Monday, September 24, 2007

Ludington to White Lake to Saugatuck, Michigan

Taking advantage of weather windows when we get them has moved us all the way down to Saugatuck, Michigan. (The weather has been wonderful lately - the best traveling days we've had since August.) We left Ludington on Saturday, September 22 and headed to White Lake (White Hall, Michigan). The lake wasn't as calm as we had expected it to be -- deepening Phil's skepticism of any forecasts we get on line anymore. However, it was not like "The Frankfort Trip".

We arrived in White Lake late on Saturday and just stayed the night. So there is not much to report other than there is a lot of activity on White Lake itself during the late afternoon (sailboats and pontoon boats); the White Lake area is having some water level and algae issues, and Sunday morning is apparently a good time to fish given the number of boats out as we were leaving on a foggy morning. Phil likes this picture of the fog rolling in over White Lake.

We left early Sunday morning heading for Grand Haven or Muskegon or Saugatuck. On the way down, we had our closest encounter with a freighter. The Wolverine left Muskegon after we passed that port but it quickly caught up with us (despite Captain Phil's efforts to out-run it) as it headed for Holland.

Grand Haven got ruled out as all the slips were taken up with a boat show (on the way up, Saugatuck's Singapore Yacht Club was having a "boat-in" and took up the Grand Haven slips) -- we'll have to do Grand Haven next year! As we'd stopped in Muskegon on the way up, we aimed for Saugatuck. We had a sentimental reason for stopping in Saugatuck, too. That was really the first place that we started walking around marinas saying - Let's get a boat so we can read and relax on the aft deck with a vase of flowers on a table.

We haven't been to Saugatuck in a few years. While many things are the same, there are a few differences that we noticed. First, there are more wine shops than previously. Bernie only recalled a Tabor Hill tasting room previously. Now there is the Tabor Hill Tasting Room, a Fenn Valley Tasting Room, and a general Wine Merchants. Second, there are more "foodie" shops than previously. In addition to Butler Pantry, there is now an olive oil tasting shop (similar to Old Town Oils on Wells Street in Chicago) and a spice merchant shop (similar to The Spice House on Wells Street in Chicago). Third, there are more upscale clothing stores than previously -- including Versace. Lastly, it is much more hustle-bustle than we remember it and definitely more so than any port we've been in since ... can't remember. But the favorites are still there: The Butler Restaurant for dinner, Charlie's Round the Corner (for ice cream), and Pumpernickels for baked goods, Uncharted Courses for nautical knick-knacks, Tuck's for Christmas items. We actually got very lucky with our slip. Most Saugatuck slips are $2/foot (!!!) and most of the marinas were booked up even this late in the season. We were lucky to get a slip at Coral Gables for $45. We were just down the dock from a 60+ foot Chris Craft called Good Grief that we'd seen in Leland and Traverse City.

Saugatuck is a very artsy community with many galleries and established artists living in the region. This summer they had an "Art 'round the Town" event that featured art sculpture displays sponsored by different businesses and individuals. It was not without controversy. And we love a good local controversy. Apparently, there was some vote and the favorite sculpture was to be placed by the City Hall.

This was the favorite sculpture (Click it to see the detail of what the child is writing). The Saugatuck City Council was not amused. They refused to allow this sculpture to be placed beside City Hall (I guess they didn't appreciate the humor). While they could censor the placement of the sculpture, they couldn't censor the sculpture tour brochure which labeled this sculpture CENSORED and asterisked the reason on the brochure.

Our trip down the Kalamazoo River back to Lake Michigan on Monday afternoon was much different than our trip up on Sunday afternoon. Where did all the other boats go??

We're off to South Haven, now. But we did enjoy our mini-visit in Saugatuck. Bernie will probably try to talk Phil into coming back for the 2007 Goose Fest. That's if she hasn't talked him into going back to try to visit Grand Haven on this trip -- hey the weather really doesn't get bad until November. ;)

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