every year after that for two weeks, until two summers ago when we realized our dream of buying our own home on the island. I fell in love with this fairytale place, where you truly feel like you have stepped back in time. I cried when we left. That year passed quickly, and when we stepped on the ferry for our crossing the second year, and the Grand Hotel came into sight, Ted and I looked at each other and said at the exact same time, "we're going 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 began blogging from the island last summer as a way to open up the magic of Mackinac Island to anyone who is interested in reading about it. We are preparing to leave our home in south Georgia in less than two weeks to make the two-day drive up with our two dogs. The blog is my journal as we go through the "season" on the island.

We will arrive on the Island May 17, and starting then, there will be several updates a week about the happenings on this island paradise from me. My blog's address is:


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Jul 01, 2012
I wish we could join you ...
by: Barb

What a wonderful and inspirational story ...I've been going to the Island for more than 20 years and, like you, feel as if I'm home the moment I step onto the island and cry when it's time to leave. I am more at home on Mackinac than any place in the world; the beauty of nature and the spirits in the breeze that blow through the trees are the most pure and spiritual things i have ever experienced. I want more than anything to live there someday....please keep posting your thoughts so we can continue to be inspired by you!

May 10, 2010
Beautiful Story
by: Hannah

What an absolutely beautiful story, love story I
would say. How nice to hear about your journey in becoming a resident on Mackinac Island. It was
most interesting. Having visited the Island every year, since 2000, at the Cottage of friends on the East Bluff, I'm waiting for a "departure"
date for the Island this year! Again, I shall
enjoy all the events and places you spoke about.
What a beautiful horse, a bit fiesty, it appears.
Don't we wish everyone we know could soak up the
enjoyment and beauty we find on Mackinac Island?

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