Wednesday, June 1, 2011

South Haven & Saugatuck

 For Day 2 of our Michigan trip, I planned for us to explore the small beach towns along Lake Michigan.  First up was South Haven.  It was only a short drive from the KOA we were staying at, but boy was it worlds apart.  Our KOA was situated in poorer, rural community called Covert.  But just ten minutes away was South Haven...a pristine little world that seemed to be trapped in a bubble.  Beaches, a lighthouse, a harbor filled with boats, large houses sitting on the water's edge and finely manicured/landscaped lawns.  Sadly, South Haven's main beach was the first of many beaches that day with large signs demanding that dogs not set foot on the beach.  However, we were allowed to take Cheese for a walk along the harbor and out to the lighthouse.
 South Haven

South Haven lighthouse

 The harbor

 Another view of the lighthouse (I wasn't too wowed, but at least we got to go for a little walk with Cheese)

I have no clue what these are supposed to be...

 Cheese, post-walk out the lighthouse.  It doesn't take much to tire out a basset!

 "Dude!  I'm chewing on a stick here.  That's just rude!"

After our little trek out to the lighthouse we decided to take a little break, mainly because Cheese refused to walk anymore, by the harbor.  The landscaping around the harbor was insane.  Everything was so green and perfect.  We rested for a bit there as walkers and joggers passed us and made their way towards the lighthouse and the beach.  Finally, after the Cheese-man decided he would move again, we made our way into the town center.  It was cute and had a small-town feel to it, yet it was filled with adorable little shops.  Unfortunately, when you have a dog in tow there's really no chance to shop or browse such little stores.  Well, unless it's a pet store.  In the middle of town we found a little boutique pet store.  Normally we aren't the type of people who frequent that sort of pet's just too frou-frou for our taste.  But it was the only store that allowed dogs, so we couldn't pass it up!  The lady behind the counter was very nice and even gave Cheese a cheese-flavored treat.  We perused the store, jaws dropping at the price tags on various dog toys ($20-$30...eek!).  We decided that since it had been Cheese's first birthday the week before we had to get him something...

So, naturally, we got him a ridiculous dog treat in the shape of a big purple donut!  

 On the edge of town we noticed a little open-air farmer's market filled with fresh produce, baked goods (I might have drooled a little bit), soaps, and candles.

After a couple failed attempts trying to find a dog friendly beach in South Haven (read: 3 attempts), I was thoroughly frustrated and ready to make our way up the shoreline to Saugatuck.  When I was looking for places to visit in Michigan I had enough sense to research dog friendly restaurants.  And in my searching I stumbled across Hercules Bar & Grill in the little town of Saugatuck.  I wasn't sure what to expect since Urbanspoon called it "Hercules Hot Dogs" and said it had an outdoor patio that allowed dogs...and that was it.  Antoine and I were totally expecting a little hot dog stand with picnic tables.  Instead we were pleasantly surprised to find a lovely little outdoor patio tucked away like some sort of secret garden.  It had a relaxed and cool vibe about it, but on the inside the decor was sleek and modern.  The restaurant was not only dog friendly, but openly gay friendly, which was very nice to see.  They had both a full menu of entrees and a back menu with Greek inspired casual options.  Since we were in the patio and on a budget we went for the more casual/budget friendly menu.  I got an Italian beef sandwich and Antoine got a steak sandwich...both were very good!  Cheese was given a small bowl of water with ice cubes to cool him down, a nice little touch provided for K-9 customers.  All in all we were blown away; not only because Cheese actually behaved himself while we ate lunch (even with a little girl sitting just 5 feet away from him at the next table...he LOVES kids), but also by the good food and the welcoming attitude that Hercules offered. 

 The patio at Hercules.

After lunch we took a little walk around Saugatuck.  Like South Haven it was pristine in its appearance.  Beautiful little shops, a nice harbor full of boats and tree lined streets downtown, but we preferred Saugatuck over South Haven.  It wasn't just the fact we were able to have lunch with Cheese, but the town and the people in it were just more open and welcoming.  People stopped to say "hi" to Cheese, one guy even gave him a dog biscuit, and people seemed cheerier.  It seemed like a great place to get a room at a local bnb or rent a house and spend the weekend visiting/exploring.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Love the purple donut!! Did you know that Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state? That's a random fact I learned while visiting a lighthouse in Oregon. :)