I'm Nicole. I am a wife, mother, shop owner on Mackinac Island, and lover of handmade. The little things and little moments inspire me. Follow me on my blog as I write about shop news, my travels, island life and motherhood.

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little luxuries

Visiting Mackinac Island for the first time can have many unknowns. Which ferry do we take? Do we bring our own bikes or rent them? Do we stay on the island or just for the day? Do we pack a lunch or eat out? 
Since living on Mackinac since my first summer in 2006 and now living here with kids I have learned a lot over the years. If you are making the trip to Mackinac Island with kids this summer below are a few of my suggestions that I have found work best for our family. 
1. Dress in layers. You never know what the weather will be like once you are on the island. It could be sunny and warm in Mackinaw City or St. Ignace and by the time you get to the island it is chilly and cloudy. It's not fun with kids not having enough warm clothes with you! 
2. If you plan to ride bikes throughout the island and most of your time while on Mackinac, I recommend bringing your own bikes. If you want to ride a bike only for a few hours I recommend renting them. All the bike rentals on the island are great! 
3. Do we eat out or pack a picnic? This is totally up to you and your family. Personally, I would grab to-go items at Doud's Market and eat in Marquette Park or ride bikes and pick a picnic table along the way. If you are not wanting the restaurant atmosphere The Doghouse is also a good option for families across from The Windermere Hotel. There is a large grassy area with picnic tables right on the water. The kids love throwing rocks in the water or flying kites. If you do want to eat in a restaurant Pink Pony is the iconic restaurant on the water side and Mary's Bistro is great with a family as it is spacious, options to eat outside or inside and great food! 
4. When visiting, make sure you get off of Main Street and see what beautiful Mackinac Island has to offer. There is so much more than just Main Street! 
5. If you want the full Mackinac experience staying overnight is highly recommended. Once the last ferry leaves it is peaceful and quiet along Main Street. When you visit just for the day it is difficult to fit it all in. Staying overnight allows you to relax more and fit it all in. If staying overnight just isn't an option, I do recommend staying til the last ferry leaves and there are many campsite options on the mainland close by as well. 
I hope these 5 tips help plan your next visit to Mackinac Island! Stop in and say hello! 
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They always say, the older you get the faster the years go by, and it seems to be true!

