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Introduction

Saugatuck is a small resort town in western Michigan on the shores of Lake Michigan, and at the mouth of the Kalamazoo River. It is closely linked with neighbouring Douglas, and both villages are popular as a summer holiday spot for locals and Chicago residents. They have a lively arts scene and many out of the ordinary shops and restaurants. They offer a peculiar mixture of traditional small-town Midwestern values and progressive alternative-lifestyle tolerance.

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Sights and Activities

Saugatuck is a community that has it all – great shopping, wonderful restaurants, a lively arts scene, and a colorful history. To top it off, it has a lovely harbor with some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. It is no wonder that Saugatuck is one of the top tourist destinations in Michigan if not the Midwest. In fact it has been called, “One of the top 25 art destinations in the U.S.”. One of the amazing things about Saugatuck is that everyone you meet has come from somewhere else. The native population of Saugatuck and its neighbor, Douglas, are both very small.

People have been vacationing in Saugatuck for over 100 years. This history contributes to the Victorian charm of the village homes and shops. Saugatuck became an artist colony in the early 1900s with the establishment of the Summer School of Painting on Ox-Bow lagoon in Saugatuck. Today the Ox-Bow institute is operated by the Art Institute of Chicago and continues to be an influence in a community filled with art galleries and exhibitions, public art, theater, film, and music. The title “The Art Coast of Michigan” truly is indicative of the flavor of the Saugatuck/Douglas community.

Beaches

Saugatuck is home to one of the best beaches in the United States, Oval Beach. This beautiful beach was named one of the Top 25 beaches in the world by Condé Naste Magazine and one of the two top fresh water beaches in the USA by National Geographic Traveler Magazine and was named by MTV as one of the 5 best beaches in the United States. Oval Beach is found at the end of Oval Beach Road one mile west of the Saugatuck Ferry landing across the river from downtown Saugatuck.

Further south on Lakeshore Drive are Douglas Beach, Pier Cove Park and West Side Township Park. North of town is Saugatuck Dunes State Park. All have outstanding beaches and sand dunes for exploring.

Water Activities

Saugatuck/Douglas offer a wide variety of available water activities, including a Titanic era ship, the S. S. Keewatin, to explore, boats and sail boats to charter, and canoes and kayaks to rent.

The sternwheeler, Star of Saugatuck, offers a pleasant tour of the river and along the shoreline. The last hand-cranked chain ferry in the United States can take you across the river and an amphibious “duck” offers land and sea service to Saugatuck and Douglas.

Adventure


Consider a hike to the top of Mt. Baldhead sand dune. If you can make it, you are greeted with a stunning bird’s-eye view of the harbor and lake. Or, travel across the dunes on a dune schooner ride which will delight young and old alike.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

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Eat

  • American Spoon Foods, 308 Butler St., Saugatuck, 269-857-3084, Gourmet artisanal foods celebrating the native flavors of Michigan!
  • Belvedere Inn & Restaurant, 3656 63rd Street, Saugatuck, 269-857-5777, 
Award winning B&B and dinner. All inclusive dine and lodge!

