Our Getaway


Today’s blog-post is going to be slightly out of blogging character for me. Well, in the sense that I don’t often unveil amorous secrets behind the curtains of the Professor’s heart, today I am sharing a portion of my private, romantic, sentimental side. WARNING! For any Alpha-hyped He-Man reading this, if you have aversions to being swept away in passion and raptured in the moment, then look away! Read no further! This will not be your pitcher or keg of beer. Sorry mate. No bowed-up pectorals or brawling here.

It may or may not come as a surprise to some of you who follow my blog that I am a sucker for serendipitous enchantment on matters of the heart. If this beguiling moment includes windows of history, windows I’ve been enamored by since I was a boy, then just count to three and ring the bell because I am out, done, a goner. I will be so lost you’d think I was hypnotized or lobotomized. Add aspects of time-travel in the story and like Richard Collier, I will never return. Yes, with hands in the air I confess; my propensity for moments when time stands still is my kryptonite.

Who is Richard Collier you ask?

Funny you are wondering. Elise asked the same question, sort of, and she could barely take a breath waiting for the answer. But I will come back to this moment in time a bit later, hah, apropos teaser intended. What I want to first spill is how our long-awaited family trip unexpectedly came about.

My Mom's Eastern Airlines flight attendant photo, 1958--1962.

For over two years Mom has been itching to travel somewhere. For several years she has yearned to see Australia and her Great Barrier Reef. This has been a long-time dream of hers and her closest sister, her now late sister, unfortunately. Recently though if it was with her domestic partner, or a close friend, or with me and my sister, it didn’t matter. She’s wanted to go before it’s too late, at her advancing age, and medical issues make it impractical. The last three years she has been reminding us how thrilled she’d be to go and experience another part of the world, somewhere, anywhere she hadn’t experienced.

Lately we’ve been pummeled, so to speak, with her getaway-gestures every month, if not every week. The getaway bug-n-itch had had a grip on Mom for some time. I’d say it no longer itched, it turned into a damn rash! Her pleading was unrelenting sometimes! Yep, Mom’s former years as an Eastern Airlines flight attendant (above image) had been reenergized with a vengeance! Mom was once an Eastern Airlines Flight-attendant in 1958–1962, based out of LGA, JFK, and EWR, New York and New Jersey respectively. She wanted to fly a lot longer, but a special surprise from her then boyfriend (my father) stopped those plans after their very “romantic weekend” in San Antonio, TX in the former Robert E. Lee Hotel downtown. But I am rambling and digressing; apologies. Back to our story.

For years we had been tossing around destinations, but never made a final decision. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic along with the predictable outcomes and repercussions the last two-plus years. Pfft, no more elaboration needed on that world catastrophe.

Moving on. Fast-forward now to February 2021, but skipping over our two hellacious winter storms that came within a few hours of wiping out Texas’ entire electrical grid for a long, long, very long time.

With mass production of Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, etc, vaccines finally rolling out once competent federal leadership in D.C. took office January 20th, followed by mass distribution scaled much higher and wider than the previous Administration ever cared to do, getting the vaccines into cold-storage, out to sites, and proper staff to stick Americans twice, our family getaway was back on and indeed probable. Hold your horses cowboys and cowgirls! Now comes a number of new stumbling blocks. I had the honor and privilege to temper Mom’s jet-setting excitement, if that was even possible.

I explained to her and sister that if we were going to make this dream-trip happen and safely, our first major hurdle was going to be full vaccinations for all three of us, in a timely immediate manner at that. Easy? No, not really. In fact, I thought I might have to persuade Mom to postpone our excursion for another year—ugh, after having just done that in 2020 due to the pandemic. Moreover, I knew how formidable it was going to be to motivate my sister to get fully vaccinated soon. I would have to hound her even more than I was already doing! Mom and I have received both our shots, my sister received her second shot this past week. Done! First couple of hurdles behind us.

