Thursday, September 29, 2016

Bois Blanc Island Retreat

Hello my dear readers.  I'm back home after being away for awhile.  Would you like to join me for a journey to a magical place?  Please come along . . .

I traveled to Troy, Michigan where I met my sister-in-law, Lynda,  and together we made our way to Cheboygan, Michigan, on the shores of Lake Huron.  
We were joined by seven of my dear SIL friends as we boarded the ferry Kristen to take us across Lake Huron to the magical island of Bois Blanc in the straights of Mackinac.  Pictured from left are Gail, Susan, Me, Lynda, Lisa, Gale, Henny, Pat & Lindsay.
As we made our way out of the port, we crossed under a bascale bridge that opened to allow our ferry boat to pass under.
Just as we were making out way onto the main body of the lake, this quaint lighthouse greeted us.  It's about a 40 minutes crossing from Cheboygan to Bois Blanc Island.  The waters of Lake Huron are so clear and lovely.
 Upon our arrival at Bois Blanc Island, this little sign at the ferry terminal greeted us.  The locals call this island Bob Lo.
Those of you who read my blog regularly, know that I am partial to trees and pristine natural settings.  I really think Bois Blanc Island is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.  It's a sparsely populated island; so pristine in it's natural setting.
Our destination on the island was Insel Haus where we would be partaking in a three day knitting seminar.  What could be more fun than knitting?
I love this welcome sign in German.  There's a reason for this as our gracious host, Christa is from Germany.
The owners of Insel Haus and our gracious hosts were Christa and Shelby Newhouse.  They have worked years on this stunning property and it's not only beautiful, in a lovely setting but the interior is like a museum with so many beautiful furnishings.
My sister-in-law and I shared a lovely room with a view onto the water.  Each morning we were there, we were greeted by deer.  Deer are such endearing, lovely creatures (although they do like to eat garden plants . .)
After we were assigned our rooms (this 7,800 sq. ft. inn has something like 11 bedrooms and 9 1/2 baths!), we got started with our knitting.  Christa is a world renowned fiber artist.  One of her specialties is double knitting.  Some of her work is shown in this photo.
Our knitting retreat was centered on lace knitting.  Christa had pre-ordered for each of us a lovely spool of 100% natural silk yarn.  We had numerous patterns to chose from with intricacy  ranging from a 4 four row repeat to 52 row repeat.  I chose the four row repeat and I was not disappointed.  This silk yarn is heaven to knit with.
 Christa designs all of her patterns and it was amazing to see some of her work.  The book pictured above was her inspiration for the lace workshop she taught us.  Some of these pattern designs date back to the mid 19th century.  Being a history buff, the pattern I chose was from 1843.
This was the first retreat I ever took part in and I must say, I was thoroughly spoiled.  The tranquil setting, the lovely home and the delicious food topped off with knitting made me feel like I was in heaven.  My sister-in-law, Lynda, who is a superb knitter, enjoyed her time as well.  You can see a bit of Christa's immense antique collection in this photo.
We basically retired to our rooms each evening to sleep as otherwise, we were busy knitting away in some quaint corner of this large B & B.  I was so intrigued by this painting that hangs on the wall.  I believe it is of the dowager empress of China; supposedly a very unkind ruler.  Christa and Shelby have a large collection of far eastern antiquities.
Can you imagine the fun and conversation that us nine ladies had during these three days?
 This was the third time my sister-in-law had been to the island.  She is Michgan born and raised.  I've been a few times to Michigan.  The last time a few years ago when we went to the most eastern part of the upper peninsula.  But, Bois Blanc Island is by far my favorite place in the beautiful, picturesque state of Michigan.
As our retreat was drawing to a close, the last night we sat under a gazebo on the shores of Lake Huron and enjoyed a camp fire while watching the sun set.
Just look at this photo; have you ever seen such a beautiful sight?  It was truly magical being in this place.  
Another magical photo of nature's painting.
As the sun tucked itself in for the night, this colorful pink sky appeared.
Our last morning on the island soon arrived and it was time for us to take the ferry back to the mainland.
On our way back into the dock, we passed this U.S. Coast Guard ship.
It's an icebreaker, ready to take it's place for winter's work.  The ferry does not run in the winter, as the lake freezes over.  If you want to get off the island or onto the island, you will need to take an airplane.  I understand from the locals, that if there is sufficient ice, you can take an "ice road" across the lake on your snowmobile!

