April, May & June In Saugatuck
“Spring is when you feel like whistling.”
~ Doug Larsen
Spring Splurge In Saugatuck, Michigan
Here comes the spring sun with warm sweet strawberries atop shortcake greeting Wickwood’s guests at breakfast after their first beach walk of the season. It’s a time when you want to skip down cobblestones, see a Judy Collins Concert at the SCA, go antiquing at Saugatuck Antique Pavilion, Amsterdam, Olde House, Allegan Antique Market, or Bird Cage, or sprint through the Town Crier Race. Shops and galleries are sprucing up outside, planting flowers and stocking to the gills inside. Enjoy strolling along the Art Coast of Michigan. The Red Barn cabaret prepare us for a leisurely couples massage before dinner at Bowdies, The Southerner, Everyday People Cafe, Phil’s, Salt of the Earth or Butch’s. The season’s first Farmers’ Market lets us stock up on herb and vegetable plants for a head start to the growing season. Head for those days outdoors morning bicycling followed by a picnic at Oval Beach and then eighteen holes of golf at Clearbrook, Ravines, or Hawkshead. The next day a long sail with a warm breeze makes the world glorious.
Immerse yourself in our galleries, shops and spa treatments … feel reconnected and rejuvenated.
We’ve created a getaway guide with some local favorites, suggested stops and insider secrets to help you love life like a local. Use our tips as you will, but let your imagination be your guide!
Live Like A Local & Love Our Villages… Spring Is In The Air!
“In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather within 24 hours.”
~ Mark Twain
From this quotation, one might assume Mark Twain was a Michigan native. Certainly, our Spring weather is unpredictable. But, there’s one thing about Spring we do know… Spring in Saugatuck is the season when all things feel possible. Crocus, daffodils and tulips burst from the ground. Farmers’ Markets begin bustle. Country roads beckon you outside for a bike ride. Our award winning, sandy beaches are wide open and ready to stroll. Area artists explode back on to the scene. Our golf courses are expertly groomed. Musicians return to the parks and the streets. Our energetic villages are ready to march in a parade and host a giant party. Wickwood Inn warmly welcomes you to the vibrancy of Spring in Saugatuck.
1. Sip Your First Taste of Spring | Local Branch to Bottle Ciders
Before arriving in Saugatuck, take a turn into Virtue Cider. Here, you’ll taste the latest creations from Greg Hall (formerly of Goose Island Brewing). Using fresh, ripe heirloom apples and careful fermentation, these ciders rival the finest wines and craft brews. Taste your way through the daily offerings and pick a pint of your favorite. Check the cooler before you go and pick a bottle to take along. Afterward, take the short, scenic drive to Cranes and compare the taste of their latest ciders crafted fresh from their own orchards!
2. Find Out What’s In Bloom | Lunch Al Fresco
Ah, you’re already in vacation mode! Head to Saugatuck and further unwind over an al fresco lunch at Wally’s, Phil’s, or Hercules Bar & Grill. At Hercules ask for a garden table. This spot is just one of the many hidden gems in town! Try the Hercules Salad with some Rice Stuffed Grape Leaves or Quinoa Tabbouleh. Maybe you’re more in the mood for a Gyro, Chicken Souvlaki or Italian beef. No matter what you choose, the wine and beer list is sure to have just the right drink.
3. Stretch Your Legs & Shop | Pottery & Art From Near & Far
There’s still a little time before check in, so why not explore a few of the galleries nearby? Amazwi Contemporary Art gives voice to a diverse array of emerging and established African artists. The Saugatuck Artists Collective features fine arts and crafts of more than 30 area artisans. Volmod, the pottery and glass gallery of artist Jeff Blandford, is a favorite with the locals.
4. A Warm Welcome To Wickwood | Life IS Different Here
Ease in to our free, off street parking lot. As soon as you enter Wickwood, let the enchantment begin! As your eyes dance around, you discover fine art, antiques, sculpture, board games, books, and fresh bouquets. To make sure all your senses are entranced, the smell of dark chocolate brownie bites emerges from the oven. Of course, you can’t resist a taste. Experience all that Silver Palate Cookbook author Julee Rosso has created. At last, you’ve made it to Wickwood. Relax. Nibble. Have a cup of single origin coffee, fresh juice or organic tea. Cozy up in a wingback chair or stroll out to the gazebo. Life here is simply beautiful.