Skipping back a month, when the three of us were able to finally coincide our three different schedules/calendars and meet for a weekend in mid-April 2021, we toss about places such as the Grand Canyon National Park, Glacier National Park, Sequoia National Park, Gatlinburg, Colorado Springs, Nags Head North Carolina, Portland in Oregon, The Finger Lakes in Upstate New York, and Augusta, Maine. Then I threw into the pile of possible destinations, one of my personal wishes: Mackinac Island and the Grand Hotel. To my dismay my sister and Mom became very intrigued. Mom was immediately sold on the Lilac Festival and the Butterfly House & Insect World, and my sister to the fact that it was an island completely unlike a hectic 21st-century tourist bee-hive rat-race with way too many rude people scurrying by you and over you. After all, she did suffer from panic-anxiety attacks easily triggered by too much perceived chaos. My sister is also an artist and art fan. She still paints when time allows. Mackinac Island has a sizable artsy twist as well, with art shops and an art museum. It seemed I had hit a homerun with my longstanding longshot, teenage dream destination! They had all sorts of questions. They wondered too how I even knew about this island lost in a bygone era. Answering their curiosity, I return to the beginning of this blog-post.

I admitted to them that I have always had a weakness for serendipitous romance, history, the Victorian-Edwardian Eras, and a very soft spot for time-travel stories, books, and films. Re-enter Richard Collier and Elise McKenna:

Is it you?” Woah, I get goose-bumps every time I watch that scene because of what Richard Collier went through to get there with Elise. This 1980 cult-classic “Somewhere In Time” was filmed on Mackinac Island, Michigan because the Grand Hotel and island’s Tourism Bureau vowed to freeze time and banned all modern, polluting, combustible-engine vehicles as well as other “modern” developed fossil-burning machines in order to preserve its uniquely vintage history—its Victorian-Edwardian Age on Lake Huron. There is no other island like it within the United States proper. The island is seemingly and delightfully stuck in time. Needless to say, I was and I am beyond myself, ecstatic to be traveling there with Mom and sister in just a few weeks.

If any of you are unfamiliar with the timelessness of Mackinac Island, MI, then I give you a quick photo-montage (below) followed by a link to the island’s Bureau of Tourism. I hope you too can see why I have always held a special place in my heart for this island… lost Somewhere In A Time not so long ago when finer things in life were patiently appreciated, savored, sought, enamoring, and embraced. I start with images from the movie with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve at the Grand Hotel. Following those images are current photos of the small Victorian-Edwardian town, popular sites like the Butterfly House & Insect World—the place where Mom and sister will spend many hours—tea houses out on grand patios, Al fresco dining spots, Fort Mackinac where I plan to visit, and one location Mom and I plan to lounge many times: the Grand Audubon Wine Bar.

Should you be interested in more details and information about this incredible island, visit the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau. There you can also view online their 72-page guidebook which introduces you to the island’s historic splendor.

We will return home after eight nights and nine days there. Travel will take two half-days. I do hope to bring back with me many photos of our getaway on Mackinac Island. This might be my last blog-post until then, after we return to Austin, TX, then I back up to Dallas. In the meantime, the anticipation is mounting, ugh, as if time is slowing down. Imagine what time will be when we are there!



Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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28 thoughts on “Our Getaway

    • Thank you Shell. “Fun” is definitely on the entire itinerary! That and some R&R in a gorgeous laid-back location. Mom and my sister—sorry, I wasn’t clear about that—are about to burst at the seams with their excitement. 😄 What’s also fascinating about the island is that the only modes of getting around other than strolling… is by horse-drawn carriage, horse-back on your own rented horse, or bicycle; a modern one or Victorian era bicycle. Fortunately for Mom and my sister, and probably now for me too (getting so old) 😉 the island is only about 3.8 sq. miles. Practically all of the town is at the southern end of the island. The other three-quarters is the forested State Park with trails and just one highway along the entire coastline, if you can call it a “highway” in modern terms. Oh! It does have a small little airport too for small chartered flights/planes in and out. LOL

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  1. Well cut off my leg and call me Stumpy, but that’s just a hop, skip, and jump from my neck of the woods. It’s a classic get-away for those in my area who know about it and those who like walking (something many people these days have rediscovered but an activity we’ve always done). When we head out, we usually end up only as far as Manitoulin Island because the weather is a bit more reliable. But if you hit a good stretch, the Strait is fine (travelers sometimes forget it’s really at the east end of the windiest Great Lake and so the wind has hundreds of uninterrupted miles to gain steam so choose your visit accordingly). Many moons ago we tried to go but the wind caused the ferry to be cancelled and so ended up moving on to the Sault before bending back and going to Manitoulin. Mind you, I am shocked now to realize this was decades ago and not just a few years back as I had presumed, so no doubt things are much better now and you’ll have an unforgettable experience. Island cultures are pretty cool this way so I hope you get to experience that stubborn intransigence to keep things as they are, as well. It often makes for meeting some unforgettable and very real people. Have a great time.