Especially after a very busy summer on mackinac Island a few of the months are a little blurry!
Our family is growing and trying new things. New first teeth have come out, new sports, new friends, and new places to visit. One of best parts of being a parent  is introducing our children to new things.
I went a little lengthy in recapping the year, feel free to read below and enjoy learning about our 2021. I am so happy you are here and wish you a very merry holiday!
We started the 2021 off with a clean slate, ready to take on the new year! I attended my annual buying show in Atlanta, finding all the fun goodies to bring into the shop. Going to buying shows is one of my favorite parts of the business! It's exciting seeing the new trends and inspiration. The boys skied often and I did some cross country skiing as down hill skiing is not my thing. Haha! Andrew went on his annual guys trip to Florida. January also starts the hiring process and ordering for the new season. 
February is my favorite winter month living in northern Michigan. We hope for an ice bridge from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island where we can get to and from the island by snowmobiles. Andrew and his team haul the groceries over on the ice bridge when this happens and island residents are thrilled for the freedom. There was an ice bridge, however, it did not last very long. Our family was able to make the memorable trip across mid-February. It is such an exciting event for the boys and me! We really hunker down into organizing our businesses for the new season and work more on hiring, buying and new ideas. Besides working, we had a few winter campfires, evening ice skating, and cozy nights inside drinking hot cocoa and watching movies. 
We started the new month of with a trip to St. Augustine, FL! It was our first time visiting the oldest city in the country. We loved it! We highly recommend the area. The boys and Andrew and I had an amazing getaway together. Then we got back into our work for preparation for the season. The boys did swimming lessons and soccer and we made a trip back to my hometown to see family before our busy season begins again. We spent spring break and the Easter holiday on Mackinac Island. The store got a little facelift with fresh paint on the shelving and adding new displays.
April is not my favorite month I have to admit! Early April is always my start time to get the stores back into shape and restocked. I had very little staff to help in April and early May. Andrew's season starts earlier than mine as employees and seasonal residents make their way back to Mackinac the grocery store gets busier. In April, the ferry boat to the island is still only running from St. Ignace and takes 40 minutes to get across so our work days were very short. Andrew and I had to both spend time staying the night on the island just so we could get more work done with the limited boat schedule. Louie started playing little league baseball for the first time which made our schedules extra busy, but it was a ton of fun watching him! 
My three shops reopened again for the 2021 season! We managed to run the three shops with very little staff the first three weeks of being open. Looking back I don't know how we did it, but we did! A fresh group of young ladies arrived to Mackinac Island to work in my shops so the training began! We celebrated Tommy's 6th birthday the end of May with an island hay ride and cook out with family and friends. 
The boys finished school in Petoskey and we were SO excited and ready to all be on Mackinac again full time! Lilac Festival is the second week in June, one of my favorite times of the year! Unfortunately, not all of the annual lilac festival events took place this year, but just seeing and smelling the beautiful lilacs was enough for me! We made sure we took daily walks where the lilacs were most abundant and tried our best to share with our customers and friends from afar how beautiful this time of year is on Mackinac Island. Tommy lost his first tooth and the boys attended swimming lessons, art classes at Watercolor Cafe, visits to the library, time on our boat (they love to sleepover on the boat!), and sports at Turtle Park. The busy season seemed to arrive earlier this summer; the rest of June seems like a blur!
The 4th of July is ALWAYS a blast on Mackinac! We celebrate by hanging out at Windermere Point watching the stone skipping contest, hot dogs at The Dog House and watching dad grill burgers and hot dogs for The Dog House! We have a family cookout and end the day watching the mini parade downtown and then closing the night out watching fireworks. My staff was well trained by now and I loved the team I hired this season. It made the days fun knowing my staff was having a great experience on Mackinac Island. We escaped as a family to Paradise, MI in the upper peninsula with my family for a long weekend. It was SO nice for some peace and quiet along the shores of Lake Superior. The rest of the month was just busy, busy, busy on the island!
The summer countdown begins now! We know school is starting again in just four weeks so we start to really tackle our summer bucket list. The boys spent a lot of time at Grand Hotel pool (the new renovation of the pool was incredible!), we went on more bike rides and picnics, boat rides, and the boys went to Round Island camping with Andrew and some friends for one night. It was the ultimate all boys camping event! LOL I am still hearing stories! 
My summer staff starts to head back to college and now the yearly pattern begins: we are short staffed again and just work our way through it til Labor Day when the island starts to slow down.
We survived the busiest summer I have ever experienced on Mackinac Island! Woohoo! Our routine changes now with the kids back in school and we move back to Petoskey and start commuting to the island during the week and the whole family is on Mackinac for the weekend. It remained busy in the fall, just a different kind of busy. With less team members it was a different vibe and we focused on bringing fall items in and cozier products. The island is gorgeous in the fall. September is one of my favorites months on Mackinac. 
With only one month to go before the island starts to close back up for winter the weekends are BUSY! Stores are putting summer products on sale and we have our annual Witch's Brew event in mid-October. Jenna Kator brought 50 women to the island for a women's retreat and we hosted all 50 women at Little Luxuries to sip and shop! It was a blast! October 25th was our last day open for the season. Then it was time for inventory, cleaning, closing up and preparing for the online holiday season. We said good bye to our amazing staff and they all went different directions: back home, back to school, or to relax in Florida. 