  • Blue Star Cafe & M&M's Ice Cream, 141 Blue Star Hwy, Douglas
269-857-1030, Ma & Pa Greek meals-Veggies-Omelets-Burgers-Pitas-Ice Cream.
  • The Butler, 40 Butler St. Saugatuck, 269-857-3501, 
Seafood, steaks & burgers. Waterfront dining. Open year round.
  • Butler Pantry, 119 Butler St., Saugatuck, 269-857-4875, 
Gourmet kitchenware, gadgets, specialty foods, wine.
  • Charlie's Round the Corner Ice Dream, 134 Mason St. Saugatuck, 269-857-2100. 50 flavors. Saugatuck's favorite ice cream shop for 30 years.
  • Chequers of Saugatuck, 220 Culver St. Saugatuck, 269-857-1868, .
Quaint English pub. English foods & more. Imported beers.
  • Clearbrook Restaurant, 6494 Clearbrook Drive, Saugatuck, 269-857-2000,.
Choose top-rated refined dining or award winning casual food.
  • Coral Gables Restaurant, 220 Water St. Saugatuck, 269-857-2162, 
Saugatuck's waterfront, entertainment complex, 5 bars, 4 restaurants.
  • DeMond's Super Valu, 237 Center St, Douglas, 269-857-2443.
Beer, wine, liquor, bakery, deli, fresh produce and tender steaks.
  • Everyday People Cafe, 11 Center St, Douglas, 269-857-4240, 
Casual, hip dining featuring eclectic American-Bistro fare.
  • Jo Jo's Americana Supper Club, 107 Blue Star Highway, Douglas, 269-857-1523, 
All-American restaurant encompassing all the best comfort dishes.
  • Kilwin's Chocolates, 152 Butler St, Saugatuck, 269-857-1195.
Handmade chocolates, fudge and original recipe ice cream.
  • The Little Store, 6586 122nd Ave, Fennville, 269-543-8711.
Beer, liquor, pizza takeout, sporting goods, grocery, lotto, video.
  • Marro's Italian Restaurant, 147 Water St. Saugatuck, 269-857-4248, 
36 years of great "homemade" Italian food. Casual fun dining.
  • Mermaid Bar & Grill, 340 Water St. Saugatuck, 269-857-8208, 
Waterfront dining and cocktails, fresh seafood, pasta and steaks.
  • The Olive Mill, 220 Culver St., Saugatuck, 269-857-5900.
Olive oil tasting experience. 30 artisan extra virgin olive oils & balsamic vinegars.
  • Phil's Bar & Grille, 215 Butler St. Saugatuck, 269-857-1555, 
Hemingway's favorite Saugatuck hang-out. Damn fine food & drink.
  • Pumpernickels, 202 Butler St, Saugatuck, 269-857-1196, 
Breakfast, lunch, dinner & cocktails; relaxed atmosphere, patio & sun deck.
  • Providence Farms, P.O. Box 848, Saugatuck, 269-857-1215. Organic Beef, Lamb, Pork, Chicken & Turkey. Pick up at th Green market on Fridays in Saugatuck info@providencefarms.org
  • Restaurant Toulouse, 248 Culver St. Saugatuck, 269-857-1561 
French country cuisine in a beautiful, relaxed setting. Reservations.
  • The River Market & Deli, 650 Water St. Saugatuck, 269-857-8899, 
Full deli, groceries, beer, liquor, wine, bakery, cigars & gas dock.
  • Sand Bar Saloon, 141 Butler St, Saugatuck, 269-857-2676. 
Friendly downtown bar with beer, wine, spirits, pool tables, gyros & Keno.
  • Saugatuck Brewing Co, Next door to the Antique Pavillion, Douglas, 269-857-7222
Hancrafted beer and brew. On premise brewery. Open 3-6 PM Daily. Later by chance.
  • Saugatuck Coffee Company, 119-121 Butler Street, Saugatuck, 269-857-2633, 
Casual elegance located in historic Leland Alley behind Kilwin’s

  • Saugatuck-Douglas Green Market, 400 Culver Street, Saugatuck, 269-857-2399, (June–September) Featuring Michigan farmers and artisan producers, dedicated to bringing fresh, high quality food to your table.
  • Spectators Sports Bar & Grill, 6432 Blue Star Highway, Saugatuck, 269-857-5001, 
25 TVs, outdoor seating, live music, meeting room for up to 50 people.
  • Tabor Hill Wine Port, 214 Butler St., Saugatuck, 269-857-4859, 
Fine wines, great food, incredible view, tastings & tours (800) 283-3363
  • Uncommon Grounds Coffeehouse, 127 Hoffman St, Saugatuck
269-857-3333, In-house roasted coffees, fresh baked goods, full juice bar.
  • The White House, 149 Griffith St, Saugatuck
269-857-3240, Food. Fun. Home of classic rock.
  • Wine Sellers Of Saugatuck, 247 Butler St., Saugatuck, 269-857-7815, [59].
Fine wine and beer, wine racks, gourmet foods, gifts and cigars

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Sleep

Upscale

  • Sherwood Forest Bed and Breakfast (800-838-1246, 938 Center Street, Douglas, Michigan 49406). Voted Number 1 in the State by Lake Magazine our Victorian-style home offers five guest rooms with private baths, cozy chairs and Persian rugs. Two suites w/Jacuzzi-fireplace. Heated pool, bicycles, 1/2 block to Lake Michigan and spectacular sunsets

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

Contributors

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This is version 14. Last edited at 11:37 on Jun 19, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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