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    • Ah Tildeb, thanks for a heads up regarding the wind and weather! Very “serendipitous” that Mackinac is your old neck of the woods and Great Lakes, huh? 😉 I did read a couple of times or more about the island’s temperatures, perhaps rain (in early, mid-June?), but as I remember I read nothing (I don’t think) about high winds. Please, PLEASE feel free to give me/us some tips for first-timers from way down south in Texas! 😄

      We plan to have a GRAND time! Thank you.

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      • As a history buff, it was the fort I wanted to visit; this was a MAJOR military base for strategic reasons that helped shape how both countries evolved by strategic considerations and played a significant role in affecting European power through controlling the trade routes into the continent’s heartland. Anyway, I could go on and on about all of this ancient history, so to speak, but it’s a reminder that certain places have a significant but hidden historical context allowing one to better understand why things are the way they are today because of what came before. You may see the set of the movie at the glorious hotel with eyes so trained, whereas I see evidence of how decisions were made in foreign languages and far away places because of local fields of fire and ranged weapons right here on Mackinac Island that were hauled through dense forests and floated on a series of lumber rafts on rough hewn logs hundreds of years ago that shaped the world we know today.

        The geography of a place is always connected to all the stories that are written about and from a place… a point that Alice Munro – the only Canadian Nobel laureate in literature – used repeatedly and to great affect in her short but powerful stories (Brokeback Mountain, for example). So check out the geography when you’re there and walking the forest trails and imagine what it must have been like 300 years ago and why it mattered.

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          • 😄 No worries.

            Any further tips about Mackinac Island’s weather in early- and mid-June? A couple of very nice, helpful hotel correspondents informed me of a need for heavy, wet, rain-gear… just in case. Since this is your native State (?) and stomping grounds—is that right?—are there any things/events we should prepare for other than the high winds you mentioned?

            As a serious history buff myself, in particular the world wars, but also 19th-century military history, I can and will appreciate exactly what you are mentioning Tildeb! 😁

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            • Nope. Just the basics. It’s entirely dependent on the weather and I think you’ve chosen the best time of year – other than maybe early to mid October (for the fall colours from the deciduous trees). It can (and usually does) get very hot and humid into mid July through the end of August so your timing offers a really good chance of sunny days and (relatively) light winds without it being too humid, with any bad weather usually of short duration (less than a day, but EVERY afternoon around 4 for the “the risk of thunderstorms” which on occasion actually do materialize… for about an hour). If you’re planning on walking the forested areas – and you should – the only advice I have is to remember the mosquitoes; A light long sleeve shirt and long pants plus hat – light in weight AND colour – makes trail walking so much nicer to the point that we almost never need to use any kind of sprays (like Deet). But some common sense and comfortable footwear (leave the Crocs and sandals behind at the hotel) helps. And there are few things as good for soul as walking forest trails and reconnecting with nature. Carry water. Remember, there’s a reason the island is still mostly forest, so with the steady winds along the island’s edge, the conditions for walking and not being bothered by too many mosquitoes (or people for that matter) are excellent with just a few basic precautions like I mentioned. This is the same time of year we might rent a houseboat in cottage country – too early for most summer vacationers to make things crowded but after unpredictable spring weather and the arrival of summer mode – and when the forests are most welcoming. I think you’ll love it.

