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I arrived in Pellston on Thursday, May 30, 2014.  and made a brief stop at Aaron Murdick’s Fudge Shop, which is located in Mackinaw City.   I opened the doors to the shop and welcomed this amazing smell!  On the table, a worker was pulling out a tray of just-roasted pecans.  He was dropping dollops of freshly made caramel all over the pecans, then he topped it off with a fresh layer of fudge.  Did I tell you that it smelled amazing?   The worker clearly saw me drooling and insisted that I have a taste of a batch he made a little earlier in the day.  I resisted…but not much.  I walked out of the shop shortly after with this delightful pecan confection in my hand and thought about my diet as I stared at it.  Then I took a bite.  OH MY WORD!  Heaven wrapped in fudge.  I slowly finished off this treat on the ride to St. Ignace.

So you may be wondering where I going – p2P LIVE Mackinac Island was about to happen for the second year in a row.  However, both events were fairly different.  Our group was significantly smaller than the previous year (60 last year and 16 this year), but it turns out that 16 was the perfect sized group for this year’s excursion.  Last year we did a photo safari around the island where people learned about digital photography as we toured.  This year our training would be based on Artisan software by Panstoria.  What was common about the two events was the level of fun we had, the friendships we formed, and the fabulous excursions we went on.

Let me backtrack a bit.  The pixels2Pages team conducts LIVE in-person digital training events all across the United States (and we’re open to Canada and Australia, too!).  Typically we conduct two types of events – training-only or training/excursion events where vacation and training go hand in hand.  All we need is a willing host and committed participants.  We work with the host to get the event set up and underway, and we provide the training.  Earlier in May, I conducted p2P LIVE NYC which was a two-day all training event.  We had great meals, lessons and crop-time activities. We had a fabulous time and completed many pages at p2P LIVE NYC.  p2P LIVE Mackinac Island, on the other hand, was a training/excursion event.

We started the event a little slowly.  We had a pizza party ‘meet and greet’ followed by time spent organizing content and getting ready to take charge of our long weekend.  We also completed a challenge or two, and reviewed and revised our schedule.  The next day was a whole different ball game!  We started out with a group breakfast, carriage tour of a portion of the Island (which is the second-oldest National Park in the United States), a tour of Fort Mackinac, lunch at the Tea Room and a tour of the Stuart House Museum.  At 2:00 PM, ten of us met up at Mackinac Wheels and rented bicycles to ride the entire 8 mile circumference of the Island.  We had an amazing time.   We stayed together as much as possible, and most of us finished in under two hours.  We had just enough time to rest a little bit before heading to the Cannonball Inn at British Landing for a barbeque.  It was close to 9 PM before we got to the crop room for lessons, but we were all still energized and stayed cropping until midnight.

Thankfully, we had a late start on Sunday – we didn’t have to meet up until noon for our taxis to Grand Hotel.  Some went to church services on the Island, others met up for a very light breakfast and a handful slept in.  When we arrived at Grand Hotel, our appetites were good and ready to partake in the Grand Luncheon.  I can’t begin to tell you how delish everything was!  Thereafter we were taken on a walking historical tour of Grand Hotel with the resident historian, Bob Tagtz.   Boy, was he a hoot!  He was funny, charismatic, but most of all, informative.  We were told stories of Presidents, speakeasies, hidden compartments, gambling rings and Federal raids.  OH MY!  Some of us took diligent notes for our scrapbooks.  We were in awe as we walked through the confines of the Hotel and were given a history lesson from floor to ceiling of every room we entered.  That evening (around 5 PM) when we returned to the Crop room for our lesson, we had lots of stories to share.  We cropped and trained until about midnight, taking a break only for dinner.

