Monday, June 23, 2008

Revisiting Ludington, Michigan

We're trying to do a more relaxed cruise this year, with shorter trips that slowly move us farther north. Our next stop after Pentwater was Ludington, Michigan. We had visited Ludington last year and really liked the Ludington Municipal Marina and wanted to stop there again. It is a good value for the location, amenities, and daily USS Badger photo opportunities.

Over the winter, someone had found our blog entry on Ludington via a Google search and commented that there was a revitalization effort for the downtown area being undertaken. (We had mentioned in our blog that the downtown area was losing stores.) After this year's visit, we would agree that there has been some positive changes downtown. More of the storefronts are occupied again. We only noticed one empty shop: the former chocolate shop is still vacant. Luckily for us, House of Flavors is still there, though, and seemingly going strong.

We are happy to report that Ludington has dried out after its recent (June 13) torrential rain fall. It had received 12 inches of rain in two hours! It got some additional rain the following weekend and the flooding was so bad that the Ludington State Park and the main highway were closed. Some beaches and boat ramps were also closed due to a sewer spillage into the Pere Marquette River. There were a lot of flooded basements, too. By the time we got there (June 19), the roads and state park had re-opened, businesses and the marina were up and running (they had never closed) and most of the clean-up had taken place.

Since we got into the marina early, we took a bicycle ride over to the Ludington State Park. We've mentioned this before, but it is worth mentioning again that the Ludington State Park is one of our favorites. The road that leads to the entrance is a long stretch that winds through large dunes on both sides of the road. The park itself is beautiful and has a history trail that provides information about the area's lumber history.

The recent rainfall had created a number of small "Lake Ludingtons" between the dunes.

Hamlin Dam is in the park and, on our last visit, was ringed with salmon fisherman. On this visit, though, there were no fishermen because the side walkways were closed. All the rain had caused Hamlin Lake to rise by over two feet and the dam was in full pumping mode to lower the level. One of the DNR guys mentioned that he had seen the lake level reach 9.4 feet. As you can see from the picture, it was down to under 8, but its normal level looks to be about 7.4 feet. And it was still pushing a lot of water through. Wow!

September, 2007
June, 2008

We left Ludington on June 20, heading for Frankfort (a longer trip), but thinking about stopovers in Manistee or Portage Lake if the waves and wind were not cooperative.

Last Year's Ludington Posts: Ludington, Michigan

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