5. Stroll The Docks & The Streets | Downtown Saugatuck Awaits
Step outside the front door of Wickwood and begin your exploration of downtown Saugatuck. You won’t find the typical chain stores or restaurants here. Visit Cindy’s and International Home for fresh ideas in home decor. Perfect for adding a touch of fun to any home or cottage. Discover why Saugatuck | Douglas is known as the Art Coast. Good Goods, James Brandess, Bruce Baughman, and Armstong DeGraff are galleries that will entrance and intrigue. For your fashion fix, explore Renuar, Chantal and Chantal for Men. Shop and taste your way through American Spoon, Black Star Farms, Spice Merchants, Olive Mill, and Tabor Hill. Get inspired by the impressive collection of kitchen gadgets and accessories at The Butler Pantry. Enjoy the expertise of Mike, a Level III Sommelier, at Wine Sellers. Buy a bottle or two for your room or a picnic. Meander along the boardwalk and take in the beauty of the waterfront.
6. The Happiest Hour | Sips & Small Plates At Wickwood
There’s nothing like gathering together around good food to create cheer. Start off with a complimentary taste of wine, or open up one of the bottles you just bought. Try the Minty Spring Pea Soup and Asparagus wrapped with Prosciutto to taste the green of the season. Enjoy the impressive array of options on the Artisanal Cheese Board: cheeses, olives, chutneys, jams and meats. If you’re leary of Brussel Sprouts, you may still want to try ours . . . the Roasted and Maple Glazed Brussel Sprouts have converted many! Of course, you can always opt for the Jambon with Parsley and Gruyere atop Crostini for a classic combination.
7. Great Food & Friendly Atmospheres
Enjoy the rural scenery on the quick drive to Salt of the Earth in downtown Fennville. Salt proudly partners with area farmers, turning the best raw ingredients into tasty appetizers, small plates and entrees. Enjoy a cocktail or a glass of Michigan beer, wine or cider at the vintage bar. Be sure and order the Farmer’s Green salad. Pay special attention to all offerings on the Fresh Board. This list features Chef Pietsch’s current culinary inspirations. If you’re lucky, some of the area’s most talented musicians may be in the house! Don’t feel like driving to dinner? No problem! Simply stroll through downtown to either of 2 new options: Grow or Pumpernickel’s with their new chef and focus on evening dining!
8. Return to Wickwood | When It’s Time To Leave, You’ll Hate To Go
By now, your “To Do” lists at home have long been forgotten. Layers of stress from daily life have melted away. Now, it’s time to sink completely in to your vacation. Let the wonders of Wickwood sweep you away. Grab a book. Open a bottle of wine. Get out a deck of cards. Enjoy a late night sweet. This time is yours. Relax. Let your mind wander. Savor every moment.
9. Stroll Along Our Award Winning Oval Beach | Beachcombing At Its Best
It’s not often that you can have an undeveloped coastline and an award winning sandy beach all to yourself. Odds are, the splendor of Lake Michigan will be yours alone. Perfect for finding the best piece of beach glass, or a handful of Lucky Stones, to take home as treasured keepsakes. Stay along the water or venture onto the marked trail in the dunes. Keep your eyes open for bald eagles and other wildlife.
10. You’ve Worked Up and Appetite | Gourmet Brunch Awaits
What a treat. This is not your typical complimentary breakfast. This is pure pampering. The bowl of Papaya, Mango, Pineapple, and Cantaloupe with Passion Fruit Sauce looks gorgeous with its sprinkling of Pomegranate Seeds. The Asparagus Frittata with Roasted Tomatoes and Parmesan Shards is the perfect combination for Spring. The warm Cinnamon Sugar Popover is so fluffy with just the right amount of sweet. The Rhubarb Cake with Streusel reminds you of something special your Grandma used to make. All this and more with a glass of champagne? Delightful!
