Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Week on Lake Michigan

We've just returned from a little summer trip up north in South Haven, Michigan...
It was our first visit to Michigan and I learned, or rather, confirmed something about myself.
I am more of an ocean girl.  Yes, the sand, waves, seagulls, and lighthouses were plentiful, but a summer vacation without the sea and salty air just wasn't the same for me. My boys, however, LOVED the warmer temps of Lake Michigan and were happy to play for hours in water that didn't sting their eyes or taste bad.  We actually spent more time on the beach with this trip than any in the past.

We rented a cozy (ie. tiny) little 2BR cottage full of white wicker, framed puzzles, creaky hardwood floors, stocked with plenty of board games, lincoln logs and beach toys.  
The entire yard, front and back, was enclosed with a pristine picket fence, 
blooming hydrangeas, and a retro-ish swing set.  

We quickly filled the home with sand trekked back from walks to the beach 
and made use of the grill and screened in gazebo for dinners with the boys 
in their jammies, all tuckered out from busy days.  
Our usual modus operandi is to eat out while away, 
but without the lure of fresh lobster, we opted to do most of our dining at the cottage. 
We kept it super simple and found it was definitely a nicer way to cap a long day of playing in the sun!   

Most of our week was spent at the beach.  
Feeding and chasing the "eagles" (C's word for seagulls), building sand castles, 
"boating" (in an inflatable boat) and swimming.

In between beach time we explored the surrounding lakeshore towns of 
Saugatuck, Douglas, and Holland.  
Each was charming in a midwestern sort of way.  

They were well equipped with the traditional tourist necessary fudge, ice cream, salt water taffy and T-shirt shops.  Honestly, what is it with beach towns and fudge shops??  
They also had quite a bit of beautiful art from local artists.  
Our favorite spot in South Haven was the Chocolate Cafe.

We chose the nicest day of the week to take a dune ride.  

It's a bit like a 45 minute roller coaster.  

I held on to Charlie and my camera for dear life.  
We rode to the top of the 2nd highest dune in the state and 
had an incredible view 35 miles out of Lake Michigan 
(which stretches 70 miles wide at it's longest width).  

Andrew and Jimmy spent an afternoon on a waverunner.  
Andrew drove (apparently like a wild man) tossing his poor Daddy off on more than one occasion.  Thankfully I was back at the house while C napped.  
I'm not sure my nerves could have handed all that action.
I honestly have a hard enough time when flocks of seagulls descend on us for bread.

And in the spirit of honesty, I feel like I have some blogging responsibility to say that every minute wasn't perfect, anyone with young children knows a week away from routines, combined with insufficient sleep, long car rides, small shared spaces, etc. is hardly a "vacation" for the parents, but we made LOTS of happy memories as a family and that is what it's all about.  
And it makes coming back home all the sweeter.

  {thanks so much for reading!} 


  1. kelly in georgiaJuly 30, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    Beautiful photos of your very photogenic family and the sweet place you went. It's funny you should say that a lake vacation makes you realize that you are a beach girl. We returned from a Florida beach vacation a few weeks ago, and I said that I wanted to try a lake vacation (in NC) for a change next year!

  2. thanks, kelly!!! I always appreciate your sweet comments!! i think most children prefer lake water, especially when they are younger. xo

  3. Tessa, what gorgeous photos and your vacation sounds like it was wonderful. Such fabulous memories for your sweet boys!

  4. Hello,

    Enjoyed your post today! Beautiful pictures! Looks like you had a wonderful time.
    Take care,

  5. Welcome back!
    Love the photos ~ summer happiness!
    Having grown up in MI it was a little trip down memory lane; thanks:)
    When you're ready for the ocean let us know and we’ll get a room ready for you. Our beach would love some visitors.

    PS plenty of lobster and wine on the patio after a long hard day of beaching it!

  6. Your pictures are amazing! I love the little naked butterbean that your Charlie is sporting! And those toes in the swing! It looks like it was truely a perfect trip. I sure am glad you are back! We just returned from Charleston. I fall more in love with that town every time I visit. It looks like I would fall in love with that little town in Michigan, too. Hugs!

  7. Welcome home! Little Charlie is growing up too fast! He doesn't even look the same to me :( Clarification - That does not mean that he's not beyond precious, more as a sadness that it's been so long since i've seen him! i always love to read your sweet anecdotes and see your beautiful photos. They seem to capture the moments so well. We'll get together THIS month! :) Mindy

  8. Love makes me think of my parents vacationing with 4 kids and wondering how hard it must have been :) Your family is so cute and I am sure that the memories of vacations will stay with them forever. I know mine have.

  9. What a wondeful trip. There is nothing better than a perfect summer day with your family at the me thats the picture perfect way to spend a summer day. Your family is beautiful..thanks for sharing!

  10. Looked like a lovely week - we just returned from the ocean, but our kids were most content in the pool at the house because of having a similar reaction to salt water, rocks, and waves.

  11. what beautiful pictures capturing your family time in MI.....

    your boys are gorgeous!

  12. I think I've only been to the lake once or twice but I'm with you, it's just not my thing.

    Your pictures are great! And that tan-lined tush is the cutest thing ever!!

  13. Looks like a great family vacation Your pics are the one of you and your boys and the one of the boys hugging- adorable! You can feel the love between them.

  14. So glad you all had such a fun time! My brother in law and his wife live in St Joseph Mi. They live about a 15 min car ride to Lake Michigan, it is so pretty there! Your pictures remind me of the beach they go to and their little town.


  15. It's interesting that you say that about Lake Michigan, that you're more of a beach girl, because I am, too. I've been wondering if we should take a trip to one of the Great Lakes, but I wondered if I'd be longing for the ocean instead. But, it looks like you had a wonderful time and I bet the weather was cooler than it is down South right now. Great pics!

  16. What great images from your trip Tessa. The first time saw Lake Michigan I couldn't believe it. It is just like an ocean, but you don't have to worry that your child is going to be eaten by a wave or worse a shark. Love those quaint little cottages along the water. That must have been a lot of fun for your family.

  17. I enjoyed this post very much. Makes me want to take a trip there!

  18. Oh, what a wonderful post--sweet, sweet. And you are stunning!

  19. Oh my goodness! That little bottom with a tan line is the CUTEST! Hope blogging is WAY out by the time he's old enough to know that's his cute little bottom! ;) Love the name in the sand. Saw that on Pinterest recently and thought it was such a clever idea.

    I should've dedicated my current post to you! You were totally on my brain as I shared "village" photos!


  20. I've always wondered what the lakes are like up there. But I'm with you...I prefer the beach. I loved your photos, esp the one of your whole family together - so sweet!

    You're last comment totally cracked me up. I live vicariously through my blog. If only! xoxoxo

  21. So glad you had a memorable vacation (if not a restful one!) and that you were able to capture that priceless photo of your two boys hugging. I don't know them, but I imagine that it captures their personalities perfectly. So sweet!

  22. I realize this is an old post, but I'm currently planning our South Haven vacation and the cottage you rented sounds perfect. Do you happen to remember where/how you found it? Thanks!