After experiencing one of the busiest summers and watching our boys grow so fast I made the BIG decision to close two of my stores, The Artists Market and Canvas and Paddle. I made this decision public in early November. As much as I would love to continue growing with three stores, I know I just can't do it anymore. I know I need to backtrack and focus on Little Luxuries, our family, and enjoying life a little more! Saying good bye to 'my babies' was not easy, but I am eager to have new fresh ideas for 2022 at Little Luxuries! I turned 36 in early November and my team surprised me with a little breakfast party inside the shop! Then I escaped to Traverse City, MI with my good friend Jenna Kator for a girls weekend away searching for inspiration for our businesses and just some 'me' time. Johnny, our youngest, turned 3 years old in mid November which took us to an indoor water park with some close friends! We then celebrated the end of a crazy season in Florida for Thanksgiving. We took the boys to Lego Land and then we ended up on Anna Maria Island the rest of the week soaking up the sun and beach. Aside from all the fun we had in November, the online shop for Little Luxuries became busy for the holiday season. We shipped out several orders and worked hard at marketing our little store. 
We made it to the last month of 2021! We spent the first weekend on Mackinac singing Christmas carols as the Christmas tree was lit downtown. Douds Market and Little Luxuries were busy shipping orders and preparing for the holidays. I opened the store once a week in December and will be open all next week for those visiting. I love the holiday preparation making our home magical for the boys and taking them to do memorable things, but those simple things. We celebrated Christmas with my family last weekend and will now enjoy the rest of 2021 on the island. 
As I reflect back on 2021, I am so grateful for our family, staff, and support system of friends. As we live in a different world these days, we have to find joy in the little things. Those are the things that really count and we will remember forever. I am excited to start another clean slate for the new year approaching. Thank you for supporting my little shops and our family over the years. We couldn't do what we love to do without YOU! I hope your holiday is extra cozy and special with your loved ones whether they are near or far from you this holiday. Remember to choose JOY. 
Love + prayers, 
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Another season is wrapping up! I cannot believe that we have just two weekends left until we close our doors for the 2021 season. 
 I had an incredible staff this summer. I was able to have two interns from CMU, plus my manager is a recent graduate from CMU. These girls all came from their Fashion + Merchandising program - they were so talented, sharing fresh and inspiring ideas. If you came to the island this summer, you would have noticed their beautiful window displays! 
My other employees were also all very talented and all had amazing, go-getter attitudes! I was so appreciative of how hard they all worked - and how they all worked so well together.  Living together and working together can get challenging, but these girls became the best of friends, always showing up to work with a smile and a fresh perspective! 
We recently had the Jenna Kator Retreat on the island - three of my employees who attend college came up just to work the weekend. It was fun to have them back in the shop and to all be together again!
Having summer employees is always hard, because you only have them for such a short amount of time before they have to leave to head back to college again. I’m always sad to see them go, but I always enjoying seeing the growth in them over the summer.
With the season quickly closing, I just wanted to reflect on the amazing season with our 2021 employees. I’m thankful for them and their hard work this year!
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If you want to be involved in the hustle of Mackinac during your trip to Mackinac, then staying on Main Street is a must!
Above Mackinac Condos is excited to be your host during your stay on Mackinac Island! Above Mackinac Condos offers three luxury condos above Good Day Cafe and Doud’s Market that are available to rent May - October.
The condos are gorgeous and have every comfort desired! There are (2) two bedroom condos and (1) four bedroom condo. The four bedroom condo occupies the entire third floor - it has has a beautiful picturesque balcony that overlooks beautiful Main Street!
Above Mackinac Condos prides itself on being affordable for those coming to stay on Mackinac Island!
Looking for a place for a group of friends or a large family to stay while on Mackinac? Consider staying at Above Mackinac Condos! The location couldn't be better. 
With a few weeks still available this fall, Above Mackinac Condos would love to be your lodging destination for your upcoming trip to Mackinac.
To book your extended stay, email abovemackinaccondos@gmail.com with your desired dates! (Condos are rented for extended stay only).
When you book at Above Mackinac Condos, mention that you saw this blog post on Little Luxuries’ blog! We hope will enjoy your stay in the Above Mackinac Condos and you will continue to make it your lodging destination for Mackinac Island for ages to come! 
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Happy August everyone! I’d like to introduce you to my amazing staff at Little Luxuries, Canvas and Paddle, and The Artists Market this season.
We’re so excited to have Allison back for her second season at Little Luxuries. Allison is from Bay City, MI. She came here last year for her internship in Fashion and Merchandising, but enjoyed the experience so much that she decided to return for a second season. Her favorite product from Little Luxuries are the Swan Creek Collection of candles. These are the perfect addition to brighten up and fragrance any home. This summer, Allison’s favorite thing to do on the island has been enjoying the sunset at Sunset Rock, and a goal of Allison’s has been to visit every restaurant on the island (that’s quite a task).
Emily is from Alma, MI and is here for her third season at The Artists Market. Emily has her own collection of earrings (Placed By Grace Designs) at The Artists Market that we love. Her favorite products at the stores are the Mary Lou Peters pieces at The Artists Market. While on the island, Emily loves to stargaze at Fort Holmes and explore the inner trails. This summer Emily hopes to take a sunrise kayak tour.
Meet Bella, who is here for her very first season on the island. Bella is from Grand Rapids, MI. Bella has visited the island in the past and knew that it would be a great way to spend the summer! Bella’s favorite products are the Michigan Awesome, Women’s Flowy Hoodies and the Ned’s Pretzels at Little Luxuries. Bella loves grabbing ice cream with friends after work and a goal of hers this summer has been to try fudge from every fudge shop.