11. The Freshest & The Best | Holland Farmers’ Market
It’s a wondrous time of year when the Farm Markets return, and Holland’s is one of the best! Yes, you’ll find the freshest fruits and vegetables, but as your make your way through the market, you’ll find farm eggs, fresh bouquets, herbs, plants, baked goods, honey, meats, cheeses, and more! Local families, tourists, and chefs all mix and mingle with the real rockstars in our community . . . our farmers. We dare you to try and head for home empty handed. The goods here are deliciously tempting!
12. Downtown Holland |Lunch | Sweets | Coffee
Head down 8th Street to Butch’s Dry Dock for lunch. The brick sidewalks and eye-catching sculptures make this a pleasant walk. The unique shops are sure to draw you in. We like the options at Butch’s. From the very beginning you get to decide. Are you in the mood for white tablecloths in the front of the restaurant or Pub seating in the back? Either way, the menu provides the same nice selection of choices. Everything is made in house, and we guarantee Chef was at the Farm Market early this morning. Another thing we love about this place is its extensive beer and wine list. Butch knows his stuff, so you may want to stock up a bit from the retail section. Of course, Hops, The Curragh, Mizu Sushi, and New Holland Brewing are all within a block, so you have plenty of other choices. No matter where you lunch, be sure and save a little room for a sweet treat at The Peanut Store afterward. This 5th generation family run candy store has been pleasing kids of all ages for more than a century! Need a quick burst of caffeine? JPs or LemonJello’s both craft a fantastic cup of coffee.
13. Self Driving Tour Along the Blue Star | Hidden Gems Are Everywhere
There’s a good reason that when people from Chicago visit this area, they head up along the Blue Star Memorial Highway. It’s dotted with antiques, art galleries, farm stands, pottery studios, nurseries and more creative people than you can imagine. Spring is the perfect season to get lost amidst the magic, not amongst the crowds. Really, no matter if you head North or South, you’re in for a great ride. Perfect in a car or on 2 wheels, ask any of our Innkeepers for maps and recommendations. You can’t miss! But, be sure and see Dawn Stafford’s PeachBelt Studio, The Brazilian Shack, and Fernwood 1891.
14. Return to Wickwood’s Spa | Your Custom Massage Awaits!
It seems impossible that you could be any more relaxed. Trust us, your custom massage will take you to a whole new level. Whether you opt for Swedish, Deep Tissue, Hot Stone, or Side by Side, the expert clinicians at Wickwood’s Spa have just the right touch. Choose essential oils in order to enhance your experience through aromatherapy. Life doesn’t get much better than this.
15. Private Wine Tasting | Petter Wine Gallery
Keep your bliss going with a private wine tasting scheduled just for you by the Innkeepers at Wickwood Inn. Petter Wine Gallery exploded onto the scene in Fall of 2013, and the town has been buzzing about it ever since. Now, the attention is all yours with this exclusive tasting session. Peruse the fine art and then pick a cozy chair. Let the expert staff take care of your from there. Their knowledge and the impressive collection of boutique wines will captivate.
16. Sips & Small Plates | You Can’t Wait To Taste Tonight!
Asparagus Soup, of course! Next, some Roasted Curried Squash with Blue Cheese and Mango Chutney on top of Crostini. This has you hungry for more. The Spicy Sausage Pinwheels are perfect, and the Pomegranate Glazed Roasted Carrot Spears taste so good. It’s obvious that this staff cares about every detail. You can taste the difference in each bite.
17. Find Out What All The Buzz Is About | Dinner Has Never Tasted This Good!
It’s easy to keep the energy flowing at this Downtown Douglas eatery. A favorite for locals and tourists alike, Matt Balmer’s Everyday People Café wins both awards and rave reviews. This popular place does not accept reservations, but ask the Innkeeper to call ahead for you, and you won’t wait long. Cozy on in to a spot along either of the bars. Order a drink, and an appetizer if you like. The portions here are generous, and entrees do include a house made soup or salad, so you certainly will not walk away hungry. Try the Tapas Plate or the Drunken Shrimp Sambuca to start. Typically we love whatever fish or special entree Matt is offering, and the Wasabi Tuna remains a favorite. Or, maybe you’re ready to try the Grand Rapids Area Restaurant of the Year from 2015? One taste of the Dover Sole, Steak, Truffle Fries and Grilled Asparagus at Bowdies will tell you why it won. Be sure you have a reservation, because this place sells out quickly! You can also enjoy great river views and the creative take on Southern Classics being created by the James Beard twice nominated chef, Matt Millar at The Southerner.
