During the fall colors in October, R and I drove up to Traverse City, Michigan. Now, a few months later we headed back to Michigan for a weekend getaway at a friend’s lake house. The trees and flowers were beginning to beautifully bloom, so we made sure to pack extra allergy medicine. This trip we didn’t drive as far north but instead stayed the night near South Haven, only a two and half hour drive from Chicago.
With a bit of late start we made it in time for lunch in the quiet South Haven downtown. We heard the tomato bisque was delicious at Taste so we gave it a try. The recommendation was right, it was savory and delicious. I have been wanting to try chicken and waffles which was on the menu and ordered a plate of mixed meats along with it while R ordered the Cuban sandwich. The chicken wings and waffles were an interesting combination, I have to admit the syrup was a bit on the sweet side for me but I’m glad I tried it. One of the sausages on my plate reminded me of the ones I love eating in Czech and it was served with the proper German mustard I like. Although the food was good the service was unbelievably slow but that gave us a chance to look at the map and see what there was to do around the area.
Walking along the main street in downtown South Haven there is a sweet aroma coming from the Golden Brown Bakery Café. We couldn’t leave without looking inside to see what they had. Each of us bought a pastry to enjoy later. I picked out the chocolate French pastry, an excellent choice, I may add.
One of the lighthouses along the west coast of Michigan is in South Haven. After lunch we wandered over to the beach area and walked to end of the pier. Lake Michigan water is much cleaner and clearer on the Michigan side than what we have in Chicago. But the cool wind breeze is the same. I took a few photographs of the lighthouse and headed back to our car.
Just a few miles away from South Haven was the lake house. Tucked away down a small private road. For the privacy of our friends I have chosen not to share it but just imagine a quaint lake house cabin with a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan. The sun was out for the first time in a while so I sat out on the porch overlooking the water and indulging in my chocolate French pastry. Each bit was rich in chocolate and I could only have a few bits so I didn’t spoil my appetite for dinner. Before heading out for dinner we took a stroll to the water. It always amazes me just how big Lake Michigan is and that there are waves. Yes, Lake Michigan has waves and when it becomes extremely windy the waves are huge along Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.
Because lunch was in South Haven we wanted to try a food spot somewhere else. Just a few miles north of us was the artsy town of Saugatuck. On almost every corner there is a gallery or store, each one with a beautiful collection of art. We pulled up to Hercules restaurant and found a parking spot right out front. It was a Saturday so we were worried there would be a long wait but thankfully there wasn’t. The owner of the restaurant (name) showed us to our seats and explained we are visiting during the perfect time, the crowds come just after mother’s day and then it’s busy all summer. Our waiter Richard, was entertaining and kept us laughing throughout the meal. Our three course meal that is. I ordered the Lemon Artichoke Chicken and R had the Potato Encrusted Walleye. With the main dish you get a choice of a side, I had the Quinoa Tabbouleh salad which was light and tasty. The main courses were even better. My chicken had a citrusy summer taste that was flavorsome and paired perfectly with the wine Richard had suggested. R finished his fish before I even made it halfway through my food, he said it was that good. I was full after so much food but R noticed that the table next to us had ordered the Strawberry dessert and it looked too delectable not to order. I wish I had taken a photo but we were so caught up in all of the food I forgot to take out my camera. That is a sign of a great meal, when you forget everything else and only focus on the food.
The owner stopped by our table and I complimented him on the décor. He was thrilled to hear we liked the place and chatted with us for a bit. With full bellies we walked out to the see what there is around Saugatuck. There were a few stores open but the sun was beginning to set and we had wanted to catch the sunset over the lake. Living in Chicago we only see the sunrise, which I sometimes see on my way to work and we can never see it set on Lake Michigan. Racing back to the beach we were at earlier, we caught the last of the sunset.
Sunday was a lazy start to the morning and me finishing the rest of my chocolate pastry. Before heading out we searched for a breakfast place but most were opening around 11 and we needed to head back home. Because of our luck with the food at Hercules the night before, we headed back up to Saugatuck. Just a few blocks away from where we had dinner is Uncommon Coffee Roasters. If you love coffee as much as I do than you would love this place. They serve their coffee on tap and have created a nitro brew that always sells out. Unfortunately it was sold out by the time we got there but I did get to have one of their brews on tap. My favorite beer is Guinness and the coffee I ordered had the similar taste which was the perfect way to start the morning. My sweet blueberry muffin was a great addition to my (second) morning meal. The sun began to peek out so we sat outside enjoying the last of the Michigan air.
By the time we packed up and were back on the road we started to think about our next meal: lunch. It’s a short drive back and we gain an hour since we change time zones but we wanted to eat once more in Michigan. The way R and I usually find a place to eat is either using google maps or he likes to use Zomato. Rarely do we know of places ahead of time unless recommended or I’ve read about it on another blog. On the way back we stopped in St. Joseph at Silver Harbor Brewing Company. Both of us were craving a good beer to end the trip with.
Gouda is one of my top five favorite cheeses (brie is hands down the best) so I ordered the smoked gouda grilled cheese and R had the kimchi burger. Waiting for our food we talked about what a perfect weekend it ended up being. We had no idea what to expect of the lake house or the neighboring towns. Michigan has dozens of charming towns along the lake and there are still so many more to see. This trip I got to check off three =o)
x the Adventurer
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