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            • These are EXCELLENT tips Tildeb! I can’t thank you enough. 🙏 I will definitely pass all this on to my Mom and my sister. We are very much looking forward to these 8-9 days there. 😁

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  2. I have watched “Somewhere in Time” somewhere around a dozen times. The film was based upon the short story of the same name by “Richard” Matheson, a prolific writer of marvelous tales that have found a wide audience, including The Twilight Zone. The Grand Hotel gets featured often in my account of days and ways. We were a couple of states away when I was a kid and would often visit it at the end of July. My first wife and I took our honeymoon on that island. She died by suicide in 1983, the year that Somewhere in Time was released, so the island has often appeared in my dreams for 38 years now. I can’t see a one-cent coin without thinking about what I might find in my pocket.
    Please know that you are going to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience, Sir. Enjoy every minute.

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    • A dozen times Bill? Hah! Sounds like you’re just as much a cultish fan of the movie as I am, Sir? 😉 On top of that you would visit the Grand Hotel regularly, huh? Wow! How lucky are you! I too have always wanted to take my honeymoon there. Not necessarily in the Grand Hotel—that would be like a serious house mortgage on the marriage right off the bat and WITHOUT any house! 😄—but perhaps 2-3 nights then elsewhere the remaining time.

      I’m very sorry about your first wife along with those memories. That breaks my heart Bill. I hope you at least have many great, wonderful memories to hold to. ❤️

      Once-in-a-lifetime experiences and memories is why Mom wants to do this trip. She has already accepted the fact that this could very well be her last “vacation getaway” in her life.. with her advancing age and health issues. My sister and I plan to make this trip very special, for all of us.

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      • A dedicated fan indeed. Matheson set the original story at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. My wife and I visited the Hall of History there while staying with relatives. My daughter, who was 8 when her mother died, is also a devoted fan of the Grand Hotel, there are plenty of eager visitors and the place is simply worth it every single time.
        The absence of motor vehicles makes it so much easier to find yourself in the Edwardian Era. It keeps that willing suspension of disbelief going. And my present wife, Lisa, much enjoys the spirit of the Edwardian, so she would fit right in.
        Enjoy yourselves much.

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  3. My wife and I went to Mackinac Island (decades ago) and loved it. They say that once you learn to ride a bicycle, you never forget….so, putting our trust in that truism, we rented bicycles (not the Victorian kind) and had a Grand time touring the island. Afterward, we continued on to the Upper Peninsula with its beautiful waterfalls and picture rocks — a nature lover’s paradise!

    As for SOMEWHERE IN TIME, I haven’t seen it a dozen times, but I do like it despite some unfavorable reviews from film critics.

    Thanks for bringing back the memories.

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    • Ah, you’re welcome Mistermuse. The island and its culture, ambiance, and charming quaint appeal is apparently THE vacation spot for history lovers, revisiting a slower relaxed bygone era, and capturing hopeless romantics like myself. The three of us are very much looking forward to the trip.

      I think the movie appeals most to a specific niche of cinematic audiences. And as I confessed, I am SUCH a sucker for any time-traveling storylines. LOL

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    • I have already taken many photos and a few short-clip videos of all the various, GORGEOUS butterflies fluttering around us EVERYWHERE!!! I know you will like them Ark! 😉 We return to god forsaken BOILING (108–110 heat index) Texas 6/20. I am home to Dallas either 6/21 late or 6/22 mid-day. Then soon after that I’ll be processing the tons of my photos and videos.

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        • Ugh. 🥵 I am NOT looking forward to leaving this island that’s for sure. Temps of low 60’s at night mid-70’s in the day, breeze off the Mackinac Straits, bicycles and their bells: ring ring, ring ring. Sun sun sun galore, aromas of lilac, allium, peony, and a cornucopia of other blossoms right now with soft sounds of horse’s hooves and carriages in the background! Geezzz, I never want to leave this island. 😄

          And yes Bill, plenty of short video clips and photos too. 😉

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          • You have to take the good with the bad; try a winter in the Straits of Mackinac! Still, as long as the oil pipeline beneath the water there never corrodes or springs a leak or gets dragged by an anchor (more than it has already been), then it will remain a beautiful place. Enjoy the moderated weather (a gift the Great lakes continues to provide) before heading back to the swelter that is Texas (and unstable power grid). Mind you, you don’t have to live in Texas…

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            • I totally agree with your last sentence, tildeb. PT undoubtedly has ties and strings that he feels keep him in Texas, but nearly always, there are workarounds.

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            • Yes Scottie, I do: family.