18. Hop Around Town & Dance The Night Away | You Never Know Who May Be In Town!
There are plenty of options for live music and dancing around town. Try Saugatuck Brewing, Wicks Bar and Grille or Coral Gables for some music and a nightcap. Make sure and have your dancing shoes on! Be sure and find out what’s happening at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts. You never know who may be in town performing: Keb Mo, Joan Baez, Maureen McGovern, Paul Byrom, Cowboy Junkies . . . all have taken the stage. This small town really does sizzle.
19. What A Way To Start A Day | 9 Holes Of Golf At A Premier Course
Choose from one of the 3 premier golf courses close by: The Ravines, Clearbrook, or Hawkshead. Each offers pristine scenery and serenity. Allow us to schedule your tee time. We’d be happy to do so!
20. Now This, You’re Really Going to Miss | Savor the Flavors of Champagne Brunch
Today, you’re more in the mood for Asparagus Eggs in the Hole Topped with Parmesan and Drizzled with Truffle Oil. The Glazed Lemon Cake and Link Sausage are perfect alongside.
21. There’s Still More You Want To See | Strike Out & Explore The Beauty Of West Michigan
Sunday morning is the perfect time to bike along our country roads and see the trees in bloom. Or, hike the trails at our State Park and take in the vistas with their breathtaking views. It’s so easy here to escape into Nature. Just minutes from our door, and you’ll feel another world away. Whether you climb Mt. Baldhead, ascend to Crow’s Nest, do the South Trail Loop, or wind your way through the fields and orchards on the way to Glenn, we have what you’re looking for. Just ask. We’ll send you on your way in style.
22. You DO Hate To Leave, But It’s Time To Go | Begin Planning Your Next Wickwood Getaway!
Everything about this trip exceeded your expectation. Yes, you read the reviews of Wickwood where people seemed to be a bit effusive. But now, you understand the enthusiasm! The New York Times and Travel & Leisure have it right. This IS “the best place to stay in Saugatuck,” and certainly it must be “One of the World’s Most Romantic Inns.” Time to make your reservation for your next visit.
23. Pack Some Goodies To Go | Farmhouse Pantry Has What You’re Looking For
When local catering favorite, Christine Ferris, opened this adorable storefront in Fall, 2013, we couldn’t stop grinning . . . and visiting to see what treats she had today! We missed this option over the Winter and are thrilled to find her door wide open again for Spring, Summer and Fall. At Farm House, you’ll find everything you need for a snack on the road or dinner at home tonight. Everything is fresh, creative and fun.
24. Visit The Local Vineyard | Tour & Taste At Fenn Valley Vineyards & Wine Cellars
No matter how you spend your time at Fenn Valley, you’re sure to consider it a highlight of your trip. Take the tour . . . or register for a space at the New Release Wine & Food Pairing. Enjoy the idyllic landscape as you taste your way through the vineyard. The young shoots on the grape vines are such a great sign of Spring!
25. Two More Stops Before You Go | You WON’T Want To Miss This!
Seriously. We think there aren’t many things, on this earth, that are cuter than the baby goats at Evergreen Lane Farm and Creamery. Look for the purple Creamery Cottage and the road sign that simply says, “Cheese.” The cheeses, made by Kathy Halinski and the lovely La Mancha and Alpine ladies, are truly unique and wonderful. Taste your way through and load up your cooler. We find the original chèvre tastes great in almost everything! As much as we do crave the cheeses, honestly, we come repeatedly in the Spring for another opportunity to frolic with the baby goats. We can hardly resist bringing one home!
From here, it’s a very short jaunt to Kismet Farm & Bakery. Buy the Seedy Salt bread to find out why locals claim they are addicted. Delight in all else you find on the shelves and on the counter. Everything was made today. It’s made the way we wish all food was prepared. Delight in their collection of shortbread, brioche, rolls, coffee cakes, pasties, pizzas and more. This wood oven really does cook!