Today’s guest blogger is Patrick Conlon, Human Resource Manager at Grand Hotel. During the week Patrick spends his time on Mackinac Island, occasionally commuting to the mainland for meetings and employee recruitment. This is Patrick’s story of what is going on during the mild winter we are having on the island.
“Most people never get to experience Mackinac Island in the winter. The peaceful summer clip-clop of horse hooves on pavement has been replaced by the sound of snowmobiles that the islanders use for daily winter transportation. Up until last week, Arnold Line’s “Huron” was the main source of winter transportation to and from the island. The mild temperatures this winter allowed for the boat to run nearly a month longer than the previous year. While its steel hull allowed for it to break through moderate amounts of ice, current conditions have forced all boats to end service until the spring thaw. To ensure that the new Cupola Suites are completed on time, many construction workers involved with this Grand Hotel project have recently moved over to the island now that the boats have stopped running.
Until a solid “ice bridge” forms between the island and St. Ignace for snowmobilers to use (some years this does not happen at all), the only transportation for people and freight is via airplane. This flight is roughly 5 minutes long from St. Ignace, and the views of the frozen Straits are spectacular on a clear day. Cawthorne’s Village Inn, a Grand Hotel restaurant that remains open 11 months of the year, has been utilizing the air service to have its fresh produce flown in four days each week.
Whereas last winter was mainly comprised of sub-zero temperatures and blowing snow, this mild winter has allowed me to capture some incredible sunsets from outside of Grand Hotel, British Landing, and other areas along the shore. The range of colors across the sky has been nothing short of breathtaking, and I hope that Grand Hotel Facebook and Instagram followers have enjoyed seeing them and getting a feel for what the island looks like in the winter.”
Below are a few unfiltered photos taken by Patrick this winter.