I hope you have enjoyed going on this amazing journey with me.  I found out a few things about Bois Blanc Island that I thought you might enjoy; here are five of them:

1. Bois Blanc translates to "white wood" in French.  There are numerous white bark birch trees throughout the area.
2.  The island is 12 miles long by six miles wide.
3.  There are no paved roads on the island except the paved landing strip at the Bois Blanc Island Airport.
4.  Bois Blanc Island didn't have electricity until 1964!
5.  Detroit, Michigan is approximately 310 miles south of Bois Blanc Island.

I'm so thankful for having this wonderful opportunity to meet new friends, experience a new place and have a wonderful time.  Hot temps greeted me upon to my return to southern California.  Still no rain :(  Thank you so much for taking time to visit with me today and I always love reading your comments.  

With my Best Wishes,

Linking with:



  1. Your retreat looked like it was perfect, Pat. I'm so glad you had a great time, in a beautiful and interesting location...with five fun facts! Wishing you the best :) xx

  2. Gorgeous seaside views! Enjoy your weekend Pat!

  3. Wonderful photos!
    It looks like a famous place and a lovely retreat and some words in the photos I could read, I'm German...
    Have a nice weekend

  4. What a restful time you had - and very educational. I love the knitted lace.

  5. This is a heavenly trip indeed! All those beautiful sunsets and surroundings and knitting as well! x

  6. What a wonderful place to stay Pat. And to knit as well. I would be in heaven. So glad you shared your fabulous stay with us. B X

  7. Sounds wonderful and very restful, thank you for sharing.

  8. Bois Blanc sounds like a tranquil place. I would have enjoyed seeing the birch trees - one of my favourite trees. The sea views at sunset are spectacular.

  9. What an absolutely delightful retreat, I could not think of anything more satisfying than those breathtaking views and crafting with friends.

    Stunning scenery!

    Angela - Garden Tea Cakes and Me

  10. Smashing post. A little bit of heaven on earth.

  11. Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip! I live in Michigan but haven't visited this part before. I'll have to add it to my list! The knitting retreat sounds like a lot of fun and the setting looks beautiful.

    Have a happy Five on Friday

  12. Stunning photos, what a beautiful place for a retreat. I don't knit, but I'd have crocheted with you.

  13. What a lovely trip, wonderful photos. I'm visiting from Five on Friday.

  14. What a beautiful unspoilt island! your photos are lovely especially of the sunsets! Amazingly beautiful!
    Best wishes

  15. Thank you for the tour and the beautiful photos. Those water shots are so lovely.

  16. Oh, Pat, this does look wonderful! Such a lovely place! This sounds like the perfect getaway. That sunset is amazing. So glad you enjoyed your stay and learned some new knitting techniques, too. Love the group photo of all the ladies :) Sending hugs xo Karen

  17. I am jealous! Oh my what a wonderful retreat in such a beautiful area. Being from Michigan I can attest to the beauty you saw.

  18. Thank you, God, for the internet so we can travel the world, and go places we've never even heard of, through the eyes of our fellow bloggers. What a perfect vacation for you and a perfect mini-vacation for me via your photos. Please go on another retreat soon, so we can share your experience.

  19. What an idyllic place for a retreat. I really enjoyed seeing your wonderful photographs, especially the silk lace knitting! Beautiful sunsets!
    Looks like you had a great time Pat!
    Hugs, Barbara xx

  20. Looks like a wonderful trip! It's great to see your posts again.

  21. Also, are these ladies all your brothers wives, or does the group include our husband's sisters, or?

    I have no sisters, and Rich has only one brother, who is unmarried, so I have no sisters in law, either. In a complicated twist, I have four half brothers, three of whom are married, but I have never met them or their wives.

    1. Hi Ranee, only one of these ladies is my sister-in-law (she is married to my brother-in-law). The rest of the group are friends. Thank you for visiting today!

  22. This is my first visit to your blog, and I am following it now. What an idyllic place for a retreat. I live in California now like you, but grew up in the other Sheboygan, spelled with an S, that is in Wisconsin.


I'd love to hear from you! Please leave a comment!