Mallory is from Essexville, MI and is also here for her first season. She has visited the island several times before and wanted to experience life and retail here. Mallory’s favorite products are the Mackinac Bath and Body collection and the Cat Studio Pillows at Little Luxuries. This summer, Mallory’s goal has been to visit the Copula Lounge at the Grand hotel. Her favorite thing to do on the island is trying new restaurants and finding new trails to ride on and explore.


Isabella is from Macomb, MI and is here for her first season to complete her internship. Her favorite products in the stores are the Nat + Noor barrettes and earrings at Little Luxuries. This summer, Isabella has enjoyed exploring the island and finding new things to see. Isabella’s goal for the summer has been to ride a horse.

Meet Alissa! Alissa is from Commerce, MI. She has visited the island several times and was interested in experiencing life and work on Mackinac as well as all of the wonderful opportunities and experiences that come with it. Alissa’s favorite products are Ava’s Candles (especially the Island Vacation scent) and the Katie Elberts prints at The Artists Market. Alissa’s goal this summer is to go dancing at the Grand Hotel and she loves spending time at the beach near British Landing.

If you have been visiting us here for recent seasons, you might recognize Gaby. Gaby is from Ashland, Ohio and is here for her third season. She fell in love with Mackinac and loves working with us here at Little Luxuries. Her favorite product is the Vintage Silverware Treasures rings at The Artists Market and she is slowly working on filling her fingers with them. A summer goal of Gabys has been to make new friends. Her favorite thing to do on the island is take walks and enjoy the beautiful sights that Mackinac has to offer.


Meet Natalie! Natalie is from Zeeland, MI and has come here to complete her internship in a unique place full of fun summer opportunities. Her favorite products are the Jenna Kator bags at Little Luxuries and the Cellar Door candles and soaps at The Artists Market. A summer goal of hers has been to see a sunset at Sunset Rock and she loves spending time anywhere by the water.


Meredith is from Walnut Creek, California. She came to Mackinac to explore Michigan and meet people from all over the world. Her favorite product at the stores are the Mackinac Mittens at The Artists Market, which are made by 3 teachers on the island. Her favorite thing to do on the island has been swimming along the East Bluff. This summer, Meredith hopes to be able to kayak to Round Island.


Meet Kati! Kati is from Alma, MI and is here for her first season. Kati loves exploring and knew that coming to the island would be the perfect place to do so. She has been enjoying the season and hopes to return for another. Her favorite products at the stores are the Faded Flannels at Canvas and Paddle and the Ned’s Honey Mustard Pretzels at Little Luxuries. Her favorite things to do on the island are watching the sunset and stargazing at Fort Holmes. This summer Kati wants to develop her knowledge in retail to help her open her own store one day!


Remi is from Linden, MI. She came to the island to experience something new and exciting before starting her Masters degree. Her favorite products are the State of Copper pieces at Canvas and Paddle. Each piece from State of Copper is one of a kind! This summer her favorite thing to do on island has been exploring the trails and a goal of Remi’s has been to try all the Main Street restaurants.

Come stop on in to meet these lovely ladies, we are open from 9:30am to 9pm everyday. We can’t wait to see you!

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