 Monday we woke up energized but with a bittersweet feeling in our guts that our training vacation would soon be over.  We met for breakfast at about 8:30 AM and soon boarded a carriage to visit Silver Birches – a spectacular log cabin undergoing major restoration to reopen soon as the newest resort on the Island.  The owner, Liz Ware, was an amazing host and she detailed all of the work she has done and the struggles she encountered working on this major project.  Many of the attendees made a pact to return when the resort opens for business.  After leaving Silver Birches, we boarded a carriage to Mackinac Community Equestrian Center.  The MCEC is also undergoing major renovations, too.  We had a wonderful lunch at the MCEC, provided by the Cannonball Inn, followed by a display of horsemanship.  These horses were absolutely beautiful and majestic!  We had a quick rain shower, but for the most part the weather on the Island was perfect.   We left the MCEC and visited The Original Butterfly house where we were able to see a few butterflies fresh from their cocoon and then took a short break before returning to the crop room for our final session.  We had an impromptu lesson on Dropbox after realizing all of the awesome photos we had to share.  We laughed, talked, cropped, shared and laughed some more that evening.

The following morning we all met for one final breakfast, to say our farewells and to have our raffle for a $100.00 gift certificate to Panstoria.com/Panstoria Print Shop.  Congratulations to Connie Cz!   We have to point out the last initials because though we had 16 attendees (13 registrants),  somehow we managed to have 2 Dianes, 2 Nancys, 2 Alices (both with the last initial C.), and 2 Connies (both with the last initial C).  Wait until you see our twins pictures!

(Over the next few weeks we will share our story with you via the pages we create.)

Before heading to the airport, I returned to where I began….back in  Aaron Murdick’s Fudge Shop to get some of those amazing Turtles that captivated my taste buds upon my arrival at Mackinaw City.   I purchased a batch for me and a batch for mom because she would never believe me simply by telling her how good they were.  I also purchased her a bag of salt water taffy which was freshly made in the shop.  Though I didn’t eat any of the taffy, it was so soft and smelled like childhood.  I left knowing that I was going to have a most awesome time reliving my nearly week-long adventure on Mackinac Island with my mom over a tasting of Turtles and Taffy.

If you are interested in Hosting a p2P LIVE Event, please email us at info@pixels2Pages.net today.

We would like to extend a HUGE Thank you to Jack and Terrie Armstrong and Family from the Cannonball Inn (click here to join their Facebook page) who provided us with wonderful meals and hospitality at the Cannonball Inn and Mackinac Community Equestrian Center.   Thank you to Grand Hotel and Bob Tagtz for the most memorable time.    Thank you to Liz Ware at Silverbirches for welcoming us into your work of heart which is a work in progress.  Last but not least, Thank you to The Lilac Tree Suites and Spa and Chippewa Waterfront Hotel for you hospitality in hosting our guests and our event.  Thank you to all of the local businesses that helped make our event both successful and memorable.

(You might notice a bit of hilarity in the profiles below.)

Alice Caulkins Alice Cook Connie Cox Connie Czajkowski David & Kathleen Eichler Delma Laventure Diane MacLennan Diane Pritula Jacque Wallace Kathleen 'Sue Smith' Eichler Lex Bakarich Nancy Kjellberg Rondi Hendrickson Steve and Nancy Huckaba Tameka Bond

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5 Responses to Blog: Turtles and Taffy

  1. Cheryl says:

    Sounds like so much fun. I’m so sorry I missed it this year but two out-of-state weddings this summer didn’t allow for Mackinac too. I do hope you host this again.

  2. nancy says:

    It was wonderful! Our hats off to our great host: Kathleen and David Eichler. We would love to come again!

  3. Looks like you all had a great time! I have fond memories of our 2013 trip there!

  4. Barbara Mitchell says:

    Thanks, Meka for sharing your Macinac Island adventures! I am a Michigander myself (born and raised in Battle Creek) and just reading about your weekend makes me miss Mackinac Island all over again. And Murdick’s Fudge!!! OMG By far the most Out of This World BEST fudge ever created!

    We were in the U.P. (for those of you non-Michigan people, that’s the Upper Peninsula) over Labor Day Weekend last year to do the annual Macinac Bridge Walk. I brought home four different kinds of Murdick’s Fudge!

    Perhaps next year I will be able to join all of you on my favorite island, with my favorite fudge! Until then, I look forward to seeing all of the pictures!

  5. Carolyn says:

    So, you’re saying there weren’t two Tamekas?

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