              Once I raised my two children and they became young adults (18+ years), my daughter quickly married during university, my son is now 20-yrs, but immediately following my Mom then became more elderly (79-81 yrs old) and much less mobile due to falls and Stage 4 Dementia (Moderate decline). Unfortunately Scottie, there aren’t too many “workarounds” for the passage of time, geriatric conditions, being present for immediate family, especially our parent(s) when their health declines sharply. So in a sense Scottie I’ve traded the raising of MY OWN kids for the care of my Mom for the rest of her living years… granted with the assistance of my younger sister. And THEY—my two kids and my Mother—are the ONLY dual reasons I am still living in Texas. 🙂

              After my Mom passes—if my sister stays clean & sober as she has FINALLY been doing for over 14-months now—there will be nothing holding me in Texas! I will be in my mid-60’s by then or later (happily) if Mom lives a long, LONG life, but otherwise there will be no ties/stakes to keep me in this State of Conservative Idiocy. 😛 Though I am an 8th-generation Texan—my son is a 9th-generation—and those specific family roots are indeed very deep, very passionate and sentimental for those very FIRST Texian family ties of closeness to Native American Indians here, the Union/Yankee causes and anti-slavery postures—yes, many of my recent (white) ancestors were heckled, physically abused, property damaged/destroyed, and several great Uncles had to flee Texas so as to escape hanging/lynching for not joining the Confederate States of America to fight—along with our current liberal(?), scientific, and Secular sociopolitical ideals & practices…

              …this once great State known for its past motto: “friendship,” no longer exists on most all levels of everyday life, I’m heartbroken to say. 😔 And these reasons, and many more I can list, are WHY I would much rather live somewhere else more progressive, more tolerant of diversity, a lot more educated with post-grad degrees, more friendly, in a state who DOESN’T want full-blown arsenals of weapons of every lethality for every single family in Texas, and who doesn’t want to arrogantly & self-righteously dictate what a woman can and cannot do with her body and prenatal systems! 😠 And all of that further dictated by mythological, fairy-tale religious creeds, theology, or doctrines which grossly INTRUDE on personal civil rights… that are NOT Constitutional!!! 😡

              So Scottie, you might ask “Why are you still in that god-forsaken Lone Star State of conservative, religious-political nutcases?” I’m DYING to leave permanently just as my beautiful, wonderful, friendly European ancestors fled the exact same hate, violence, and prejudices/bigotry, and immigrated to Texas to escape it all in the 1840’s… I would leave/escape for the same reasons!!! Ain’t that just the damnedest thing over 180-yrs later? HAH!!! 😆

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            • DANG! I’ve been helping Scottie with his blog account and forgot to logout. That last comment was from ME!!

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            • And now I see the comment totally disappeared. YIKES!

              Anyway, I agreed with tildeb’s last sentence. There are ALWAYS work-arounds. Not always convenient or desirable, but they do exist.

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          • As a fellow passionate fan of Mackinac Island, I know exactly that feeling “I never want to leave this island.” Also, as someone with a vivid memory of the 1950s, the sense of deep longing for all things lost in a headlong leap into “progress”, the loss only becomes greater with each elapsing year. Looking much forward to your short video clips and photos.

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            • Coming soon Bill. 🙂 And this island has overwhelming warmth, helpfulness by residents, and who deeply appreciate and nurture the finest organic living—both in human interaction and care for this precious Planet we all call home. ❤️ I have many delightful stories to share with my photos/videos of Mackinac Island.

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  4. Next trip, may I suggest Vancouver Island. If you like the climate and vista of a Mackinac or Muskoka, you’ll love VI: same topography but without the biting insects! The botanical gardens not just in Victoria but all along the east coast of the Island are pretty special in their own right but there’s something that feeds the soul, that allows one to draw a full and deep breath of fresh air, when one has a view that encompasses not just mountains, forest, and a body of water, but a truly crystal blue sky seeded with the scent of cedar. I have always found it nature’s best therapy for me, but with all the comforts of home. And if that becomes a bit boring, get on the water, do some gentle kayaking, and see just how much life there is where water meets land and it will remind one that life is beautiful and spectacular and rich and that we belong to it and not the other way around.

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